Here’s a brief look at the latest trio of films I crossed off my “to see” list. Do we even have a winner this time?
HALLOWS EVE (2016)
Another film titled Hallows Eve. While it tries its best to toss in holiday spirit (there’s a montage of Jack O’ lanterns) this one really could take place any day of the year.
The first part of the film is loaded with talking, mostly between a gang of kids. After an eerie encounter in a tunnel at night, one kid disappears, so some time is spent on characters trying to find out what became of their friend. There are also some ominous warnings being left around in the form of graffiti.
Eventually, the kids scatter after a similar encounter in the tunnel, and we are thrust into a temporary home invasion flick right out of The Strangers, which is actually one of the best scenes in the film.
When the victim of this home invasion is knocked out and wakes up, she and another victim team up and spend the rest of the movie running around a creepy old building trying to avoid masked baddies.
While there are some well done suspense scenes, this become so repetitive it loses its potency. And the big twist at the end was so confusing I couldn’t even twist with it.
DIGGING UP THE MARROW (2014)
Adam Green of Hatchet fame brings us a self-indulgent found footage film that is about as generic as found footage films can get…and yet to this day he complains that he can’t make a sequel because people stole this movie online. Dude, I love ya, but this movie doesn’t need a sequel. REALLY.
Adam plays himself. His partner in crime Will Barratt plays himself. In various cameos, mostly at horror conventions, Lloyd Kaufman, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Tom Holland, Mick Garris, etc., all play themselves.
Which is why this film falls apart immediately. Horror icon Ray Wise plays—someone else. A lead “character.” Whoa. Talk about taking me out of the reality of this mockumentary. Sorry, Ray, but the role should have been given to some nobody. Ray plays a guy Adam interviews who claims he’s seen monsters come up from a hole out in the woods.
Sooooo…in between loads of dialogue plugging his now defunct horror sitcom Holliston and references to his movies Hatchet and Frozen, Adam and Will stake out the woods with Ray Wise—I mean, this weird old guy we’ve never seen before—in hopes of seeing monsters come out of the hole.
There’s one early jump scare encounter with a monster that looks straight out of a 1950s sci-fi flick, and then there’s a major encounter with a few monsters near the end. One is so fricking cool and violently attacks the car and then…the guys are just back in Ra—the weird old guy’s house. HOLD ON! Hit the brakes! Back up! And I’m not talking about the car the monster was attacking. Adam! SERIOUSLY? What kind of fucking cop out is that???
Then there’s one brief scene with a big shocking twist followed by a typical found footage ending that…I…am not sure…I understood…at ALL.
I’m going to have to blanket this one under a new rule I made up just now based on my most common complaint about movies. Here’s the rule. Once you’ve finished your horror film—edit 15 minutes out of it. Doesn’t matter how long it is. There are at least 15 useless minutes in it. And if your movie is a 15 minute short? Start over.
RED RIVER (aka: Hillbilly Bloodbath) (2011)
I’m a huge fan of director Jacob Ennis’s Kill, Granny, Kill!, so I was psyched to check out this flick, which came out three years before his masterpiece to date.
Red River is sort of like Ennis took the stupidity that is Texas Chainsaw Massacre II and fused it with the fucked up brilliance that is the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre to create a film that ends on a much different note than it begins. For me, the first half is kind of annoying to sit through, but the heinousness of the final act makes it worth it.
Now that’s some deep throating dedication.
After two cops—who seem to be without any guns—stumble upon a rundown house in the woods with a morbid surprise inside, we meet our main characters…and then more characters…and even more. There are kids on a camping trip (there’s a really bad attempt at having one guy act as an asshole republican), there’s a female reporter doing a story on the many disappearances in the small town, and there are loads of hillbillies just being hillbillies. Plus, there’s the annoying as fuck killer guy, who speaks with one of those voice boxes. For me, the real anti-hero is the deformed kid back in the lair.
After almost an hour of nonsense on par with late 80s/early 90s garbage horror, shit gets real, beginning with a chick having her tit cut off. It’s total Texas Chainsaw massacre butchering and insanity. I can’t say I knew who any of the characters were (I lost a whole lot of interest in the middle of the movie), but I was delightfully disturbed by the final act.