Gone are the days when Halloween horror movies would simply hit DVD in October and I would blind buy them so I could see them in a timely fashion. Nowadays, I have to sit around hoping they’ll hit one of the streaming services—or hit any VOD service at all before Halloween. That didn’t go so well this year, so the majority of my Halloween themed horror viewing to the holiday horror page came via SyFy originals. Ugh!
But finally, I caught a trio of this year’s releases…just in time for Christmas. So let’s see if it’s possible to get back into the Halloween spirit by watching Halloween Pussy Trap Kill! Kill!, Haunted Maze, and Talon Falls.
HALLOWEEN PUSSY TRAP KILL! KILL! (2017)
I discovered the trailer for this one pretty much on Halloween weekend, so I was psyched to actually get to see it at all this year.
In one of the oddest Halloween horror movie openings ever, U.S. military men in the Middle East are captured on October 31st, are mocked for celebrating Halloween, and then get treated to some brutal torture. I was immediately devastated that horror hunk Paul Logan was clearly going to have a minor role in the film. Anyway, one of the mutilated men vows revenge…
Which is the start of this film making pretty much no sense at all – unless you just want to put all the blame for what transpires on PTSD.
But first I have to note that the theme song “Last Halloween” by Jyrki 69 of hardcore goth band The 69 Eyes should be the official theme to the holiday itself and immediately gets added to my monster music page.
The film walks so close to being a slice of exploitation trash heaven, but never quite gets there, despite everything it has going for it. What does it have going for it?
– girl punk band.
– a rape stopped by a dude in a wheelchair, who then gets beaten up.
– fricking RICHARD GRIECO as a creepy old gas station attendant.
– Band is gassed in their van, wakes up in Saw-like setting.
– Wheelchair guy watches through monitors and pretty much puts them through the old Jigsaw fun and games.
Only it isn’t fun, because despite some initial freaky as hell delusions, they all kind of just stand around drenched in neon lights yelling and screaming at each other before killing each other.
Wheelchair dude has some bizarre sidekicks – a little person and a chick in a witch costume who regularly answers her ringing doorbell to blow away trick or treaters with a gun. That adds to the wild exploitation aspect, just not enough—and their presence also really confuses matters.
Absolutely nothing is explained here, including the logic behind the dude killing Americans because evil dudes in the Middle East ripped his face off (logic being—you’re all spoiled brats that don’t appreciate my sacrifice…aka: my face). I’m not even sure which side of the political border wall this movie is trying to stand on, if any.
There is at least a final girl who gets into a chase scene and a knock-down, drag-out fight to the end, which also puts Richard Grieco to good use. But for the most part, this all-girl punk rock band is a bunch of pussies.
HAUNTED MAZE (2017)
Haunted attraction slashers on Halloween are becoming to the 21st century what babysitter slashers on Halloween were to the 20th century. We’re simply going through the motions and not breaking new ground, nor topping anything that came before. But I’m still a sucker for them.
This one was on my radar for a while, particularly because Brian Krause (aka: Leo of Charmed) was listed in the cast, but the VOD and DVD release date got changed a few times and it didn’t hit Amazon Prime until after Halloween.
The opener is my favorite part—a teacher is talking about it being October 31st to his class of young students, mentions that it’s also one kid’s birthday…and then all of a sudden there’s an axe and screaming children everywhere.
Halloween treat indeed.
But the date is the most traction Halloween gets. Next, we meet that kid years later; he’s a big creepy clown being interrogated by police after a tragedy at the haunted attraction at which he works.
While the haunted attraction footage is great and visually freaky, the film seems to be almost entirely foreplay, in that the actual kills don’t begin until 64 minutes in!
Beauty and the beast…
Really, the slasher part of the film is all compressed into about ten minutes of film near the end. It delivers in all regards—gore, violence, chases—but it’s way too short!
Since the narrative is presented in flashbacks, we regularly return to the clown talking to the detectives, which inevitably creates confusion, interferes with the pacing and horror atmosphere, and makes it hard to become attached to any characters at all.
Although I could see myself becoming attached to this guy…at the hips.
And this attempt at giving us a psychological profile of the killer falls totally flat. Not to mention, there are so many aspect of the ending of the film that I simply didn’t understand. AT ALL.
Although, the clown’s psycho flashbacks did provide an awesome – but way too brief – apple bobbing clip…
Red delicious apples, anyone?
And as for Brian Krause, I didn’t see him anywhere, then noticed he isn’t in the cast credits in the film itself, even though he’s still listed in the credits on imdb as of this writing.
TALON FALLS (2017)
Here we have a Halloween haunted attraction horror flick…told in flashbacks. But unlike Haunted Maze, this time the tale is being told by one of the victims, not the killer.
That’s where the problem lies—the intro scene absolutely, definitely gives away the “twist” ending. There is simply no way you won’t see it coming. Not to mention, slashers that show the “last” scene at the beginning are setting viewers up to watch a movie just to see how and when every character except the only one featured in that scene dies.
Having said that, the opener was intense, so I knew I was at least in for some gritty horror.
Friends on a road trip detour to a haunted Halloween attraction – them mentioning it being a Halloween attraction is the only reference to the holiday in the entire film.
Just like Haunted Maze, the tour footage is pretty damn creepy. The friends split up during the tour, and before long they are attacked by actual goons and tossed in cages to be used for the “show.”
There are a whole bunch of baddies in this one, and there’s a good amount of torture as well. Shit gets brutal.
I just wish the kids had initially acted a bit more terrified when they realized what was about to happen to them once they were locked up.
This is pretty traditional stuff, with some kids fighting back, some escaping, some dying, some getting tortured, and the few lucky ones getting away and being chased. Plus there are some good old jump scares.
While it offers the least Halloween spirit of these three films, it’s the best in this bunch in terms of delivering an overall horror experience. However, for me, that blatant giveaway of the ending at the beginning really cheapens what is otherwise a tight film with some sleek production.