It was time for a slasher break, so I dug through my watchlists and here’s what I came up with—a blend of trashy, cheap, commercial, and kind of creepy films.
SLAUGHTER STUDIOS (2002)
It’s always fun to indulge in one of these post-Scream, direct-to-video slashers.
Nothing new here, right from the basic setup—film crew is using a haunted attraction for a location shoot. They immediately make the mistake of accidentally summoning something….
The characters are caricatures and mostly annoying (bimbos mostly—movie is clearly made for straight guys), and most of the movie features them just wandering through the maze-like haunted attraction to set the tone.
Even so, the film delivers on two of the most important aspects of a slasher: lots of sexual situations and eventually lots of kills (it takes a while). There are ridiculous amounts of asses and boobs getting right in the camera, and the kills are generally nice and hardcore for a low budget slasher. There’s even a surprise in store at the end.
I know this is like a no budget film, but when a 67-minute movie is predominantly padded with road trip preparation montages and a loooooooong hangout session at a campfire, you probably should have just made a short film.
A group of diverse friends—white and straight, lesbian, black guy—goes camping to a location with a reputation for having been the site of a killer.
The main lesbian girl is on meds and keeps seeing flashes of a masked killer, even before they know anything about the trip or murders. In this day and age, that leaves us with two predictable endings—she’s actually the killer or we’re being led to believe she’s the killer.
To make things interesting between the filler, the lesbian has visions of killing all her friends and hooking up with one of the girls in the shower.
Right near the end, someone realty starts killing the friends off quickly in uninspired, low budget death scenes, and then we find out if the druggy lesbian actually did it.
For me, the best part is a completely out of place, humorous moment involving a woman sheriff.
THE JACK IN THE BOX (2019)
There’s an awesome opener of the oversized jack-in-the-box claiming a victim, showing us exactly what we’re in for.
We then meet our main guy 12 years later, a cutie working at a museum. He scores a large, intriguing jack-in-the-box, and you know what that means.
There are various kills along the way, with people dying in different ways. Sometimes a hand comes out of the box and just drags them into it, and other times the clownish looking Jack comes out of the box and stalks and kills them.
Meanwhile, our main guy figures out people are disappearing, becomes convinced Jack is doing it, and starts his own little investigation tracking the box’s history and origin.
It’s simple and predictable in its scares, but they work, and Jack is a freaky good killer that should definitely appeal to fans of creepy clowns.
THE CLEANING LADY (2018)
The Cleaning Lady takes the general concept of obsession thrillers from the 1990s and injects a more intense dose of gruesome! It may be a bit predictable in general, but there are plenty of gnarly and disturbing elements to better satisfy horror fans.
A pretty woman in therapy for love addiction offers a repair woman with bad burn scars on her face a job cleaning her apartment. It becomes clear quickly that the cleaning lady is drawn to the pretty woman, who is warm and welcoming to her and even tries to build her confidence.
But this cleaning lady’s scars run deep. Flashbacks reveal her fucked up past, she has crazy shit going on at her home now, and even has a mother who looks like the doppelganger of Kate Pierson of The B-52s.
When the cleaning lady begins to do freaky stuff to her employer without her knowledge…Eek! It’s a perfectly slow burn at first, and we’re sucked in as we wait for the cleaning lady to snap and see just how far she’ll go. The final act is pretty damn twisted and goes to places you’d not fully expect for a change—most of all leaving the scene of most of the action and taking us on a bit of a journey.