The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Friday, May 6, 2011
A few months ago, over on my Tumblr blog, Matt, Movie Guy, I made a quick post about how The Social Network was on its way from Netflix, and was it any good. I got a reply telling me it was overrated, and that I should check out Hatchet II instead. I was like, dude, you're at the wrong blog, you need to hit me up at the DTVC, but I'll give it a look. I'd heard some about the first Hatchet, that it was supposed to be a throwback to the 80s horror I liked, that it boasted a pretty stellar cast of horror greats, and that the director, Adam Green, grew up somewhat nearby in Massachusetts. I figured it was finally time to check it out.
Hatchet takes place in New Orleans, where a boy named Victor Crowley, who's hideously disfigured from birth (think Toxic Avenger crossed with Chunk from Goonies). Anyway, he dies after some kids pull a prank on him on Halloween, and he haunts the local swamp. Enter a group of people on a tour run by an unscrupulous Asian, and they're on a collision course to wackiness!
Get out your slide whistle and your rim shots and your "waa waa waaaaaaah", because we're going on a comedic romp. The only thing they didn't do was queue up the Benny Hill music and have Hodder chase the kids around in fast-motion. Hey African American guy, remember when you had a fade back in high school? Ha! That joke was even funnier the three hundred times I've heard it in beer commercials and national cell phone ad campaigns. Hey, remember that Seinfeld episode when some dude made a snide remark to George, and he thought of the comeback later? Hey, let's combine that with the high school fade joke! But wait, it gets better, that's right kids, STD jokes! "But mom, we had STD jokes in the last 30 horror comedies!" "Hey, you kids don't know how lucky you are. There are people making bad horror comedies in Third World countries that wish they had that crabs bit we just did. You just remember that mister!" Don't get me wrong, for about 20-25 minutes at the end, this had some great gore-- my personal favorite was when Kenny from The Cosby Show was felled using the double arm amputation technique, a la Toxic Avenger IV-- and Kane Hodder was great as the villain, with fun cameos from Robert Englund and Tony Todd; but is it worth it if I've got to sit through 40-45 minutes of bad comedy to get to it? Seriously, the only bad joke cliché they didn't go to was the man-purse. Guess they needed to save something for part 2.
We've seen horror comedy done well before. Evil Dead 2 is the best example, but there's also Bad Taste, Dead Alive, Blood Diner, and Bloodsucking Pharaohs from Pittsburgh. The problem here though, is the comedy didn't match the gore, meaning we should've had more of the latter. Think about the great Friday the 13th flicks of the 80s. As the kids were making their way to the camp, people in the area were getting bumped off simultaneously. Break up that 40-45 minutes of nothing with a few good kills here or there, that way if the jokes fall flat, it's not the only thing to hang your hat on. The one gag I did like though was when one of the bimbo's phones went off, and the ringtone was Paula Cole's "I Don't Wanna Wait".
I had to go way back into the archives to find the last time we had a Cosby kid on here, and that was the girl (woman now) who played Rudy Huxtable. She was in Death Toll starring Lou Diamond Phillips, which you probably don't remember me reviewing, but it was pretty rough. Now we have her best friend, Kenny-- oddly enough, both were in films set in New Orleans. What I need to do now is seek out some Theo Huxtable flicks. As I mentioned above, Kenny's double arm amputation death was one of my favorites.
We had some top notch horror talent here, starting with a cameo from Robert Englund. There was another one with Tony Todd, which had a very predictable bad joke about his tour group and insurance issues, but he did his best with it. Then you had Kane Hodder in duel roles as the deformed killer, and his dad. I didn't know this, but Hodder has had small parts in numerous flicks that we're reviewed here in the past-- usually it was something like "Thug #3", but that's still pretty cool. I imagine stunt-wise he's probably been in a lot more. The stars here were Joel (David) Moore, who has been in such classics as Dodgeball and Grandma's Boy; and Tamara Feldman (no relation to Corey as far as I know), who, at the time did a lot of commercials, but now, according to imdb, has a reoccurring role on Gossip Girl. Throw in Kenny from Cosby, and veteran character actor Richard Riehle, and the talent was there to make something really special. Unfortunately the jokes couldn't get them to the church on time.
Check out the shirt Moore is wearing. It's for Newbury Comics, a place that I spent a lot of money at in high school. It's a record store chain in and around Boston, and between the one on Newbury St. and the one in the Garage Mall on Mt. Auburn, I blew I don't know how many paychecks on rare import discs and cool band T-shirts. Bands that are now barely memories, like Oasis, The Prodigy, and Blur; Sponge, The Chemical Brothers, Orbital, and Underworld-- I could go on. Speaking of music, that was another area this film could've killed it on if they wanted to go 80s throwback, but didn't quite do it. Marilyn Manson? Try Dokken baby! Though they did have some good Friday the 13th music for a scene near the lake that mimicked the one in (was it?) Part VII where Jason pops out of the water. That was cool.
Man, this is a tough call, because between the cool cameos and the great gore, this has its moments; but the chunk of time that's lost to bad comedy really hurts it. For most people, it's the gore that's hard to watch, but I guess for me it's hearing the same jokes I've heard over and over for the past ten years. Also, I watched the unrated director's cut, so if you're going to do this, make sure that's the one you get.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0422401/
(PS: Check out the image page for a clip of vintage horror comedy that I uploaded.)