As Halloween nears, two activities takes precedence for a horror fan: second-hand store and pop-up spook shop hunting to find just the perfect costume, and feverishly working your way through your Halloween horror flick picks. Around this time, you’ll also find every blog, radio station, magazine, etc., telling you what they think (in their expert opinion) are the top Halloween films or the best costumes for the year.
Well, BOAB is no different, but, keeping with the format, I bring you two of the best horror movies of the year in the indie and DIY realm, that themselves feature two of the greatest Halloween costumes. Want to amaze your friends and explain your costume all night long? Ladies and gentlemen, keep on reading.
BLOOD: Gore, grue and grime a-plenty
BUDGET: Around $800, proof you don’t need a lot of funds to make one hell of a movie
How do you top a nipple slip in the first few seconds of a film? How about a brutal killing and full frontal nudity before the two-minute mark?
Not messing around, this lurid love letter throws you right into tits and terror as evil twin Pollux (Brandon Salkil) goes on a twin-terminating tear, before getting thwarted by his goody-two-shoes brother, Castor (also Brandon Salkil). There’s no rest for the wicked, though, Pollux returns as a sharply dressed, undead a-hole to continue his twin-killing rampage, leaving Castor to find and kill his kin all over again.
Castor is not alone, however, in his fratricidal mission, as southern-fried monster slayer Frank Fulci (played by Josh Eal as if he’s teaching a class on character work) and one-eyed, one-handed, ex-twin Mercy (Jessica Daniels), have their own vendetta against pinstripe-clad Pollux.
Along with contemporaries Hobo with a Shotgun, Dear God No! and Father’s Day, Zombie A-hole delivers further proof that a great film can be made by lovingly borrowing from exploitation classics and not-so-classics. The film stock crackles as more than a few plot points are cribbed from ghosts of celluloid past: the high violence of Thriller: A Cruel Picture (Mercy is leather-clad and eye-patched) or Bava’s Bay of Blood (identical deaths really twitch the nerves); the high sleaze of a Jean Rollin or Jess Franco flick (needless nudity from badly acting babes); and even the high fantasy of Jason and the Argonauts (stop-motion and puppet monsters plague this picture). The practical effects in particular, cleverly mixed with CG, are creative and kooky enough to warm the heart of even the most discerning Evil Dead-head.
Also responsible for the deviously derivative Puppet Monster Massacre, writer/director/effects artist Dustin Mills knows what horror hounds want and puts it on-screen with perverse perfection.
BLOOD: The title doesn’t lie, a lot of bright red stuff and goofy-looking gore
Crass, infantile and idiotic, this Wet Hot American Summer for the slasher set is every bit as good as it should be… which is great.
“Jesus probably had a big penis” are the words that kick off this farcical fright, as we’re introduced to the inhabitants of the Happy Day Bible Camp, summer 1977. In horribly authentic and kitschy period clothing, these crazy campers are quickly picked off by an imposing, dark figure as they participate in drinking, drugs and general debauchery. Nary a gay, dick, sex or poo joke is left untouched while bright red blood and throw-away topical dialogue (making mention of Star Wars, Elvis’s death, Ellen Barret and Shelly Duvall) are heaped on top of this garish pile of fantastic film trash.
Seven years after the massacre, a new group hit-up the Christian camp for a similar scenario, this time terribly entrenched in its ’80s time period. Like an essay on golden age slasher flicks (something I definitely did in University as an excuse to watch horror flicks), all the tropes are touched upon: a warning by a sketchy local, use of a condemned property, dark back stories, a second act packed with boring character development, and a habit-clad killer, Sister Mary Chopper, who deals with his childhood, religion-centric abuse by killing so-called sinners.
In addition to cheap chuckles, further brain cells are killed by the talents of the seasoned indie-horror cast, including Ivet Corvea (Run! Bitch Run!, Nude Nuns with Big Guns), bona fide scream queen Elissa Dowling (O.C. Babes and the Slasher of Zombie Town, Vaginal Holocaust), David C. Hayes (Back Woods, Blood Orgy of the Damned), Reggie Bannister (the Phantasm films), producer/director Tim Sullivan (2001 Maniacs, Chillerama) in an acting role, and a surprisingly okay cameo appearance by porn papa Ron Jeremy.
Baring witness to this campy caricature of classic slashers, custom-made for drunk teenagers (or those with similar sensibilities), will give you ample fodder for your next confession.
Zombie A-hole and Bloody Bloody Bible Camp are available on DVD through major retailers.