I admit I’ve always enjoyed Dave Campfield’s horror series “Caesar and Otto” despite the duo delivering hit or miss adventures. Every film since their introduction has been one self contained ode to some facet of horror, and Campfield has a surefire love for the genre of horror and comedy that he tries to bring to the forefront with his characters of Caesar and Otto. With “Paranormal Halloween” I think Campfield is at his best, because with the misadventures of Caesar and Otto comes bit of scorn that emanates through every moment of the film. Campfield is always self aware but in “Paranormal Halloween,” Campfield seems to have reached the point where he’s delivering his own idea of great horror, and is trying to figure out how to hit the right note and deliver something for a wider audience.
Horror fans and even broader horror audiences are fickle, and their demands are always changing. This time around Campfield seems to be sitting down and asking what does he have to do to appeal to the larger sector of horror fans, and how he can achieve a massive hit movie. Over the last five years, Hollywood has been kind to the indie community, welcoming a slew of indie horror films that were not only big hits, but embraced by the mainstream. The journey to find the next great horror film has been started by Hollywood and by indie filmmakers, all of whom want to be the next success story. With “Paranormal Halloween,” Campfield satirizes the various tastes of modern horror by providing a very tongue in cheek commentary on his own fans.
He also seems to ponder through his character Caesar what he has to do to garner a big hit, and whether he’s willing to comply and bend to the needs of mass consumption. At one point a pair of female characters explains to Caesar that no one likes horror comedies about a pair of goofy pals, since no one cares about Vaudevillian comedy anymore. They want found footage, which is an extension of reality shows. Caesar not only seems angry about this somewhat stone cold fact, but we can almost sense Campfield is confronting his own artistic integrity through the characters, and wondering if he’s willing to pander with a found footage movie, or haunted house film if it might just grant him wider acclaim. Caesar even comes face to face with his old writing teacher, who derides his creative decisions, and even reads bad reviews aloud.
While “Paranormal Halloween” is yet another funny and clever look at the wacky brothers that happen to walk in to a horrific situation time and time again, Campfield also provides a biting satire on Hollywood, and the ongoing struggle of the horror filmmaker to keep up with trends and gain some success out of an ever fickle audience. Seriously, what does one have to do to obtain success these days? Every filmmaker seems to be hitting on the current trends, and Campfield sticks to his guns, while offering a pretty hilarious lampoon of films like “The Conjuring,” and the “Paranormal Activity” series. David Campfield provides the smartest and most clever installment of his indie series yet, and it’s a must see, even if you’ve never met Caesar and Otto before.