Damien Leone has been pretty much grooming Art the Clown to become a cult slasher icon since his earlier films. He was even the somewhat paranormal narrator and ghoulish monster that ushered in various mediocre tales of horror for “All Hallow’s Eve” parts one and two. Apparently since the character has garnered some kind of momentum within the horror community, Art gets his spotlight as a bonafide slasher, who delights in viciously murdering people left and right on Halloween night. The results inspired a wholly ambivalent shrug from me overall, I’m sad to say.
Written by Max Groah and Tim Mayo with Groah directing, Bong of the Living Dead is a fun and funny take on the zombie apocalypse and on friends with odd skills managing to do better than most. Their take on the sub-genre is one that doesn’t bring a ton of new things to the table but their vision uses things that are familiar in great ways. On a smaller scale, it reminds of Shaun of the Dead in that the filmmakers and cast have a clear love of zombies and zombie films and they bring it to the screen here in a manner that is entertaining and respectful of the films they clearly adore. The writing is clever and the direction keeps everything tight.
“Creepshow” isn’t just a horror movie, but it’s also the gold standard for what most anthology horror movies strive to be. While there have been anthology horror films before it, “Creepshow” popularized the genre for a new decade and helped redefine the idea of the sub-genre. Not just that, but “Creepshow” is also a rebuttal to the golden age of horror comic from EC. Once upon a time the comics label that produced violent horror based comics were shut down due to their controversial nature. “Creepshow” is a movie that combines immense talents from folks like George Romero, Stephen King, and Tom Savini to provide something of a rebellious middle finger and show a new audience that these tales were as fun as they were violent.
If any case could be made for the advantage of running zombies in the zombie film sub-genre, “Dead Set” would easily trump any argument against the device. I’m a zombie enthusiast who loves the lumbering dead, and in all honesty prefers them above all. “Dead Set” not only endorses the idea of running zombies, but makes turns them on to a world of lazy, complacent television addicts, with remorseless fervor. Like the reality shows that have become fixtures of civilization, we’re turned in to blood thirsty monsters that feed off of one another, and show little empathy for the weak.
While “Heavy Trip” may not be what we call horror in the conventional sense, Jukka Vidgren, and Juuso Laatio’s dark comedy musical has a lot of the DNA of a horror movie, right down to satanic worship, blood baths, and plenty of vomit. It’s not often you get to see an underdog tale of a band struggling to make it set to the tune of death metal, but Jukka Vidgren, and Juuso Laatio tap in to a distinct crowd that’s gone woefully overlooked. “Heavy Trip” will definitely stand out in the memory of their audience who are in the mood for something wholly unconventional but surprisingly crowd pleasing.
Rusty Cundieff is back for what is another racial based horror anthology that not so subtly comments on our current social and political climate. The original “Tales from the Hood” still packs immense relevance today, and Cundieff goes another bite at the jugular. While “Tales from the Hood 2” isn’t only packs two very strong horror stories surrounding racism and corruption, it’s still a fun, darkly comic satire with Keith David doing a stellar job as our new Satanic narrator. The budget is obviously lesser this time, but “Tales from the Hood 2” packs a wallop with a ton of biting satire.
Director Brian Henson explained in an interview that he hopes the wrong audience doesn’t accidentally see “The Happytime Murders.” So I have to ask: Who is “The Happytime Murders” meant for? Who is the target audience here? It certainly has aroused the ire and vitriol of Muppets fans, horror fans mostly dislike it, and it has inspired nothing but groans and eye rolls from comedy movie buffs, so who is this movie for, anyway? Despite Henson’s best efforts to pad the wet thud that is “The Happytime Murders” by labeling it a “guilty pleasure,” you’d have a much better time putting socks on your hands and barking random expletives to yourself.
Probably the most disappointing movie I’ve seen all year, I probably would have shut “Flower” off midway were it not for the great turn by Zooey Deutch. Deutch has become a rising star in film, never failing to be charming, charismatic, funny, and beautiful. She’s one of the survivors of Disney television whose managed to convey some genuine humanity and appeal in a variety of roles ever since. It’s just a shame she got saddled with such a mean, vicious, and despicable dark drama romance that’s about as demented as it gets. “Flower” feels like the writers tried to combine Diablo Cody and Larry Clarke in to one twisted freak of a film, and man does it suck.