JULY 13, 2007
I recall the day I moved into my college dorm for freshman year. I was putting movie posters up on my wall, one of which was of course Halloween. My roommate, a moron lunkhead, asked “Did you see that movie?” I was pretty bewildered. Why would I put up a poster for a movie I hadn’t seen? (He followed it up with “Did you like it?” which makes even less sense). Anyway he moved out and I had more poster room, so I put up a poster of Uncle Sam that was signed by director Bill Lustig. And those thoughts came back to haunt me, because I hadn’t seen the film (the poster was a freebie from a Fango con). If only my roommate was still there! He could ask his same brain dead question and I would have to answer without smirking! Perhaps it would have become our ‘thing’. But, he’s dead now. Or at least, not in LA.
Anyway, 10 years later, I finally watched the movie. And it wasn’t all that bad. Especially when you consider the time period. If I asked you to name 5 really good slasher movies from the 1990s I am guessing it would take you a while. But for a low budget, direct to video effort, this was certainly above average. For starters, it was shot in the 2.35:1 ratio, which is always appreciated. And the pace was slower than expected, building character and mood rather than just having Sam running around killing folks nonstop (which is what I was actually expecting). I appreciate that. There are a couple of “Hi I’m - *killed*” characters, but for the most part they are given a few scenes before being offed, and only one character is killed for no reason (the others are flag burners, crooked politicians, or other “Anti-American” types). Again, this was most unusual for a slasher movie, and even more surprising when you consider the ridiculous concept.
It was also sort of depressing at times. The main kid is obviously a bit of a loner, and his mom and aunt are totally frigid toward their would-be suitors. We find out this is because his uncle molested his mom when she was a kid, and (we are led to believe) raped the aunt. Moments like this make the occasional wisecrack (“With shooting skills like that you should work for the post office!”) and bits of dry humor (the mayor who urges folks not to leave the parade because someone got killed is simply amazing) provide the film with a strange tone, one I must admit I admired. There’s even a puzzling bit of ironic foreshadow, as the film is obviously anti-war/republican, and actor Timothy Bottoms, who is a dead ringer for W (and even played him on that awful Comedy Central show), plays a draft dodger who is on the receiving end of an ax in one of the gorier murders in the film (don’t forget, the movie was made four years prior to W’s non-election). Spoooooooooookyyyyy......
One thing I didn’t like is the kid’s seeming hatred of the GI Joe figure Destro. He was always one of my favorites, and this little bastard totally fucking demolishes the damn thing when he’s playing war. He has him get bombed with a missile, shot by like 4 tanks, and finally run over, before flinging his plastic corpse across the room. What the fuck, kid? Don’t you have a Serpentor figure to abuse? Cuz THAT guy sucked.
What say you?