APRIL 1, 2009
In honor of April Fool’s Day (still pretty overwhelmed by the number of folks who were genuinely upset at the thought of losing HMAD - thanks all!), I figured I’d watch something comedic. And what better than a movie I got for free dog knows how long ago? So I dug Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday The 13th out of the bottom of my DVD rack and popped it in, expecting the absolute worst. Surprisingly, I actually laughed out loud a number of times and was more or less entertained by the damn thing.
Let’s not get crazy though - the movie mostly sucks. Few of the actors have any sort of comic timing (though that may be the fault of the director/editor as well), so a large number of jokes or sight gags that might have elicited a giggle just fail miserably. And the film “tries too hard” at times, as if it was some sort of sin to go more than 5 seconds without another attempt at a joke. By overloading it, you’re still groaning/annoyed at a bad joke when a good one comes along, so you don’t want to laugh. It’s like when you’re singing along in the car and some guy cuts you off and you’re like "FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKER!" and then you feel weird for resuming singing.
Also, the tone is off. Parodies always work better when the characters aren’t actually AWARE they are in a parody. So instead of the “rules” of scary movies, we get the rules of parodies. Some of them are actually kind of funny, but the tone just doesn’t fit with the sight gags/horror injokes of the rest of the movie. However, this does lead to one of the film’s funnier lines - instead of watching scary movies they are watching parodies, with one guy awkwardly claiming that if you pause Airplane! at the right moment you can see Leslie Nielsen’s penis.
At any rate, it’s certainly better than Scary Movie, in that there were actually more than 2 or 3 good jokes in the film, and a reliance on actual humor instead of pop culture gags that were dated by the time the movie was released. Tiffani Amber-Thiessen shows off a rare comedic side, which was nice (she's among the few performers that seem comfortable with the spoof material, even fart jokes). I also loved the opening bit where the killer chases the Drew Barrymore clone around her table for a full minute (its one of those gags that’s funny, then not funny, and then funny again). And the batshit random parts often worked on me, like when Chucky appears out of nowhere, or the janitor that’s sweeping up dead bodies in the hallway. And I don’t care, a high school “German Club” where they just shout “Sig heil!” over and over is funny.
This brings me to a rather odd running gag in the movie. The killer is often seen killing people in the background (or foreground) without anyone paying him any mind, yet when it comes to our leads, he can never manage to actually kill any of them. Even at the end, when they start dying, it’s of their own stupidity instead of by his hand (Simon Rex’s character, for example, does so many steroids his head explodes). Not quite sure why they thought this would be funny, but it’s not. And granted, no one cares who the killer really is, but it’s still sort of a cheat, parody or not, to have him turn out to be someone who wasn’t even in the movie. Unless it’s a random celebrity (“Adam West?!” would be acceptable), it’s just pointless, and needless to say, not funny.
I also dug that they were parodying even the smaller bits of Scream, instead of just the most obvious scenes. One of my favorite little moments in Scream is when the sheriff is talking to Dewey, who has an ice cream cone. Each time the sheriff takes a drag of his cigarette, Dewey takes a bite of his cone. Anyway, they even parody that in this, except now Dewey’s caricature (Tom Arnold!) tosses it on the ground and “puts it out” with his foot. Heh. There’s also a bit that I swear is Tourist Trap inspired, so I’m sold. Hell, they even toss in a Teaching (Killing!) Mrs. Tingle reference, which has to be a first. And last.
I also want to make a note about the production company - it’s called “The Funny One, LLC”. Whether this is a sly dig at Scary Movie is unknown, but I like to think so. It’s hardly up there with Airplane! or Hot Shots, but it certainly proves how much a spoof film can still provide some entertainment with the long-overused formula as long as Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer aren’t involved with it.
The DVD - which I will be trading in for the princely sum of 1 dollar - has only the trailer (featuring gags not in the movie), and also a hilariously outdated spot for the Trimark (!!!) website, in which they claim you can “chat with big stars” over a shot of Robert Downey Jr., who presumably WOULD be doing such things in 2001 but not so much nowadays. Also, since Trimark has long since been absorbed by Lionsgate, I assume the URL is no longer valid.
What say you?