Amy Lynn Best, Lo-Bud Renaissance Woman behind Happy Cloud Pictures, the excellent "Women in Horror" website Pretty-Scary.net and such films as the slasher spoof SEVERE INJURIES and the Vampire flick FEAST OF FLESH, brings us her latest severed-tongue-in-cheek fiesta SPLATTER MOVIE: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT
Read on for the gory details on the latest production.
The basic premise of SPLATTER MOVIE, the latest production from HAPPY CLOUD PICTURES, is that a low-budget film crew is churning out a slasher flick in a fairly well-known tourist haunt in Pittsburgh, PA. This 'haunted' labyrinth offers the perfect setting for a good old-fashioned cat & mouse style slasher flick and we are immediately introduced into the middle of filming. The twist here, as in many films of recent memory, is that there is also a real killer on the loose, butchering the cast and crew, and evading detection by having the carnage blend into the surrounding chaos of props, fake blood and movie gore. The difference with SPLATTER, is that it takes the setup farther by blurring the lines between the film we're watching and the film they're making.
It takes a few minutes to get into the rythm and understand that the performances are schizophrenically split between lousy B-movie cliche and a fair assesment of the kind of people and personalities you find working for free (or very close to it) on a Z-movie. The expert juxtaposition of 'Bad Movie Acting" and the real death scenes is well worth the watch all on it's own. When recognizeable faces like Elske McCain and Debbie Rochon show up to lampoon their own careers, the movie takes off into a rarified class of perfect satire. Not to give too much away, but when Debbie Rochon, arguably the greatest of all "Scream Queens" gives a pitch-perfect performance of a scene in the movie-within-the-movie, as cliched a scene as could ever be expected in a slasher flick, and it is immediately followed by a much more brutal copycat 'real' murder that follows the rules of reality as opposed to film... it is breathtakingly sharp self-skewering.
The cast is composed of the expected non-actors and z-actors, mixed with the more polished cameos and strong support from some of Best's usual crew including Rachelle Williams (who shares a great send-up of the requisite 'lesbian' scene with Elske McCain), Aaron Bernard, Nikki McCrea and up-and-coming 'Scream Princess' Sofiya Smirnova. Best, herself, takes on the central role of 'Amy Lynn Parker', the director of the film. Also included are EVIL DEAD effects whiz Tom Sullivan and the voice of Alan Rowe Kelly (writer/director of I'LL BURY YOU TOMORROW).
The movie, as scripted by Best's husband, filmmaker Mike Watt, moves along to the usual beat of any standard slasher film, but the devil is in the details. If you have ever been privvy to a low-budget horror production, and if you pay attention, the jokes are practically endless and the enjoyment factor is far beyond the straighter takes on this idea. The interview segments with the crew are priceless in and of themselves. In fact, there is a single moment with Debbie Rochon at the 67-minute mark, where she perfectly explains the very essence of this, and indeed all, horror flicks.
Beyond that? The FX are decent, the production values are minimal, but suitable and the camera work is steady, if uncomplicated. The only real complaint I had was with the audio, which I have been told is still under construction. Although I was taken out of the action a couple of times when people were being butchered by the killer and succumbed weakly with nary a scream. They utter some 'ugghs' and 'nooooo's', but a few of the death-rattles were a little lacking and detracted from the effect of the scene but, all in all, it is a very solid effort with an excellent script from Watt and excellent direction from Best.