Smothered (2016) – By Baron Craze

 

Almost all horror fans have played out the various scenario games of who would win if in a battle, and most notable those events play against each other with such films as Freddy vs. Jason and extending to a sci-fi realm of Aliens vs. Predator. However, when actor John Schneider, best known for his work on television series “The Dukes of Hazzard” from 1979, making his debut as director, with the concept of pitting stars against each other, he as the screenwriter went in a vastly different direction. The story pokes fun at itself, its own industry and then at the entire concept of the horror icons, along with the celebrities’ tours at conventions, which actually finds a refreshing baseline. In fact, if one recalls this entire element of conventions and the nature thereof briefing touched on in the documentary Best Worst Movie (2009) which was about the Troll 2 (1990) and John starred as himself, so showing a personal level of background and revealing the rule writing on what you know. John as actor starred in many horror productions, and only recently becoming more of a forefront character in the productions, so he is no stranger to the conceptual design and understanding pacing of the horror story. The film itself looks very good, shot in Louisiana, and likely for good reason John Schneider’s Fairlight Films studio located nearby served as the Production Company, and Indican Pictures step up to plate as the distributor.

The film surrounds itself with actors, name horror icons, seeking better paying gigs than a highly dull, uninteresting and unprofitable convention, nickel and dime autograph session, the set design, of emptiness really sells the moment. Kane Hodder leads the pack as Striper, his intimidating presence always commandeers a set, after who in the horror genre, doesn’t know his impressive resume, he begins to assemble his team for a gig of haunting a Recreational Park, however this park won’t advance anyone’s career. The cast introductions come quickly with a test of knowledge for the horror fans, such as R.A. Mihailoff (Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre), the well-known Bill Moseley, Don Shanks (Halloween 5 (1989)), Dane Rhodes and Malcolm Danare “Moochie” from Christine (1983) all them traveling around in a RV just trying to survive. However fret not, that is only a bros weekend blast, the very capable and talented Rachael Alana Handler makes a fine comedic entrance, as horror fan Chunks, which reminder to the audience is not a CGI missing leg, but an actual prosthetic leg. The film contains some point of facts moments, a bit of charge realism concerning their place in the cycle of horror films, yet taken perhaps in outrageous left field situations. It all fits nicely together especially when the crowd gets to the RV Park and begins the hunt of frights and scares; however who is haunting and hunting whom. Each death seem caused by accidents, only sets as backdrop to the insanely fun performances of characters Angess and DeeDee (portrayed by Amy Brassette and Brea Grant respectively) and lighten the tone of the film. As the blood flows with ease so do many jokes, and reference to Hodder’s unfortunate fire accident, however, Schneider needed to work the script carefully, since he was unable to afford the licenses for legal rights to use certain name roles, he indirectly speaks of them. In fact, the box artwork does a nice job of reference roles of a key foursome in the shadows of their horror performances aside from Moseley which is more of collection of roles than just one.

It becomes very apparent that Schneider’s movie lacks the proper script to fulfill the standard runtime of 90-minutes, and hence required more fleshing out of the story, as many set pieces find themselves improperly placed, especially concerning the switching of timelines and flashbacks. Hence setting much the story at night, in a wooded area, with quick cuts, and some special effects, which sadly hit and miss, but the movie is low budget, yet achieves a nice macabre look for the horror fan. Yes, Michael Berryman, stars in the film, as himself, he never teams up for the wild adventure, a disappointment, nevertheless some needs to stay at the convention to fulfill the contract agreements.

First, the a major portion of satire miss, as the cast halfway represent themselves as the characters, however with that stated, Kane Hodder really leads the charge of the film and generates a new look for himself, while Don Shanks just delivers a shocking humored filled performance which makes the film worth seeing, just for the laughs of him. This is a b-movie, no doubt, which works fine with some creepiness and oddity occurring yet the horror fans get to view their icons in a vastly different light and performance, even if it is a onetime viewing.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3040224