Many years ago Harold Oates happily toiled each day in the local oatmeal factory until one day a tragic accident took his life. However, though the oatmeal company claimed that Harold had died in the accident, his body was never recovered. This contributed to the local legend of a monster covered in oatmeal that prowled the now-abandoned factory looking for lives to take.
Fast-forward to the present and six young people hit the road to party in Las Vegas. Santiago and his girl are on the skids so their friends hatch a plan whereby they will take a turn into the desert and then fake car trouble. Stranded in the middle of the desert and no place to go, Santiago will then step in, fiddle with a couple of hoses, bang around under the hood, and magically fix the vehicle, thereby becoming a hero and repairing his broken relationship along with the vehicle. Problem is, the car trouble ends up being real.
After waiting out the desert heat, the sun begins to go down and the night becomes progressively cooler. The six friends decide to shelter in the abandoned factory where they hope to find a bit of warmth and bed down for the night before their inevitable rescue the next day. Little do they know that the Oatmeal Man isn’t just a legend–he’s real, he’s living inside the factory, and like a spider does a fly, he’s collecting beautiful girls that wander too close to his home. The new invaders now face more terror and violence than they ever dreamed as they attempt to survive the night inside the rusted factory walls, far from civilization.
Despite the silly title and premise, The Oatmeal Man is actually a terrific B-movie slasher film. Filmed on the cheap and filled with computer-animated effects, The Oatmeal Man nevertheless has relatively high production values. The cinematography is stylish, the lighting is bright and garish, similar to Argento’s Suspiria, and the film features a genuinely creepy soundtrack, which is a high point. And while the cast is made up entirely of relative newcomers, the acting is (mostly) solid. The film is campy without becoming self-referential. The writing-directing duo of Jesse and Sean Gordon clearly love the genre they’ve chosen to work in and have an excellent grasp of how to construct a fun B-movie.
The film starts out as a comedy/road trip film with plenty of potty jokes and playful banter between the members of the group. But once the group take refuge in the old factory, the film turns into an all-out horror movie. Again exhibiting his knowledge of what the audience wants, director Sean Gordon delivers plenty of beautiful and scantily-clad vixens and lots of blood. And while there isn’t any nudity in the film, every single girl is beautiful and sexy as they are trussed up and tied down and the Oatmeal Man uses his machete to carve them up. It’s like Jason Voorhees crossed with the Victoria’s Secret models! The blood is mostly computer animated but isn’t so cheap it takes the viewer out of the film–and there’s a lot of it. Blood runs down the girls’ bodies as they are butchered, flowing and splashing onto the camera as the killer carves his victims up. But even this is so over-the-top as to seem cartoonish, so it remains relatively inoffensive and more fun than mean-spirited.
In the end, The Oatmeal Man is a glossy, low-budget cross between sci-fi and horror that won’t win any Oscars, but is loads of fun nevertheless. If you get a chance to see the film on the festival circuit, don’t miss it. I can only imagine how much fun seeing the film with a crowd of B-movie fans would be.