Title: Slasher Hunter (2011)
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Starring: Chad Phillips, Derek Rothermund, Ryan Sullivan
Director: Steve Rudzinski
Duration: 35 mins
Four pals are planning to have a great weekend of sex and brews in an old cabin in the woods. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “this is the exact set up to every slasher movie from ‘79 to ‘99; this can’t end well.” Well our group of campers have thought of that, that’s why they brought sci-fi nerd Lee along for the ride who carries within him the so-called “survivor gene.” This special gene helps prevent him from being the unfortunate victim of any slasher maniacs that may be lurking about. Unfortunately this gene is also highly coveted by a group of the most dastardly slashers around: Frank, Larry, Jay, Charles, Pleatherface, and Puzzle (I didn’t say their names were very dastardly, did I?). It’s up to a renegade, federally-employed Slasher Hunter to thwart the slashers’ plan and save Lee and his friends before it’s too late.
A few years ago, director Steve Rudzinski brought us Basic Slaughter, his first attempt at lampooning the always lampoonable slasher film genre. That movie bore all the baggage most amateur, no-budget movies bear, but was still relatively humorous and entertaining throughout. With Slasher Hunter , a vast improvement in overall technicality and storytelling is immediately apparent. The editing is swift, smooth, and seamless, making the pace of the film quick and exciting. Not a single tedious moment, as opposed to the aforementioned feature. Slasher Hunter also pays much more attention to camera movement, lighting, costumes, make-up, and effects. Being filmed on days off from work with a budget of a mere $1500, this movie doesn’t strike the viewer as anything other than a locally produced, shot-on-video horror comedy. But with all things considered, and unlike Basic Slaughter, Slasher Hunter is qualified to join the ranks of cult SOV horror movies from filmmakers like Todd Sheets (Zombie Bloodbath trilogy), Eric Stanze (Savage Harvest), and the Polonia Bros (Splatter Beach). No, that’s not an insult. That’s a compliment.
Slasher film spoofery and satire have been going on for a long time, at least since they heyday of slashers themselves with Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy campers, where iconic horror villains were portrayed as bumbling idiots (something to be witnessed again in Slasher Hunter). Since then, people got the idea that the slasher genre was to be laughed at (Wes Craven was no exception - the Scream franchise). Very quickly this idea got old. Like the slasher films they were making fun of, the spoofs ran out of ideas. Slasher Hunter, however, is somewhat of a revitalization of an old concept: the story is fresh; the characters are amusing (i.e. not completely unsympathetic); and, most importantly, it doesn’t try to insult the viewer’s intelligence. The recent trend of retro-horror is also clear here, but this time the movie opens up with the look and feel of an old VHS tape (rather than a reel from an inner-city grindhouse) which brings back personal memories of renting obscure horror films at the local video store. I feel as my generation grows older, we’ll be seeing a lot more of this type of throwback.
While I enjoyed the hell out of this short piece of slasher high jinks, Slasher Hunter does show its fair share of unavoidable budget-related drawbacks, which makes it not for those who aren’t already accustomed to B-grade, homegrown horror. The acting and dialog are still amateurish and bring this movie down to a much less-than-professional level, not that the tasteful references to WoW and internet memes don’t help. The hackneyed slasher outfits are also rather thrown together; though I thought it was a nice touch to have slasher Frank (based off Freddy Kruger) to be blue and frozen, instead of sporting the typical burn scars. Lastly, the fight and kill scenes could have been a bit more choreographed, or at least given more coverage. The scene where Pleatherface becomes the victim of his own chainsaw early on left much to be desired. But hey, from out of nowhere comes the gratuitous nudity, and the world is right again.
Though the runtime maybe a half hour shorter, Slasher Hunter is exponentially more clever and well made than Rudzinski’s debut “body count” flick. While that may not entirely be saying much, I think you catch my drift.