Sometimes you just don’t know who is a horror fan. I am surprised every now and again what I saw this past week was no exception. I’m talking about a film called Smothered which was directed by none other than Smallville and Dukes of Hazard’s John Schneider.
Smothered boasts the largest collection of horror icons on one screen ever and it’s great to see them together. There is a lot of heart in the film and it shows when our group of horror actors are taking a moment to reflect on their careers. Kane Hodder and R.A. Mihailoff steal most of the show with great and very funny performances but everyone has their time to shine.
The set-up finds a group of horror icons (Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, R.A. Milhailoff, Malcolm Danare, and Don Shanks) are having a horrible weekend at a convention. Not making any money, they’re convinced to haunt a trailer park for $1,000 each. Easy money for a weekend gig. When they get there, they meet the woman who runs it, as well as her incredibly well-endowed daughter, Dee Dee (Brea Grant of Rob Zombie’s Halloween II). Little do they know there is an agenda at work and they are not just the stars of the weekend, but the intended victims as well.
This is a horror-comedy with some bite. Each of the icons gets a chance to play on their public persona as well as other horror icons and we see some pretty inventive mass-ups. One thing that is great is that though the convention scenes and plight of the individual characters is funny, there is a lot of truth in it as well. Hodder has a chance to play the romantic lead, of sorts, while Moseley is the optimist of the group. Shanks is the bully and Milhailoff is the big lug afraid of his own shadow. Malcom Danare is probably the most relatable of the bunch and his scenes with Shanks are some of the best.
So, what about Brea Grant’s Dee Dee? She is Supervixen reborn. She plays the southern belle to the hilt and there is glint of crazy in her eyes. She definitely holds your attention on screen and it’s not just visually. There is a real creepiness in her performance and I wouldn’t turn my back on her in a dark room (hell, even in a well-lit one).
Just because it’s a comedy doesn’t mean that they skimped on the kills. The deaths are good and inventive which is always a plus, but the thing that may surprise you is that there is a bit of sadness as well. That is the mark of a good performance, especially from people who normally terrify us.
John Schneider set out to make an '80s-style horror-comedy with a tip to Russ Meyer (always a good thing). The film isn’t without its flaws though, most of which lie in editing. The film is told in book format which means you get information as you need it. This may be jarring to some as it can interrupt the flow, but we’ll see what happens once a release date is announced. With a top-notch cast and endearing performances, John Schneider’s film is worth a look. I had as much fun with it as The Soska Twins’ Dead Hooker In A Trunk. Schneider has a serious horror film coming up next which sounds great and disturbing.
Smothered is a fun film because it gives us a chance to see some of our horror heroes in a different light. I urge you to support it because it tries something different and that is a rare thing these days. I think there is a lot of talent getting ready to drop on us. This could be a good year.