Judge Bill Gibron says horror and humor go hand in hand in this decidedly lo-fi spoof.
Here to save your dumb ass from a rag tag group of cinema's famous serial killers—sort of.
The genuine horror spoof is hard to come by. Most fright filmmakers want to take the genre very seriously, while others only aim for comedy without paying close enough attention to the realities of the scary movie format. Perhaps this is why something like Slasher Hunter feels so fun and fresh. Granted, it's nothing more than a low rent web series cut together to create a 35 minute short film, and the cinematic aspects of the "feature"—the acting, the writing, the directing—are random, awkward, and arbitrary at best. But at least these fans take their fear factors seriously, getting the details and knowing nuances of their subjects right. Sure, names have been changed to protect the innocent (and trips to copyright court), but there is no denying the presence of Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Jigsaw, Leatherface, and Chucky among the often quite hilarious murderer's row.
The main storyline has the title hero (actually, a guy who looks like an insurance salesman) trying to defend a lame uber-dork who just so happens to contain a mega-dose of the dreaded anti-slasher "survivor gene." Hoping to get his knife-gloved hands on it, Frank calls together his killer collective—Jay, Charles, Pleatherface, Larry the Birthday Shape, and Puzzles—and plot to attack the kid while he's having fun with his victim fodder friends…where else? In a cabin in the woods. Of course, the government's number one defense against gratuitous violence and nudity in the adolescent population—Slasher Hunter—is sent out to save the day. After disposing of wannabe icon Axe, he stumbles upon the teens and takes on his evil enemies with little more than a machete, some attitude, and a receding hairline. Oddly enough, Frank has plans to do away with his nerdy nemesis once and for all.
Slasher Hunter is so indicative of the DIY mentality circa the last few years that it's hard to hate on its genial desire to entertain. It knows its slice and dice mythos and manages to find a way of exploiting it without going whole hog into a horror dorkgasm. Sure, some of the jokes fall flat and the performances border on the atrocious, but that's part of the production's charm. It recalls the direct to video disasters of the 1980s while acknowledging the various permutations in terror over the last two decades. When Slasher Hunter confronts Puzzles, he doesn't kill him, instead arguing that he only puts people in positions where they destroy themselves (a long standing Saw debate). Similarly, the rest of the group mock Charles for being an adult male dressed as a child's toy (which he is, actually), arguing that they'd rather look terrifying than like a pedophile. From the joke name dynamic of everyone's favorite chainsaw fan to the last act confrontation involving a certain sex act, Slasher Hunter is highly entertaining. One eagerly wonders what co-writer (along with Ryan Sullivan) and director Steve Rudzinski could do with a decent budget and a group of game actors.
From a technical side of things, the DVD of Slasher Hunter is a bit of a mess. Purists will balk at the lax picture quality (hey, what do you want? The series was made on the $1500 cheap) but the image is still 1.85:1 widescreen anamorphic and quite colorful. Lighting issues are prevalent and the darkness frequently undermines the attempted special effects. As for the sound situation, it's flat and tinny, but what you would expect from a camcorder recording job processed into Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0? As for bonus features, we find a collection of bloopers, an example of how much shot footage is needed to cut together a specific scene, a deleted sequence, Jay's screen test, an interview with Rudzinski, and a music video for the project's theme song. All together, they add up to a longer running time than the film itself.
While its flaws often threaten to overwhelm the rest of its ridiculousness, Slasher Hunter is still a wonderful genre satire. It may be low on technological and artistic polish, but it's still a giggle-worthy goof.
Not guilty. A riotous little romp for fright fans everywhere.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Dark Mullet Cinema
• Deleted Scene
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