HILLBILLY HORROR SHOW VOL. 4
Growing up, enjoying horror hosts like Elvira, or my childhood favorite; the crypt keeper, I always comforted that the concept of showcasing horror-related movies, shorts, or documentaries, would always stay within its own "horror" realm. The crypt keeper (voiced by John Kassir) from the well known Tales From The Crypt had a sarcastic humor, and was filled with cheesy horror puns, but he was grotesque and resided in a (gorgeous!) haunted mansion. Side note- be still, my heart when I hear that beloved Danny Elfman theme song. Anyway, Elvira, though playing the ditzy and cutesy "I was hired for my tits" rip off of Vampira, had a horror themed set up, and this accurately set the scene for showcasing horror films. It felt normal, and right. Who the hell would change that up? Oh right. Ladies and gents: Hillbilly Horror Show.
I can't be mad. This idea of hosting a short-film showcase in the likes of stereotypical southern hillbilly culture was done fairly well. Our three characters basically sum it up for us: the "decision maker" - the one who does most of the talking and stupid joke making, the "dumb one" - generally a guy who was involved with the making or idea of the show but doesn't know what to say so stays silent for the majority of it (kind of like a boring Kevin Smith), and the "body" - the scantily clad Daisy Duke character (named "Lulu") who is there for visual stimulation without which no one would give two shits to watch. Boobs = win.
Still, I must say while they executed the idea fairly well (it's not hard to mess up "dumb"), it was distracting when it came to the short films. It took me out of my "horror-zone", and this made anticipating anything to have "scare factor" minimal.
Our first short, "Strange Thing" has a very justifiable title. It was strange. And it had a thing..? A married couple share a random night of being nothing short of adorable, and wake up the next morning to find a random door in their living room. And no- they never said "Beetlejuice" three times, no one drew it in chalk and no- it doesn't lead you to the afterlife. The sweet, yet ridiculous female plays the curious cat and wants to open it- to which our male actor very reluctantly agrees. In a nutshell, what's lurking in the blackness behind the door I can only accurately describe as the love child of "The Blob" and the watery vortex from "The Abyss". I can't say much more as it basically ends about 2 minutes after that rich discovery, and I'd just give the just mildly satisfying cliffhanger ending away.. I will say that in general- most could conclude watching this short with a "seen it" or a "been done already". He characters were believable, and the shots and edits done decently well. While the story is lacking and unoriginal, I'd be interested to see what else the makers of this one could accomplish.
Next up we have "Til Death", the always clever phrase ambiguously used to convey marital affection and misery, which is successfully the plot of the short. Four characters, all friends and for all different reasons unhappily married. The idea arises they should kill each other's wives... Which they do.... On the same night. The best place to bury them? No no silly, not an old Indian burial ground- that's been done before- they would never do something like that. No, instead, they decide to bury them in a yard owned by the resident witch (my town has a witch, doesn't yours?) All of them. They wake up the next morning only to find their dearly departed ladies still right next to them, in their deadly state. We have a wife with a knife in her head, a spouse foaming at the mouth from poisoning, one with a bloody bag over her head from suffocation(?), and then the beautiful char-broiled wife completely singed. It's hilarious, really, as they go about their normal routine as if nothing happened- only making their husbands suffer more. This was an entertaining watch, though not really a horror. The movie itself had some obvious "Pet Sematary" rips in it, but felt more like I was watching a bloody "Throw Momma From a Train". So if that's your thing, jump on in- it merits a few giggles. It did had some great editing, especially with the cartoon to live film animations. Bravo, animators.
Third on the Hillbilly list is "Foodie". A semi- egotistical food fanatic is finally invited to "Kitchen X", a secret dinner event only prestigious food and wine connoisseurs are privy to attend. He excitedly attends the dinner, and gets an interesting surprise when he finds out just what's on the menu. Spoiler alert, if you haven't guessed, it's him. This played out well in my opinion, paying homage to characteristic of Jeffrey Dahmer, the intellect and indifference of Hannibal Lecter, even the eagerness of the witch from "Hansel and Gretel". There's even a (highly expected) twist included towards the end. I give credit where it's due, and throw tomatoes where I should. The acting was mild, to be honest. I won't say bad, but mild (the S&M wine couple were a bit much). The film shots and all around directing was done well, so I say give this one a shot. Some might find it to be a tasty one!
Finally, our Hillbillies introduce to us "The Hourglass Figure". First off, with that title I was expecting a hot chick. Straight up- a babe with a curvy body to merit the name. Sorry bros, but the "figure" part of this title was unnecessary. It's about an actual hourglass- one that gives you an extra hour in the day. We meet an overwhelmed mother of two living in a pretty decent sized home. So, woman can stop complaining. The husband mentions how nice it was growing up in a clean home with dinner always made (the "jerk" comment women love to hear). He requests she finds a picture frame with his late mother's things in the attic, where she discovers the hourglass. On a torn note with the glass, it's power is explained, but it stresses to use the hourglass only once a day. Of course, the consequences of not following the rules have been torn off. Clearly, mommy-in-law had a few tricks in her day to being Susie-homemaker. Our leading lady jumps on the opportunity at the next sign of stress. Don't get me wrong, but with how overwhelmed she seemed to be, this extra hour doesn't really seem like it would help much. Sure enough, now she has time to work out (okay), do laundry (maybe), clean up (sure), make dinner (why not?), watch her favorite sad show/movie (umm..) and look beautiful when the honey comes home. All of this changes when the husband asks her one night to hem his pants. What? This clearly is too much- HOW DARE HE! And she's already used her hour that day. Hemming pants! She decides to bend the rules and flip that hourglass over again. A couple days later, the husband finds the torn piece of her "hourglass instruction sheet" where she finally learns the consequences of overusing the glass. So, ultimately I liked the storyline and the cinematic skill. I wasn't thrown by acting. It was done very well, with the exception of a few minor plot holes. I also really enjoyed the refreshing sense of some originality. At the end, I found myself wanting to utter some cheesy karma pun, to channel my inner crypt keeper.
All in all, though distracting and out of context the hillbilly comedy might be, it works. It works and it's different, and that's not a common comment used in much cinema these days. Everyone is desperately trying to redo or remake stories that should just be left alone. So kudos, Hillbilly Horror Show. You won't have too much of a female audience, but keep Lulu using her chest to help shake ice into a container for you and jumping around in shorts too small for her ass, and your male audience will skyrocket. When will us ladies get our Gristle McThornbody horror host..?
reviewed by Corinne