Hallowe’en gives kids a chance to don silly costumes and score some free candy, and adults a chance to dress up in impractical costumes, drink a lot, and maybe even get away with an “accidental” score of their own via someone outside of their relationships (“Oh, dear! I thought that was you under that mask!”). For filmmakers, on the other hand — especially video distributors — Hallowe’en means horror movies. It’s sort of ironic, too, since the month of October is also host to such honorable and protective events such as International Day of Non-Violence and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Then again, Hallowe’en is that one true thing everyone actually acknowledges enough to celebrate in October. Hell, I had to Google “October Events” in order to find out that those aforementioned annual pursuits designed to quash acts of hostility and vicious behavior towards others actually existed.
But I digress. So, here I am, with a pile of horror movies that I could scale the north face of the Eiger with. And, since it’s now October, I figured it’d be a killer time to start up a multi-chaptered Catching Up at the Video Store feature called “Horrible Horror.” And this initial installment is just that, too: aptly entitled “College is a Real Killer.”
· Bikini Girls On Ice (2009) (Well Go USA)
The Short Version: Disney, eat your heart out. No, really, eat it, boy: eat it!
The Slightly-Elongated Version: What’s this? A slasher film without any actual onscreen violence? What, did they Google “October Events” as well? Well, I can’t say for certain about that, but what I can say is that director Geoff Klein opted to go for the “less is gore” route with his coeds get nekkid afore gettin’ slashed feature Bikini Girls On Ice. Yes, that’s right: nekkid. We have cute college girls removing their barely-existent coverings for the sake of quality filmmaking — and, since October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, you can think of this as a learning tool on how to identify the real ones from the falsies before saying “Hey, I better check that lump, lady!” That makes up for the lack of onscreen splatter, right? Also available on Blu-ray.
· Frat House Massacre (2008) (Synapse Films)
The Short Version: Honestly, would the world really mourn the loss of multiple Dude Bras?
The Slightly-Elongated Version: After all those slumber party and sorority house bloodbaths, dorms that drip blood, and even bikini girls getting iced, one gets a hankerin’ to see some hunkier learners get axed. It not only presents us with the thought of more coeds to schmooze, but also presents us with a fictional fantasy of life without douchebags that refer to each other as women’s lingerie. The story here involves some poor lad whose reception to college is a car crash at the hands of a drunk driver — to wit his brother is put into a coma. To make matters worse, there’s a demented frat leader who has really brutal ideas in his head when it comes to initiating the newbies (and we’re not talking about eating goldfish, either). A refreshingly-different indie horror flick that just might find its way to cult status someday.
· Devolved (2010) (Severin Films)
The Short Version: The story of California’s educational system.
The Slightly-Elongated Version: Imagine if Lord of the Flies were to take place in modern times and portrayed by addlebrained California high school students and you just about have the premise of Devolved. After a boating accident leaves an entire senior class washed up and marooned on a remote island. As the unpopular kids (e.g. the brains and nerds) start strategizing how to get back home, they soon wind up on the bad side of the preppy lads and lasses who realize they have a perpetual Spring Break on their hands — one wherein they do not have to conform to any rules placed on them by adults. OK, so it’s not really a horror film (nor is it a college thriller), but this dark comedy still has its share of horrifying moments. California high school kids left to fend for themselves? Oh, the chills! Also available on Blu-ray.
· Brotherhood (2010) (Phase 4 Films)
The Short Version: Ten points if you just started singing a Tom Lehrer song.
The Slightly-Elongated Version: Returning to the topic of initiations. While I have never understood the need to do something outrageously stupid or dangerous in order to be accepted by others (I’ll do something outrageously stupid of dangerous for money, however), I can understand that some people simply need some recognition in life. In Brotherhood, we witness a college prank gone horribly wrong — a rite of passage into a fraternity that results in a wounded weekend warrior and a hostage. Heaven forbid these genii actually admit they did something stupid and fess up to their lack of common sense. Sure, it’s more of a drama/thriller, but any movie featuring a frat or sorority house is scary to me. Watch King Frat or The House Bunny if you don’t believe me.
· Forget Me Not (2009) (Phase 4 Films)
The Short Version: “Don’t you forget about me, I’ll be alone, dancing — you know it, baby.”
The Slightly-Elongated Version: Carly Schroeder (that girl from Lizzie McGuire) stars in this good ol’ fashioned horror fare that pits a recent group of high school grads against a very vengeful and evil spirit. On the eve of their graduation party, Sandy (Schroeder) and friends decide to play a weird game they used to play as kids — one that is played in a graveyard, nonetheless. They soon tick off a spirit with the uncanny ability to not only wipe out its victims, but wipe out the memory of its victims from the face of the Earth as well. Sandy, on the other hand, is the only one who can remember her recently departed pals — and tries to figure out what’s going on before something bad happens to her, too
· Evil Bong 3: The Wrath of Bong (2011) (Full Moon Features)
The Short Version: Dude, we’ll hold you a funeral wake and bake!
The Slightly-Elongated Version: And what would any collection of college-era chillers be without something just for the stoners? Charles Band, the iconic underground filmmaker who founded Full Moon Pictures, is still at it. Only, these days, he’s making much less-serious stuff (which is saying something, especially when you compare this to what Full Moon cranked out from the late ‘90s onward). Not only is Evil Bong 3-D: The Wrath of Bong Full Moon’s first bona fide theatrical feature, but it’s also the most recent mind-numbingly silly entry in a series of demented horror flicks that features alien bongs, killer bongs, Irwin Keyes, and scantily-clad ladies, too — so it’s not a complete waste of time, I s’pose.
Happy viewing, kids — and be sure to keep an eye out for the next installment of “Horrible Horror.”