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Saturday, March 3, 2018

my thoughts on.... 'Victor Crowley'

As with all of my reviews of films for The Creepercast, I fully recommend that you check each and every one of them out. I am one man and this is my opinion. I've seen plenty of movies that received reviews that were the complete opposite of how I saw the film. These writers, directors, producers and actors all put a lot of time and love into these projects. They deserve to be seen and appreciated for what they are. Everyone has a dream and I fully support the people that take the time to make theirs a reality. With that being said....

Adam Green, oh how I love your work. You never let anyone get in the way of what you want to do, which is usually something steeped in your love of the horror genre. Your 'Hatchet' series was a love letter to the 80's over the top slasher genre that took things to another level of insanity, but in a good way. Granted, I'm not the biggest fan of the Victor Crowley design, however, that's a minor hang up. You consistently get staples of the genre to join you in your madness, as your 'Hatchet Army' wallows in the fruits of your labor. In this 4th installment in the series and a re-branding of the franchise, Adam continues to do things his own way. This time, there seems to be a much lower budget, but he makes use of every dollar to make an incredibly fun film that features some of the mainstays and plenty of new faces to get ripped off. I think the best way to describe Adam's body of work is, “Metal”. There's a certain air to his projects that just feels like a heavy metal concert. Not just his use of metal icons, (I'm looking at you, Dee Snider in 'Holliston') but the way he presents his films. He also loves to blend a healthy dose of comedy among all the blood, guts, gore and icky stuff. It gives the audience a chance to breath and to laugh a little at the pure craziness that's unfolding before them. In 'Victor Crowley', he has some genuinely laugh out loud moments that are undeniable. By now you can probably tell that enjoyed this film. It's no secret that I'm a fan.

This time around, it's been 10 years since Victor Crowley's last rampage. No one has seen or heard from him and it seems like maybe he's gone forever. In the time that's passed, the Honey Island swamp has become a tourist attraction. People flock from miles around to visit his old stomping grounds. There are even toys in his likeness. The only survivor, that's telling the tale, is Andrew (played by Parry Shen). He's written a, somewhat factual, book on the events that nearly took his life. While on a promotional book tour, he's offered the opportunity to go back to the swamp and do an interview. Hesitant at first, he eventually gives in, when the money is too good to pass up. Meanwhile, a trio of indie horror film makers are trying to get their film adaptation of the massacre off the ground. They try and enlist Andrew to be a part of it, but he's already on his way out the door to the swamp. They head to the same destination to make a mock trailer of the film to get funding. While they're there, they begin playing the chant on YouTube that was used to bring him back from the dead. Not realizing that by doing this, they're starting the whole cycle over again. As Andres is on his way there, his plane crashes in the swamp. The trio goes to help and thus the rebirth of Victor Crowley begins.

While this film truly feels like it's on a budget, that doesn't make it any less enjoyable or entertaining. Adam utilizes minimal sets and actors, to increase the amount of blood shed and money shots. There are a few missteps in terms of special effects, but overall it's above par. This is one of the biggest draws of these films though. The over the top gore. With the 'Hatchet' films, there is zero subtlely when it comes to the violence. It's almost to the level of a Road Runner cartoon, but with entrails and eyeball gouging. It legitamtely feels like an 80's slasher film ala Tom Savini in his prime. While that may light a lot of us onlookers fire, there are some other horrific moments that don't require a blood pack or innards. Case in point, a drowning. Adam does his best to drive the point home so that when the death finally happens, it has meaning. It doesn't quite get to that level, but kudos to him for trying. He also pulls out all the stops with some fun casting choices, Kane Hodder ('Friday the 13th'), Laura Ortiz ('Holliston'), Brian Quinn ('Impractical Jokers'), Felissa Rose ('Sleepaway Camp'), Tiffany Shepis (anything low budget horror, probably has Tiffany in it), Jonah Ray ('Mystery Science Theater 3000' from 2017), Tyler Mane ('Halloween' 2007 and 2009), Adam Green (makes a cameo), Joe Lynch ('Holliston') and even Tony Todd ('Candyman') makes a comeback of sorts. Also, if you stick around through the credits, you might find another surprise. If that's not enough to get you interested, then you're reading the wrong blog.

At the end of the day, this is another decent entry in his incredibly fun franchise. If you don't mind spending almost the entire movie in or around a crashed, tiny airplane. If you like your horror on a budget. If you enjoy a solid laugh, while peeing yourself a little at the horror. If any of those things seem like something you'd dig, then this is a movie for you. It's a prime example of a film where you kind of shut your brain off at the door and just enjoy the hour and a half with old friends. It's a film that you can watch with your other Creepercast friends and share in the glow of a genre fanatics love letter to his fans. This film felt like Adam was paying tribute to his followers and thanking them for sticking by him for all these years. He didn't have to go back to the well, but I think we're all a little better for it. We don't have enough film makers in horror that just kind of do something for the sake of doing it. You can't have prime rib every night of the week forever. Sometimes you need some cotton candy. Something light and sugary to cleanse your palette. A treat that makes you feel like a kid again. That's what 'Victor Crowley' is. As long as you go into it with that mentality, then you won't walk out disappointed. I'm giving it 4 out of 5 stars, for being the perfect piece of bloody candy. If you're a fan of the first three films, this may feel a bit unfinished, but I have a feeling that we're going to get another sequel at some point. If Jason Voorhees taught me anything, it's that you can't keep a good villain down.

If you like this, check out: 'Hatchet', 'Hatchet II' and 'Hatchet III'