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Monday, October 26, 2009

STAN HELSING -- DVD review by porfle

I don't want to say that I had low expectations for this movie, because actually, it would be more accurate to say that I had no expectations. Therefore, the fact that STAN HELSING (2009) turned out to be such a breezy, inventive, and consistently funny romp through some of our favorite horror film cliches of recent years (mainly the 80s and 90s) came as a delightful surprise.

Stan Helsing (Steve Howey in a likable performance) is a slacker and a stoner, but he isn't terminally out to lunch like such characters usually are. Basically he's a horny, fun-loving clod who happens to be shallow, conceited, and totally self-absorbed, but in a likable way. As the story begins, Stan has just gotten off work at Schlockbuster and is headed for what promises to be a fun Halloween party. Traveling there with his ex-girlfriend Nadine, his best friend Teddy, and Teddy's new girlfriend Mia, Stan announces that he has to drop off some DVDs for his boss' mom on the way. This takes them deep into the scary part of town (with street names such as Elm Street and Mockingbird Lane) where they promptly get lost and end up in a horrific gated community called Stormy Night Estates.

Stopping into a redneck bar, they're told by an incredibly ugly waitress (Leslie Nielsen as "Kay") that the community is cursed by monsters and that their only hope is the return of legendary monster hunter Van Helsing. Well, our non-hero Stan Helsing, it turns out, is actually Stan VAN Helsing, a descendant of the original monster hunter, which makes him and his friends the target of every monster, supernatural creature, and homicidal maniac within killing distance.

The gags fly fast and furious from start to finish, and most of them stick (or splat, as the case may be). Stan is ordered by his dweeby boss at Schlockbuster to go kill a cockroach that's been reported in the ladies' restroom. It turns out to be six feet tall and spewing some kind of disgusting goop from its nether regions. Stan also barges in on a couple of gorgeous lesbians, dressed as a cop and a French maid, who are making out in one of the stalls. Watching them flounce away after he bungles his chance to join in, he laments, "I cockblocked myself!" And that's just the first few minutes.

The road trip in search of Stan's boss' mom's house to deliver the DVDs (which turn out to be gay porn such as GRAZING RYAN'S PRIVATES and SOREST RUMP) is a mini-movie in itself as the group encounter a Charles Manson-like hitchhiker with a swastika carved on the end of his nose and a rage-stoked redneck who vows to kill them all after they run over his dog a la I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. An innocent stopover at a gas station brings them into conflict with a scary shotgun-wielding hippie chick and a Native American pervert who videotapes them in the bathroom so he can sell DVDs of it to his customers. And we haven't even gotten to the actual monsters yet.

As for the monsters, you get Fweddy (last name Kwueger, I assume), the nightmare guy with the Swiss army knife glove; Michael Criers (Get it? It rhymes with "Myers" *cough, cough*); Pleatherface, a leafblower-wielding maniac whose face looks like a purse Mia bought in Tijuana; Needlehead ('nuff said); Mason, who now wears the entire hockey uniform; and a "Chucky" clone.

During their terror-filled night in Stormy Night Estates, our heroes also encounter the Brides of Dracula. This part's fun, because the fanged femmes are gorgeous and because Stan and Teddy have a shared fantasy sequence with the BOD (Brides of Dracula) as topless dancers. Yeah, baby! Later, they duck into a church and meet a cross-dressing altar boy (a funny Jeremy Crittenden) who gives them a super soaker filled with holy water, which, of course, Teddy drinks. The climactic karaoke contest between the good guys and the monsters is fun, especially when the monsters hit the stage as the Village People. The rest of the film is loaded with references to other horror flicks and it's fun picking them out.

With his ad-libs, funny expressions, expert delivery, and dumb-looking Superman costume, Kenan Thompson is a lot of fun to watch. The same and more can be said for Desi Lydic as the deliriously dizzy Mia. Not only is she cute as a button, but Desi's comedy sense is sharp as a bloody talon. Her exquisitely-delivered deadpan stupid-isms are often hilarious---she's probably the funniest thing about the whole movie. As Nadine, Diora Baird is not only an appealing actress but she's also gorgeous and has a great rack, which is prominently featured in every single shot that she's in and which you can also Google. Woo-hoo!

SCARY MOVIE executive producer Bo Zenga does a nice job directing and the film has a great look. Zenga provides a commentary track for the Anchor Bay DVD along with Desi Lydic and Kenan Thompson. Bonuses also include the featurette "Killer Parody: The Making of Stan Helsing", extended, alternate, and deleted scenes, outtakes, still gallery, storyboard gallery (yawn), and theatrical trailer. The film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Surround 5.1 and English subtitles.

With its AIRPLANE!-type comedy style and kitchen-sink story, STAN HELSING is just as dumb as it sounds--but it's a good dumb. I don't know how it compares to the SCARY MOVIE series, since I stopped watching those after the first one. One thing's for beats the hell out of VAN HELSING.

Buy it at



Matteo said...

Porfle... What movie did you watch?
I laughed more during six screenings of "Schindler's List" than during the one, painful and sad, screening of "Stan Helsing."
Unless of course you haven't seen ANY COMEDY at all, in which case I can understand your totally misguided, miss-targeted and almost adorable review.
That, or unless of course you are Bo Zenga or a close relative of his, in which case I understand why hiding behind a pseudonym.

porfle said...

Allow me to state emphatically that I absolutely do NOT personally know Uncle Bo...I mean, Mr. Zenga.

Anonymous said...

My dear Mr. Porfle: I am hereby withdrawing my offer to give you my last pint of blood in case of a dire emergency on your part. You have gone quite barking mad, thus I can see no reason to unnaturally prolong your life and plague the world with such dreadful recommendations as this.

PS, yes, the brunette had a nice rack.

Ted Newsom

porfle said...

Wait a minute--there isn't a single spelling or grammatical error in that comment. Are you sure this is the REAL Ted Newsom?