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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

HALLOWEED -- Movie Review by Porfle

(On VOD Oct 18 and DVD Nov 8 From Screen Media Films)

People thought I was crazy when I gave STAN HELSING a positive review way back in aught nine, but I showed them...I showed them all. (maniacal laughter)

Now, some may consider me equally crazy all over again, but I just watched the new horror comedy HALLOWEED (2016) and, believe it or not, I didn't hate it. Okay, it isn't great, and it's neither genuinely hilarious nor particularly scary.  But the darn thing's just so good-naturedly innocuous that it sorta grows on you.  You fungus.

One good thing about it is a fair number of big-name guest stars, the first being Tom Sizemore.  He's a hoot in his brief role as a serial killer known as "The Bridgeport Butcher" who's strapped into the electric chair screaming curses at his popcorn-munching, party-hat-wearing audience as they cheer his impending flash-fry.

Also on hand are his son Joey (Simon Rex, HOTEL CALIFORNIA, PLEDGE THIS!) and stepson Trent (Shannon Brown, FEAST, CRAVE) to whom the condemned killer exhorts "Finish it for me, Trent! Finish my work! Avenge my death!"

Trent, a serious but troubled type not really keen on becoming a serial killer, moves to another town to escape his past and is joined by Joey, the classic movie stoner who's such a total weedhead that he makes Jeff Spicoli look like Whit Bissell.

The boys end up in a town called Mooseheart, which has its own serial killer legend ("The Candy Corn Killer") upon whom the citizens depend for their dwindling tourist trade.  After moving in with an old-hippie pervert named Lloyd (Robert Craighead in a wildly robust performance), Trent gets a job as a suicide counsellor to be near his pretty new co-worker Madison (the winsome Michelle Mueller, "Family Values") while Joey finds gainful employment as a weed dealer for none other than Danny Trejo (BAD ASS) doing a decent comic turn as "Patch."

Trent, unfortunately, runs afoul of the crooked mayor's spoiled-rotten son Connor (Jayson Bernard, "Family Values"), Madison's ex-boyfriend, while he and Joey are also comically harrassed by a pair of local cops, one of whom (Deja Dee, "Halt and Catch Fire") is inordinately fond of cavity searches. 

What really sets events into motion, however, is when people start turning up dead again.  Is it the return of "The Candy Corn Killer"?  Or is Trent really carrying on his stepfather's work?

Most of that stuff that I just said--you know, the "plot" and stuff--can be pretty much disregarded since HALLOWEED isn't exactly a serious thriller.  Most of the situations are of a surreal "MAD Magazine" variety similar to all those SCARY MOVIE sequels that Simon Rex has been in, and the overall mood of the film also resembles that of previous horror spoofs such as STUDENT BODIES and SATURDAY THE 14TH.

One plus is the fact that the comedy dialogue is actually pretty snappy throughout, and everything's done with a loosey-goosey style that never once takes itself remotely seriously.  Even the potentially offensive material is pretty inoffensive since it's just so pleasantly goofy.

The story takes it's sweet time getting around to anything "Halloween" related, though, and it isn't until around the halfway mark that we see the killer, a tall, giggling psycho in footy pajamas and a baby mask, dispatch his first victim amidst geysers of blood.  The film alternates equally between horror spoof and stoner comedy after that.

Ray Wise (CHILLERAMA, THE AGGRESSION SCALE, "Twin Peaks") does his usual solid job as a mentally unbalanced judge running for mayor, while Jason Mewes (ZOMBIE HAMLET, SILENT BUT DEADLY) is on hand as Joey's even more spaced-out partner in weed.  (Andy Milonakis of MAC & DEVIN GO TO HIGH SCHOOL also shows up as their junior apprentice but I didn't hold that against the movie.)

While the rest of the cast are fine, Simon Rex as Joey is the main attraction for me.  He's an endearingly dense stoner whose childish, impulsive behavior supplies a steady stream of sight gags and throwaway one-liners without the cliched hippy-dippy space-case approach.

He sorta makes me think of what Eb from "Green Acres" might be like if he were perpetually wasted and even more brain-damaged.  I also like the fact that Joey is gay although he insists that he isn't, except he totally is.  All in all, he gives the film much of its watchability.

HALLOWEED is a pleasant enough diversion, hardly essential yet innocuous and amusing.  As I said, I liked it about as much as I liked STAN HELSING.  That should probably tell you all you need to know about it.

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