Monday, June 21

Some quick thoughts on Hauntedween (1991)

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A lunatic momma's boy creatively dispatches some local frat members after the ill-fated students hold a fund-raising haunted house in an abandoned homestead tucked back in the woods of Kentucky.

I'm unsure if the concept of "regional" horror cinema actually exists. Regionalism in literature is utilizing and letting what makes specific (generally southern) areas of the United States unique speak through the words--like the dialects of the characters and comments on slavery in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckberry Finn. Though when it comes to horror flicks, "regionalism" seems something totally vague.

Region-specific horror tends to be obscure, no budget curiosities hailing from the South and Midwest. Stuff like The Abomination (1986) and Ozone: Attack of the Redneck Mutants (1986). If an example becomes too popular, like being distributed to video stores outside the cluster surrounding its native state, the denotation is stripped away. Kinda like the highbrow status of The Blair Witch Project that simply wouldn't have been without 82% of the U.S. population seeing it. It's essentially the type of independent one-off horror that is either forgotten or referred to with a chuckle within the small communities that spawned them.

This extremely hard-to-find 1991 Kentuckian number mostly made by students of WKU and residents of Bowling Green is surprisingly okay. The slasher subgenre had long been dead by the dawn of the '90s, but Hauntedween adheres its tried-and-true language well enough. A masked killer with an opening flashback of a horrible incident that directly ties to the maniac's motivation. A hillbilly-accented minor character solely in place for comic relief. A few sets of boobs (some not terribly appealing), some blood, and sex in the woods equaling immediate death. All pulled off with enough competence to often times feel like it "deserves" to be called a slasher despite its year of conception. That distinct "pulled-off-the-street" vibe usually in these fuck arounds never once creeps into any of the performances or execution.

The aspect that really hurts is one that is also shared by many muddling hack 'em ups. We spend far too much time with the going-ons of the young adults as they set up the event and the attractive male lead's trouble with his main squeeze. The killer is nearly entirely absent for well over a half an hour. Everything is saved for the climax which, while inventive, doesn't quite live up to its promise. I can't be too hard on Hauntedween, there are much more well known slasher cheapies that aren't as decent when considering its origins. The whole outing could have easily been unwatchable, but everyone involved manage to keep the train on the tracks and check off enough clichés. One thing is for sure, I'd rather watch this again than Crinoline Head ever again...

My copy is an $8 DVD-R from a guy currently selling them on eBay since the film was only released once on a very rare VHS. The picture quality is fine with a number of dropouts and rolls. The disc is correctly authored as a single layer DVD-5 with a high bitrate that nearly fills the disc at just under four gigs. Sound is Dolby stereo and eighteen chapter stops are included.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Talking about "regional" horror i would like to know if you ever had the opportunity to watch on tv the following movie :

I remember watching it on tv, an Oakland (CA) local tv channel. It featured one more or less famous male black actor. I think that this movie was made between the 70's and 80's and it was probably made for tv . The story was centered in a remote country (?) place somewhere in the U.S. or Canada. There are some hillbillies types talking during the film. I'm not sure exactly what was the movie about, it was a mix between sci-fi , horror and mystery. Close to the end of the film, i remember seeing humans beings becaming wild animals. I think that some of them flew away in the sky and the other ones became wild cats or something similar and escaped through the vegetation. It doesn't made me too much sense but the scene was pretty eerie and bizarre. There was an abandoned house in ruins in the middle of what seemed to be nowhere.

Kind regards,
Symone

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