Welcome to Films That Fell Through the Cracks where we discuss notable motion pictures that failed to generate the kind of buzz worthy of the so-called “cult classic.” Today, “Locker Arms” author Zakary McGaha delves into the horror-comedy hilarity of 2002’s Slash.
“Slash” Film Review
by Zakary McGaha
Slash (2002) is horror-comedy gold. If you’re like me, you’ve always been very picky when it comes to horror comedies. I must admit: I’m more easily won over by films that take themselves seriously and don’t derive comedic value from self-awareness.
Self-awareness has always taken me out of a story; it’s made me think negatively of the creators. Hmm. They must be pretty cool…too cool to make serious movies. Nevertheless, sometimes it works. We can all think of the more mainstream classics: Evil Dead 2, Return of the Living Dead, Seed of Chucky (okay, that one’s hotly debated), the Leprechaun franchise…the list could go on and on.
All the movies listed above have something in common: they’re known by pretty much everyone. They’re lost somewhere between mainstream and cult. They’re not “indie” or “cult” in the shoestring-budget type of way (these films had budgets and talented crews who knew what they were doing), but they’re not getting discussed on the morning news’s movie segment. Still, they’re known to virtually all people who are into this type of thing, and are universally highly regarded (even if some people hate Seed of Chucky…damn cretins).
That being said, it is my opinion, based on years of experience, that most horror comedies suck. The best ones are the exception to this rule and, thus, become remembered by everyone who sees them. However, every now and then, I’ll see one that knocks my socks off. Slash did just that. It deserves a place in the Horror Comedy Hall of Fame, as well as a spot in the Killer Scarecrow Movie Hall of Fame, but, sadly, to the majority of horror fans, it doesn’t have a place in either.
Slash follows a grungy pop-rocker who’s returning to a farm he spent time on as a kid, with his band in tow. Said band consists of a colorful cast of semi-charming knuckleheads, all of whom have their own personalities. For the most part, they’re less than enthused about leaving the city for the country…especially when they’re on the cusp of a record deal…which sets things up for some good comedy later on.
There are two stand-out performances in this movie: Steve Railsback as Jeremiah, the somewhat creepy (but humorous) head of the farm, and Nick Boraine as Billy Bob, a dim-witted country boy with bad teeth. Side note: if you’re a fan of movies about real-life serial killers, you may recognize Nick Boraine as Ed Gein from the film bearing his namesake…Ed Gein (2000)…which is, in my opinion, the go-to dramatization of the murders.
The comedy in Slash comes from the characters, but it’s never in a stand-up sort of way. The clashing of different personalities is where most of the humor is found, which is refreshing compared to a lot of modern stuff.
In terms of gore, you won’t find anything outstanding here, but the movie isn’t aiming to please gore hounds. Instead, it’s aiming to tell a strange story that is equal parts cartoonish humor and slasher horror. It works as a blend of the two, where one doesn’t act in opposition to the other: the folks churning out movies like the It remake and The Meg adaptation should take note!
“Scary” is something the film never achieves, but it works in this simple, foolproof way: the characters are awesome, so it builds suspense when you see them getting stalked, and eventually slashed, by a scarecrow.
This film isn’t smart, nor is it scary, but it is fun, entertaining, and memorable. It’s almost masterful in its ability to keep you glued into its fictional realm. Most movies have plusses and minuses that get you thinking in critical terms…(too much of this, not enough of that)…whereas Slash possesses that rare ability to entrance you. Also, the song played at the end of the film is something you’ll be singing in the shower for days afterward!
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