I Saw a Film!
And it’s a surprisingly good spoof of a slasher film from schlock-master Greydon Clark, who produced a few films that made Mystery Science Theater 3000 history. It’s definitely got a lot of crude humor, and there are a lot of very low-brow jokes, but there’s such a range, and so many films referenced, you can’t help but have a good time. Plus a couple of delicious damsel beauties in the shapes of Julia Duffy, screaming her head off (it’s even cleverly remarked on in one of the film’s meta moments, of which there are a few) and Elizabeth Daily (a tremendous cutie I had a wicked movie crush on in the 80s for her work with Pee Wee and John Cusack as well as many others).
But it’s not just the cute ladies, tied up like Nell waiting for the lawn-mowers to get her in nightmares, but we also get Jo Don Baker (who I named my son after, Jo Don Tiger Lee – I mean, if I had a son) and George C. Scott! Both putting in hard sweaty work as a wonderfully obsessive policemen trying to make sure the evil pumpkin-headed lawn-mower killer does not strike again, and a bizarre sexually infatuated father (they don’t go too far, one sequence has Duffy in a tub shaving her leg with a straight razor the size of a bow-saw, and dad kind of lurking in the steam, when she spots him and gives him grief he just remarks, I’m mowing the lawn, a joke recurring many times), respectively.
The film has a lot of fun misleading you with wacky potential suspects for the killer role, and while it’s doing that, throws so many horror movie trope jokes that you’ll never be able to watch one of these whodunnit slashers again without chuckling. At one stage of the game, Duffy is running away from the pumpkinhead killer, basically calls a time out while she picks up a massive shotgun, just out of sight, and then says, “OK I’m ready!” Very much like we used to do as kids when things weren’t going our way in any game (also like Woody Allen in line at a movie listening to a blow-hard talk about Marshall McLuhan, and able to actually produce Marshall McLuhan to end the debate). In another fun sequence the young lady opens a school locker and shrieks, Jo Don rushes around the corner and goes through a palaver of producing his service weapon and unloading it into the locker only to show us a toy mower. Mowers of course that our leads are obsessed with. But we also get blander material with the young boyfriend (who happens to be called Norman Bates) with a replica of the dead mother from Psycho (Wacko) and proceeds to go into a ventriloquist trick routine, which at best is an epic groaning eye-roll. Stella Stevens as mom relates a phone call for Julia that’s actually a gruff voiced violent threat, and there’s a demon upstairs that, Poltergeist-like, needs to be quieted from time to time.
Andrew Dice Clay is here as a basic Vinny Barbarino, called Schlongini, who gets massive erections when the girls talk sweet to him, tables are overturned, and people knocked over. It might be his best role. You get the idea. But, again, a comedy doesn’t have to be Monty Python level intellectual, summarizing Proust, jokes to get a chuckle. Several chuckles probably equal a good laugh. And if I’m laughing we’re miles better than so many things that just never made it to funny for me (again mentioning Transylvania 6-5000 just brings back the pain). There’s a ton of silliness in this thing, which keeps it like a buffet so that there’s plenty of opportunity for mirth. It’s like a very attentive buddy trying to cheer you up.
So Wacko wins on many fronts. It’s silly, surprising (which always helps) and full of cute actresses in distress (if you like that sort of thing!). It’s running free on Prime right now in USA!