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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Hell Night

So, this time around, I'm getting a serious deja vu vibe.The movie, Happy Hell Night, sounds very similar to another movie I saw for this blog, Prom Night 4: Deliver Us From Evil. Both films involve a mental patient going after a quartet of teens, and both mental patients happen to be evil holy men. Weird, huh? Get ready for plenty of SPOILERS, and let's see if this one's an original or not....

The movie begins on your typical dark and stormy night, inside an insane asylum. A guy who looks like the missing link is peering out of his cell through some bars, as a pretty female walks down the middle of the hospital corridor. She peeks in on the neanderthal, and he screams at her. I guess they aren't a couple.

As she runs down the hallway, we see several shots of random doors, which makes all the sense in the world. Hell, it's probably the same door, shot at different angles. Anyway, she stops and meets a co-worker, an angry black guy with a flashlight. He tells her about a patient that most of the staff avoid like the plague, then orders her to look through the window at him.

She nervously complies, then breaks down in hysterics. The black guy glances inside the room, and sees a pretty big insect crawling on the hand of the patient. Through their conversation, the coworkers reveal that the patient has been institutionalized for the past 25 years, and has been mostly catatonic during that time.

That leads to a dreaded flashback, specifically to 25 years ago. A young man(played by Sam Rockwell) holding a sharpened crucifix wakes up a priest, begging for his help. Then a perky deejay is heard playing a song dedicated to a group of fraternity and sorority pledges. Then we get back to the priest, who now has a flashlight, and is looking for....I don't know, some sort of plot? A coherent script?

The priest sees a pentagram drawn on a wall during his exploration, and on the floor beneath it are a few dismembered corpses. As the frightened priest continues to use his flashlight to look around, he finds a bald, albino priest staring at him, and showing that his hands are drenched in blood.

The albino priest, Father Malius, says something that sounds like "No teeth", and the other priest runs outside. And that ends the incredibly uninformative flashback. Thanks, movie...that really helped to clear things up.

Then we see a guy in a bandanna invite a girl to a fraternity Halloween party. It's now 1991, at a place known as Winfield College. Anyway, the guy explains that the party is for "Halloween Hell Night", which probably would have made a better title for this thing.

Bandanna Guy meets up with Denim Outfit Guy, in what is easily the worst superhero league EVER! Denim guy is named Rob, and he apparently wants the other guy, Jay, to let him pledge his fraternity. Jay doesn't want to let him, but eventually agrees to let him come to the party to prove himself to the other frat brothers. Then Jay gets Rob to buy him a beer.

At a local hangout, 2 women are having a discussion about something that sounds serious, but neither actress seems to know how to make a "serious" face. While they work on their acting techniques, 2 guys playing darts are shouting back and forth to each other about how one guy's brother, Sonny, is supposed to be arriving back in town soon.

The guys ask the bartender to turn on the television, and a guy who looks like Weird Al is "reporting" on the Hell Night festivities. The bar is a hangout for the fraternity that was mentioned earlier, and Sonny seems to be the one person they want at their stupid-sounding party.

The girls leave, and the guys all discuss what sort of initiation activity they want to make Sonny perform that night. The general consensus seems to be that they want to have Sonny ride his motorcycle around the campus, sans clothes.

Then Barry, the "reporter" from TV, walks in and announces that he's thought up the best possible Halloween stunt to win the Hell Night competition. He reads a newspaper clipping about the murders that happened in 1966, and proposes that they have their pledges spend the night at the asylum where the albino killer is reportedly still locked up. Barry convinces the frat boys that, if one of the pledges can take a picture of the killer priest, then the frat is a shoo-in to win the contest.

At a motel one of the women with the hard-to-control facial expressions, Liz, meets up with the Sonny, who just pulled in on his bike. It seems that Liz and Sonny were having a clandestine relationship, even while Liz was seeing his brother. Yeesh. For a slasher film, this sure seems more like something out of a soap opera.

The sheriff arrives at the frat house, which looks like a hotel. He asks 2 of them if they've seen someone named Ned. It figures that a character with an actual name in this thing isn't even onscreen. Thanks for the help, movie.

Anyway, Ned's in trouble for stealing the files relating to the murder spree. Wait, wasn't that guy named Barry? Is he Ned now, or is Ned a new character? You know, watching a moronic movie like this shouldn't be this difficult. I tried Wikipedia for a better plot synopsis and character list, but there isn't one. Okay, new rule: after this week, any movie without a subtitles option or a webpage with info like the cast/character names is going back to Netflix unfinished. I shouldn't have to jump through hoops to simply be able to tell who's who in a movie like this.

Okay, done venting. The sheriff takes a huge icepick off of a trophy wall, then advises the frat boys to re-think pulling any crazy pranks this year. Then one of the guys, Eric, gets a call from his father. Through their chat, it is revealed that Eric is Sonny's brother. So this guy is the one that Liz has been cheating on...Nice.

Darren McGavin plays Eric and Sonny's dad. He calls Eric, and asks him for details about Hell Night. Eric doesn't reveal anything, but when he asks his father if he knew anything about the old murders, dear ol' dad has a major flashback. Or he crapped himself.

He was apparently the Sam Rockwell character seen during the flashback. Dad tells Eric that he'll call him right back, then places a call to arrange for a driver to pick him up. Then the scene just wheezes to a stop.

Okay, so the guy I thought was named Barry is named Ned BARA. Glad that got cleared up. The driver, Eric, sees his brother's bike at the motel, and decides to surprise him with a visit. He sees Liz and Sonny making the beast with two backs through a motel window, and Liz sees him as well. As usual, nothing else happens, the scene just cuts off abruptly at that point. They should have called this Happy Nothing Ever Goes Anywhere Interesting Night.

So that random event somehow brings us to "STV", the dorky little studio where Ned Bara does his annoyingly expositional broadcasts. Nothing happens, of course...nother ever does. Instead, we get whisked away to the Hell Night party, in full, disinterested swing. Nerdy Ned arrives, Sonny walks in. He starts to drink a beer, until Eric confronts him about Liz, then punches Sonny in the face.

After the punch is delivered, Eric announces that Sonny needs to break into the asylum to get a picture of our favorite sunlight-challenged monk, Malius. He brings along a guy named Ralph, who seems like he's there just to be a clumsy, loud oaf as they sneak around.

They find a door that leads to a security station, where a bored-looking nurse has obviously been watching the movie along with us. A patient wanders in, and starts rambling about a television, so the nurse makes him bend over in front of her TV(!), then shoves a syringe into his butt cheek. As the patient drifts off to La-La Land, Sonny and Ralph sneak into the main hall of the psych ward.

They wander around for a bit, until they find themselves in a section that looks like it belongs in a sewer tunnel in the 18th century. Sonny uses a match to see by, which is like fighting a fire with a drop of water. Then they find a door marked "AA 19", and has a heavy crucifix shoved through the latch to bar it from being opened. Dumb and Dumbest, of course, remove the cross from the locking mechanism. Idiots.

They hear a noise behind them then, and both turn around to look. When they turn back to the door, Brother Malius waves a hand at them that looks like it belongs to E.T. Then the boneheads open the door to enter the cell. As Sonny checks to make sure the nurse is still distracted(she's actually asleep now...), Ralph enters the cell to take the picture.

Ralph then starts screaming when he sees the face of the monk, so Sonny goes back in to quiet him down. He finds Ralph on the floor, minus his right hand. Malius stares at Sonny, then says something that sounds like, "No pity."

Then we switch over to The Bobbsey Twins, Liz and Whats-Her-Face. They almost run over another priest(how many different priests and monks live in this town???), and they talk about how creepy it is that he lives next to a cemetery. Boy, I sure am glad that they interrupted a key scene in the movie to tell me that!

After the crazy holy man presumably finishes killing Ralph and Sonny, he decides to kill the sleeping nurse next. He turns up the volume on her stupid wrestling/boxing/whatever show, then stabs her through the hand when she reaches for the remote. While she screams like a ninny, Malius slasher her throat, then says, "No TV."

Somehow Sonny got away, because we see him racing on his motorcycle to warn the frat brothers. Then he does what any person who has a maniacal monk after him does...he pulls over, gets off the bike, and decides to collect his thoughts. A female cop finds him, and asks him why he stopped. Sonny makes up something about a fight with his girlfriend, and the cop decides to ask for his license.

Back at the party, Liz finds out where they sent Sonny, then abandons her friend to go find him. Eric then hooks up with a cute brunette at the party who looks a bit like Sarah Sidle on CSI. Liz pays a visit to yet another priest, named Father Cain. When she tells him about Sonny's "assignment", the elderly man goes apeshit. He tells her to hide, then he has a flashback, revealing that he was the young priest who Eric's father woke up on the night of the original killing spree.

Father Cain goes to the church to pray, then sees the crucifixion statue above the altar come to life. Jesus writhes and moans on the cross until he forces his hands free of the nails, then his body falls to the floor of the church, shattering. Uhhhhh.....okay....

Ned is still watching porn at the frat house, which is a completely appropriate way to follow the previous scene, I'm sure. Ned hears someone in the hall, but no one appears when he calls out, so he returns to his viewing.

Sonny finally gets his license back, and decides to continue to the fraternity. Meanwhile, A bondage chick seduces a student named Jake, while Eric finishes literally screwing around. Then bondage chick winds up handcuffed to a bed, Sonny continues to race home, and one of Ned's cameras is discovered.

As Ned watches a woman taking a shower on one of the cams, Eric finishes having sex. I'm positive now that this girl is Jorja Fox from CSI, but damn, she sure looks young in this. And hot.

The second that he leaves, she starts to quickly get dressed. Then the handcuffed woman hears someone, and assumes that it must be Jake. Jorja Fox leaves a note with her phone number on it, then rushes out to her car. She gets into her car, where Malius drives a pick axe through the roof, right into her skull. He then says something that sounds like, "No botching." Would it have killed the casting director to look for an actor who could speak clearly?

Malius shows up at the shower-girl's room, but her bathroom mirror is cracked, so she thinks that the albino is just her boyfriend, possibly wearing a mask. He actually manages to speak clearly, says, "No sex!", then murders her too.

Ned, never the sharpest knife in the drawer, somehow misses seeing the girl in the shower get killed. The power goes out, so Ned gets up to see what the problem might be. If Ned lives, I'll lose all faith in humanity.

Bondage girl sees the albino monk--actually SEES him!--and still doesn't think that anything might be wrong. Did they all take their stupid pills that day? She thinks he might be Jake for some reason, but when he stabs her through the foot, she guesses that he might not be a good guy after all. Her screams are heard by everyone in the house, but no one comes to her aid. Of course. Malius then holds up her bloody earring and says something that sounds like, "No war." More? Whore? Bore? Beats the shit out of me.

Liz returns, and finds the main floor in shambles. She then discovers her first corpse, and runs away shrieking. At the same time, Darren McGavin enters the church, and finds Father Cain up on the cross. Then Liz is seen following a trail of sticky gore and blood, which ends at a blood-filled sink, and several body parts thrown into some kind of netting.

She finds someone alive, then kills him with her voice. Poor fella. Ned is assaulted by Sonny, who informs him that Ralph was also killed. Ned wriggles out of his grasp, and tells Sonny that he needs to get the power back on before the big lug can finish choking him to death.

When the power is restored, both men see the killer on the monitor. Sonny rushes off to rescue Liz, after warning Ned not to leave the building. Liz, of course, has already come face-to-face with Malius, but she ran away before he could get her. Then she is found by Eric, who tries to calm her down. Sonny walks in as they are hugging, shoves the picture of Malius at his brother, then informs him that Ralph was murdered.

Ned interrupts to call in on a walkie-talkie that he sees someone moving around on the floor above them on his monitor, so they decide to get in gear. They find "Susan"(hey, at least she now has a freakin' name!) in the attic, and tell Ned to continue watching the monitor to find more survivors. Despite his whiny grumbling, Ned stays where he is and complies.

Liz then complains that Sue is holding onto her hand too tightly, before she sees that Sue in not even next to her. Somehow Sue got to a rocking chair, where Malius beheaded her, all without the other 3 hearing or seeing a single thing. Yeah, riiiiiiiiiight. The trio scurry back downstairs, so that Ned can guide them out of the house.

Ned sees the crazy killer walking the halls, but when he warns them, nothing is there. They step into another room, where a mannequin nearly frightens them to death. Then Ned claims that he sees someone in the room with them. Of course, they assume that he sees the dummy, but Malius pops up behind the mannequin, stabs Sonny in the hand, then grabs Liz.

Somehow, Malius gets propelled through a window and someone off to the side pushes Liz to safety. Now, since the two brothers were together looking at Sonny's hand, I have no idea how any of that happened. Who pushed Liz? Malius is seen on the ground below, apparently dead. Then Darren McGavin shows up, to explain the entire plot.

Apparently, when he was young, Dad made a satanic deal for great wealth, power, and happiness. As he explains how it all went down, Ned decides to start a live recording, and turns on the video equipment. As he begins to speak to his "audience", Malius drives the pick into his eye, then says, "No STV."

Then dad says that Malius was possessed by a demon, which is why he went on his killing spree back in the 1960's. As the story wraps up, Malius shoves the pick through the door, into the back of their father, who dies in such a dramatic way, it would make Bill Shatner blush. They cover him with a sheet, then start the demonic ritual again, in an attempt to exorcise the demon from Malius.

As they prepare to escape through the window, Darren McGavin's hand is seen trying to reach up toward them. Sonny, the last to exit, turns and realizes that his father's body is missing. He goes deeper into the house to find his father, which makes him the dumbest character by default.

He eventually sees a figure in a nother room, moving under a sheet, with the pick axe on top. Sonny slowly picks up the weapon, then plunges the blade into the body under the blanket. The body sits up, revealing that it's Dad, who has now been stabbed in both the front AND back. Matching scars, nice.

Then Eric and Liz begin the ritual to send the demon back to Hell. Sonny gets caught up in a snare, where he is dangling by his ankle upside-down, as Malius sees him from a window. Malius tries to kill Sonny with his pick axe, but then the possessed priest starts to feel his essence being ripped apart.

Eric and Liz hear a howl of pain, and Eric leaves the protective circle they drew on the floor to check on his brother. Malius, in the meantime, falls backward on a ladder(picture the same scene in Animal House, with Belushi watching the girls undress), while Sonny cuts the rope with his knife. Oh, and Eric falls in a graveyard, where the possessed monk finds him.

Liz hears the screams get closer, only to find Malius behind her, holding Eric by his side with a long, spear-like weapon. Liz turns back to the altar to resume the ritual, but then Eric vanishes. When the scared girl tries to start up the ritual yet again, Malius creeps up behind her and holds a knife to her throat.

Sonny saves the day on his motorcycle, and knocks Malius to the floor, where he gets caught in a bear trap. With Sonny's help, Liz finds Eric, and all 3 escape to the graveyard. Then Liz and Sonny go back to the altar to finish the spell, while Malius tries to reach a scalpel he spotted on the floor.

He must be a master at surgery, because when Liz and Sonny look back again, he's gone, minus his newly severed arm. The demonic holy man attacks Sonny, and now the 2 are handcuffed together. They grapple for a minute, then Sonny stabs Malius with the cross, and a blast of holy light breaks a hole in the ceiling. Another hole opens up under the priest, and he howls in pain again as he sinks into the ground.

Liz leaves the church as police and paramedics arrive, and sees them load up everyone in the ambulances. As she climbs into one to reassure Sonny that he's going to be fine, the driver turns out to be Malius, who says, "No problem..." THE END

Geez, what a stinker. A killer whose kill lines were mostly botched, a rather tame series of murders(although the statue that came to life was at least a surprise), and the few people who were recognizable were under-utilized. 2 killer trees out of 5for this one, and it still feels generous.

And what did I learn after seeing Happy Hell Night?

-Bald, albino priests are bad news.

-If you look like a cross between Weird Al and Jeff should die first in a slasher film.

-Darren McGavin is one tough hombre to kill, man.

Some of the movies I have coming up on my queue: Pieces, which I still need to finish watching for the blog; Cheerleader Camp, which looks like a cheesy good time; and Whisper, about a kid who compels people to hurt themselves, according to what folks have told me. Yay!

Oh, and Happy New Year!!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Return To Horror High

Well, as you've probably noticed, I've been gone for about a month or so. My laptop crashed, was "fixed", then crashed again. I shipped it off to Dell, and am now back in business. Unfortunately, the memory, hard drive and motherboard were all replaced, so I no longer have any remnants of the movie I was originally going to watch and write about, a film called Pieces.

However, considering that most computer makers take 2 months or more to do repairs, I think it's safe to say that I'm a big fan of Dell and Alienware! Anyway, the movie this week is Return To Horror High, so let's get to it...and remember, there will be plenty of SPOILERS beyond this point. Man, I've missed saying that...

Okay, first off, the cast of this one is pretty have Alex Rocco, of The Godfather franchise; Maureen McCormack(Marcia Brady!) as a cute rookie cop; and some guy named George Clooney, who just might be a popular actor someday. Oh, and the child actor from the old sitcom Alice, all grown up. Heck, throw in Charo, and this could be an episode of Love Boat.

The movie begins with a wall of text: "In 1982, a series of brutal murders rocked Crippen High School. The killer was never apprehended.

Three months ago, Cosmic Pictures went to the town of Crippen to film the story of what actually happened--making the movie in the very halls of the now abandoned school.

They were not alone."

So, after that and the credits, we meet a weary detective asking a perky rookie cop(Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!) about a grisly crime scene. She admits to him that they don't yet know how many victims there actually were, as body parts were found in a pretty wide perimeter. Then she introduces the detective to the sole survivor, a screenwriter named Lyman. Oh, and the female cop is named Officer Tyler, and the lead detective is Birnbaum.

Lyman starts to tell them that a movie was being made, then we see an anonymous male cop walking the halls of the high school-turned-crime scene. He keeps hearing a noise, but nothing ever reveals itself as the source of the noise when he turns around to look. He finds himself in a darker section of the corridor, where a man with an extensive eye injury grabs him. They have a brief struggle, as the cop gets dragged into a classroom, only to reveal that it's all just a movie set.

Okay, so everything from this point onward is a flashback to the movie set? Or is this a different movie? Would've been nice if they had put a subtitle or something up on the screen, to give us some context.

Anyway, they have to film the scene again, because the guy in the injury makeup attacked the wrong guy. It turns out that he was supposed to jump out at Oliver, played by George Clooney, who plays the lead role in the movie-within-the-movie. By the way, Clooney looks like Chachi in this movie...he was seriously young when he did this one.

The other cop, as it turns out, is actually a cop, named Blake. He's there to make sure that the set is secure, and meets all safety standards. Heh. They set up to film the scene again, but Oliver gets an important call from his agent, so they take 5. Oh, and Lyman makes an appearance with some new script pages, as well as a first name now: Arthur.

Anyway, next we meet Alex Rocco's character, Harry. This film is so old, mobile phones are basic telephones, cord included, that are attached to briefcase units. Bizarre. Anyway, he plays Harry the producer, and spends most of his introductory scene schmoozing with a woman on his phone, while defacing a portrait of George Washington.

Then we see a special effects guy arguing with Josh the director over an exploding breast he created. How many characters are in this thing? The director doesn't like it, so he tears it off of the poor starlet wearing it, and flings the fake boob across the room, where it explodes. Hey, I guess she was booby-trapped!

Josh then discovers that Harry cancelled all of the crews' reservations at a nearby hotel, and that they're all going to be sleeping inside the school after filming each day. As he stomps away, the director gets more bad news: Oliver's agent has landed him a starring role in a television series, and he needs to be on the set the very next day. When the director threatens to sue him over his contract, Oliver smugly replies that he doubts that the small movie studio can afford to hire the lawyers needed for such a dispute.

After a brief, amusing scene with Harry doing a phone interview and ordering a lackey around, Oliver says his goodbyes and prepares to head to Hollywood. He walks upstairs to change back into his "regular" clothes, then sees some fog and weird lighting at the end of the hall. Being a dumbass in a slasher flick, he decides to check it out. Heck, he even calls out a greeting a few times, to give the killer time to locate him. Y'know, whenever I see Clooney in stuff like this(or that Killer Tomatoes movie he starred in), I'm amazed that he went on to fame and fortune. Really amazed. Bamboozled, even.

Anyway, Oliver asks the killer for directions to the exit, and the killer responds by apparently vanishing. This doesn't strike Oliver as strange at all, so he continues to investigate the fog and lights, which lead him to a door with a tiny window in it. He opens the door, and finds blood dripping from the ceiling. Then the door closes on him, and we see Oliver's face get pressed against the tiny window a few times, each time showing him bleeding from some sort of head wound.

Harry is inspired to convince the real cop. Steven Blake, to take Oliver's role in the movie, as they chat in the bathroom. He even introduces the cop to Josh, and leads him to believe that he's an actor. Blake winds up peeing on himself, then meets his leading lady. He tells her that he's not an actor, prompting her to make a joke that he doesn't get. The scene ends with the killer bringing over a janitorial bucket, so he can clean up the blood left behind by Oliver's murder. Hey, here's a great idea for a drinking game: every time you see or hear that squeaky bucket in a scene, take a drink.

That leads us abruptly back to the present, as Lyman tells Officer Tyler that the school never felt safe to him. Even before the first murder, he could sense a presence lurking nearby as they filmed their movie. There's a growling sound then, which turns out to be Tyler noisily slurping down a drink. Detective Birnbaum and Lyman both give her a withering look, then the screenwriter resumes his tale, by talking about this strange squeaking noise he often heard in the abandoned school. Drink up, me hearties! Arrrrrr!

As Lyman gets more intense, Tyler claims that she spotted one of the dead bodies moving slightly. They check the pulse, only to find that the arm is severed. Then Tyler reveals that the body is female, but the arm was male, because they eventually just threw random parts with random bodies. Very professional, Marcia. You better not make any more mistakes like that, or I'm liable to throw a football at your nose.

Anyway, back in the past, the director is looking over possible ideas for murder weapons to use in the film. The janitor, a perverted old black guy, tells Steven that he plans to break into the porno business after the film wraps up. Classy.

That leads directly into a scene where Kastleman, an older gentleman, is trying to catch a fly. He was the principal of the school during the era of the massacre, and the leading lady asks him for some intimate details. He responds by telling the starlet that the events from the massacre keep replaying in his mind, then he creeps her out by pointing out areas in the classroom where bodies were laying and eyeballs were dangling. What a fun guy.

Kastleman finishes up by leading her to a supply closet, then telling her to imagine the most horrific thing possible before opening the door. When she opens it, there's a rotting severed head sitting on a shelf, grinning at her. Not real, it's just a movie prop, but it was set to "rot" on cue, when the door was opened. Oh well, she can't be blamed, since no one told her...\

The effects guy tells her that he spent hours preparing the head, but she just leaves the room. When he tries to get some sympathy from the retired principal, the old man tells him about the hours it took for students to be slaughtered. Boy, these guys are a load of fun, aren't they?

Anyway, this leads into a flashback within the flashback, showing what the students were like in happier times. A cheerleader named Sherry is being bothered by some tough kids, until her boyfriend shows up. The leader of the bullies bets the jock, Richard Farley, that he can't get a date with a new girl at the school. He takes the bet, then walks up and introduces himself to the girl, who is Sarah Walker. As fascinating at pocket lint, this scene is.

Richard offers Sarah a free pass to that day's football game, but she refuses, then heads into the locker room. He follows her, which leads to a lot of shrieks and partial nudity. When he asks her out again she refuses again, so he tells her that he will drag one of the half-naked girls out into the corridor if she refuses to go out with him that night. In a stunning twist, that boneheaded plan actually works.

Wait, wasn't there supposed to be a massacre in here at some point?

That night, he takes Sarah out into the middle of nowhere in his convertible. She asks Richard to take her home, but he refuses. When Sarah tries to open the car door, Richard attempts to rape her. Don't's another scene being filmed in the abandoned school. Sheesh. When they finish filming, the pretty actress storms off the set, telling the producer that she wants to quit, just like Oliver did.

As she continues to rant and rave about how slasher films humiliate and degrade women, Harry just decides to wander away to take a break himself. While he cools his jets, a young member of the film crew tells Harry that no one has been given a paycheck yet but Harry tries to buy some time to avoid paying him and the rest of the crew.. After Harry leaves, the killer grabs the anonymous crew member and drags him into a classroom to be killed.

As Lyman wanders down the hall next, Harry waits around the corner to ambush him. They argue once more about the script. Harry leaves. Exciting, huh? It almost looks like Lyman might be the next person to bite the bullet, but the scene just ends instead. Oh, and there's a quick gag involving Lyman just barely missing seeing a beheading.

Then the rookie cop and the starlet decide to flirt some more. He shows her where his locker was, and she laughs when she sees a rough etching of a heart inside the locker. It seems goofy and charming to her, but he tells her that he never put the message in there. In fact, he claims that when he examined his old locker the previous day, the carved heart wasn't there. The starlet wonders out loud if maybe the film is cursed. After having to sit through all of these lame expository scenes, it better be cursed!

Up next, the killer corners a stagehand in the special effects/props area. Well, when I say "corner", I mean that the killer makes the lunkhead chase an object on a string like a common house cat. To complete the metaphor, he even leads the guy to a sandbox, where the killer then grabs him by the neck from underneath, and drags him into the sand. Meow!

Then another guy enters the very same room, somehow misses seeing the victim's feet kicking as he is pulled under the sand, and decides to stick his OWN face as close to the sand as possible. It's like watching an army of lobotomized chimps actually trying to get themselves killed.

Much to my surprise, this guy doesn't get killed in the same manner as the previous one. No, he just backs away, gets his feet caught in a snare, then gets shredded by a massive fan as he dangles upside down. His death scene transitions to the next scene, as Josh and Harry argue about the amount of blood being used in the film. The director tries to get Lyman and the rest of the crew to agree with him, but it backfires. Josh seemingly has a nervous breakdown and exits.

Great, another scene of exposition between Steve and the actress. He starts telling her about the time he lost his virginity, and the scene is thankfully brief. Up next: the janitor, who walks in on them. They see his mop and bucket looking bloody, and he nervously claims that he was cleaning up a set that was drenched in stage-blood. I guess that we're supposed to find him suspicious, but I honestly couldn't give a shit at this point. This movie needs to get rid of about a dozen characters, and find some kind of plot to focus on. Quick.

*sigh* Instead, we follow the loopy director into the restroom, which is filled with a hazy fog. Maybe Cheech and Chong paid a visit to the set. As Josh asks a member of the crew about the status of another person, about a dozen or so people walk out of one of the stalls. Again, a pretty funny sight gag. If they had spent a little time polishing up this turd of a script, this movie might've been a pretty sharp spoof of slashers. But left as is, it's way too talky so far.

Back in the present day, cops are seen carrying random body parts away to be identified. Birnbaum asks Lyman to explain how so many people could have been killed, without anyone noticing. Lyman explains that, in the world of low-budget movies, it's not uncommon for cast and crew to abruptly quit, as better opportunities come up. He even claims that the screams of victims could have been mistaken for rehearsals or scenes being filmed. Supposedly, even the ridiculous amount of blood wouldn't have raised any eyebrows.

And that's when Officer Tyler approaches them, covered in blood. When Birnbaum asks her about it, she starts to describe slipping in the halls, and she starts touching herself. Marcia, I love you. As it turns out, she also found a pair of hands, somewhere in a biology class, so we get another flashback. Hooray.

A class is falling into a catatonic state in a biology class, so the teacher demonstrates how strong the smell of formaldehyde is by putting an open jar of it next to the head of a student(played by Lyman, so I'm going to make the bold prediction that this scene is another movie scenario) named Donny Porter.

The teacher tells him off, but is interrupted by the arrival of a new student named Susan being played by the pretty starlet. She sits next to Porter...yup, it's a scene being filmed for the B-movie. The teacher insults "Porter" several more times, until the class ends. The teacher tries to come on to Susan, until a slutty-looking girl enters the class to speak with the teacher. The bimbo asks him why her grades are dropping, and he implies that it's because he no longer finds her attractive. Yeesh, what a putz this guy is. Susan scurries out when the other girl leaves.

Then the principal brings in Officer Blake, who questions him, then stops the scene to tell the director that the dialogue is inaccurate. Josh informs him that the scene will be filmed as is, to wrap that day's filming at a reasonable hour. He seems to be getting loonier by the second, so maybe we should keep an eye on him.

The biology teacher then introduces the class to the concept of dissecting frogs. He sees that the topic makes Donny nervous, so he decides to force him to do the first dissection. The first incision turns out to be too much for Porter to handle, so the teacher forces his hand down to cut the poor frog.

Later that night, the teacher hears someone enter his class. Assuming it to be Susan, he walks through the dark classroom, and sees a mystery figure. The killer raises a weapon, and knocks the science teacher out cold.

When the professor wakes up, he is on top of one of the tables. The masked killer reveals a multitude of weapons, and settles on a long nail. He nails the man's hands to the table, rips open his sirt, then uses a chainsaw to rip the man's heart out of his chest, before stuffing it into the corpse's mouth.

It's all a story, being told to the actress by Steven. They both agree that someone on the set is trying to sabotage the film, so they decide to work together to find the demented killer. Great. We went from Psycho to "The Hardy Boys".

Harry is next heard calling someone in Hollywood from a bathroom stall. He's discussing all of the disappearances, as the actress is seen eavesdropping. Oh, and she's listed by 3 names on IMDB, in case you were wondering why I was simply calling her "the actress"...she's Callie, Sarah and Susan. So, yeah...The Actress.

Next, Steven sees a picture of hos old high school girlfriend on the principal's desk. The principal informs him that the girl also happens to be his own daughter, and she's currently in grad school. Then he gets nervous when Steven presses him for details, and walks away.

Back on set, Josh mocks an actor who has a fake tool stuck in his forehead, because the actor wanted to know what his "motivation" as a dead body was. Then Lyman talks to a crew member about wanting to revise the script. The other guy tells him it would "be like polishing a turd", and walks away.

The starlet hears Lyman say that he used to be a student at the school, and decides to add him to her list of suspects. She then shows Steven the notes that she's been writing, and he tells her that to be a good detective, you have to suspect everyone, even him. Then they kiss, and begin making love as 2 technicians weld a section of the set a few feet away from their spot. Kinky.

The happy couple fall asleep after the act(of course), until Steven is woken by the sound of the old janitor's squeaky mop bucket rolling nearby. He quietly leaves the room to investigate, and the actress wakes up soon after, wondering where he went. Then she hears the squeaky bucket. When she tiptoes to the door, Steven leaps toward her, nearly giving us both a heart attack. I realllllly hate cheap scares.

Steven searches for his gun, and orders her to shut and lock the door. When she decides to peek through the small window in the door, the masked killer suddenly appears. The young couple approach the locked door together, and Officer Butthead turns his back to the window, allowing the killer to break the window, and get an arm around Steven's neck. Then Steven slumps forward, possibly dead.

The killer breaks through the door finally, just as the actress breaks a window leading outside. He tries to snatch her back in, but she jumps before he can get a good grip on her. She runs to the parking lot, and finds a set of keys in the first car she checks out.

She gets the key in the ignition, and another killer emerges from the back seat. Then, to my dissmay, Josh yells "Cut!", which means that, yet again, what would have made a cool sequence for the "real" characters was wasted on the movie within the friggin' movie.

When Josh tells them to get ready for the next scene, the killer beheads the actress. Josh screams, and it turns out to be a dream. Steven and the actress decide to go for a stroll outside, then the actress sees a trail of blood leading down the hall, and Steven admits that it looks like a body was being dragged in that direction.

Following the trail, they kick open the restrrom door. Then Steven checks out each bathroom stall. Of course, since it's just a set, the doors go flying when he kicks them, which makes for another somewhat amusing sight gag.

In the third stall, they find more blood, as well as a clue left by the killer: a piece of jewelry that the actress recognizes as belonging to somebody named Freddie. Damned if I know who that is...the janitor, maybe? One of the prop guys? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Back again to the present...Lyman identifies Freddie as the first assistant director. Officer Sexy shows up again, still covered in blood and eating something. Oh, Marcia, something suddenly came up!

Back in flashback land, Steven and the actress investigate one of the classrooms, the one where the effects crew were creating all of the blood and murder props. Turning on a light reveals the severed heads of Harry and Josh. The blood is still wet, which implies that the bodies were put there not long ago.

Another blood trail leads to the sandbox, where Steven and the actress find a tunnel underneath the sand. That was one determined cat! As Steven raises his pistol and announces his intention to descend into the tunnel, the actress points out that the heroes in slasher flicks always decide to explore dark places without getting a flashlight. Heh.

They go together, with her holding a flashlight, and him with the gun. She ruins any chance to surprise the killer, by screaming when she sees a tiny spider.Dumb-da-dmb-dumb-DUMMMMB! Oh, and the flashlight goes out, prompting her to whack it a few times. It goes flying out of her hand, and she trips into Steven, making him drop the gun. Both items go sailing across the room, where they get swallowed up by the shadows. Dumbasses.

To further cement her status as the dumbest Final Girl in slasher history, the actress explores her surroundings by walking backwards into the shadows. Instead of finding the killer, she finds another body part, dangling in front of her by a rope. I hope it's her brain.

They find another exit, which leads them to a room full of skeletal corpses, all dressed up and sitting around the room on chairs. The old perverted janitor then walks in, claiming that he found the room as well, but that he wasn't the killer.

So what happens in the very next instant? Well, the janitor attacks Steven, because he really IS the killer after all. At this point, does anyone really care? He killed them, he didn't...let's just wrap this thing up, so we can go back to enjoying our lives again!

The janitor laughs like a loon during his brawl with Steven, and it swiftly deteriorates into a slap fight. Yeah, you heard me. A slap fight. Steven scratches at the janitor's face then, revealing that his face was merely a mask. The real killer was...Principal Kastleman?

Yup, apparently he blamed Steven for the death of his daughter, who left after high school, because Steven got her pregnant. The girl then gave herself an abortion, which killed her. The capper comes when he shows them her corpse, and announces that he will force Steven to "marry" her. None of this makes any kind of sense.

Steven responds by standing up and announcing that he's going to go home and watch a football game. He gets Kastleman to follow him to the door, where the principal asks, "Are you crazy???"

Steven waits until the principal is standing against a wall, then pins him down like a bug, by chucking a javelin through his abdomen. After Kastleman dies, Steven then rescues the actress of a thousand names(and none of them memorable...). They quickly leave, then Lyman is seen finishing up his story. Birnbaum tells him that they need him to show them to the basement, where the cops are prepared to burst in with guns blazing.

They get to the basement, and Lyman is seen rushing out of the building. He calls out that they're "all clear", and the corpses get off the ground, revealing that they were still filming the movie. They grab all of the apparently-fake body parts, then rush to their vehicles to get away.

Harry reveals that most of it was a stunt to get publicity for the film, and that the crazed principal's death will only gain more attention for them, when it finally gets released. Well, I guess that wraps up the film then, because...

Oh wait. There's more. The principal's not quite dead, and somehow manages to wake up with none of the cops noticing. He pulls the spear out of his body, then rushes at Birnbaum. The cops all fire at him, twice. When he finally dies, they discover the lack of evidence outside. Birnbaum then decides that the killer must have had a partner, and that he won't stop until the case is solved. Yikes.

The last scene sees Lyman sneaking back into the school. He sits at a desk, and reveals that the principal was his father. As he begins to type out his own script about the massacre, he sees a few drops of blood falling on his manuscript, and looks up at his father with a big grin on his face. After the end credits, there's an implication that there could be a sequel(there wasn't), followed by the sound of the squeaky bucket rolling around. THE END

Despite all my sarcasm, this one sort of grew on me, with all of the goofy charm. The effects were rather gory, and I think that the folks who were behind the Scream franchise probably saw this one, as they seem to borrow heavily from the concept. Like I said, if the plot had decided to put emphasis on either the horror or the comedy, it would have made the film more consistent. And maybe delete about 10 pages of dialogue anywhere in the script.

Well, despite all of the hassles with my laptop, I'm finally back in business. My next movie is Happy Hell Night, which I hope is a fun one. Oh, and does anyone recall a slasher flick that starred Linda Blair? I think it was set at a costume party, but I'm not sure what it was, or if it's available on Netflix. If someone could point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it...this one's been bugging me since I started doing this, because I never seem to be able to get my hands on it. I think the title was similar to next week's movie, but I'm not 100% sure.

Oops, almost forgot...I rate Return to Horror High about 3-and-a-quarter killer trees out of 5. It was above average, and I certainly enjoyed many of the kills and gags throughout.

And what did Return to Horror High teach me this week?

-I have a dangerous attraction to Marcia Brady....I should probably seek help for that.

-Emergency personnel lack any way at all of spotting the difference between an actual dead body, an actor in makeup, and a rubber prop. Details, details, details...

-If you don't plan to make a sequel to your horror film, DON'T END IT ON A COOL CLIFFHANGER, DUMBASSES!!! (seriously, that just pissed me off, when I discovered that there was no sequel. The father-son killers concept would have been sweet.)

See you next week! Happy holidays!