Wednesday, December 22, 2010

'Trailer Park of Terror' is trashy, gory fun

Trailer Park of Terror (2008)
Starring: Nichole Hiltz, Jeanette Brox, Brock Chuchna, Stefanie Black, Matthew Del Negro, and Trace Adkins
Director: Steven Goldman
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

When a bus-load of troubled teens on a church retreat crash during a rain-storm, the passengers and their chaparone (Del Negro) take refuge at a nearby trailer park. Unfortunately for them, the trailer park is merely the ghostly reflection of a murderous den of hillbilly criminals that died in a gory, revenge-fueled massacre decades earlier. They now re-inact their brutal ways on hapless travelers, under the command of Norma (Hiltz), one of their victims who has turned victimizer thanks to a deal with the devil (Adkins).

"Trailer Park of Terror" has something for just about every horror fan. It takes nearly every disgusting thing you've seen in a Killer Hicks movie from the 1970s forward and combines them with a sadistic sense of humor that will put you in mind films like "Spider Baby" and "Re-Animator", as well as slightly more modern off-kilter horror features like "From Dusk 'Til Dawn". Further, the ghosts mostly manifest themselves as disgusting walking corpses, so lovers of zombie films will have something to sink their metaphorical teeth into, while admirers of Torture Porn flicks will get to watch one victim get her arm sawed off while tripping so high she doesn't notice until after the fact, and another victim is turned into jerky meat while still alive. And then there's the horny teens that are forced to be the stars of a snuff flick.

I'm not a big fan of mean-spirited and sadistic horror films, so there was quite a bit about "Trailer Park of Terror" I didn't care for. I also like my gory ghost movies and slasher flicks to have a "morality tale" aspect to them, and when they don't--or it's a weak part of the film, as it is here--the film invariably loses me, so that was another reason for me not to like this flick.

However, this thing is so well-written and so finely acted by everyone involved that I couldn't help but like it. Virtually all the characters are so purely one-note and cliched with the hillbilly ghosts  that combining them all in one place manages to breath a form of demented freshness into the film--the writers didn't even try to expand the victims beyond horny teen, asshole teen, druggie teen, and so on; nor to give the ghosts more definition than rapist redneck, robber redneck, cannibal redneck, and so on.

The only character with even the slightest depth to her is Norma, who in life was the only non-psychotic inhabitant of the trailer park... at least until she decided she had enough of them and gunned them all down and killed herself. But the facets to the Norma character never manifests itself quite in the way one expects as the film unfolds, something which becomes which is highlighted and becomes even more interesting due to the plethora of one-note stereotypes that otherwise inhabit the film. It also helps, of course, that Hiltz is a better actress than her repeated casting as a white-trash bimbo (here, and in the television series "The Riches" and "In Plain Sight") warrants. I'd like to see in more horror movies, and in different roles than what she seems to be playing over and over.

The only real down-side that I saw to this film is its somewhat disorganized structure. It starts with an extended sequence in the past and then interrupts the present with a couple of extended flashbacks that both fill in back story but also stand alone to some extent, giving the film the fell of a half-baked anthology. Given the film is based on the anthology comic book series "Trailer Park of Terror", I understand why the filmmakers wanted to make a nod in the direction of their source, but I just wish they had done it in a less choppy fashion.

In the final analysis, though, "Trailer Park of Terror" is well worth watching.

No comments:

Post a Comment