Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Halloween Countdown (Day 15: Lawnmower Double Bill)

I don't spend much time at home nowadays, and even when I do I never seem to find the time to sit down and dedicate an hour or two to write. I'm even trying to write these articles on the go via the Blogger app, but I can never find the appropriate time. Hence the choice to go with the relatively easier double feature format for this article once again just to keep up. So I've picked two films that have one thing in commom: lawnmowers.


Saw this on the Horror Channel and the description of the story seems like it will be silly, cheap and possibly funny to watch. The lawnmower connection? The film begins with the main character Jeffrey's girlfriend being mangled by one.

85 minutes later.....

For a film that has such potential to be a riot, this just felt like a drag to watch, which makes it pretty disappointing. It had the right elements to be a laugh, what with its ridiculous storyline, inventive monster designs, and a low budget aesthetic in terms of effects and set design. Not to mention the woeful acting and some genuinely funny parts and ideas. And of course, gratuitous nudity and skimpy clothing.

Unfortunately it just misses the mark everytime, even with the humorous scenes only resulting in a slightly amused chuckle than a belly laugh. Granted the film is working on a tight budget, but given the genre the film is lumped in, it leaves itself open to creatively come up with something amusing for the duration of the film. Instead it just has the main character muttering to himself for a good portion of the movie, as if it wasn't already dull to begin with.

Hell, even with the inclusion of scantily clad women and the odd bit of flesh here and there, it still manages to be uninteresting, and not even at all titillating. Which may be a chauvinistic attitude to have, but with a film called Frankenhooker and the exploitative nature that even the title suggests, if the film can't even get that right when everything else is going wrong, then it just feels like it's trying too hard, all the while not trying enough.


A curious film that I guess is watchable just to see how the story goes and the odd memorable scene here and there. Alas it just feels like a missed opportunity. Prime candidate for a remake methinks. Even if it has to go down the adult route via a porn parody.


This film I haven't seen in a lawn time (yes I know, bad pun) and only remember two key scenes, complete with memorable one liners, without giving anything away to those who have yet to see it. And the lawnmower connection? Well he uses a lawnmower to cut the grass at the beginning of the film.....ahem.

104 minutes later.....

I still find it hard to fathom that this was directed by Peter Jackson who moved on to do the Lord Of The Rings/The Hobbit series. Obviously influenced by The Evil Dead films (especially the second one), he manages to capture the spirit of them, all the while upping the ante on gore, horror and comedy. While I still prefer Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn, it's still stands out on its own merits while showing its influences on its sleeve, instead of just imitation with no individuality.

As for the film itself, I forgot how strange, bizarre and downright funny the film is. While obviously low budget, it still manages to shine in other areas, most notably the zombie/infected effects and make up, especially when it comes to scenes of gore and disintegration of the undead characters. There are one or two scenes that are difficult to watch as they become too explicit, so a strong stomach is needed at times.

While I did have one or two issues with the logic behind the main character, I felt it best not to look too much into it, as I'm sure these issues were put aside for the sake of plot progression. Besides it's a low budget horror that's so outrageous that it's best not to think too much into the unrealistic nature of what's going on. Which is pretty easy to do in fairness.


A lot of laughs, gore and especially blood, it's a true testament to the directing skills of Peter Jackson. Like Sam Raimi moving on from the Evil Dead series to the likes of the first three Spiderman films and even a prequel to The Wizard Of Oz, it shows that, even if the films can be a little extreme, talent can be found in the horror genre from time to time.

Double Bill Verdict?

While both work together in one viewing, it would be advisable to watch Braindead first as not only is it the better movie but the one with the most laughs and action. Whereas Frankenhooker one is a lot slower in pace so it's ideal if you're either sleepy or too drunk to give it your full attention that you won't really miss anything important plotwise.

And on a final note.....

The above image came from the film Hobo With A Shotgun, which began as a fake trailer that won a competition to appear in the middle section of the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino collaborative effort Grindhouse. If you haven't seen any of these movies, including Machete, check 'em out. Especially with Machete Kills recently released in the cinema.

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