Bonejangles (2017) Review

rsz_bj1Bonejangles (2017)

Directed by: Brett DeJager.
Written by: Keith Melcher
Starring: Reggie Bannister, Elissa Dowling and Julie Cavanaugh.

While transporting the legendary serial killer Bonejangles to an asylum, a group of police officers break down in a town cursed with demonic zombies. The only way they can survive the night and save the town is to release Bonejangles to help them fight the curse, with something much worse.”

The other night I was discussing comedy/horror movies with a colleague. He opined that, to get the balance just right, a comedy horror needs to be written by someone who loves the genre they’re mocking. In his opinion, this is why successful films like Shaun of the Dead and American Werewolf in London work so well, whilst films less popular titles such as Pervert, Lesbian Vampire Killers and Zombie Strippers fail to satisfy large audiences. It’s a compelling argument and the reason why I mention it is, with that criterion of love, my friend could have added a film to the list of successful films: Bonejangles.

Bonejangles begins by introducing a janitor, (Wade Everett, Tilt, Wunderland and Tombstone-Ramoshon). It’s late on his shift, he’s wanting to settle down with his copy of the beautifully titled periodical ‘Melons and Muff’, but he gets summoned to an emergency clean up. As the janitor says, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another in this damned shithole.”

And then he’s killed by Bonejangles.

rsz_bj2Interestingly, Bonejangles kills him with the copy of Melons and Muff, giving an important clue to the psychological underpinnings of the story that’s about to unfold. As it is with so many good comedy horror stories, one of the key motifs in this film is the idea that sex is a bad thing: something that merits punishment. Consequently, the story keeps going back to those natural urges that govern most of our poorest decisions.

I’d like to say that Bonejangles is not your ordinary criminal, but that would be misleading. He looks like a composite of Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers, with maybe a little Ed Gein thrown in for good measure. Several times characters such as police unit leaders and news reporters and other authorities explain, “Conventional weapons are useless against him.” But this is done in a delightfully deadpan way, as though there is nothing remarkable about his well-known ability to withstand bayonets, bullets and bombs.

The main comedy in this movie comes from the superb performances of police officers Wes (Bret DeJager: A Prairie Wind, The Legend of Cooley Moon and Hair Rules) and Randy (Jamie Scott Gordon: Lord of Tears, Good Intentions and The Unkindess of Ravens). These two play off each other with a banter that is childish, cowardly, credible and constantly amusing.

rsz_bj3This is a wonderfully campy comedy homage to 80s slasher horror, in the vein of The Final Girls or Zombeavers or the early examples from the Scary Movie franchise. It’s witty. It has genuine moments of shock, fright and surprise, and it’s entertaining throughout. Unless your next seven days genuinely involve you transporting an indestructible serial killer through a zombie-infested remote town, this is the most fun you’re likely to have all week. 9/10

Sin aka Bloody Bloody Bible Camp (2012) DVD Review

 

SIN 001SIN aka BLOODY BLOODY BIBLE CAMP (2012) DVD

Review by: Dave Wain

Stars: Reggie Bannister, Tim Sullivan, Ron Jeremy, Jeff Dylan Graham

Written by: Shelby McIntyre, Vito Trabucco

UK Certification: 18

UK RRP: £9.99

UK DVD Region: 2

Runtime: 87 minutes

Directed by: Vito Trabucco

UK Release Date: 5th May 2014

Distributor: Metrodome Group

It was the cast that brought you here wasn’t it? How could you resist? With Phantasm legend Reggie Bannister in the lead role (and producer), accompanied by a drool inducing line-up of genre icons such as Tim Sullivan (2001 Maniacs and Chillerama director), Ron Jeremy (FILF: Father’s I’d like to Fuck) and Jeff Dylan Graham (Dead & Rotting, Bad Movie Police), Sin on the face of it looked like a horror nerds wet dream.

SIN 002However, what Sin tries to add to the party is a heavy dose of Troma-esque gross out humour which as many of you will agree is an ingredient that’s balanced on the slimmest of tightropes with its descent into lame and embarrassing knob jokes never too far away. The movie itself though plays the clever card of setting itself in the 1980s, thus having the perpetual background of a knowing homage to 80s cheese. We begin however in 1977 at the Happy Day Bible Camp with the immortal line “Jesus probably had a big penis”, before we witness all the residents of the camp unsympathetically butchered by a cruci-knife wielding nun.

Fast forward to 1984 and a new bunch of kids are on their way to good old Happy Day Bible Camp with Father Richard Cummings (Reggie Bannister) leading the way. It’s a typical eclectic collection of people, from the fat kid Timmy (Christopher Raff) to the satanic goth Betty (Elissa Dowling) to the jock Tad (Matthew Aidan) to the pure virginal blonde that all the boys lust after, Brittany (Jessica Sonneborn). A stop to a nearby convenience store fills them in on the history of the place the locals call Bloody Bloody Bible Camp and the vengeance wreaked by Sister Mary Chopper seven years prior, so the mood around the campfire on the first evening is a little apprehensive. The doom-mongering is swiftly forgotten though as the our chirpy group of campers set out to make the most of their religious excursion… but we all know that it’s only a matter of time before Sister Mary Chopper returns.

Poorly marketed in the UK by Metrodome as a straight up gruesome horror, Sin – or rather the vastly superior title Bloody Bloody Bible Camp (tagline: heaven is for everyone, except you) is far more rooted in comedic parody territory despite its regular lashings of extreme gore. Taking aim mainly at such iconic movies as Sleepaway Camp (1983) and Friday 13th (1980), it pitches itself perfectly between the two genres, whilst also giving us some fantastically satirical religious commentary that for me worked brilliantly.

SIN 003The cast of ‘teenagers’ despite their relative inexperience are all fine, with Reggie Bannister of course outstanding at Father Cummings. Weak points in the movie are relatively few, but following the brisk pre-credits sequence there’s a notable lull in proceedings where the movie struggles to gain some momentum. Also, as expected a few of the jokes fall a little flat but there are enough in the script of sparking genius that the occasional dud is wholly forgivable. Sin will undoubtedly be a bit of a marmite movie with the viewing public as a fusion of comedy (especially this style) and horror has the potential to be off-putting. For this reviewer however it was a perfect, trashy, hedonistic pick-me-up that certainly provided a much needed alternative to the mainstream.

6 out of 10