Two dollars won't get you much these days: a pack of gum, a bottle of water, a candy bar. And a brand new DVD copy of THE BIBLE BELT SLASHER PT. II: THE HOLY TERROR. "Huh!?!" Yes, you read that right: I bought this flick at a horror convention straight from Brain Damage Films. I guess that shows how much faith they have in their stock. And how much respect I have for myself. "Two bucks!? Sold!" So, is this slasher flick truly a "holy terror"?
It's 1989, one year after Jason Fry (Larry Baumer, who resembles a bargain basement Meat Loaf), a religious fanatic, murders a bunch of people. Fry is put in an asylum. But, guess what? He escapes! And he has his sights set on the relatives of the people he murdered. Only Dr. Ray Landers (writer / producer / director Bradley Creanzo, who looks like a missing member of Kingdom Come) and Rebecca (Taylor Raftree) can stop him. Will Dr. Landers and Rebecca succeed in stopping Fry's reign of holy terror? Or will Fry put the fear of God into them?
First off, a side rant: what is it with Brain Damage Films not indicating ANYWHERE on their DVDs that a film is a sequel? This is the third film from them I've encountered that are sequels to previous flicks that aren't labeled as such. I didn't know it was a sequel until the title appeared, which has PT. II in it. (They are at least kind enough to include the first installment – a short – on the disc.) Brain Damage Films, get your act together! It really isn't hard to indicate sequel-hood! Shit, write it on the cover with a permanent marker for all I care. Just let me know!
Okay, end rant.
Anyways, THE BIBLE BELT SLASHER turned out to be more fun than I expected. But don't take this as a proclamation that the film is good in the traditional sense. Objectively, it's rubbish. However, that's what makes it good. It's one of those films you just watch and make fun of. Was that what Creanzo was going for? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, bravo and thanks for the laughs.
Now, I know complaining about the acting in a low-budget flick is a bit like complaining about contracting an STD after paying a visit to a Tijuana hooker, but the acting here is stiffer than grandpappy on Viagra. They should have just slapped drawings of the actor's faces on wooden boards, moved them around the set and saved some money. I often found myself saying, "I don't believe you" when actors attempted to sound emotional. However, this delivers plenty of opportunities for laughter - such as when Dr. Landers tells a hospital employee to calm down, but the hospital employee is talking with all the animation and urgency of a person buying an off-brand pair of socks after popping some Valium.
However, Baumer turns the overacting knob to eleven. He spends the entire flick snarling, drooling, spouting one-liners – "It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a dead bitch" being my favorite, said after throwing a woman out a window – and looking constipated as he goes about his work. While it's stupid at first, it eventually grows on you and you'll find yourself enjoying his overacting and his antics.
The film's late-80's aesthetic is most likely where the bulk of the film's Andy Gump-level budget went. They do a decent job at nailing it with RATT t-shirts, VHS tapes and a rental store, the televisions, and so on. But when Rebecca is cruising about in a Camaro from the 2000's - and when other cars from the same era are littering the background - one cannot help but laugh. And those 80's style wigs look absolutely terrible. The one Raftree sports looks like a raccoon climbed up on her head and committed suicide!
And no 80's throwback is complete without 80's music - recorded by Creanzo himself! It's awful. And he thinks a lot of his music because there's a 3-minute music video of his song "Demons of the Night" in the middle of the movie! (That and another Creanzo music video, "Enemies," are also included on the disc as bonus features. I can barely contain myself.) Did we really need that? No. But this IS Creanzo's ego masturbation trip, so we just have to bear with it. However, there's something endearing about it that prevents me from dismissing it completely. Hearing him attempt to sing "Demons of the Night" completely off key is enough to put a smile of amusement on your face and give you the courage to attempt Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" at your local karaoke bar.
But at the end of the day, what TRULY matters in a slasher flick are the kills. Forget the music, the budget, the acting, the bad wigs: just deliver on some crazy kills. THE BIBLE BELT SLASHER, sadly, doesn't deliver a whole lot in this department as most of the kills are fairly generic. However, the make-up effects aren't half-bad and they give you some stuff to laugh at - like when the wound on a woman's face wiggles, or when blood from a neck wound is obviously spurting from a tube tucked inside the victim's shirt. Special effect high point: when Fry goes Bob Villa on a guy with a circular saw, you get a severed mannequin's arm!
THE BIBLE BELT SLASHER PT. II: THE HOLY TERROR succeeds for all the wrong reasons. Bad acting, tacky music, aesthetic failures, and make-up goofs make this the perfect flick for your next bad movie night. "Not even God can save you now," goes the tagline. True, but He CAN make you laugh. And He does. – Evan Romero
Evan Romero is a regular contributor to the pages of ER and spends much of his time reading morally-questionable books and watching movies no sane person would touch. He is the vocalist/bassist for the punk band Porno Holocaust (you can find them on Facebook and listen to some demos if you’re inclined). You can read more of his reviews at ReelAtrocities.com or at PopHorror.com. He last wrote about John Waters' MULTIPLE MANIACS for VHS Wednesday.
THE BIBLE BELT SLASHER PT. II: HOLY TERROR is available from Amazon.