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2004, dir. Jay Chandrasekhar
97 min. Rated R.
Starring: Elena Lyons, Bill Heffernan, Bill Paxton, Nat Faxon.

Review by Brodie James

It takes talented people to pull off a comedy that becomes a cult classic. It takes even more talent to pull off hitting the nail on the head when creating a movie which is in a completely different genre, and still managing to maintain that highly sought after "cult" status.

When the guys in Broken Lizard set out ot make SUPER TROOPERS, they didn't expect it to become the hit that it did. Financed by a retired stockbroker who wanted in on the movie biz, what they managed to squeeze out of their collective hinnies for a miniscule million and a quarter is an incredibly well-made little movie that oozes with charm. Especially for a group who'd only had one feature film under their belt at the time, and even that was a relatively short one (PUDDLE CRUISER, thirty minutes).

It's been four years since Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Eric Stolhanske, and Paul Soter sold their instant classic at Sundance, opening a door into Hollywood that had otherwise been closed to them. Walking through that door, they've not only shown the world that they know how to make movies, but they've shown Hollywood that while they aren't exactly "indie" anymore, they're still going to do things their way.

In CLUB DREAD, the boys tackle the Slasher film. A sub genre of what we typically consider Horror movies, the Slasher is simply a hack job waiting to happen. There is no real purpose to the movie other than to watch a group of unsuspecting twits be established on screen, and then essentially be dismembered in ways most of us would rather not imagine.

It is a formula that has served filmmakers like Wes Craven and Sean Cunningham (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, FRIDAY THE 13TH) well for years. Tobe Hooper all but gave birth to the sub genre when he released his baby, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (which spawned two mildly successful sequels, and a high quality remake-mo' money, mo' money, mo' money!) back in '74. And now, the funny guys from Colgate University execute every frivolous cliché flawlessly here, creating not only a well made Slasher flick, but honestly, one of the best the genre has ever seen!

The story is set on a remote island resort in Costa Rica. Run by an over-the-hill Jimmy Buffet clone named Coconut Pete (Bill Paxton), it is a heathen's paradise, allowing its visitors to give into every vice available, with no regrets in sight. Cell phones, fax machines, televisions, radios, these comforts which bind us to our everyday lives are not welcome here. Where the only law of the land is to party on, and party hard, it is easily the sort of place any one of us would love to be right this moment.

Stepping off the boat, we're immediately introduced to our principle characters, starting with that little hottie Brittany Daniel as Jenny, the Aerobics Instructor who has just recently secured a hosting gig on her own workout program, after the former host accidentally ate a fatal dose of rat poison. After drooling after Jenny for a tick, we meet Juan Castillo (Steve Lemme) the Dive Instructor, Putman (Jay Chandrasekhar) the Tennis Pro, Sam (Eric Stolhanske) the Fun Police, Dave (Paul Soter) the DJ and drug supplier, and Lars (Kevin Heffernan) the Masseuse.

What follows is a mixture of hilarity and terror as a psycho runs a muck on the island, offing the club's staff in between the nightly parties, campfire tales of dickless crazies running loose in the nearby woods, and human Pac-Man mazes complete with staffers dressed as fruit.

In a case where everyone is a suspect, the story ultimately turns into a wild goose chase as the number of chasers dwindles with each turn.

In true Slasher form, there is no shortage of naked titties, hot chicks, drug references or promiscuous sex here. Not to mention Coconut Pete's ass kicking bodyguard slash roadie, Hank played by a personal favorite M. C. Gainey.

With the latest batch of Horror flicks to come out of Hollywood being nothing more than giant bags of crap, it's exciting to see a little film like CLUB DREAD come out of the woodwork, successfully balancing the laughs with the scares. It's a film that doesn't take itself too seriously, and that's a good thing. Instead of going down that horrible road so well traveled by its predecessors as of late, it craves out its own niche. Maybe it's a sign change. Maybe it isn't. Either way, this flick is out there for everyone to see, and I suggest you do so.

So, tap a keg, spark a doobie, or slap a retard in the face; do whatever it is you do, and then enjoy the pleasures that await you at CLUB DREAD!

Brodie James appears via his website, Living Corpse. This article can also be viewed here.


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