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Smothered Review

September 18, 2015 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
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Smothered Review  

Smothered Review

Kane Hodder– Kane Hodder
R.A. Mihailoff– R.A. Mihailoff
Bill Moseley– Bill Moseley
Dane Rhodes– Randy
Shanna Forrestall– Trixie
Malcolm Danare– Malcolm Danare
Don Shanks– Don Shanks
Amy Brassette– Agness
Brea Grant– DeeDee
Rachel Alana Handler– Chunks
Michael Berryman– Michael Berryman
John Kassir– John Kassir
Ritchie Montgomery– Mountain Man

Directed by John Schneider
Screenplay by John Schneider

Runtime– 96 minutes

Website: https://www.facebook.com/smotheredthemovie


Smothered, written and directed by John Schneider, is a high concept horror comedy that, despite some odd storytelling choices, manages to succeed more than it fails. It features several modern day horror icons, like Kane Hodder and Bill Moseley, playing characters fans are not used to seeing them play, and a weird mean streak towards the end that is just, well, weird.

The movie stars Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, R.A. Mihailoff, Don Shanks, Malcolm Danare, Dane Rhodes, and Shanna Forestall as modern day horror icons just trying to make a buck. Their various horror convention appearances are financial failures and they’re in desperate need of money. After suffering through a convention in Louisiana where none of them make any money, Kane Hodder, as Kane Hodder, asks everyone to come with him and appear at an RV park for a sort of “weekend haunted RV park” thing. Everyone is a bit apprehensive about the offer at first, but as soon as Hodder makes everyone aware that the woman making the offer, Agness (Amy Brassette), is one of Kane’s exes, everyone agrees to do it. The promise of $1,000 each is also a big draw for the job. So everyone packs into Hodder’s decrepit motorhome and heads off to what amounts to the middle of nowhere and the trailer park.

So, of course, bad things start happening almost immediately to the horror icon gang as they set up and figure out what the heck it is they’re going to do to haunt the RV park. The place is practically empty, although the people actually there are pretty dang weird (like Ritchie Montgomery’s Mountain Man character, who has a gun and a dog and is weird as hell). At the same time, the group’s issues start to reveal themselves and arguments ensue. Hodder is a foul mouthed nice guy just trying to make it through each day in one piece. He’s also somewhat excited about the one legged nurse he met at a gas station (Chunks, as played by Rachel Alana Handler) as she knew who he was and asked him out on a date. That kind of thing never happens to Kane Hodder. Bill Moseley’s Soggy Christian is a recovering alcoholic who is set to relapse because bad stuff keeps happening to him personally (he almost gets killed when Agness shoots at him with a shotgun). Mihailoff is terrified of being outside when it’s dark. Malcolm Danare can’t stand being known as the fat kid from John Carpenter’s Christine. Shanna Forrestall is permanently depressed about her icon status as no one seems to care that she can also dance ballet. Don Shanks is a sleazy horn dog. And Dane Rhodes is a Shakespearean actor who is known for starring in the sequel to They Live. He can’t stand that. While all of that is going on, the uber strange DeeDee (Brea Grant) keeps appearing. She has giant breasts, a somewhat sweet disposition, and an air of mystery about her. Who the hell is she? And what is her deal, anyway?

As the story progresses, the horror icons are knocked off one by one, some of them under creative circumstances. However, despite the sort of slasher movie premise, the movie doesn’t really feel like a slasher movie. The movie uses a non-linear storytelling technique that keeps everyone around even after they die, which is a little confusing at first but becomes easier to grasp as the movie pushes forward. The middle part of the movie feels like a series of nasty sketches, with some sketches connecting and some just trailing off. The heavy metal soundtrack that director Schneider uses helps add energy to the beginning of each sketch, although I’m not sure ever “sketch” needs more energy. The last quarter or so of the movie is about as mean spirited as a horror comedy can get, which may end up turning off some people. I ended up confused. At the screening I attended Schneider did a Q & A after the movie and explained that he would like to turn Smothered into a franchise of sorts and that the last few sequences help set up where he wants to go with the story. Schneider’s explanation helped end some of my confusion, but at the same time I’m not convinced that an audience will “get” what Schneider is going for anyway without him explaining via DVD commentary what the heck is going on.

Now, outside of the mean spiritedness and the confusing plot twists, Smothered is a pretty good movie. Watching the horror icons play against type is a hoot and seeing “non-horror” icons like Dane Rhodes and Shanna Forrestall interact with them as fellow horror icons works out way better than it probably should. The entire group has tremendous chemistry and you enjoy seeing them all together at the same time.

If you’ve seen Dead Air (which I reviewed here) you know that Moseley can play a non-villain role and that he’s quite good at it. He’s also very funny, which you can see in just about any other movie he appears in (he’s always been the comedic highlight of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2). Kane Hodder, though, gives the acting performance of his life here. He isn’t a psycho killer, a badass henchman, or some kind of monster. He’s just a guy down on his luck. He’s likeable and funny. Now, he sort of played against type on Holliston, but Smothered isn’t a parody, and, again, Hodder comes off like a real person with real problems. He’s also got crackerjack comic timing, something I don’t think anyone is going to see coming. I know I didn’t.

Don Shanks, who played Michael Myers in Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, is shockingly good playing a horny sleazebag. Shanks, too, has expert comic timing, and while you don’t really like him you enjoy watching him play an asshole. Who the heck ever thought that the man who played the Shape back in 1989 would be a fine, hilarious piece of shit? I didn’t. If you’ve ever seen Mihailoff at a convention you know that he has a great sense of humor and is fun to be around, so I wasn’t as surprised with his on screen charisma and general presence. I was surprised that his character is such a dang wimp. Mihailoff does a great job with the part, though. Malcolm Danare also does a great job as a whiny, wimpy guy who isn’t as well known as the others but did appear in a classic 1980’s horror movie. His scene with a Christine type red car will make you smile.

Shanna Forrestall and Dane Rhodes both fit in with the group and you forget that they’re not real horror icons after their first interaction with the real ones. Maybe they should become real icons after this movie. I wouldn’t mind seeing it happen. You will cringe at what happens to Forrestall’s Trixie. It’s quite disturbing.

Amy Brasette chews the scenery as Agness and is fun to watch. And Brea Grant is creepy as DeeDee the mysterious young woman. Grant will probably become a sort of horror icon as a result of this movie. And Rachel Alana Handler is a sweetheart as Chunks the one legged nurse. You will love her.

Now, if you look at the full cast list over on imdb you’ll notice that horror icons Michael Berryman and John Kassir are listed as part of the movie. Berryman has a sort of extended cameo towards the end of the movie, appearing alongside Schneider as convention stars, and Kassir does a sort of Crypt Keeper voice thing as a loan shark (I don’t think he actually appears on screen in the movie. I could be wrong about that but I don’t remember seeing him). Kassir’s voice is funny, but Berryman doesn’t have much to do beyond sitting at a table and signing autographs. It’s still cool to see him on screen, though.

The shots the movie takes at horror fans and convention goers are funny and on point (we are weird and, sometimes, we can be dicks to convention guests), and the practical gore effects used throughout the movie are quite good. I’m not a fan of the way Moseley’s character goes out but the effect, as an effect, is pretty dang cool and gruesome. Kane Hodder’s face at the end of the movie will gross you out (I wouldn’t eat extra cheese pizza while watching the movie), and there’s an absolutely horrendous leg gag that will likely live on forever on youtube.

Okay, so what the hell does the title Smothered mean? Does anything I’ve described hint at what the title could possibly mean? Not really. The movie’s opening scene explains what the title means (a man is killed by being smothered by a pair of giant breasts), but then it isn’t a major motif throughout the movie, so why have Smothered as the title? Maybe it will change the by the time the movie hits DVD (Schneider indicated in the Q & A after the screening that the movie would likely hit home video in February of 2016, and included as part of that release is a linear version of the movie, something I’m keen to see after experiencing the non-linear version. How does that version differ, tone wise, with the non-linear version?).

All in all, Smothered is pretty good. It’s a cool idea, features some fine performances, and will likely surprise some viewers when they see it. I know I was surprised. It isn’t a perfect movie and is probably too mean spirited for its own good, but it’s still worth checking out. So be on the lookout for Smothered. I’m sure it will play somewhere else besides the Scare-A-Con horror convention before its DVD release.

See Smothered. It’s pretty good.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 8

Explosions: One big one.

Nudity?: Yes,

Doobage: Torture, boobs, a shoddy RV, multiple small dogs, a dog eating pizza, double barrel shotgun hooey, blood licking, a massive fire, a big log, exploding RV, wooden stake through the foot, duct tape hooey, a very small saw, bullet to the head, nail up through the nose, a bunch of money, dog killing, attempted snake killing, alcohol abuse, funny psycho fans, a game of horse basketball, jogging, a seriously split leg, pizza on the face, disturbing sex, some serious chest cutting, gasoline hooey, hamburger face, skin pulling, peanut butter on the face, ant torture, and a goofy ending.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Boobs, a one legged nurse, Kane Hodder, Don Shanks, R.A. Mihailoff, a hobo shower, a flat spare tire, Malcolm Danare, meat off the bone, a car that sort of looks like the car from John Carpenter’s Christine, a teepee, a giant clown head, moonshine, buttermilk, John Schneider’s voice on the phone, a Confederate flag doo rag, a public domain cartoon on TV, Michael Berryman, the voice of John Kassir, the horror icon salute, mention of Richard Brooker, tire changing, tire rolling, Oscar Pistorius joke, texting while driving, talk of incest, and a goofy ending.

Best lines: “Making a movie, right?,” “Dude, man, what the fuck?,” “Movie star,” “That’s Agness? That chick would boil your rabbit,” “You have tattoos? I have tattoos,” “I hate guns. More for me!,” “You are the scariest thing out here. You rock the quilt,” “Ah, fuck a fucking duck!,” “Hey, Kane, what about my foot?,” “Hey, Malcolm, drag your foot over here and give me a hand,” “Hey, I know how to jack up a car, okay?,” “I want to go home,” “Everyone wants to be in the movies but no one wants to pay for it,” “Is that what I think it is?,” “It’s bad luck to be superstitious,” “I’ve never seen a dead person before. I have,” “Do the face! Come on, do the face!,” “Welcome to the lifestyles of the broke and famous,” “We like horror movies,” “What a slut. Yea, he always was,” “Ya’ll know this place is cursed, right?,” and “That guy could get laid in a convent”

The final score: review Good
The 411
Smothered is a fairly decent high concept horror comedy. It’s a little too mean spirited for its own good and is a tad confusing, but I think horror fans in general will like it. It sure is fun seeing modern horror icons like Kane Hodder and Bill Moseley playing against type. Worth seeing.