Wicked Lake
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Wicked Lake

Shriek Show
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There are some movies that are so incredibly bad that you have to wonder how they were ever made. It is possible for a writer, director and cast to make some major mistakes in a film but a movie that is so totally devoid of any cinematic ability would seem impossible. A very good friend of mine and I have considered the works of Ed Wood Jr. Most think he was one of the worse directors of all time but we think he may have been a misunderstood comic genius. No one could be that bad if they were trying at all. This line of thought came to mind while previewing the flick ‘Wicked Lake’. The first time I watched it seemed terrible. Then I try to reconsider this initial reaction using the Woods hypothesis. I have seen a lot of really bad movies over the years. In most it was obvious that the film makers were trying but just didn’t have it. With the subsequent viewings of ‘Wicked Lake’ it appeared that every possible misstep possible was taken. Surely this had to be done on purpose. When taken in that vein the movie becomes a satire of every bad horror flick made in recent years. It goes so far over the top that most people would dismiss it as the very thing it is making fun of. This way of looking at totally changed my opinion of the movie. Look at it again I could begin to see all the places where they took the gross exaggerations used in other low budget flicks and gave them the comic twist. I really believe that this film is a case of reductio de adsurbum; reducing the elements of badly made horror flicks to a ridiculous level. It is almost impossible to go into watching a movie completely devoid of some expectations. It may be the poster in the lobby or the DVD cover but as the lights go you tend to classify a movie into a certain genre. If you selection does not match the intensions of the film maker a movie can easily be perceived as failure. Don’t think of this film as a low budget horror flick; think of it as a parody of one. Now at least you can decide for yourself. Shriek Show has released the movie on DVD. Look at it this way you will either laugh at it or with it depending on what you take out of it. Either way it will make for a fun evening with some friends.

The previous credits of the writers and director here give some credence to the parody genre theory. The original screenplay was written by Adam Rockoff. He also wrote the book ‘Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film’ which looked at the change set of elements in the modern horror film. He considers how the horror film has become an acceptable film genre rising above the second class status it once held. Since is has expounded on the composition of slasher flicks this would be the perfect place to start if you were going to make a movie about how recent years as seem a decent in quality to the genre. The screenplay was finalized by Chris Sivertson. He has a few scripts under his belt that cover mostly dramas and horror with a little turn to comedy. This came in his screenplay for his cult hit ‘All Cheerleaders Die’. That one was a tongue in cheek take on the usual low level slash and dash flick. The only way he could have gotten so many hackney clichés into a single script would be with the intension of doing so. This film is a blood and boobs flick gone to extremes. The main characters of the story are a quartet of lesbian sorority girls; Mary (Carlee Baker), Helen (Eryn Joslyn), Eve (Eve Mauro) and Ilene (Robin Sydney). As it turns out a little later in the story they are also powerful witches. This sets them up to initially play the victims who eventually use their powers of he occult for revenge. The men in the flick are all local rubes who appear to be a few genes short of a genome; their genetic chart must have lines that not only intersect but double back.

Directing this flick is Zach Passero. His previous two works were comedies which sort of gave me another clue that this might be intentionally funny. Every single situation the young ladies get into is an exaggeration of other scenes in every low budget Indy horror flick around. It seems impossible to be this unoriginal on purpose. This movie seems more like one of those satires that are very popular now where they take a whole bunch of popular flicks and turn everything upside down. You most likely have seen more than a few of the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise or something along those lines. There is so much blood and gore present here that even die hard fans of slasher flicks will have to sit up and notice. One scene has one of the girls sipping the brains out of a lamentable guy through a straw. It also appears that these poor young ladies have a horrible allergy to clothing. Passero doesn’t even try to rationalize the amount of nudity contained in this movie. They are witches who prefer to commune with nature naked. It is completely puerile which is why it is so much fun. This is not a film that requires any higher brain functions whatsoever. There is very little in the way of a narrative here. None of the characters are developed beyond what is required to put them in the current situation. It would appear that Passero expects his audience to be very familiar with the genre and fill in the gaps themselves. Every shot seems to be like this; extremely familiar to the core audience. With nubile young women with a perchance to removing their clothing you just know they will happen upon a lake for a little skinny dipping followed by a satanic ritual and some old fashion making out. The men are depicted as full on male chauvinists with almost no redeeming qualities. When they go after the girls it seems at first to be another chase them down and kill them off one by one format. Then the girls reveal their occult powers and the table are turned and the predators become the prey. Studios like Troma used to make flicks like this all the time. Their loyal legion of fans knows that you just sit back and revel in how bad the movie seems.

Just take this film in the right light and enjoy how it twists every aspect of slasher flicks on its head. Expect a comedy and you will not be disappointed. Order some pizza, a few six packs and have some friends over to watch it with you.

Posted 09/15/08

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