Friday, 8 May 2009

No. 121 : Wacko




I was always told that if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. With this in mind the review of ‘Wacko’ shouldn’t really get beyond the first sentence. Well review it we must and although I’ll try to remain my usual positive self it will be hard to be nice about this awful, awful film.

The set up is pretty good with the film being an ‘Airplane’ style take on slasher movies with a cast that includes familiar faces like George Kennedy, Joe Don Baker (out of some of the latter day ‘James Bond’ films’) and Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay. The plot concerns the ‘lawnmower killer’, a loon with a pumpkin mask who killed a bunch of kids at the ‘Pumpkin Prom’ using, you guessed it, a lawn mower.

Years later and the killer is still at large. Today’s crop of horny teens are getting ready for this year's prom but jaded detective Dick is still on the case. He claims he hasn’t slept for 13 years which is not something anyone watching this film could lay claim to! One of the murdered kid's sister who witnessed the attack is still traumatized and matters aren’t helped by her peeping Tom Dad (Kennedy) who is also a messy surgeon.

At the school a mad German scientist, doing his best Peter Sellers impression, is trying out drugs on the football team which have wolf man inducing side effects. With an escape from the metal hospital and sightings of the lawnmower Killer increasing we have to worry who, if anyone, from the cast will survive and who really is the pumpkin masked miscreant?

This film manages to score 2.3/10 on the IMDb and frankly it’s flattered by that. It is the least funny film I’ve seen in a long time and I’ve seen ‘Superhero Movie’. The main problem is the script which calls for all the characters to be wacky and eccentric. The joy of the ‘Airplane’ films is that they were played straight, with ridiculous lines and situations regarded as the norm. In this mess you get George Kennedy embarrassing himself as a letchy father come surgeon who’s only humour is derived from being a known actor making a tit of himself.

The plot doesn’t make any sense, but we could forgive that if they pepper the film with rapid fire gags and funny observations. Sadly we get none with nods to the likes of ‘Halloween’ and ‘Poltergeist’ barely raising a smile. One sequence for which a caption appeared suggesting the viewer go to the refreshment stand as it wasn’t important summed up how forgettable and throwaway the whole enterprise was.

I was looking forward to an early appearance from the Dice Man but sadly his underwritten role involved him having a big cock that could tip tables if someone made a suggestive remark. For all it’s teen slasher pretensions there is little swearing, no nudity and precious little violence. When you marry this lack of ingredients to shoddy direction and a mirth free script you can understand why the film is largely forgotten. A real turd of a film and the worst investment of 90 minutes you can imagine. Not so bad it’s good, just dreadful.

Best Bit : Spray cream Bikini
‘W’ Rating : 3/23

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