I figured I should do a Halloween themed post today, on what exactly required some thought. I started to consider those who love Halloween much more than the rest of us. Folks that wait all year for October, spend all their bucks on elaborate costumes paying tribute to their beloved horror icons, and endure 24 hour horror movie marathons. Among these dedicated horror nuts are those who make fan films. I’m not talking the glossy, After Effects tinkered, Star Wars and Batman stuff you see on YouTube with a few million views. I’m talking about the real stuff. Shakily shot, no budget, silly fan films made by a bunch of friends who can’t help grinning while fake blood pours from their mouths as they’re dispatched whether it be by Freddy, Jason or Michael. I know the enormous effort it takes to make a film, especially one with no budget, and it never fails to blow my mind that someone could be fan enough to dedicate that much time and labour to something that is essentially not their own. With that in mind, this is a post for those true heroes of horror: the fan-filmmakers.
FRIDAY THE 13TH: HALLOWEEN NIGHT
USA, 1994, Chris Seaver
Halloween Night is an early effort from Seaver, and it’s not quite as offensive and madcap as his films to come, but it’s still a blast. Before Freddy vs. Jason came along and made it official, every horror fan’s wet dream was pitting two horror greats against each other. Halloween Night is no exception with the dual appearances of Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. Seaver even throws in Freddy and the Hellraiser box for brief cameos.
The story is, as expected, a muddled mess of nothingness. All dialogue is delivered in incomprehensible mumbles while the cameraman breathes heavily offscreen and, like most student films, there’s a lot of shots of people walking aimlessly in large groups. The opening scene with a character, for some reason hellbent on revenge (I think), becoming possessed by Jason’s mask is both befuddling and hilarious. Despite a lot of talk about girls, and the awesome Halloween party that will ultimately bring them over, there are no girls whatsoever in Halloween Night.
A lot of fan films play it straight, which is funny in its own way, but Seaver goes for the goofs. In less insane hands, this could have been painful, but thankfully, Seaver has a truly ridiculous sense of humour. His own performance as one of the victims (Peter, not that it actually matters) is fairly amazing as he erratically pulls on a clown suit while screeching gibberish. He also gets one of his pals to put a wig on and mumble about razors in apples before being stabbed through the mouth. I enjoyed that.
Better than Seaver’s silly performance are the actors who look really awkward in front of the camera. My favourite being Zach Allen as Brian, or as fellow Mondo Exploito scribe Pierre and I dubbed him, Mike D. At one point, Mike D has a chat on the phone about Halloween. This guy loves Halloween… really fucking loves it. The friend he chats to also loves Halloween, as demonstrated by a lengthy pumpkin carving scene.
All Mike D wants to do is set up a bunch of awesome scares for his buddy’s party. Tragically, Mike D is brutally murdered by Jason while “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” by the Beastie Boys plays – an odd coincidence considering our choice of nickname. A strobe light flashes as he’s murdered. This strobe is used incessantly from this point on. I congratulate Seaver for using a strobe a year before Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers did the same.
I also congratulate Seaver for going all out on the gore. This is something I failed at miserably when I made my first batch of high school films only managing to achieve a few weak sprays of blood. Seaver pulls off a really solid throat slit. There’s also a cool bit with a knife rotating through the air. Great job, young Chris Seaver.
A few White Zombie and Mighty Mighty Bosstones (do they still exist? I hope not) songs later, Michael and Jason come face to face for their much anticipated showdown, and it’s great. They throw a few punches and roll around on the grass for a bit. As the camera moves, the cameraman makes swooshing sounds with his mouth. Michael throws a knife at Jason’s face, and pulls off his mask freeing the guy he possessed. Or something. Then Freddy shows up and says some stuff.
Friday the 13th: Halloween Night is awesome. This is what fan films should be. Just some buddies having a good time. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, this sort of fan-filmmaking is dead and has been replaced with slicker, more well thought out films that act as show reels for an effects crew. That’s okay I guess, but I’d much rather watch Chris Seaver and his friends fumbling around in front of a camera and throwing blood over their parents’ bathroom walls.