TRAILER PARK OF TERROR - 2008
Trailer Park Partners / Bogner / Drac Studios / Summit Entertainment
Rating: USA: R & Unrated
Hey gang! It's time for another COMIC BOOK MOVIE!
This one goes direct to DVD but that's not necessarily a bad mark on its quality. Direct to video/DVD doesn't carry the stink it once did. Back in the old days the folks who were paid to market and sell a good movie actually knew how to market and sell good movies. These day's such people haven't got a clue, only a degree. Old, supposedly out-of-touch farts like Stan Lee, eat their lunch and shove their stupid faces right into successes like IRON MAN and THE INCREDIBLE HULK (totally Marvel controlled after studio wisdom said THE HULK was dead and floating).
Then again, TRAILER PARK OF TERROR is not all good either, so let me explain.
Norma (Nichole Hiltz: MAY, ALL SOULS DAY, and oddly enough, before she made this movie she also starred in The Trailer Park Boys) is just about the prettiest little ol' thang in the trailer park. She gets all gussied up, and when she thinks she's right, she steps out of her trailer and into her world. The kids all love her, the adults are another story. Local Asian whore Miss China (Michelle Lee: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END), makes futile attempts to draw Norma into prostitution. Norma will have nothing to do with her. Marv (Lew Temple: THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN) comes along and makes several vulgar and disrespectful attempts to force Norma to be his girlfriend, or at least his passing sperm bag. Sgt. Stank (Ed Corbin: BLOOD SALVAGE, MIDNIGHT EDITION) comes along and adds to calling Norma pretty much every foul name in the book. These boys really need to work on their seduction skills, but of course, they can't because they're nothing but a bunch of stupid, mean, rednecks: Y'know, unsophisticated folks what don't live in the city. Aka standard, template, worn-through-the-knees clichés.
Norma don't need or want any of them because her boyfriend, Aaron (Brock Chuchna: HOUSE OF GRIMM) is waiting for her just on the other side of the gate. He waits there patiently while Roach (Myk Watford: SPIDER-MAN) stands next to him, playing his electric guitar, and trying his damndest to start a fight with him. Aaron ignores Roach because, after all, he didn't come for a fight, he came for Norma. Marv, Stank, and Roach put a quick end to Aaron and Norma's dreams of love and a better life.
In tears, Norma runs away from the trailer park, having no idea where she is going, but leaving the harsh cruelty and unbridled selfish stupidity of the trailer park. The place is truly a human hell on earth and speaking of hell, who should pop up, pissing on the ground, but a mysterious stranger (Trace Adkins). Trace Adkins stops Norma in her tracks. He knows what's going on and offers her a form of justice: A gun that never misses and never needs reloading. "Do we have a deal?" he asks. Norma considers then grabs at the gun, but the stranger pulls it away and repeats, "DO we have a DEAL?" Norma nods, takes the gun, and returns to the park. Full of hurt and anger, she unloads the gun in all who killed her lover or otherwise made her life miserable. Then she unloads in everyone else. Then, in case there is anyone she missed, she grabs the propane tank off one of the trailers, turns it wide open, and throws a lit cigarette into the stream.
As the papers read, the entire park blew up, burned down, and there were no survivors. Well, that was back in 1981 and time passes. During the opening credits we see area newspapers over the years reporting an unusual number of folks who end up missing in the county.
NORMA LOVES GETTING HEAD. YES, THESE JOKES GET WORSE.
When we come to the present, the cliché engine goes into overdrive. Hey, guess what? A Religious chaperone, All-By-Himself, is taking a bunch of juvenile hooligans out into the woods to help get their heads right with the law and God. And of these characters, can-you-believe it?: There is the shit-heel who bullies everyone and is the perpetual meat-sicle of the prettiest girl there. There is the snotty prettiest girl in the bunch. There is the drug addict, the shoplifter, the homosexual, and of course, the goth. Because nothing says juvenile delinquent like black lipstick, right?
Pastor Lewis (Matthew Del Negro: GHOST IMAGE) is clearly out of his depth and even passerby at a rural cafe can see that. What's more, they even try to gently call the Pastor's attention to that fact. But Lewis is oblivious as he knows God can conquer all. After a bus crash in a rainstorm, Pastor Lewis has the kids follow him to the nearby trailer park where maybe they can find a phone. I mean, cell phones don't work out here, of course. The gang meet up with Norma and this is where the preamble stops and the story begins.
On the plus side, the direction and cinematography is quite good. Artistic lighting is often used to convey the mood of a movie, but here its used to convey the mood of Norma, and even her eyes adjusting as she moves from shadow to sunlight. It's a very nice touch and kudos to Cinematographer Jeff Venditti. TRAILER PARK OF TERROR is Norma's story and is truly seen through her eyes. Nobody in the bus, up to and including the Pastor, is worth talking about. They are all unlikable, all disposable, all one dimensional, all poorly written, and I couldn't wait to see them die. And the more time they spent on screen, the more I wanted them to die in more horrible ways. At least TRAILER PARK OF TERROR delivered in that aspect. To be sure, I'm not talking about the actors themselves: They had nothing to work with and appeared to do their best with that.
NORMA FACES HER SMOKING ADDICTION
Oddly enough, the most interesting characters are the foul folks / ghosts / zombies of the trailer park. And this is odd because in the Imperium comic book series, that was the same strength and problem. In the comic series, Norma told the stupidest most rehashed stories and you could see the endings all coming from a mile away. But when the series just focused on the trailer park denizens themselves and how they existed, that's when TRAILER PARK OF TERROR was the most fun. That and the artwork and covers were all top notch! It's the same for the movie. The rotting characters of Roach, Larlene, Stank, Marv, and Norma herself is where the story is. Particular standouts are Hiltz's Norma, Corbin's Stank, and Watford's Roach. While Norma is both despicable and tragic, Stank and Roach are just truly despicable and hateful, but in such a fun way!
The special make-up effects by Todd Tucker are especially good, particularly around the mouth where these rotting zombies have to talk. It derails around the eyes where we can clearly see the flesh of the face and eyelids beneath the mask.
TRAILER PARK OF TERROR could have been a lot more fun if only the story and half the characters weren't written so damn poorly. Then again, Writer Timothy Dolan has made his career in children's movies. He never wrote and sold anything scary in his life (and apparently never wanted to).
There were only five producers who had any kind of Horror Thriller cred on this movie: Todd Tucker, Harvey Lowry, Andrew Cohen, James Dracoules (co-creator of the comic), and Majeed Nami. And since there were 22 producers on this flick, whatever these five may have had to say could very well have been drowned by the voices of the other 17 freaking producers whose only credits are pre-teen children / family comedies and Nothing! Well there is one other guy. But I have to warn you, that Executive Producer is
Ralph S. Singleton: whose illustrious Horror Thriller credits include, PET SEMETARY, THE GRAVEYARD SHIFT, and SUPERNOVA! Jeezus! That's a Trifecta of crap! I don't think you can even buy those movies at Big Lots anymore! And when he's not doing that then he's producing franchise killing movies like Another 48 Hours and PET SEMETARY II. And -cough!- comedies like Because of Winn Dixie and Juwanna Mann. E-Gad! I hope he's at least one helluva nice guy! Because when you make movies like that, you'd better be a freaking Saint!
So yeah, why in the world did this movie go Direct to DeeVeeDee?
NORMA LOST FACE WHEN SHE MADE A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL
Hey all of you child movie producers who think you've got us Horror Thriller fans all figured out: the next time you want to make some fast cash Horror Thriller flick off of us, how about doing something at least halfway bright and hiring an actual Horror Thriller writer to WRITE it?
Wow! How Out-Of-The-Box is that?
I mean, you can't blame Dolan: He writes what he writes. I wouldn't hire Wes Craven to write the next Hannah Montana movie (well honestly, I would, but just to terrorize her audience!) and I wouldn't hire a guy who writes kiddie comedies to write a hard-core Horror Thriller.
Which leads to another example of foolishness in this film: The sex scenes.
You absolutely do not need an R rating or sex or even nudity in your Horror Thriller movie, to make it scary: which is what it should be. You just need it to be SCARY! When it comes to making a Horror Thriller movie, and you are too incompetent to scare people, then you either make it an all gross-out movie (because you can't do any better) or with lots of nudity and sex (again, because you are too incompetent to do any better). If you have an actual scary-ass movie, then you don't need to throw in My-Movie-Sucks cheats like gobs of gore or nudity - or tons of used up clichés.
If you ARE going to have your movie be about a freaking succubus-style demon zombie like Norma, and you ARE going to have scene after scene after freaking scene of people in bed and having sex, then YES, there MUST be some nudity!
I fucking swear! I'm watching the UNRATED version of this flick no less, and in every scene where people are in bed and humping, They Have their freaking underwear ON! Can you believe this? They are humping away wearing bras, panties and boxer shorts! BOXER SHORTS! To the producers who thought this was a great idea: No you insufferable dumb asses! You show SEX, you show NUDITY! The sexiest thing they had was a thong on the 40 something actor playing a trailer park whore. It's embarrassing to know that an UNRATED Horror Thriller movie has tons of sex scenes but less nudity than some Merchant-Ivory costume drama!
You do not try and get away with making an "Unrated" Horror Thriller movie that simply has the kind of language that parents of the rug rats, who watch the kiddie comedies that you've spent years making, use as they belch around the house.
With a movie this cliché ridden, is it any surprise that it also gets
!!!THE UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT!!!:
You don't know what the Unfair Racial Cliché Alert (URCA) is? Go to the URCA for the explanation, then go to the URCA/TrailerParkofTerror page to find out the what and why. But BEWARE! You'll find Spoilers at the URCA!
And yet I must admit that TRAILER PARK OF TERROR ain't all bad.
There are parts of this movie that are truly good, inspired even. Especially the scenes that involve just the cursed denizens themselves and how they relate to Norma. Norma's deal guaranteed her place in hell and now she spends all eternity with the very same people she thought she was snuffing out of her existence forever. True, she's their leader, but being a leader in hell is not as cool as it sounds. She leads a bunch of mean and stupid dumbasses who are obsequious to her, asking her to take sides in their perpetual fights with each other, or whining for favors. Yeah, I'd rather be a bartender in Heaven* than be a leader in hell if these bunch of sniveling idiots were my army.
Norma can't stand the sight, sound, or touch of them, and they just adore her. And just as they will never change, Norma will never stop having to exist with them and listen to them and will never know anything better than them throughout all eternity. Wow! If only the entire movie was written this well. The real movie is in watching this particular circle of hell spin. A better movie would be to watch these miscreants, who are often funny, deal with the passing years as their miserable damnation is occasionally punctuated by the passing victim. Having to put up with Pastor Lewis and his entourage truly doused a movie that could have and should have lit up the screen. But that's what you get for all of the reasons I stated.
Steven Goldmann's direction deserved better. Alan Brewer's (CROPSY) hick hellish soundtrack deserved better. The actors who made up the zombie / demon / ghosts deserved better. And of course, we the audience deserve one hell of a lot better. Which makes this movie a potential cult film if there ever was one. It's too bad to give it a Shriek Girl rating, but in the realm of So Bad It's Good, I give it Four Negative Shriekgirls.
copyright 2008 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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What do you MEAN there are no bars in heaven? Of COURSE there's liquor in Heaven! How can it be Heaven if there's no liquor? See? You just don't think!