Sunday, March 23, 2014

SCREAM PARK (Wild Eye Releasing DVD)

Wild Eye Releasing is hit or miss. Sometimes they figure out exactly what I'm looking for in a horror picture providing maximum low budget entertainment for an entire picture. Other times they just seem to find an idea that sounds cool, drop a pile of gratuity in it and then give it an awesome cover. Scream Park could really go either way right? The concept is very Scooby Doo sans the Dog with a Hell of a lot more violence. It could totally fail, right? Cast the wrong people in this one and you end up with a completely amateurish production that fails to deliver scares, blood, gore or sexy time. Thankfully that's not what we have here though there's room for improvement. Scream Park actually is quite a bit of fun.

Synopsis from Wild Eye Releasing:

The Fright Land amusement park is on the verge of closing its doors forever. But the park's owner, Hyde (Hellraiser's Doug Bradley), has one last plan to sell more tickets... murder. Hiring two backwoods maniacs to break into the park and hack and slash all his employees, Hyde thinks these killings will create a media sensation, but he has just unleashed a horror that no one can survive. Also featuring Skinny Puppy frontman Nivek Ogre.

What works for Scream Park? There's a healthy dose of low budget, camp gore. Wild Eye Releasing knows how to gut people and dump blood from their mouths in a way that is completely over the top and enjoyable. It's not realistic. It's not scary. It's entertaining, and that's exactly what you want from a release like Scream Park. The actors aren't good, but they are exactly what the picture demands; throwback eighties campists that understand the value of humor. Nobody was trying to win an award or deliver an endearing performance. This was scripted to be a humorous blood bath, slasher film that relied on the old tricks of the trade to work. So for the most part it can keep your attention. Where it fails though is in the the very theme itself.

Scream Park takes place in a failing amusement park, and while it is obvious that the park is falling apart, you barely get to see any of it. It's the name of the movie! You have to play around with some of the park rides more and not just the obvious funhouse. If you're going to do that then you absolutely must compare it to Tobe Hooper's Funhouse and then you can't possibly enjoy Scream Park. Perhaps it should have taken a few lessons from Ghoulies II (yes... Ghoulies II). Thats a movie that takes place in a carnival that works the carnival setting and uses all the attributes there of to create a horror picture. The other part of Scream Park that doesn't quite do it for me considering we're watching a Wild Eye Releasing pictures and a retro-slasher homage/redux... the boobs need to make more cameos. There are some extremely attractive ladies in this film. Use their gifts as well.

Doug Bradley is a mere cameo and under-utilized. I expected that. Nivek Ogre is always a better musician, but it does make me happy to see him part of horror productions. The disguises for the villains are subpar at best, but in that there's a slight element of creepy. Still these killers are way out in the open rather than in the shadow, so that prevents the creepies from taking over. If you're going to put the costumed guys right out in the forefront, make sure to give the audience a little more to see (think Orphan Killer or Chrome Skull).

Let's end this on a more positive note though because I think it's beginning to sound like I didn't appreciate the release. The opening credit music is goddamn perfect. I settled in to watch this one thinking that I'd get a low budget movie. That means you put up with the gore and blood being a little off color (maybe you even enjoy it more because of it). The acting will be amateur and that's totally acceptable, but the score for low budget movies typically are either heavy metal mixtapes or tolerable if not redundant synth tracks. Scream Park brings an amazing score to the table setting a mood from the get go. It's creepy, and I'd dare say sample it for your house on Halloween.

Can I give my ringing endorsement to Scream Park? Not fully, but I can say that there's enough here to enjoy where it will find an audience. Wild Eye fans... fans of Disco Exorcist... you'll enjoy it. Much like Troma, Wild Eye has a dedicated fan base that gets what they're doing, follows them faithfully and gives the indies a chance to succeed. I'm glad to have watched it.

You can pick up Scream Park soon and other offerings from  Wild Eye Releasing now.  Streets April 22 on DVD and VOD.

-Doc Terror

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