Slasher movies have a bad reputation, but what happens when the film festival Cannes is used as a background, as in David Winters’ The Last Horror Film?
The Last Horror Film (aka Fanatic)
(USA 1982, director: David Winters)
A fanatic fan of an actress follows her to Cannes in order to direct and produce his own film with her, but a bizarre series of deaths occur.
Joe Spinell portrays the delusional fan almost with the same intensity as in the controversial original Maniac slasher flick, even if this means having some exaggerated acting. But then again, this is Troma, so it’s part of the fun. Unlike Maniac, there’s also a lot of humor here, some intentional and weirdly to the point when criticising the movie industry, some unintentional. For instance, the lead character has quite a few episodes of hallucinatory talks with his alter ego, or a priest suddenly shows up preaching to a young aspiring actress entering a club. In both cases, the surreal ideas combined with some awkward dialogue create some cool moments, while the whole meta-fiction idea is also put to good use.
Unfortunately, there are also a lot of scenes, especially the killing scenes or other dialogues with people, which are rather tame in graphic violence and lame in execution. As a slasher movie, this doesn’t work so well, while as a satire, there are also many instances when the humor falls rather flat. This isn’t helped by a cast of actors who can’t really act, and dialogues which are almost as boring as the main plot. It’s the lack of suspense that brings the movie down, too. A few scenes make up for it, while the ending is also extremely weird (either because it’s so surprising or because it doesn’t make a lot of sense in retrospect), but as a classic slasher, there’s not much to make it memorable in terms of originality. Despite a short running time, it drags on quite a bit, which is a shame, because from the premise it would have made for a much more twisted and compelling experience than what it ends up to be.
At least 88 Films provides a satisfying number of bonus features on the BD with audio commentary, an introduction by Troma chief Lloyd Kaufman (that is actually funnier than the whole movie), a couple of interviews, trailers, TV spots, and a short film for Maniac II: Mister Robbie (that hasn’t found production). In addition, there’s an interesting booklet with some photos and the reversible cover art. Picture quality isn’t stellar, but considering the age of the low budget source material, it’s still quite good, while the soundtrack with its mono 1.0 track hasn’t much of that lossless HD feeling to it.
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