Sunday, October 10, 2010

Give Me Something Nice to Eat (or my Satan will kill you)

I’m a sucker for anything set during Halloween, be it a Garfield special or Gossip Girl episode. Hence, when I learned a naughty little film directed by Jeff Lieberman (a man with a regular stay in the guest room of this Doll's House) AND that it was on Instant Watch, I blew my nose and hit play.

Quick Plot: Young Dougy is way too excited to go trick-or-treating with his sexy college aged sister Jenna, something their kooky mom (Amanda Plummer, because bless her squeaky heart, the woman can only ever play kooky) finds way too adorable. Plans get complicated when Jenna invites her new boyfriend Alex along the trip.

But what's this? It's Satan of course, and he's more than willing to ensure Dougy gets to date his big sis. See, Dougy's a big fan of a video game called Satan's Little Helper, so when a 6 1/2" tall man in a rubber mask that matches a certain characters shows up in town to "stage" a few murders, Dougy eagerly invites him to beat the candy corn out of Alex. Kids can be so darn darnable.

As you can probably guess, Dougy's big friend isn't (gasp) in costume! Well, maybe he is, since (mild spoiler) we never actually see his face. I'll assume it's grizzled with a kind softness akin to Danny Trejo.

The main issue I had with Satan's Little Helper, a film not without its quirky charm, is just how badly in need of some editing it was. The first 45 mintues or so just linger as Jenna and Mom make a costume, Dougy and Satan have some fun, Jenna tries on her costume, Alex hangs out, Dougy and Satan have more (predictable) fun, Jenna and Alex hang out, and...

you get my drift. Though there are a few genuinely funny bits, Satan's Little Helper is the filmic personification of a loiterer or, more fittingly, a party guest that brings a six pack of your favorite beer, but who then starts to grate on your friends' nerves, clogs the toilet, feeds your dog onions, and naturally, is the very last one to leave.

High Points
I give a lot of credit to actress Katheryn Winnick, a pretty young woman saddled with some truly painful dialogue (including some as a medieval slut wench) and cringe-inducing moments, yet still comes off as likable

As I grow closer to 'adult age' (I'm guessing that's when a tail starts growing?) Halloween parties become quite hit-or-miss events. Though I'll never tire of red punch from a skeleton bowl, it can be worrisome to see certain friends and acquaintances who believe the night is theirs to dress and act in ways that will forever make them seem lesser. Satan's Little Helper gets that

Low Points
On the whole, the picture and sound quality is quite good for such a (what I assume and hope to be) low budget film.  It still would have been nice to have some conversations not muffled through masks

Lessons Learned
Incest isn’t taught in school until after the third grade

You may already have caught this in Toy Story 3, but always keep in mind that red strappy heels are sometimes a dead giveaway to your identity

During martial law, the best thing you can possibly do is raid a costume shop

I'm still amazed by the low number of true Halloween-themed horror films, so for that matter, one could do worse than Satan's Little Helper (Halloween 5=way less fun). This isn't good, but it has much higher production values than many other cheapies riding the Instant Watch wave and does offer a few creative laughs at the expenses of baby strollers, pregnant women, and stupid children. Classier than Troma, but not so classy that it won't try to force you to picture Amanda Plummer dressed up like a Renaissance whore.


  1. I saw this once back when it first came to video and I remember really digging it. Lieberman's Squirm and Blue Sunshine are two of my favorite movies from back in the day so it was cool to see that he still had that same awesome, off-beat sensibility working for him.

  2. I love Squirm and Blue Sunshine as well. Lieberman's definitely an oddball director and this is the perfect material for him. I just wish the pacing was a tad tighter.

  3. I watched this Saturday night. I still don't know how I feel about it except maybe that I was expecting (or wanting) more from it as a narrative but I get the playful, darky, borderline incesty-ness it was going for as at once horror and comedy.

    Overall, a fun watch. Not something I think I'd see again though.

    I like my morbid kids in horror a bit sharper and more sinister in that drawn halo, 'I'm just a kid' fisade.


  4. That's a super point Ashlee. At first, I though Dougy was a serious bad seed, which was kind of awesome. It took me a while to figure out he actually believed Satan had taken him to hell, so the kid assumed ramming into the pregnant woman and attacking Alex was all part of the game. I was kind of let down by that.

  5. I guess that in itself is fairly scary. Even moreso was the clueless adults around and outside of him unable to take any of it seriously until it was too late. But it made Dougy the delusional kid he was.

  6. I almost wonder if the concept and script had the makings of a genuinely disturbing film. I totally don't mind cheeky satire in a goofy Halloween comedy, but I suddenly feel like there was potential for an actual horror movie!

  7. I haven't seen this one myself, but I do like the Satan getup and the incest angle sounds like it provides something different than your typical Halloween special. ;)

    Maybe I'll have to give this one a try.

  8. I think you'll enjoy it Rondal. It has a certain kind of charm. I just wish it had a little more self discipline.

    But as Halloween films go, it's totally Halloween. Amanda Plummer dressed like Chiquita Banana! Seriously!

  9. Yeah, I thought this was actually fun. But I laughed when I hear you call that actress "pretty"--she is SMOKIN' hot.

  10. Sorry! My senses aren't as attuned to smokiness. Plus I was really distracted by the hot factor of Satan. So...tall.