We all have them, movies which are generally viewed as bad or even horrible, yet there's some sort of attraction to them and you can't quite seem to stay away from them. We call those guilty pleasures. And most of the time we keep this in the closet.
Today, I'm going to explore one of my guilty pleasures. And surprisingly enough, it's a film that I just stumbled upon a few years ago. It's a little film from 1995 called "Jack-O", directed by Steve Latshaw and produced by Fred Olen Ray ("Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers"). Like most films I first encounter, I originally took notice towards this film based solely on its cover art: a menacing figure with a pumpkin for a head, wielding a large scythe (I stumbled across this film while browsing through the VHS tapes at my local Goodwill). And not to mention that it "stars" Linnea Quigley, B-movie Scream Queen.
From the DVD: "The film concerns a legendary, scythe-wielding pumpkin-headed Halloween Demon called 'JACK-O'. Originally raised from the dead in the last century by evil wizard Walter Machen (John Carradine), the demon returns in modern times to haunt young Sean Kelly (Ryan Latshaw), his clueless family and babysitter Linnea Quigley (as always, our greatest adolescent fantasy come to life). Come Hallows eve, JACK-O begins hacking and slashing his way through a blood-splattered, fear-stained stack of drunken college students, unwitting neighbors, terrified trick-or-treaters, motorcycle maniacs and a witless Cable TV installer played by the director himself."
Sounds like an entertaining flick, right? Well, it actually is. But not in the way it probably should be. The movie was filmed in Florida, but it never really says where the story is supposed to take place (set decoration and jacketed cast members would suggest the Midwest, but the bright sun and lack of autumn colors suggest otherwise -- but this is really the least of the film's problems. The acting is another issue in itself: horrid. But what can you expect? It's a B- slasher with a tiny budget. And the story is so unbelievably ridiculous that the movie succeeds in being greatly entertaining. There's even a, what feels like an hour, shot of Linnea Quigly taking a totally put-in-the-movie-just-to-have-a- nudity-scene shower.
Since discovering "Jack-O" it has become a must-watch for me around Halloween-time every year. There's just something about it that I thoroughly enjoy, whether it be the campy nature of the movie, or just the downright silliness of it all. Last year I finally got around to purchasing the Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition DVD (don't be fooled by the "widescreen" presentation, it's still 4:3). I was surprised to see that there was also a behind the scenes featurette and a director's commentary track. The BTS video is okay, but the commentary track is worth the price of the DVD alone. The director, Steve Latshaw, honestly believes he has created a great movie, to which him and the producer get into a slight argument as the producer continues to bash the movie. Priceless.
So do I recommend "Jack-O"? Yes. At least watch it once, do it for me. You'll probably hate it, but hey, check it off your bucket list.
Next up on my guilty pleasures: 2000's "Bloody Murder".