It’s Halloween, which means you can now binge-watch the goriest, dumbest, most objectively bad horror movies you can find on Netflix under the guise of being “festive”. As a veteran of the swampy cesspit that is the Netflix horror category, I’ve come across some pretty weird movies, but one of the most baffling has to be Splatter.
To set the tone, all you really need to know is that Splatter starts out with a long close up of Corey Feldman’s face in what seems to be some sort of goth-rock makeup. This is also the scariest moment in the entire movie.
Splatter is a 2009 short horror directed by Joe Dante (of Gremlins fame) and starring Corey Feldman (Lost Boys, The Goonies) as washed up rock star Johnny Splatter. The film starts off with Johnny committing suicide and takes place during his funeral, where he has invited five people who have wronged him in the past to attend the reading of his will.
This is the point where I would be warning you about spoilers, but the setup is so generic and cliche that you can basically tell what’s going to happen as you’re watching. Anyways, through some “ancient voodoo magic”, Johnny comes back from the dead and starts killing them off one by one.
The acting, for the most part, was the kind of stilted and flat delivery that can be found in most amateur horror movies. I was confused as to whether this was a deliberate choice by the director, as Joe Dante has been known to direct some decent performances, but there was also a sincerity in the acting that made me think that it may have been genuine. Corey Feldman was, of course, obnoxiously over-the-top, which was great.
One of Splatter’s saving graces would be its use of practical effects and makeup. They were, for the most part, well done. I am infinitely glad I did not have to sit through the crappy CGI version of this movie. The effects are the kind of low budget that’s reminiscent of a campy 80s horror, which made it visually fun without being too bad that it became distracting. There were some scenes where you could kind of see the squibs used for the blood splatters, but that really only added to the low budget charm.
The set design also is something that you could tell they put some effort into. The entire movie looked like it was filmed in someone’s house, but instead of a generic looking mansion, Dante dressed it up to look like some psychedelic castle. There were some cool choices to the aesthetic, involving different coloured lighting and the weirdest props. Even if it wasn’t pretty to look at, it was at least interesting. Although, to be fair, the movie was so low budget that some of the styrofoam-looking sets reminded me of The Crystal Maze.
Thanks to its mercifully short run time of 30 minutes, Splatter just manages to ride the line between funny and tedious – any longer and your tolerance will run out. As it is, it’s quick, light fun but ultimately not that memorable…Corey Feldman is no Tommy Wiseau.
In all honesty, Splatter is not so much a train wreck of a movie as it is a minor fender-bender. It’s enough of a spectacle to gawk at but is ultimately harmless.