The Last Horror Movie
off, SPOILER ALERT! If you happen to live in Britain and still
rent video tapes, you might not want to read ahead
if this movie gets distribution, that is
which it may
oh, hell, just keep reading.
Last Horror Movie starts off with a daring concept that
would've been gold about ten to seven years ago: what if you,
the viewer, had browsed through a video store and picked up
this movie (looking for a little horror thrill on a Saturday
night), only to find the tape had been recorded over mere
minutes into the movie with the videolog of a serial killer.
The sheer thrill of not knowing whether what you were viewing
was real or not, and how your enjoyment of the murder would
then reflect on you as a person
that's got legs.
this isn't ten years ago, DVDs now rule the rental market,
and, as I hope we all know, you can't record over a DVD. More
to the point, the illusion doesn't work on the internet, television,
or in theatrical distribution, but we can forgive that since
we still remember the golden age of the video cassette. At
least, for now.
case, it shouldn't be too hard for future generations to understand
what's going on, as Max Parry, our narrating serial killer,
more than happily explains everything that's going on. He
jokes and flirts with the audience, gives us a brief history
of his "mania" and cheerfully slaughters people
for our amusement.
this work so well? Simple: the man is charm incarnate. Fitting
the classic model of pop culture's Jack the Ripper, Max is
a witty, sophisticated man, working as a wedding videographer
by day and stalking the English streets during his free time.
He quips and jibes at us from his editing room, behind the
wheel of his car, and even during murders while his "assistant"
he does one better and talks to us while dining with relatives,
partying with friends, and cruising weddings. He toys with
us by presenting situations where we think he may do in some
poor innocent only to reveal that it's a friend of his, the
mere fact we know he's a killer making us assume the worst.
us for continuing to watch, of course, constantly calling
our morality into question. "If you had the choice of
saving that woman's life, back there, for the price of your
TV, would you give up your TV?" He then presents the
same case for a starving African child: a charity could save
it for the price of your TV, as well, but would you give up
your TV, then?
Max repeats this lesson a few times, and the preaching loses
some power. He continues to push that we watch him continue
his ghastly work because we actually like the killing as long
as we don't know it's "real," that human beings
just really go for death. He may have a point, there, but
the argument is actually weakened by the fact that Max is
so charismatic. Would we continue to watch if Max were a horrifically
malformed monster who spit out insults at us while grumbling
about how rotten his life was?
also suffers a huge logic error towards the end, the nature
of which I cannot discuss, but, suffice it to say, it shatters
the illusion the film was supposed to be built on irreparably.
Not fatal, but it downgrades a possible classic to just another
Max's charm is undeniable and the film's humor and intrigue
grips you. Is it a new level of scary movie? Not at all. In
fact, there wasn't a single scare at all, and most of it wasn't
really too creepy, either. But that's not why Max is there.
He makes us think and he entertains us, and, after all, isn't
that why we go to movies in the first place?