Teenage friends out for beach week get unexpectedly detoured to a isolated motel where a deadly STD virus now runs rampant, turning those infected into the living dead.
An unscrupulously horny janitor named Cornelius (Wayne W. Johnson) takes advantage of a very attractive, but very dead, young lady laying on a slab in the morgue where he works. Unfortunately he doesn’t take the time to read her toe tag, which states that she died from an extremely aggressive STD – and it’s still active inside of her body. So begins the incredibly raunchy & gory Night Of Something Strange, Co-written (with Ron Bonk & Mean Gene) and directed by Jonathan Straiton. I’ve seen it a few times over the last few months, and can unequivocally pronounce it to be the most hilariously offensive and gory horror/comedy of the year. I can pretty much guarantee that you will let out a shriek of horror, followed by gales of laughter, at least once while watching this film.
Now mind you, the script goes off on a relatively familiar tangent from that point on, with Cornelius spreading the disease to his wife, who spreads it to the mailman, and so on. Eventually the script introduces five college friends who are on a short vacation to celebrate Spring Break, and one by one they eventually fall prey to the disease that’s spreading like wildfire. It’s all of the hijinks that ensue while they’re making their way through the town where everything started that makes the film so special. In an obvious nod to films that influenced the film makers, the characters have names like Carrie (Tori Anne Gambale), her doofy cousin, Jason (John Walsh), her horny boyfriend, Freddy (Michael Merchant), her best friend, Christine (Rebecca C. Kasek), and the token African American character, Brooklyn (Tarrence Taylor). We’re also introduced to Pam (Nicola Fiore) and her boyfriend, Dirk (Trey Harrison), who skip out of school early to get a jump on their sex and drug filled vacation.
As the seven of them slowly wend their way towards the Redwood Budget Motel (where everything comes to a head), the film never loses track of Cornelius, and his exact whereabouts. Suffice it to say that Cornelius gets around, and I think building a drinking game out of his appearances in the film might be a lot of fun, just slam a shot every time Cornelius pops up – you’ll be buzzed in about 30 minutes. Cornelius’ victims are also making their way through the town, and it should be noted that while the disease manifests itself by mutating its victims genitalia, the extreme discomfort it imparts to its victims can only be assuaged through the act of rape. So if the idea of a disease that forces it’s victims to rape others in order to spread itself around offends you – then Night Of Something Strange (NOSS from here on) is gonna offend you something awful.
While the act of rape is indeed a very ugly act, the script here adds so much offensive humor to the proceedings that it’s really hard not to laugh at it. None of this is meant to be taken seriously, and while I’m positive that all of you will come away from this about as offended as you’ve ever been while watching a movie, I’m equally positive that you’ll all be laughing way too hard for it to matter. NOSS is that kind of movie, one that’s calculated to offend just about everyone who watches it, but it knows enough to leaven its offensiveness with lots of gross out humor.
The performances here are honestly nothing to write home about, they range from sub par to decent. But once again, the humor and over the top offensiveness on display help to make the acting palatable. Personally, I liked Mr. Johnson’s performance as Cornelius most of all. He doesn’t have any lines (just a lot of screaming/grunting), but every time he pops up he’s a bit more physically damaged, and what I liked about his performance is that his pain was evident every time he appeared. He just gets angrier and angrier, and hornier too. He’s like a gore splattered version of the Incredible Hulk. The roles of comic relief go to Walsh and Merchant, who are basically the films Abbott & Costello, and they share a scene of sexual activity & mistaken identity that’s among the funniest scenes I’ve seen in a film all year. Is it offensive? Hell yes it is! But in the film makers defense, it takes place in the dark, so you don’t see anything but the actors silhouettes for the most part. It’s the lines they recite as the scene progresses that make it so damned funny.
But I did mention that the film is gory, didn’t I? It’s extremely gory, and I wouldn’t call you wrong if you said that some of it was way over the top. But it all works for the film, and in even better news, the FX are achieved through practical means – very little CGI is in use here. While some of the practical FX are better than others, all of them are at least decent. I’m not too sure what the final shooting budget for NOSS was, but it couldn’t have been too big. It’s fairly amazing to see what the film makers have pulled off with what little they had to make this. NOSS looks really good as well. Cinematographer Rex Femscared does a great job making everything look sleek and clean on an obviously meager budget.
If you’ve noticed, I haven’t really spilled the beans on exactly what you’re gonna get when you finally sit down to watch NOSS. All I’ll say is that you ought to see it with a bunch of friends, and as much beer/liquor as you can stand – it’s that kind of movie. Tons of fun, tons of grue, not as much nudity as you might be expecting, but it’s in there. Some of you will be turned off by what goes on here, of that I have no doubt. But I’m sure that those of us who absolutely adore this film far outnumber those who don’t. NOSS won the coveted “Best Picture” award at this year’s NYC Horror Film Festival for good reason. People walked out of the screening muttering “What the f**k” to themselves and their friends afterwards, but they were all supremely satisfied by what they saw. The screams and laughs that came out of the theater while the film played were some of the loudest I’ve ever heard in a theater.
About the only negative things I can say about NOSS is that its title is extremely generic, it gives no clues as to what you’re in for when you watch it, and some of the jokes go on a bit too long, but those are hardly dealbreakers. It’s a supremely satisfying horror/comedy that skewers convention right up the ass, and goes out of its way to make sure that it offends everyone who sees it (in the best possible way). It’s ribald, raunchy and gory and it’ll stay with you for a long while (again in the best possible way). It’s one of the best horror/comedy films of the year, and you’ll come away from it sore from laughter. Do not miss it!!
Night Of Something Strange – 4.5 out of 5 shrouds.