When he makes a late-night movie delivery to a strange town on Halloween, video store counter jockey Stan Helsing (Steve Howey) finds himself hunted by a who’s who of slasher-film killers, including Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Leatherface. Now, Stan and his pals must use their knowledge of horror flicks to defeat the villains and hack their way to freedom. Bo Zenga directs this gleeful parody of classic horror movies.
Written & Directed by: Bo Zenga
Starring: Steve Howey, Diora Baird, Kenan Thompson, Desi Lydic
Our hero Stan is not having a good Halloween night at all. All he has to do is deliver a few DVDs to the home of the owner of the video store where he works, then hit a party with his friends for some booze and weed, and hopefully a little play. But life, and about 7 different horror movie monsters, have different plans for Mr. Helsing. Seems he’s descended from the great Abraham Van Helsing of lore, and is destined to help save the folks in the town of Lynwood who are in a constantly repeating, never ending hell who are being tortured and tormented nightly by the goofyassed caricatures of horror icons along the likes of Freddy, Jason, Pinhead, Myers, Chucky, etc.
But Stan wants nothing to do with this sh*t. He doesn’t want to get involved, doesn’t want to talk about it, would prefer to just eek his way through life having as much fun as possible. So is it possible that he’ll come to terms with his destiny and embrace his role in monster slaying better than Hugh Jackman did?
In case you didn’t know, STAN HELSING refers to itself as a parody. Very bold statement to make in any case, but especially in the horror world these days, especially with the SCARY MOVIE franchise going to sh*t after the opening scene of the second movie, and regular horror/comedies being done so well both here and abroad in the last few years from SHAUN OF THE DEAD to ZOMBIELAND. Not to mention we have been repeatedly kicked in the nuts at least twice a year for what seems like years now with “parodies” by that hack Aaron Seltzer with a new DATE/EPIC/DISASTER/DANCE MOVIE/FLICK, as well as MEET THE SPARTANS. What does this have to do with horror? Well, I’ll be glad to tell you, kiddies….he’s had his hands in virtually every SCARY MOVIE to come down the pike, and apparently is prepping SCARY MOVIE 5 as we speak. So it’s not just other genres that are getting the sh*t end of the stick in most cases, but our beloved horror as well.
It’s a tough row to hoe though, as for my money the true balls-out horror movie parody hasn’t really been done right since STUDENT BODIES, and before that with the all-time greatest whodunit parody of all time, MURDER BY DEATH. Other than those though, and every now and again when I’m really, really drunk, the first SCARY MOVIE and the James Woods opening scene of part 2, I’m hard pressed to think of another parody that’s been worth a sh*t in horror.
Steve Howey (REBA) is a talented actor with great comic timing, and throws his heart and soul into Stan, but just can’t seem to rise above the mostly lame material he’s given. Diora Baird (TCM: THE BEGINNING), yet another of my future ex-wives, is a knockout combination of beauty AND talent…that’s right boys, the girl can act too, so watch out! Same for Desi Lydic, who handled her role of the bubble headed blonde perfectly, and actually got most of the laughs from me. Kenan Thompson, who almost always makes me laugh on SNL, must not have been feeling it here. And lest we forget the obligatory cameo from Leslie Nielsen, a great actor who can normally pull anything off, but just couldn’t do anything really hilarious with the material he had here. Guess it’s a long, long way from the AIRPLANE days….
STAN starts off promising and funny, but loses steam fairly early on and has a hard time catching back up through most of the rest of the running time. I’ll give credit where it’s due though – STAN HELSING isn’t just another “hey, let’s pick all our favorite classic scenes from other movies, lampoon those while only changing a couple of lines from the original flick, and call it our own parody!”. It is an original movie that incorporates our favorite icons as well throwing in a JEEPERS CREEPERS parody/homage that comes across much funnier than I expected it would at first.
But for most of the rest of it, it simply tries too hard, which makes most things fall flat and look desperate. I don’t subscribe to the “let’s run everything up the flagpole and see what shticks” school of writing. It isn’t a total waste of time, and I did enjoy a few chuckles from a talented cast, but it’s not really something I can make myself watch more than once, or convince myself to plunk down my hard earned dough for. It was a great cast, and a good story idea, but they were all wasted on too many desperate jokes that just fell flat. So if you do watch it, you’ll be doing it at your own risk.
Stan Helsing (2009)