Featuring the musical stylings and acting debut of iwrestledabearonce, the horror-comedy A Beary Scary Movie follows the tale of Shreddy – the deranged guitarist from legendary 80’s hair metal band White Vulture – who comes straight from hell murdering bands one by one by hacking them to pieces. Now it’s up to Steven, Mikey, John, Krysta and Ricky to make it out alive.
The transition from musician to actor is not an easy one. For every Justin Timberlake or Will Smith, there’s a Jennifer Lopez or Mariah Carey. Thankfully, the film debut of iwrestledabearonce, A Beary Scary Movie, doesn’t require any acting chops. In fact, the poor performances are the worst aspect of the horror-comedy, but the intentional cheesiness only adds the campy fun.
When an opening band is found dead with the letters IWABO carved into their flesh, the members of the avant-garde metal band iwrestledabearonce become the main suspect of Blumpkinville’s finest, Sheriff Dikshit (Larry Parks) and Deputy Mangina (John Dillon). Meanwhile, vocalist Krysta Cameron, guitarists Steven Bradley and John Ganey, bassist Mike “Rickshaw” Martin and drummer Mike Montgomery are all suffering from horrible nightmares before appearing on The Big Ass Late Night Metal Show. As a creepy janitor (Jim Babel) informs them, tragedy struck the show in 1983 during a performance by glam rockers White Vulture. Their guitarist, Shreddy, was burned alive by pyrotechnics on live television. Since then, every band to appear on the show has been mysteriously murdered. It’s not long before Shreddy sets his sights on iwrestledabearonce.
Shawn Crahan (better known as Clown from Slipknot) plays a father who tells the macabre tale to his son (his real kid, Gage Crahan) in a room with hardcore p*rnography plastered all over the walls. These scenes were filmed after the rest of the movie was completed, and they help the story feel more complete. Also noteworthy is a cameo by Jake Busey. The band takes its name from a Gary Busey quote, so it’s fun to see a brief but effective appearance by his son.
If it wasn’t abundantly clear, A Beary Scary Movie’s plot is a satirization of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Tonally and structurally, it’s as if Troma made a spoof of Elm Street. (If nothing else, it’s superior to the 2010 remake.) Shreddy has more in common with Freddy Krueger than just a similar name and murderous tendencies; they also share the same burned-flesh appearance, gravelly voice and penchant for puns. Shreddy’s weapon of choice is a guitar with a foot-long blade affixed to the neck. (Not quite as badass as the guitar-drill from Slumber Party Massacre 2 but cool nonetheless.) Shreddy picks off the band members one-by-one with gimmicky kills a la the later Elm Street sequels, complete with metal puns; such as proclaiming “Ride the lightning!” as he electrocutes a victim.
The film’s selling point is its comedic value. The jokes largely consist of crass, lowbrow potty humor, which is hit or miss, but there are plenty of laugh-out-loud funny moments. The band members are clearly having a blast, even lampooning their much-maligned name. The 74-minute runtime also makes it easily digestible. First-time writer/director Justin Beasley accomplishes some solid production value considering the obvious low budget. (Shooting on a Red camera certainly helped.)
A Beary Scary Movie may be more amusing to those who are familiar with the music scene, but it’s enjoyable regardless. Even if you’re not a fan of the band’s abrasive, off-kilter music, you can merely skip over the opening and closing performance sequences and still have a good time. A Beary Scary Movie’s release didn’t exactly come at an opportune time; despite being completed for more than a year, it’s only seeing the light of day now, the week after Halloween no less. It doesn’t help that Cameron left the band earlier this year either. However, it gives me hope for the new line-up to star in a sequel, which I would be (beary) happy to see.
A Beary Scary Movie (2012)