In 1987 a disillusioned door to door orange salesman horrifically murders his first victim. Move forward 27years and a land developer is buying an orange grove. He and his 3 friends plan a fishing trip to get his head around the pending transaction, unbeknown to them, his estranged wife and her new boyfriend have also chosen the very same location for a break. The usual strange noises and unnerving situations ensue when they congregate at a secluded cabin, as the orange man eliminates them 1 by 1 with the aid of his prosthetic hook and a bag of oranges!
The Orange Man is a comedy/slasher movie in the same vein as The Slashening and Fear Town USA. Written and directed by Stephen Folker, it pitches its stall slap bang in the overcrowded field of iconic serial killers, and tries to offer something a little different. Forget Freddy’s glove, Jason’s mask, Samantha’s twitchy nose… The Orange Man aka Peter Watkins is bringing a massive bag of oranges to the party.
No, I’m not taking the pith.
Sorry. Couldn’t resist.
And yet, I’m being quite, quite serious. Back in the 80s, Peter Watkins (Ben Rollins) was a pleasant, but put upon, orange salesman selling his product door to door. When we meet him, he’s belittled and mocked by his local community for the quality of his produce. Unable to take anymore, and refraining from crying ‘I’m a human being. Godammit!’, he straps a hook to his hand and goes on an old fashioned killing spree.
The Orange Man picks up the story 27 years later with Gerald (Dave Juehrnig) and his friends going on a boy’s own camping trip after the former breaks up with his partner. Gerald, the typical shy type, is joined by sex fiend Jimmy (Jim Plovanich), geeky Wilbur (Thomas Ely Sage) and disabled Reggie (Glenn Harston). Yes, the usual platter stereotypes brought to any horror buffet. But wait! Rather than the usual nubile teens in position for a good slashing, Gerald and his mates are all entering their middle age. Despite their age, the men get up to the usual array of camping trip activities: telling ghost stories, eating hot dogs and feverishly masturbating whilst watching young teens skinny dip.
If that last bit made you roll your eyes, then The Orange Man is certainly not for you. However, if jokes about penises sounds like your kind of freak out, then welcome! For here is a horror comedy that’s less about the horror and more about the comedy. Where a man urinates on another man for a good five minutes whilst discussing sex, where an overweight man slobbers down on a hotdog grotesquely covered in mustard, where another man continually stares at a large pair of breasts. As I say, if those descriptions are enough to have you struggling to get up off the floor from LOLing too hard then fill your boots.
Unfortunately, The Orange Man did very little for me. I wasn’t bothered about the budget, or the lack of actual horror. The Orange Man is more concerned with its band of brothers than its antagonists’ inept way of killing people, and that’s fine. I was just game for a laugh, and sadly, the film couldn’t give it to me. To me, it was so caught up in its adolescent humor that I found it a turn off. Before I’m pelted with cries of ‘You’re an old man, John! The kids know where it’s at’, I’d like to say a) I’m 35 you cheeky git and b) comedy is subjective. And whilst The Orange Man may not have tickled my funny bone in the same way Deathgasm or the aforementioned Fear Town USA did, I’m not going to say it won’t appeal to anyone else.
For, at the end of the day, The Orange Man is a film born from Kickstarter. People saw merit enough in the film to give it money. Folker has done what many of us say we can do, but very little achieve. He made a film and he had fun with it. I can’t take that away from him or anyone involved in this film.
If you like supporting independent filmmakers and like a bit of Scary Movie-type comedy, then you could do worse than buying a copy for you and yours mates to enjoy a glass of milk to. For everyone else, maybe wait for something a bit juicier for your palate.