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Home | Film Review: American Scream King (2010)

Film Review: American Scream King (2010)



When two guys get a hold of a camera from a debt, they decide to make a horror movie since most of them are cheesy and cheap anyways. They know nothing about special effects or make-up so why not just kill people for real while filming their movie?


Dear God….I can’t even…jeez…ok…let’s do this…

So the premise here is a couple of douche-bag hipsters decide to make a horror movie. And since they can’t afford or know any special effects make up artists, they decide to just kill the girls for real. They audition them, with a set of rules, and if they fit the bill then they chain them in the basement and kill them at their leisure.


They play a game of “spin the knife” to determine who dies and who doesn’t. If the knife points at the door, they get to leave free and clear. All the while reminding the girls that there are rules, after all, because they aren’t psychopaths or anything.

*sigh* I mean, the concept isn’t terrible.  The characters constantly discuss horror movie tropes – why do the girls always fall? how come the girl can never outrun a slow moving monster? How does a monster with no intelligence clean up all the evidence? – and endlessly complain that being a murderer is no where near as cool as it looks in the movies.


This thing is so self-referential, and self-deprecating, that one wonders if the filmmakers are really clever and witty or just lazy. I stopped counting film references 20 minutes in.

Although some are quite funny. One of the unfortunate actresses is subjected to a quiz, in which one of the questions is “what is the name of the monster in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein?”. Yea…she got it wrong.

Meanwhile, it has the look of a straight-to-VHS production from the 80s. I’m pretty sure they edited on Windows MovieMaker. I know I recognized the “film age” effect mask from that program.


None of this would be an issue if the script was good. The dialougue is awful, the acting is less than high school drama club, and the boobies….well, there’s lots of boobies. But why is it that indie filmmakers, when choosing topless girls, always choose flat chested ones? I mean, if you’re gonna go there, then let’s see some big flapping gravity-victim ta-tas, ok?

The second act of this film is nothing but B-roll footage of the actors goofing off at some festival in the town in which they are shooting. Which the characters point out to us, the audience, right before an annoying montage of such footage.

Then back to the fun! More games…more tests for our “actresses”…and more cartoon villainy from our main psychopaths…I mean, not psychopaths.


So it goes, on and on, as I pray to any God that will listen for this atrocity to finally end. A bit of racist stuff, a lot of misogynistic stuff, and no shortage of “I’m the star of my high school drama league” stuff.

For any wanna-be filmmakers in the audience, there are so many in-jokes about filmmaking. I mean..a LOT of them. This does add a layer of self-awareness to the movie that almost makes it worth watching.

According to IMDB, the majority of this cast all worked together on a film in 2008 called FRATERNITY HOUSE, which is (of course) referenced in the beginning of this film. Jordon Hodges apparently is an award winning actor for another film called SAND CASTLES. I don’t see anything award-worthy in this project.

Special effects? Yea, not so much. There is a fairly decent on-camera kill involving a drill, but everything else seems to be the standard “student film off-camera” kill. The production quality is just lacking, and if it is meant to be parody then something had to stand out. Be it script, acting, story, or effects. In this case, only the crap-tastic overall product is left to speak for itself.

The ending does have a fun twist, which may reveal the real concept and thinking behind this film.

I really can’t decide if the joke is on me, or the filmmakers. Is this a really clever indictment of the horror/slasher genre,and the indie film movement as a whole, or is it just a piece of crap? I don’t know. And honestly…maybe I missed the point. I’ll let the next unfortunate victim decide.

As for me, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being awesome),I’m giving this 1 film tin. Only because I didn’t allow for a zero on my scale.


One comment

  1. I see what you’re saying, and I wondered many of the same things as if maybe the joke was on me and I have to say after I watched this (has been a long time now) I have grown to appreciate it for what it is. It is experimental and purposely bad. It almost feels like the guys, who shot this nearly 5 years ago now, were goofing off and never meant for it to get distribution and it did. I watched it after I read a review on Ain’t It Cool News and they called it “Indie’s answer to scream”. So people either love it or hate it.

    Obviously these guys have moved on a long time ago from this no budget experiment and looking up Sand Castles as you mentioned, looks top notch. I found a YouTube clip featuring Jordon Hodges and legendary character actor Clint Howard and it looks pretty danm good. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RrLcRD6Z78

    Also according to the website (www.sandcastlesfilm.com) the film started the film festival circuit a month ago and has won best film at 5 out of the 6 it was in competition at… Jordon is nominated in a couple weeks for a Leonardo Horse for Best Actor in Milan, which is a big deal.

    So I def.now taking the film with a grain of salt, but totally get what you’re saying.. Though 1 seems hard, as it simply just was not your thing.


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