Ode to the Unsung Slashers (Laid to Rest)

Horror comes in a lot of different varieties and it’s easy to know a lot about one and not a lot about another, especially for casual viewers. I have a lot of conversations with people about horror; either films, literature or the culture in general. Most people who are not exactly fans of the genre as a whole always are ready to dismiss them as throw away movies. Of course when they make their arguments they by and large are referring to the slasher-genre.

It’s funny but I find myself defending slasher flicks a lot more than any other kind of horror out there. I think it’s just because that particular genre is littered with iconic figures and ridiculous clichés. A lot of horror takes itself seriously but not really slashers. Slashers exist to give the audience; bodies, boobs and if we’re lucky an Iconic killer with a flair for the dramatic.

It’s not really a profound revelation to say that the killers are really the stars of the movie. Nobody cares about the teenagers getting killed. Everybody cheers for Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers or Chucky. Tonnes of slasher films have made household names of their killers. However, we all know that here at Splatterpictures we don’t talk about the ones that are Iconic. No no, I am going to talk about slashers that are nowhere near as famous but are pretty badass in their own right.

Recently sat down to watch a particular slasher called Laid to Rest. I just couldn’t resist the box art. Yeah I’m one of those people. Anybody who’s read my “about” section knows that a lot of times I would be sent to wonder the horror section of my local video store. More often than not I never got one of the movies but I sure liked looking at the box art.

Laid to rest was released direct to DVD in 2009 and was distributed by Anchor Bay (big surprise). The film was directed by Robert Hall. This was definitely one of those pet projects of Hall; he had been doing the make-up artist thing in the industry for awhile with some great success. The films Stars his wife Bobbi Sue Luther (Who looks different every single time I see her). I’d like to take a minute and say how sweet it was for Hall to make a movie and put his wife in it, considering how hard it is for a big breasted woman to make it in Hollywood.

So what’s it even about? Well, basically a girl wakes up in a coffin with no memory or inclination about how she got there. The coffin is in a funeral home and she isn’t alone. A chrome-skulled killer with a video camera mounted on his shoulder is stalking her. It’s about at this point where I start to notice that this girl is dumb even by slasher movie standards. One scene I have to mention is she actually calls the police from the funeral home. Then, she sees a dead body in the morgue and walks towards it while the woman on the phone tells her that in 30 seconds they’ll have traced her call. She actually walks so far that she pulls the phone cord out of the phone. I’m not fucking kidding, Bravo; the Darwin award goes to the lady with the huge rack.

The killer shows up and gives chase. He’s one of those silent slashers but seems to actually communicate with recorded voice of one of his previous victims off of his cellphone. It’s actually kinda refreshing to see a killer who uses modern technology. He also actually has a car.
It’s not long before the girl runs into a kindly man named Tucker, (Kevin Gage) who picks her up and brings her home after she can’t remember what has happened to her, or seem to remember the proper words for things. He has a wife (Lena Headey) and it’s all very typical set up. Of course, they have no phone, no land line or cell. Nothing. Also their truck is pretty much out of gas. The killer catches up with them and the case is on.

The girl that Tucker has named Princess at this point escape to this random computer nerd named Steven (Sean Whalen) That’s pretty much your trio of people running away from the killer and trying to figure out how to stop him and get help. More characters come and go but they’re really only there to get murdered. Watching this one I kept being reminded about why a lot of people hate slashers.

I am all for dumb people in horror movies but they are the biggest bunch of lame-ducks I’ve ever seen. I swear they all could have saved themselves a lot of trouble if they just walked off a cliff to spare themselves a gruesome death. How dumb? Well they fall down, the split up, nobody has a cell, nobody has gas, they can’t shoot straight, they can’t load their guns fast enough, they throw away their weapons, they draw attention to themselves while the killer is around, they don’t listen, and finally they stand around watching while other people get killed when they could easily overpower Chrome-skull with numbers. Oh well. Oh wait they also keep going back to the killer instead of just driving away.

Something I would have liked to have scene would be more information about the killer himself. He has a habit of going into cities, kidnapping girls and bringing them back to this funeral home where he tortures and kills them while videotaping. Not much else is learned about him, other than dude can get shot a whole lot.

The most surprising thing about this whole movie was how well it was acted. Even if some of the reasoning was pretty dumb, the characters really reacted to others being killed. It wasn’t just run “oh my friend died”, run, “oh my friend died; no time to care keep running.” Characters have powerful scenes of grief that you would expect when someone you love dies in front of you. The total indifference to others being killed in slashers has always been on of the things that bugged me the most.

So what about the deaths? They’re pretty good. One of them where this guy gets his head partially cut off from the jaw up was great. It was a blend of CGI and traditional effects, which was really effective. Everything frankly looked pretty great considering this was a direct to DVD venture and the first horror directed by Hall.

The ending was pretty weird. Not because of what happens to the killer or most of the characters but without giving too much away I was surprised about who survives and who doesn’t and the final decisions made by some characters. It seemed kinda rushed and not very well thought out. Also the big revelation about the character of princess was kinda cliché.

See you next time!

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