Recommended

Shaun vs. The Last Horror Film (1982)

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Directed by David Winters

Starring Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro

Taxi driver Vinny Durand (Spinell) is so obsessed with horror actress Jana Bates (Munro) that he follows her to the Cannes Film Festival to convince her to star in his first movie.  Turned away at every opportunity, he loses his slight grip on reality and hacks his way through any agents, producers and judges that get in his way.

Review

The Last Horror Film makes a big push early on to correlate the type of obsession that Durand is experiencing by playing/re-creating news reports explaining John Hinckley, Jr’s obsession with Jodie Foster after he watched Taxi Driver several times and stalked her before deciding to try to assassinate then president Ronald Reagan.  Those events happened just a year before the film was made so it was pretty fresh in everyone’s minds at the time.  Maybe it isn’t now, but it certainly establishes just how crazy our Vinny Durand might be.

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Negotiating: Hollywood-style.

The film is reminiscent of the gory slashers of its time and if you’ve seen Spinell and Munro’s earlier film, Maniac, then you may have a good idea what you’re getting into.  While Maniac was played as a simple, yet disturbing, slasher, this movie branches out and tries to be bigger than life with its setting at the actual Cannes Film Festival.  It’s certainly a unique setting for a low budget film, but for the story its trying to tell it works very well. 

I like the set up for the story but it’s far from perfect.  Some characters’ actions don’t seem logical at times.  For example, Jana sees her husband’s decapitated head and takes off to find help and everyone assumes he’s playing a prank on her and just moves on thinking his disappearance is a marketing ploy of some sort.  Maybe that’s how big wig producers and executives think?

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Acting!

After playing several small roles, Joe Spinell wanted to headline a movie and worked hard on making Maniac his own, however, that film was pretty light on actors. This movie has quite a few actors and still Spinell is the highlight of the movie with his zany, psychopathic antics.  When he’s not out painting the town red, he’ll be talking to himself about how great a director he’ll be or he’s making out with pictures of Bates.  In fact I don’t know which is more disturbing; the violence on screen or Durand making out with himself.

Fans of the slasher genre will love what’s on display here.  In addition to Durand doing his dirty deeds, we get to see a little behind the scenes action in Cannes which includes mock films on display for audiences and festival judges.  Normally there’s a kill scene on the screen whenever the camera takes the time to focus on that aspect of the scene before moving on.  There’s plenty of kill scenes throughout which include electrocution, decapitations, axe attacks and even a chainsaw.  Each scene tries to outdo the last.

Overall it’s a surprisingly well put together slasher film that certainly puts a hell of a lot more effort to put on a show than some other films of its genre.  Definitely worth checking out.

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Caroline Munro, also worth checking out.

TL;DR

Story: 8 – Silly at times, disturbing as well, I enjoyed the extra effort put into this film.

Blood: 8 – If you like your horror movies gooey, there’s lots of gore on display.

Nudity: 8 – Maybe it’s because it was filmed in France, but there are topless women everywhere. 

Overall: 8 – It really has everything a slasher fan could ever want.

Trivia

-The movie really was filmed at the Cannes Film Festival, but done so without permits.  It was filmed guerilla-style and quickly so they didn’t get caught.

-The actress playing Durand’s mother is really Spinell’s mother and filmed in in the apartment he was living in at the time.

-Joe Spinell died in 1989 due to an accidental cut he received and bled to death in his sleep due to being a hemophiliac.

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