Retro Review: Scary Movie (1991)


scare2I have always dug on the urban legend of the psycho killer slicing up victims at a haunted house with nobody realizing it because of the macabre nature of their surroundings. In 1991 a Canadian production which was filmed in rural Texas, decided to use a very limited budget to play to this in the ridiculously fun film Scary Movie.

An easily terrified twerp named Warren is dragged by the people he hangs out with to a haunted house on Halloween night. EVERYONE there gains great amusement from Warren’s nervous nature (especially an incredibly entertaining unnamed bearded character who laughs hysterically at the loser’s misfortune). His night or terror at a second rate haunted house happens to coincide with a deranged killer escaping custody. Now a killer wielding a razor sharp scythe dressed in a grim reaper costume stalks the ramshackle haunted house with Warren trapped inside having to fight for his life. 

If you are looking for the Wayans you will be sadly disappointed in this movie. Rather this Scary Movie from 1991 boasts the legendary talents of…Mark Voges?..Suzanne Aldrich?….and Eddie Munster himself Butch Patrick. Granted a young John Hawkes plays the lead because everyone has to start somewhere. As of last check the Did You Know? section on this film’s IMDB is blank, so those who made this wonderful flick are not divulging their secrets. But I will say 5 minutes into this flick and it introduces a bunch of good ol’ boy hillbillies AND a psycho killer who is bound to escape (anytime a psycho killer in a vehicle you know it’s inevitable) so with this my B-movie loving self was sold. There is a charming “can-doscare1 attitudes” which radiates from the production of this charming movie which makes it really hard to dislike. The protagonist is what the kids would call “a weenie”, but he is so pathetic that his constant woes, many of which are self-inflicted make it fun to laugh at his misfortune. Director/co-writer Daniel Erickson, suitably makes even the smallest scares much grander than they should be to really emphasize how easily terrified this character is. While no masterwork by any stretch of the imagination, the screenplay is actually fairly solid with some fun bits of dialogue and actually finishes with a solid and surprising twist. In fact the climax of this flick is where everything comes together for Scary Movie and is executed to a perfection which is bound to catch many viewers off guard. 

For those of us who love that special low budget horror of the 80’s and early 90’s, Scary Movie is an absolute gem. Now that a successful movie franchise has taken it’s title for it’s own it makes this little production’s status of being overlooked that much more of an issue. This entire flick was an absolute delight and deserves more of a spotlight than it has.