Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Laid To Rest

Robert Hall’s first movie, Lightning Bug, ran into controversy because of its marketing. Since Hall (and his company, Almost Human) is best known for visual effects/makeup in genre films, the movie was pushed as a horror film, and viewers expecting that were disappointed to learn it is mostly an autobiographical drama. His second movie, Laid To Rest, allows no ambiguity to what it is: an old-school slasher film.

A woman (Bobbie Sue Luther, whose character is unnamed but eventually is nicknamed Princess) wakes up in a coffin in a funeral home (!) with no memory of how she got there or even who she is. She quickly discovers she is being chased by a sadistic killer, who never speaks (he later communicates with her by text messages, so it’s a good thing he didn’t have access to her Facebook page) and wears a shiny chrome skull mask, hence his nickname, Chrome Skull. Princess understandably flees from Chrome Skull, and in doing so becomes a sort of slasher flick Typhoid Mary, because everyone she meets comes to a gory death. Helping damsels in distress worked out so much better in the old fairy tales. No one ever shoved a knife through Prince Charming’s face. The plot of the movie is pretty much Princess flees, Chrome Skull chases, Chrome Skull kills everybody.

Not that the simplicity of the plot is a big detriment. Laid To Rest is intended to be a gory slasher, and nothing more, and it achieves that goal, and does so with a style that makes it one of the better retro-Old School slashers, much better than the over-hyped Hatchet. The murders are suitably gory and over the top, which is to be expected given Hall’s background, and the cast does a good job. Due to Hall’s connections, there are some better-known actors in some of the small parts, such as Lena Headey and Johnathon Schaech.

A bit of quibble involving telephones: At the beginning of the movie, when Princess wakes up, she calls 911 for help on an old model landline phone, but doesn’t know where she is. The operator tells her to stay on the phone long enough to trace the call, but she walks away and pulls the receiver cord out of the phone, disconnecting it. First of all, while TV shows used to be full of attempts to keep someone on the line long enough for a trace, nowadays, it’s almost instantaneous*. Secondly, pulling the receiver cord out wouldn’t disconnect the phone, you have to push down the bar to do that.

These nit-picks aside, if you are a slasher movie fan, you’ll probably enjoy Laid To Rest.

* As a teenager, I worked in the summer in the switching room of the local phone company, where I learned how to trace a call manually (never had reason to do so), as well as the complicated procedure used to disconnect someone’s phone, i.e. sticking a toothpick in the connection. It would cost the customer a $75 re-connection fee to get me to pull the toothpick out.


John Hornor said...


KentAllard said...

It's my nature, and I can't rebel against my true nature.