Fear Town, USA (2014 Troma/Annum Films)
What do you get when you mix some of the best horror tropes, add a dash of Troma cheese, and top it off with hilarious innuendo and social commentary?
Fear Town, USA.
Released in 2014 by Annum Films (makers of The Slashening 2015) and re-released in 2015 by Troma Entertainment, Fear Town, USA is a Comedy/Horror/Sex romp based on 4 different groups of people all attempting to attend their version of a St. Patrick's Day party thrown at a in a cabin in the woods.
The film opens with your classic tale of 2 young people (John Murray, Langan Kingsley) in a car at night, engaging in some heavy petting up on Makeout Point, listing to the radio. An announcement is made that a mental patient has escaped and is on the loose. Absurd dialog and hilarious satire, that persists throughout the movie, is quickly revealed as an innocent noise in the distance prompts a conversation about overzealous gun ownership. This, eventually, leads to the young man accidentally killing not only his date, but himself all while maintaining his right to bare arms/don't tread on me attitude. It is very clear from the start of the film that satire and social commentary were going to play heavily on the script.
After the title card we meet our 4 main groups of characters: The nerdy virgin guys, the 17 year old internet dating app girl (Dana Clinkman), the uninvited camping hippies, and the St. Blevins Day party people.
The nerdy guys find out about the party when 2 bro-dudes interrupt their game of D&D to obtain gas money to drive to said party. The nerdy guys make a pact to finally loose their respective virginity at the party after a very detailed explanation of how and why they are still virgins well into their 20's. The 17 year old girl makes plans to sneak out and meet an older guy at the party that she has been messaging with on a dating site. A group of hippies show up to the party but are denied entrance because they have received an uninvited flier which states that they must remain 500 yards away at all times. They decide to set up some tents and have a party of their own. Cut to the actual party, including 3 ladies "hoping to get their pussies crushed" which hasn't happened since "fuck week" in college.
A slew of strange characters appear throughout the movie including a man wearing an eye patch (Frank Garcia-Hejl) who explains the origin of "Blood Lake", a psychic named "The Amazing Ralph" (Marcus Biship-Wright) who can see into the future and read minds but somehow can't see any of the obvious atrocities happening right in front of his face, a police officer (Rob Lathan) that, not only cannot read, but goes to extremes to prove his point, the ghost of a dead college sorority girl (Sarah Burton) who calls everyone fat, and the devil (Dan Chamberlain). The actual, literal devil who keeps claiming he is not the devil, and is called out by the only sensible party goer who is then ostracized for "assuming his race/gender". All of these characters set the table to allow for some very interesting plot twists.
Throughout the film we see a man wearing a jumpsuit and welders mask, menacingly walking around the woods (often with a weapon in hand), and it isn't until 3 of the hippies break off from the group to smoke pot in the woods, that we get to see some classic slasher film murders happen. Of course none of the other characters are aware that this is going on, including the other hippies. Everyone is solely focused on going to the party and having sex.
The nerdy guys somehow get lost and are side tracked by a man in a top hat who claims to be throwing a better party, and a cult who takes them hostage and attempts to sacrifice them to their god as virgins, all the while they're completely missing everything at the party. Trouble brews at the party when the ghost of a sorority girl starts haunting/bullying some of the party goers, and the psychic senses that something very evil is afoot.
Sex, drugs, a weapon wielding masked man, binge drinking, haunting, cults, wild acts of aggression, perverts, mental patients, a sad clown named Uncle Fuckles, uncontrollable pants pissing, "pussy crushing", sadness, and St. Blevins himself (Will Hines) all factor into a night that results in death. But who is the real killer... or killers?
Brandon Bassham has done a wonderful job keeping this film engaging, all the while keeping you guessing what was going to happen to each and every character. I think one of my favorite aspects was the commitment level of every character - no matter how silly or obvious their predicament, they all stuck to their guns and followed through. Some may end up dead as a result, but they all committed to whatever they believed.
It's very clear that this movie has taken many of our favorite parts from so many of our favorite films such as Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Sleepaway Camp, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc. and melded them together in a hilarious way that has tickled my funny bone in the strangest of ways. If you enjoyed Tucker and Dale vs Evil and wondered what it would be like if they made it in the style of Not Another Teen Movie, then this is the movie for you.
Troma Entertainment purchases and releases a ton of movies every year. Occasionally, those movies go outside the box from what we know and almost expect from Troma, which can be, - for a true Troma enthusiast - a letdown. Fear Town, USA is far from a let down and, by all accounts, a perfect match to the very best of Troma. They mix gore, humor, suspense, plot twists, and absurdity perfectly. When I see that neon green Troma logo on a film poster I immediately correlate that with a specific style of movie, and this one truly was a home-run.