Graphic Horror: Trailer Park of Terror
Trailer Park of Terror 2008
I’m hopefully going to be finishing off my entire list of horror movies based on comic books this month. After this one, there are only two left that I know of. There’s quite possibly more out there, but I haven’t found them yet. This is one that I only recently realized was based on a comic book. It’s inspired by the Tales From the Crypt comics with a trailer park theme filled with stereotypes, at least the movie is. The movie itself has quite a bit of gore, plenty of character tropes, and a lot of sex that’s rarely sexy. There were moments throughout the film where it tried to be artistic, it tried to be funny, but it just never really worked for me.
We’re introduced to the trailer park via the character of Norma and her origin story as it were, though we don’t find that part out until a bit later. She’s the only person in the entire park that doesn’t look like she’s covered in dirt aside from the Asian prostitute, but things go south when her boyfriend and ticket out of the dump gets accidentally-on-purpose killed by the trio of rednecks who want to keep her there. She soon stumbles across a crossroads devil in the guise of a cowboy in black who gives her an unholy shotgun to smite the entire park and burn it to the ground. Afterwards, we’re treated to an odd credit sequence that shows the passage of time from the 80’s through the 00’s before getting to the main group of victims.
This group of victims feels very much like a typical slasher movie group full of horror trope characters, they even go so far as to make them part of a Christian retreat camp that was supposed to have cured them of their sins. There’s the gay kid, the horned up couple, the chronic shoplifter slash masturbater, the overweight drug user, and the non-specific goth girl who’s mainly just misunderstood. For the most part, throughout the film, they all end up getting their comeuppance related to their sin of choice. For example, the shoplifting perv gets killed by an Asian massage, the fat girl gets her arm chopped off while she’s high and then gets eaten by the extremely obese woman. There are occasional moments of humor, but mainly the characters just felt forced into these stereotypes and it was pretty obvious from the beginning that the goth chick would be the Final Girl, though it was disappointing that the gay kid didn’t survive until the end as he’s the only other one who wasn’t really a sinner, even though his death ends up being an accident rather than an actual kill.
The trailer park itself has become one of those demonic punishments, as Norma apparently was cursed to stay in the park forever, and the rest of the inhabitants have become undead ghouls. Norma herself generally looks normal, but her face is just a human mask, her original face had rotted off long ago, and tends to droop at odd times via some cheap looking CGI. The trailer park denizens don’t fare any better than the kids on the stereotypes. The Asian prostitute speaks with a thick accent and her dialogue generally only consists of asking for massage clients or if they want a “happy ending”. There’s the Elvis-esque guitar playing drug addict, though he does get some of the best moments when they integrate the music into the scenes through his character. There’s also the fat sheriff, the other fat guy who butchers small animals for their meat, the extremely obese woman who only cares about her meat, and the pervy redneck who’s always interested in Norma, both before and after she has become a ghoul.
One of the biggest problems is the tone. While there’s a hint of an anthology and an air of Tales From the Crypt, it doesn’t capture the feeling of the EC comics inspired movie or show. There’s a hint of irony to some of the kids’ deaths, but they tend to come so quickly that there’s no time to process them. There’s plenty of sex throughout, but it’s all handled in a very PG-13 way with no nudity. That’s not to say that a horror film isn’t good without any nudity, but there’s so much sex and talk about sex in this film that it feels odd to deprive the audience of such a horror standard. What it lacks in nudity, it makes up for in gore. The effects on all the undead trailer trash look great minus most of the mouth movements for the dialogue, and the kills are also done exceptionally well. Where the film falters is that it doesn’t present the audience with any characters to connect with outside of the goth chick, and to a lesser extent Norma. But while Norma is initially presented as a sympathetic character in the two flashbacks, she has become a character that no longer earns any sympathy as she lures these kids to their deaths. The kids are also generally presented as sinners that deserve their fatal comeuppance, including the pastor who hides his wedding ring to get a late night piece of undead ass. It all ends up being a bit of a boring mess with a few good kills and a few good quips. There are the occasional stylistic flourish with some of the cinematography, though it usually ends up just being an overhead shot. There was also the unnecessary CGI overhead traffic shots that looked incredibly poor. Norma is a far cry from the Cryptkeeper, and this is a far cry from Tales From the Crypt. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.