WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
In life there has to be that one constant. In the face of work, commitments, bills and demonically possessed kittens there has to be that one source of comfort that you can fall back on, that safe place where you know everything’s alright and that your troubles won’t find you. For me, that safe place is neon coloured and dressed in spandex. The 80s b-movie is an amazing thing and makes no excuses for what it is. It’s daft, it’s filled to the brim with bad hair and it captures a time when mom jeans were just being handed out to women of all shapes, sizes and ages. One can’t overdo it with the 80s b-movie, however, lest we be fooled into thinking the mullet is an acceptable choice of hairstyle, but let’s take this moment to look back on a more strikingly colourful era and on the wonder that is Neon Maniacs.
The scene of the crime is San Francisco, a city of giant bridges, horny teenagers and excessive neon signs. It was a time when all the police were absolute pigs whose powers stopped just short of being able to beat a 10-year-old to within an inch of their lives for any arbitrary reason. Natalie and all her friends are out for the night in the park where they will indulge in the youthful pleasures of football, underage beer drinking and open air sex. That is, until the Neon Maniacs arrive on the scene. I’m guessing that since none of them are particularly neon in colour their name is some allusion to the sins of the city. With each individual dressed as a character from the past (ranging from cave man to Samurai to Native American) they make quick work of the gathered teenagers, hacking them to pieces and dragging their corpses off to their lair. Only Natalie survives the horrible incident, yet no one seems to believe her about who the assailants were.
Natalie’s a tough old broad, however, and isn’t about to let the brutal massacre of all her friends get her down. Displaying no emotion whatsoever she decides to go back to school the very next day. Her friends are dead so I’m guessing the idea is that there’s nothing she can do about it, so why worry? Since the police in town are not only pigs but the sort that wait for clear instructions to come from on high no official statement has been made and Natalie’s friends are officially reported missing. Assuming that it’s all some sort of elaborate prank the families of said missing friends start to give Natalie trouble, demanding to know where their loved ones are. When Natalie can’t provide them with any answers the principal suspends her from school until such time as the situation sorts itself out.
All this tragedy and upset doesn’t mean, of course, that Natalie can’t quickly resume her dating life. Onto the scene comes Steven, the most bizarre nerd / delivery boy / dog walker / aspiring rock star / sex machine combination to ever grace the small screen. Having been enamoured with Natalie for years he whole heartedly buys into the story of the Neon Maniacs and promises to keep her safe and help bring an end to their (rather short) reign of terror. They will be aided in their battle against evil by Paula, an enthusiastic high school amateur director (making her more highly qualified than many of the directors of the movies I’ve watched) and monster fan. Armed with only their wits, some water pistols, their inability to experience emotions and their general teenage angst it’s up to these three to save the world from the Neon Maniacs and their super sharp Shogun Knives.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Nothing hits the spot like $5 champagne.
- You don’t need a bouncer in a supermarket’s fruit section.
- Not having sex isn’t illegal, but it’s considered highly inappropriate in certain slut circles.
- It’s always best to go for a relaxing swim after you’ve witnessed the deaths of all your friends.
- In the 80s some high school seniors had yet to go through puberty.
- Women should be ostracised from the community for surviving a brutal massacre.
NEON MANIACS TRAILER
BUY NEON MANIACS AT AMAZON.COM
Year of Release: 2007
IMDB Rating: 4.5 / 10
Level of Awful: Medium
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
I had an internal debate with myself about how to rate this movie. For the most part I was inclined to give it a ‘Low’ rating, mainly because the film is cohesive, it does deliver a few good scares and the clown is frightening as hell. I ultimately settled on a ‘Medium’ rating, however, for several reasons: the movie relies on more than the average amount of horror clichés and, for the most part, feels like a combination of Killer Klowns from Outer Space and I Know What You Did Last Summer. It is more predictable than most b-horrors (watch for about 15 minutes and you’ll have figured out what’s going on) and the killer swaps between being human and something more supernatural a little more than would be regularly admissible. Despite this, when all is said and done, the movie is very watchable provided you can ignore some of the inconsistencies that creep in and Leighton Meester’s singing.
Hella-Burger is the biggest fast-food chain in the city of Blanca Carne (Spanish for ‘white meat’ – clever right?) and its mascot, Horny the Clown, is a town institution. Unfortunately for the town’s teenagers the drive-thru speaker has grown a body and has started going on a killing spree. The clown has amazing speed, a giant meat cleaver and a demonic metallic voice that all adds up to being a rather cool and effective horror villain. While he’s taking out the 2 town wiggers and their hos Mackenzie Carpenter (Leighton Meester) is having a little house party to celebrate her and her friends’ upcoming high school graduation. As most of the people begin to leave the party Mackenzie, her boyfriend Fisher and their inner circle go upstairs to partake in a little weed smoking and playing with a Ouija board. When Mackenzie and Fisher are alone the board begins to write all on its own and the two are left to try and decipher what the meaning of the board’s message is.
Unfortunately for Mackenzie messages from the beyond begin to appear in more and more places and, after escaping Horny’s attacks once, she needs to try and figure out who is communicating with her and who is next on Horny’s hit list. And all of this needs to be done while Fisher constantly tries to get into her pants. As the killings become more elaborate and closer to home Mackenzie begins to see a pattern in Horny’s murderous rampage and realises that a dark secret lies beneath this sudden outburst of clown terror. The police don’t believe her, her parents are obsessively worried about her and her friends are constantly high and wanting to split up to go and look for the killer. Despite these odds Mackenzie needs to quickly come up with a plan to stop Horny before her head lands up on his delightfully evil chopping block.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED:
- In a town called Blanca Carne you aren’t going to see a black person anywhere.
- Due to the absence of black people 50% of all white teenagers are wiggers.
- The other 50% of white teenagers are all stoners.
- When placing your order at the drive-thru if the speaker gets it wrong, leave it alone. Otherwise it might kill you.
- When a Ouija board starts to write things on its own, take very little notice. It probably isn’t that important.
- A plastic tent stake is not an effective tool against a demonic clown.
- Police never trust the one person who actually knows what’s going on.
- When a demonic clown is on the loose killing people it’s an ideal time to set up a haunted house.
- Lying with your face in boiling oil is not an advisable exfoliation method.
- Fast food kills. One way or another.