Thursday, September 3, 2009

Caesar and Otto's Summer Camp Massacre (2009)

Looking at the DVD for Caesar and Otto’s Summer Camp Massacre, there is no doubt that the intent of the movie is to spoof such horror classics like Sleepaway Camp and the Friday the 13th films. Now, there are many low budget films that try to spoof horror films – but few succeed in actually being funny. So, looking at the DVD I was wary about popping it in, fearing it would be painful to sit through. Not even the promise of it starring Brinke Stevens and Felissa Rose got me excited and the synopsis didn’t sound entirely promising:

After punching out the police chief’s mentally challenged brother, belligerent nancy-boy, Caesar, is on the run. Together, he and his slovenly brother, Otto, take on new identities as counselors at the strangely vacant Camp Sunsmile.

The summer camp has attracted a motley crew of Hollywood outcasts, each with something to hide. But when the mysterious Carrie (Felissa Rose, star of Sleepaway Camp) shows up, the counselors begin disappearing one by one.

Soon, Caesar and Otto find themselves on the edge of a summer camp killer’s blade as they run, duck and swoosh for their lives!

So, the DVD sat on my desk for quite a few weeks before I reluctantly decided to pop it in the DVD player. What followed was a slapdash, wacky and silly film that had its moments, but overall didn’t stand out enough for me to enjoy.

It is supposed to be a comedy, but many of its jokes fall very flat. I love when movies poke fun at the clichés of horror films, but all the jokes I heard in Caesar and Otto’s Summer Camp Massacre felt reused and recycled. There are also lots of sight gags, including severed arms, chainsaw mishaps and Three Stooges-style physical humor, but none of it elicited more than a brief smile from me. No folks, I’m not dead inside but I require a little more than people getting bumped on the head for kicks, especially in a full-length movie.

The jokes weren’t all that funny, but did the film actually use some likable characters? Eh, not so much. The lead character, Caesar (played by writer/director Dave Campfield), is extremely flamboyant and his screechy voice gets on your nerves after a while…think Chris Kattan playing Corky Romano. I wish we had seen more of Otto (Paul Chomicki), the “gentle giant” of the pair, because he seemed entirely more interesting than Caesar and his bumbling personality. I did enjoy the character of the head camp counselor, played by Ken MacFarlane. His character was a bit on the fruity side too, but he put on a great performance. I also liked the character of Carrie, played by Felissa Rose, who is basically reprising of her role of Angela from Sleepaway Camp. It’s also a joy to see Rose again in a fun role that kinda makes us forget about her part in the atrocious Return to Sleepaway Camp.

As for the horror part of the film, it doesn’t offer much. While there is a killer stalking the camp counselors, the actual kills are done off camera and there is no over-the-top gore featured here either. Since the comedy part of the film doesn’t hold up, it would have been nice for some blood and guts to make up for that fact…unfortunately, this isn’t the case. However, I did enjoy the “mad scientist” lab at the end of the film and the killer’s ensuing explanation as to why he or she is so gung-ho about killing people.

Despite a few shining moments, Caesar and Otto’s Summer Camp Massacre just wasn’t my kind of flick. Though for an indie it was very competently filmed, it lacked good jokes…I mean, how many times have we heard the one about the chick in the horror film that gets naked and then gets killed by the masked murderer? With these tired old jokes and quickly exhausting an arsenal of slapstick, the film’s hour and a half running length feels much, much longer than it actually is.

Overall, Caesar and Otto’s Summer Camp Massacre was a disappointing effort for me. Though it is very well filmed, the slapstick humor just didn’t resonate with me and the film felt goofy but not funny. While it does elicit some brief smiles here and there, there’s just not enough fresh material to keep the film afloat for its entire running time. Perhaps it would have been better suited as a short film, but as a feature-length it feels drawn-out and never-ending.

Visit Caesar and Otto’s Official Site!

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