(A.k.a. HALLOWEEN HELL HOUSE; H H H)
The film opens to a raucous shootout between American soldiers and local militants in Pakistan, on Halloween, 2004. A trio of US troops are caught and brought to their knees as their enemies surround them. The first is decapitated; the second suffers a bullet through the skull. The third has the skin hacked off his face and is allowed to live with such a disfigurement.
As this well-mounted prologue concludes, the latter's voiceover tells us "I suffered ... there will be justice, there will be vengeance". Hey, pay attention ... that's Dave Mustaine providing beleaguered Jed's voice!
Cut to present day, and it's Halloween once again. We're introduced to Kill! Pussy! Kill! performing on stage, a girl-heavy punk group led by the feisty Amber (Sara Malakul Lane). A post-gig altercation between their DJ, Speed (Demetrius Stear), and fellow band member Misty (Kelly McCart) results in a wheelchair-bound passer-by attempting to intervene - only for them to feel the wrath of Speed's fists. Speed is ousted from the band and skulks off while the remaining members and their manager Roger (Tristan Ott) set off in search of their second concert of the night.
The band hops in their van and stop at a gas station to refuel. At this juncture Misty inexplicably goes missing and their van develops a problem. While panicking about what to do, the group are warmed by attendant Dale's (Richard Greico) kind offer to drive them to his place and offer them the use of his spare van while he fixes theirs.
Alas, upon arrival at his remote, ramshackle abode, it transpires that he's a bit of a nutter who wants to knock them all out with gas and drag them unconscious into his boss's specially designed "hell house". Yes, Jed (still voiced by Mustaine) - the wheelchair-bound invalid from earlier, no less - now owns this fucked-up building and gets his kicks from pitting morally dubious young adults against one another, setting them tasks, and promising only the last surviving prisoner salvation - once they've killed the rest of their friends.
Cue lots of SAW-style predicaments, a sizeable amount of internal bickering and band outfits so gaudy that they counteract their dark, dull surroundings effectively.
The band members are attractive, cartoonish characters. We learn nothing about them, and the fact that their settings seem to be restricted to "party/squabble" makes it extremely difficult for us to care about their fates. The plot is one we've seen several hundred times over the last fifteen years or so, and writer-director Jared Cohn's screenplay makes no effort to break the template and offer surprises. Even the gore scenes are rather uninspired.
Still, the film is proficiently shot and edited, and the original songs used on the score are agreeable enough. The film's pace is solid; the colourful costumes lend proceedings some much-needed comic strip-style adventure.
HALLOWEEN PUSSY TRAP KILL! KILL! is presented uncut - at 82 minutes and 21 seconds in length - on MVD Visual's region-free DVD.
The film is framed correctly and given the benefit of a savvy 16x9 rendering. Colours are vivid, images are sharp; compression is kept to a minimum thus ensuring no crushing or noise during darker sequences. All in all, this is a strong transfer.
English audio comes in a dependable 5.1 mix which is both spacious and evenly balanced throughout.
The disc opens to an animated main menu page. From there, an animated scene selection option affords access to the film via 15 chapters.
You want extras? This disc has them by the bucket load.
First up is "Basement of Blood", a fast-paced and keenly edited 5-minute behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the film's gore FX. Cast and crew interviews intermingle with test footage, outtakes and chorography rehearsals in this light-hearted, engaging short.
"Beyond the Music" is a lively 7-minute pastiche which finds the cast members speaking to the camera in character, ripping the piss out of VH1-type documentaries as they give their own account of their band's downfall. The most amusing part is the constant beeping of the band's frequent swearing.
Next up is a 6-minute featurette on Cohn. This is also filled with entertaining on-location footage, alongside interviews with the director and complimentary comments from his gracious cast.
"Plot Description" discusses the film's synopsis, of course, as well as delving more into the actors' experience on the set. The featurette runs for 8 minutes and, as with all the other bonus materials, opens with a spoilers warning.
10 minutes of "Video Diarys" (sic) follow. These offer even more soundbites from the cast and crew from the set of the shoot.
A 2-minute slideshow of colourful stills comes next, all of which are set to a rousing Goth rock tune by the curiously named Jyrk!.
Speaking of Jyrk!, there follows a 4-minute music video for the aforementioned song - "Last Halloween". What looks like a reject from The Misfits sings sombrely into a mirror, in-between generous clips from the main feature.
A second music video is also present, in the form of HPTKK's "Superstar". This actually the in-film band performing on stage over the course of 3 minutes. This particular song reminds me, curiously enough, of Devo ...
HALLOWEEN PUSSY TRAP KILL! KILL! promises little with its try-too-hard title. But, while its premise is overly familiar and its characters are one-dimensional stereotypes, there's enough energy and solid production values in evidence here to make this worth a look for the curious.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by MVD Visual|