Evil Laugh (1988)
Cast: Steven Baio, Tony Griffin, Kim McKamy, Jody Gibson
Director: Dominick Brascia
Nutshell: Friday the 13th meets The Big Chill says the blurb – if only it was so!
“screamer” – Creature Features
“turkey” – Video Movies Guide
Now there are bad movies, there are bombs, turkeys, duds, clangers, stinkers – many of them gloriously entertaining and yet there are also those that are so stupendously inept that a viewer needs to pinch themselves several times over in order to realize that they aren’t hallucinating when watching them. Evil Laugh, “Friday the 13th meets The Big Chill” (claims the blurb on the DVD cover) is one that falls firmly into each of these categories but perhaps most of all into the “inept” category.
First the plot: a group of acutely retarded and very randy Medical students turn up at a remote mansion to help a friend renovate the place but plans go terribly awry as a masked killer turns up to spoil the fun and games. From the very onset the acting is embarrassingly amateurish and it doesn’t take long for one to realize that this is little more than a no budget, brain-dead slasher film shot by a bunch of friends, none of whom had the slightest prospect of a career in the acting profession. The script of the film is marginally better than that of a porn movie and the production values and camerawork even worse. In typically brain dead 80’s slasher movie style, one by one our moronic med students meet their maker in typically extravagant ways – one having his head exploded in a microwave oven!
However if the acting is dreadful then the gore effects are unimaginably dire. However perhaps the most frightening aspect of this miserable experience are the recurring blasts of dross that punctuate the movie throughout – these being a series of pop-disco songs especially written for the production which should have you reeling in utter despair and lunging for the stop button on your DVD player (that’s if you are ever unfortunate enough to have this particular turd in your machine to begin with…but we’re being hypothetical here remember). But, go with the flow and enjoy the numbers for what they are: sublimely hideous, tacky chunks of cheese, painful enough to qualify as flirting with Sadomasochism.
Oh incidentally, the Evil Laugh of the title refers to the masked slasher who has a fit of giggles as he brutally despatches his victims with axes, knives, machetes and a microwave oven. Then of course there is the shock twist ending that will have you applying for night classes in Higher Thought Development as it will leave you flummoxed and bemused in equally chastening proportions. It gets worse, the film resorts to large doses of infantile comedy in order to get from one scene and situation to another adding to its overall appeal to masochists. There isn’t a shred of tension, no effective shock scenes, no gore, and no action, in fact this is a sorry excuse of a horror film that isn’t remotely scary (unless you consider those songs), and the ghastly script that makes Friday the 13th seem like a Shakespeare.
Evil Laugh is so dreadfully inept in every department that and fatally it commits the cardinal sin of being tedious to the extreme – so, other than the incredible songs, there really is nothing to recommend this piece of festering crap. Even die hard horror fans will have a tough time sitting through this garbage despite its fairly abbreviated running time. Interestingly on the commentary track the filmmakers sort of claim that they had the “Scream” horror parodying idea way before Wes Craven’s hit came along because of a character in the film who knows “the rules of the slasher film”. Fat lot it did them though!
The DVD has the temerity to call the film a “horror classic” and I quote “This horror classic is one every true collector of the macabre will want to own on DVD!” Yeah right! Avoid at all costs unless you need to torture unwanted guests or get rid of unwanted company. The questions one have to ask are soul searching and embarrassing ones: a) How did one pay hard earned cash for a piece of shite that is nothing more than some misguided wannabe’s glorified home movie and b) How did one manage to actually sit through it to the end? What a pity that one didn’t catch Krishna Shah’s name as one of the executive producers earlier, perhaps then this pitiful experience could have been avoided altogether. Anyway it’s too late now, what’s done is done.