So my fiancee won tickets for us to go see the world premiere of this independent horror by way of it’s host, the 2013 Milwaukee Film Festival. The Milwaukee Film Festival is screening it as part of the Cream City Cinema line-up of films, all of which made here in Wisconsin. Each year, her and I look forward to getting a hold of the MFF program guide so we can pick and choose which films to see, and Billy Club is one that easily grabbed our attention. She loves baseball, I love horror movies, it’s a perfect fit!
The opening scene is a throwback to the original Nightmare on Elm St. in which we see the killer fashioning his weapon of choice. Instead of a razor blade glove, we have a baseball bat spiked with nails on one side and fitted with a retractable blade that comes out of the end. After this brief prologue the film begins and tells the story of four friends reuniting in honor of their little league days who are trailed by the titular slasher coming back for revenge on his former teammates, 15 years after he murdered three of their friends and their coach. The friends decide to go out and stay at the coach’s old cabin in Two Rivers, WI in honor of his death and after some random hijinks ensue, they are killed one by one. As you can tell the film follows the standard 80’s slasher tropes we’ve seen before; friends going to a cabin in the woods, a psychologically devastated anti-hero coming to hack them up, drug use, nudity, bizarre locals, stupid one-liners, etc. However, that’s not a knock on the film, the creators wanted to make an entertaining horror-comedy, and they succeeded for the most part. The film has a very old-school charm about it, especially when it comes to the very gory kills. There is one part in particular where a face is bashed in with spiked end of Billy’s bat that doesn’t flinch away from showing the aftermath.
However, one of the main problems I had with Billy Club is it’s pacing. There are quite a few comedic scenes that feature individual characters goofing off and talking to themselves that seem only to exist in order to pad the films run time. We do have some cool scenes thrown in between all that of Billy killing the other team mates who aren’t the main characters, and one of them is a female who shows her boobs. Once it gets down to the nitty gritty, the film picks up some serious traction and becomes a rather mean-spirited horror film with some really cool tricks up it’s sleeve. I have to admit though that I didn’t care for the ending and thought the showdown between Billy and the final girl could have been better, but I will admit it was original and we’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s up to the viewer as to if that is a good or bad thing.
After the movie was over there was a Q & A with the cast and crew that was pretty neat, although the crowd seemed either too tired or shy (with your writer guilty of both counts, it was close to 1 a.m. on a Tuesday) to ask a decent question. I didn’t realize this until just now but character actor Mark Metcalf was among them. He played the character Crazy Charlie in the film, and is a veteran character actor starring in such things as Animal House, Seinfeld, Ally McBeal, and as the villain The Master in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it’s less successful spin-off, Angel. I wish I, or anyone else in the group, would have known this at the time. Someone asked what the cast and crew were going to do next and we found out co-writer/co-director/actor Nick Somer (who absolutely steals the show in the movie) has another film he is in called Pester which will probably be screened at next years festival. The girl who shows her boobs before being killed (Kelly Cunningham, who also starred in Drew Rosas’ debut film Blood Junkie as Rachel’s breasts) is in Pester as well, and her next starring role is in a film called Guttersluts. And no, I’m not making this up. The rest of the cast have various projects in the works, including a pitch for a show on Comedy Central they are going to work on in January.
All in all, it was a good time, even if the Q & A was a bit awkward. Rosas and Somer said that they had some additional re-mastering on the film’s sound to work on and were looking for distribution for the film. Hopefully they can get all that squared away soon so all of you guys can check this film out. Blood Junkie, found distribution through Troma, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Billy Club finds it’s way there too. Because yeah, it’s that kinda movie, and I say that in the most loving way possible!