This American home decorator slasher is a cheap-but-effective horror starting with a fictitious news item about a Long Island resident, James Parrish, who a few years back visits a local tattoo artist to get ‘Moros’ inked on the back of his shaven head. He then kills his entire family at his home 132 Burningmoore Lane and apparently disappears forever.
This is followed by some found footage about how the obligatory randy teens breaking in to the now-empty residence in the middle of the night to film themselves getting naked (which would be enough to annoy any householder). The teens, unsurprisingly enough, don’t leave the house alive.
Five years later, we switch to a mocu-mentary about a small-time housing decorator company, Cole Contracting, are filming themselves doing up a tumbledown house for a DIY show, planning on a ‘complete home transformation process’ into a smart new B&B.
Run by Harry Cole, the show is called (cue the grim irony, etc) ‘Getting’ Hammered’ and will use the rough footage of the cameras set up around the house to film the plaster-and-paint transformation. Complete with cheesy graphics, jump cuts, and annoyingly ‘excitable’ music, this fake docu features a chirpy of home maintenance crew (John, Dan, Pete etc) playing up for the cameras.
There’s the obligatory cutesy banter and matey nicknames, a bit like Top Gear with painting brushes cars. There’s the jovial, chubby plumber ‘Fits’ with his whooped catchphrases: ‘It’s party time!’ and ‘Get on the train!’)
There’s all the routine delays and annoyances of filming: background noise causes re-shoots, the presenter is rubbish at his job, the camera operator treads in dog crap while filming, and half the crew are late/arguing with each other. And if that’s not irritating enough, every time you try to grab some stock background footage, there’s a hooded figure glaring menacingly at you from the distance and forcing you to reshoot.
As the work gets underway, there’s hints there may not be quite what it seems: the hammy, hair-flicking presenter Doug describes the house as a ‘forgotten tomb of bricks and mortar’ with disturbing accuracy.
And why is the kitchen door already open, the boss wonders? A homeless guy turns up to mumble warnings incoherently: ‘Don’t go in! It’s his house!’ before adding under his breath: ‘Moros’. None the wiser, and presumably having not seen the news footage, the filmmakers/decorators are in no mood for hobos uttering cryptic warnings, and send him on his way.
‘No bullshit today, no prankin’ ‘ warns the boss paternally as the camera operators bicker over who films which talent (‘You film the pretty women and I film the sweaty men’), and the others continue annoying each other with more practical jokes such as gluing metal work boxes to the floor.
The designer turns up and starts gushing how they need to create ‘a warm, inviting, cute porch, where people would love to mingle.’ She adds chirpily: ‘I like to walk into a house and feel the *soul* of the place…’. All the place needs is a few elegant chandeliers, according to her (and possibly a few less lurking psychos).
Pretty-boy presenter Doug, a dead ringer for Justin Hawkins from The Darkness, is constantly re-taking shots and more concerned with his hair and flirting with the female designer, than doing any decent pieces to cam. Through all the chaos, the in-house cameras catch glimpses of a hooded figure in the house.
A house inspector turns up and warns bluntly: ‘This place is a sh*thole,’ and gives a warning about its general lack of safety and why the painter shouldn’t be smoking dope on the job.
Parrish by now has had enough of his house being used as a film set, and starts polishing off each of the worker with their own equipment. The electrician pays the price for not seeing all wires are safely out of the way, the painter decorates his pristine, still wet white wall with his own blood.
Writers Jonathan Williams and J. Andrew Colletti could have used the idea of the house itself, annoyed by being referred to tactlessly as ‘an old girl in need of a facelift’, deciding to rid itself of the characters. Given the dangers of a tumbledown house full of dope-smoking alpha males playing up and annoying each other, surrounded by dangerous power equipment, adding a serial killer hardly seems necessary.
Harry finds very little in the way of his crew but a lot of blood, and wastes time by doing a bit of REC-style rewinding the film to try to discover what happened. Instead of calling for help from safely outside, the crew rush around searching the cellar for the disappeared bodies (and apparently fail to hear Harry getting attacked by Parrish upstairs).
This new genre of ‘paintbrush slasher’ is The Driller Killer effectively mating with 60 Minute Makeover, and a smart – if not particularly scary – film done on a small budget.
Nina Romain is living proof that small children shouldn’t be taken trick-or-treating in Alabama in the 1980s – they tend to end up obsessed with the creepier side of Halloween! Her horror shorts tend to be shot half in the seedier side of Los Angeles and half in the darker side of the UK. She’s spending this Halloween dressed as a creepy clown at various London horror events and planning to eat her own weight in festive treats. You can find her on www.girlfright.com and IMDB.