Steven Kostanski  

A special-effects man with a real love and knowledge of the 80s, and it's in his own directed movies that this comes out with a vengeance, successfully reproducing many 80s sub-genres, b-movies, old-school gore effects, as well as the vibe, look and attitude of the 80s in many ways. As with many of these effects-people-turned-director projects, the focus and skill tend to be confined to the details rather than seeing the bigger picture, with movies that are hit-or-miss in terms of plotting and story. He does have a very active and colorful imagination however, and there is much fun to be had, even in his weaker movies, thanks to his sense of humor. In other words, these movies are a pure throwback to the gory, colorful, fun but often bad 80s, with all that this entails.

Of Some Interest

Father's Day  
Troma has really found their talent in entertaining trash, once again combining filthy trash, nasty gore and silly humor in a uniquely entertaining package, except this one is a commission job created by Astron-6 based on their fake trailer. Retro-grindhouse strikes again, except this one is thankfully pre-occupied with being silly and poking fun at the genre. Imagine if Mel Brooks were to make a grindhouse spoof about a cannibalistic, demonic killer that rapes and kills fathers, except he abandons the family-friendly approach and goes for the other extreme. An eye-patched tough-guy who was torn away from his maple-syrup pet-project on the other side of the world, and an energetic, kick-ass young priest, team up to fight the evil. They have to work their way through painfully funny dialogue over a confusing metaphor of a fermenting tree, hallucinatory berries, and a cynical strip-joint housing a chainsaw-wielding stripper and the syrup-guy's unrepentant, angry sister. As they (badly) plan their vigilante killing, the movie revels in various penis mutilations, filthy sodomy, graphic cannibalistic gore, until the hilariously deranged, surreal, and gory climax involving a trip to heaven & hell, where Lloyd Kaufman runs his business.

Psycho Goreman  
Taking its cue from 'Turbo Kid', this hilarious genre-abuser from the director of 'Father's Day' combines cheesy 80s kiddie monster sci-fi with gruesome splatter. The tone is jarring, but this only adds to the many, many laughs. At the center is one of the most obnoxiously pushy and bratty little girls you've ever seen, and despite her character, she is hilarious, mostly because of the way she treats monsters like they were just more human toys for her to control. But has she met her match when she unearths the ultimate evil, a monster with unlimited powers bent on the destruction of the universe? In between imaginative grotesque and graphically gory horrors that this monster inflicts on humans and other visiting aliens, somehow we get a kid adventure, and soon, the fate of the universe may depend on the most ridiculously convoluted game invented by a brat. The costumes and effects and splatter are all very 80s, as is the fun factor. I could have done without all the trendy male bashing though, with all the males portrayed as useless and put down by females. The tone ranges from funny to silly to gruesome to so-outrageous-it's-hilarious. Frankly, I don't know what to do with this one.

Void, The  
If Cthulhu-horror isn't a sub-genre then it should be. This horror movie from the makers of Father's Day copies-pastes a bunch of horror ideas from many classic horror movies into a bit of an incoherent horror movie, but it gets the atmosphere, look and feel quite right for a somewhat creepy experience. There's an assault on a hospital, a cult, an evil underworld horror reminiscent of Mouth of Madness, Thing-esque body transformations, and a hellish leader inspired by Hellraiser. Obviously the man is a Carpenter fan. As mentioned though, the story is pretty incoherent so it's difficult to provide a plot summary. It's basically one hellish night by a group of antagonistic desperados, doctors patients and nurses, while the world suddenly turns into a nightmarish chaos around them and people transform into horrifying unidentifiable creatures that are beyond death.


Leprechaun Returns  
I haven't been keeping track of the Leprechaun franchise so I wouldn't be able to compare this with the others. It's supposed to be a reboot and sequel to the original though, bringing back the little green Irish supernatural killer obsessed with gold, only 25 years later, and without Warwick Davis. Steven Kostanski gets the campy tone of silly but vicious fun OK, and ups the ante on the splattery deaths. But it's still just a slasher, only with a wise-cracking leprechaun with a deadly power of psychokinesis which he uses to slice his victims every which way, even sideways! The humor helps, but I am really not a fan of slashers at all.

Kostanski first movie is a homage to really bad cheesy action sci-fi 80s b-movies, which, in turn, were bad attempts to emulate movies like Terminator, Robocop and various Van Damme movies. The really cheap special effects are horrible, but, on the other hand, they are made with lots of hard work and love for the genre, just like 80s movies. Then again, there is lots of green-screen cheating and it just looks bad. The dialogue is as silly and dumb as it gets (on purpose), and the story and fights embrace b-movie badness like there was no yesterday. When the techno-forces of Hell take over the world, one man is turned into a cyborg killing machine to avenge humanity and battle with Count Draculon, with the help of a couple of punks, and a fighter straight out of Street Warrior. But first they must battle with mega-monsters from hell in a gladiator arena... Fans of bad movies, especially the b-movies from the 80s, may get a kick out of this. Personally, I think there are better things to pay homage to from the 80s.

1999- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents