BUY FROM AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
STUDIO: Leomark Studios
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 60 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES?: Nope!
“I don’t know for sure if Joe Bob Briggs is dead or not, but if he is, let’s make him spin in his grave!”
Anthology series that showcases short horror(?) films presented by hosts Bo (one of the guys above), Cephus (yes, really… played by the other guy above), and Lulu (process of elimination, people), whose hillbillian credentials seem suspect at best.
Now this is frustrating. You choose to review something called the Hillbilly Horror Show (Vol. 1) because you expect an utter train wreck that you can gleefully tear apart. But then… eh…
Okay, first the bad: The reason that hillbilly motif became an enduring subgenre in the first place is because it is incredibly cheap and easy to pull off. When you try. Even just a little. Yet the host segments of this show are bad to a degree that makes you somewhat embarrassed for the people involved. There are multiple jokes about diarrhea and eating skunks that are intended to be so unfunny that they are funny but only manage to be so unfunny that they are utterly unfunny. Rachel Faulkner, with her wobbly accent and delivery (and she’s the best one), generously shows off her body to help ease the pain of these very brief (yet overlong) interludes, like a friend holding your hand through a painful experience, saying, “it’ll be over soon… in the meantime, hey, look at THESE!”
The DVD menu does give you the option to skip the hillbilly portions, which is proof enough to me that a merciful god exists. However, that god is kind of a dick because he flip-flopped which chapter title takes you to which segment. Yup. 50% of the chapter titles are incorrect, which is going to drive the OCD crowd completely insane but probabley not as bda as thsi does.
Which leads me to the good: Yes, there is good! The short films themselves aren’t bad. I know. I was surprised as well.
We open strongly with Franky and the Ant, a great-looking and well-acted crime vignette. It contains several clever shots and a cheap jumpscare that made me jump, which is saying something because I had just watched Bo and Cephus, leaving my heart cold and soul withered. I hesitate to describe the plot at all because it is very brief and I don’t want to ruin anything that… er… goes down.
Doppelganger is a tremendously simple homage to Dynamation. There’s not much to it, but the animation nerd in me appreciated it (shot on film, no less = mad props), and it’s always good to see that the skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts are still getting work these days. Is it horror? Well, there is a skeleton, but the same could be said for any movie featuring Matthew Gray Gubler, and I would hardly call 500 Days of Summer a… um… okay, yeah, it’s horror.
Amused, a cheaply shot, meandering, and somewhat unclear zombie tale, was the weakest of the bunch. Aside from resembling a weekend project by a couple of friends on a goof (not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that) it is afflicted with a terrible frame rate pulldown effect that I’m sure was intended as a way to mimic a 24 fps film look but instead just made it seem like the DVD was jittery. It wasn’t worthless by any means… just terribly unpolished. C+ for effort.
And then we have The Nest, which is the clear MVP of the bunch (and the longest entry). Unfortunately, it is only an unofficial sidequel to the classic television show Empty Nest in my own imagination. This story, while not entirely original, is very well-produced and would be perfectly at home as a Tale from either a Crypt or a Darkside. It follows the story of a proud rancher and a diligent government employee who set aside their differences in order to find a common – you know what? IT HAS A SWARM OF GIANT KILLER BEES. What else do you need to know? I’m going out of my way to not spoil the moneyshots in the screencaps (a stance the editors of the opening credits of Hillbilly Horror Show decided against – showcasing most of the kills and effects therein – another reason to skip the hillbilly portions). Sometimes you see a low budget production and wonder where the money and effort went; here it is all on screen.
And now some more bad, because I am a cynic at heart. This really felt like it needed another segment or two in it to heartily recommend. Even at an admittedly fair price, 60 minutes, too much of which is taken up by Bo and Cephus (which is to say more than zero minutes) seems a little brief. That said, lunch at Popeye’s Chicken costs almost as much. The sentence preceding this one contains more hillbilly cred than this entire disc.
Ultimately… not the worst way to spend an hour, but bear in mind that I say that in a world where you can accidentally run across back-to-back reruns of Two Broke Girls.
Did the departure of 1995 leave you with a lingering sadness caused by the deproliferation of shitty graphics made with Kai’s Power Goo? Then my friend, relive that golden age by feasting your eyes on this DVD cover! Also it says “fart” on it, in case it’s a gift for your uncle. Thus ends the ballyhoo therein because content-wise, you get no extras.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars