I’m certain that many (indeed , likely most ) of you Fellow Fans out there spent a good bit of your youth (and quite possibly still do ) watching whichever local or syndicated horror theater host you could get in your town on most Friday and/or Saturday nights. From Vampira and Morgus the Magnificent through Count Gore de Vol and Dr. Shock — up through the redoubtable Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and Joe Bob Briggs, to the more modern names like Penny Dreadful XIII and Mr. Lobo, we all have our favorites to guide us through our late-night b-flick meanderings. In all those years of watching, I’m sure it crossed many of your minds as it did mine — wouldn’t a late-night horror theater show make a dandy setting for a cheesy scare flick?
I kinda think it would be a pretty good idea for a campy horror film — much like the kinds you’d see on such a show. Apparently, the folks at Eye Candy studios with writer Channing Whitaker and director William Collins think so, too — my submitted evidence being their new film, KILD-TV.
It’s late Friday evening at local KILD, channel six. The night desk signs off after their last report of the day, and anchorman Conrad stays on to work on a “personal project”. Meanwhile, the live “horror theater” of the affiliate begins it broadcast, with the experienced personality of Milton as his character Dr. Perseco hamming it up for the camera.
Tonight also boasts the addition of his new assistant, played by the newest producer at KILD, Adel, who’s working her way around Milton’s improvisations and script changes, all the while getting to know the veteran staff members. As the night moves on and it’s time for a cut-in scene of “Dr. Perseco”, the studio is upset that their controller doesn’t cue up the right scenes at the right time — but when they go to find out what the hell his problem is, it turns out to be a screwdriver driven into his chest! Panicked, they find that they’re locked in the studio, and whomever killed the controller has also seen to it that they are trapped like rats, cell phone reception ruined by the studio’s antenna and the phones dead. Finding that the programming is running on a pre-set schedule, the remaining employees use the only means of communication they have left, and appeal to the public via their broadcast, hoping to get some help — but since it’s a horror show, who will believe it? As more of them are picked off one by one, they struggle to figure out what put them in this situation — why are they being stalked and killed? And what does Conrad’s “personal” story have to do with it all?
I was pleasantly surprised by this one; it comes out of the box with a very convincing portrayal of a television station, with the sets and technical aspects coming off as very believable — impressive for a low-budget film. The acting, while having it’s highs and lows, still carried off the characterizations well — a standout for me was D.C. Douglas as Milton/Dr. Perseco, who commanded every scene he was in, be it the hammy and over-the-top character of Perseco, or his concern and intelligence during the more serious scenes. The FX were brutal and gruesome, both the on-screen kills and the aftermath of the off-screen ones — it will be most pleasing to the gorehounds out there. The story is every slasher film you’ve ever seen, but with good characterizations, humor that is intelligent rather than mindless, and the unique setting, I didn’t find it tiresome or dull. There is a twist ending, but you folks out there who are as jaded as I am will probably find it telegraphed fairly early on — still, it’s woven well enough into the narrative that it made me question my theory more than once. Add in camera work that is both clever and nostalgic, and you have a pretty good bloody romp hearkening back to the slashers of old that it homages.
As with any horror flick (subjective pests they are — especially slashers!), this one won’t make everyone happy — it has it’s flaws and holes like any other — but personally I found it a great time in front of the ol’ screen, checking off all the boxes of the subgenre but nonetheless enjoying the characters and the situations; bloody, campy, and fun.
The flick’s already won Best Picture and Best Actor (D.C. Douglas) at Horrorhound, and I believe it’s destined to keep winning accolades.
Two-tenths of a dime lighter.
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