Hauntedween (1991)

Originally published in Bleeding Skull! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey.

Don’t love Hauntedween for the title alone. Love it for the integrity.

This film positions its most unattractive assets — the annoying people and the terrible comedy — at the forefront. It’s a bold move. And yet, it’s one that pays off. Shot on 16mm around Bowling Green, Kentucky by filmmaker Doug Robertson, then edited on video for its VHS release, Hauntedween will entertain you with its sincere clumsiness. How do I know? Simple. Little Richard impressions, a Danzig-meets-Morrissey theme song, and “Foot Locker SLAM FEST!” t-shirts couple perfectly with a gore-filled haunted house on Halloween night.

Halloween night, 1970. Mullets. Animal print sweaters. Tight-rolled jeans. Little Eddie Burber isn’t old enough to work in his family’s spookhouse. Instead, he lures a young girl to a secret room within the walls, impales her on a spike, then decapitates her. Momma says, “We got to go, Eddie!”

Twenty years later. Beer bongs. Hawaiian swim trunks. Rejected Jackie Mason stand-up routines. The Sigma Pi frat is in dire need of funds to renew their charter. Head honcho Kurt may be losing his girlfriend, Mel. Solutions: Sunbathe. Throw a fundraiser party. Throw another fundraiser party.

Halloween night. Momma’s dead. Eddie returns! After the keys to the Burber spookhouse end up with the Sigma Pis, the bros decide to re-open the “House Of Horrors” for yet another fundraiser. Eddie traps ’em, sets ’em up in spookhouse scenes, and kills ’em. Customers eat up the gore.

Roughly 45 minutes of this film will slap you into unconsciousness, if only by sheer annoyance alone. Plot points repeat. Boring people talk about nothing. Boring people talk about fundraisers. No big deal. Once night falls, Hauntedween leans in with a third act of luscious Halloween trickery. You can smell the rubber masks and tubes of drug store blood. You can hear the Kentucky accents come alive again. You can feel the warmth of enthusiasm. Plus, an automobile really can blow up following a shotgun blast to the back bumper. You’ll see it happen!

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