Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Trailer Park of Terror
The secret to making jerky is the marinade
Jarv’s Rating: A very fair and balanced 2 Changs out of 4. This is close to being almost ideal drunken cinema, but seems to lack confidence in becoming a proper “bad” movie. Which is weird, considering it is called Trailer Park of Terror. It isn’t like anyone is watching this expecting Merchant Ivory, is it?
As my Birthday has now passed, and I’m not going to get to see Conan until next week, I may as well update the schlock vault entries I’ve been watching recently. First to shamble it’s rotting corpse out of the vault was the previously reviewed Vampire Girl v Frankenstein Girl, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The second entry in this recent run was Trailer Park of Terror. I own up at the start to once again picking a film based entirely on its name, and to be honest, that has left me watching the odd disastrously un-entertaining film in the past. However, Trailer Park of Terror seemed to me to hold some real potential as an idea. So, with confidence brimming, I stuck it on and, for the most part, it did indeed live up to the lofty standards of the name, with the odd really moment. However, for the most part, Trailer Park of Terror came across as a bit, well, smug, and I think there’s actually a much, much better film lurking around in here.
The thing about Trailer parks is that, in my opinion, they are inherently revolting places populated by the educationally subnormal of white trash America. This, in theory, should lend itself perfectly to lots and lots of silly gory fun. There is always the temptation to turn anything with trailer parks into some kind of horrible red neck Deliverance-lite, but if you can resist that temptation then surely you’re on to a winner here. Trailer Park of Terror started life as a funny book horror anthology, and this, surprisingly, has an unexpectedly high success rate. These anthologies can draw from the portmanteau films of the 1970’s and use the location as merely the starting point for a series of creepy horror yarns. That, sadly, isn’t what happens here.
The opening, actually, is Trailer Park of Terror’s strongest scene. Norma (Nichole Hiltz) is the Princess of the trailer park, and she dreams of little more than love. Sick of her sleazy existence, Norma has plans to elope with her fiancé and live as far away from her misbegotten origins as she can. Due to a complete cock-up, her lover is murdered by three Trailer Park residents, and a devastated Norma wanders the dusty highway in what can only be described as a right old state. Soon enough, she bumps into enigmatic The Man (Trace Adkins) who is quite blatantly Satan. One ill-advised deal later, and a tooled up Norma goes back to the trailer park to wreak bloody vengeance on those that wronged her.
Cue montage- and we get to see that there have been loads of disappearances in the area around the trailer park. It’s now the present day, and the film introduces the main
cannon fodder characters. It’s *sigh* a group of troubled kids going on a church camp up into the hills. One coach crash later, and our intrepid punks enter the Trailer Park and meet Norma. Cue carnage as the undead white trash pick them off one by one leaving the obvious survivor girl (although she is a goth here) Jeanette Brox.
OK. This is a perfectly adequate unexceptional film. The first blunder that stops it reaching greatness is the sheer unlikability of the kids. They’re all twats, and are intensely irritating on screen, with only Brigette the Goth having anything resembling a personality. Even the fucking pastor taking them on the trip is a complete dickhead. These films never work when you don’t have anyone to root for, as if you don’t give a fuck about the characters, or worse are actually wishing death on them, then the film has to work double time to make up for it.
In the case of Trailer Park of Terror, it has two trump cards to play. The first is Hiltz as Norma. She’s gloriously trashy and actually quite good fun, and Hiltz puts in a performance with quite a bit of charm. It does help that Norma gets all the good lines in the film, but credit to the makers, this is a top turn from her. The second trump card is the undead themselves. There are, including Norma, 6 undead characters here, and they’re all proper characters rather than being mindless drooling zombies. Most fun, though, is the demented guitar playing white trash zombie, and the highlight of the main bit of the film is him being stuck back together with duct tape and then playing a nasty blues song on the top of his trailer. This, actually, is also the most entertaining sequence in the film, and these two facts are not unrelated.
I was also, in a film called Trailer Park of Terror, expecting mucho boob and mucho gore. The film utterly fails to deliver on the former, but isn’t shy at all of messy carnage with the latter. Spines get shattered, arms hacked off, zombies are detonated, heads are torn off, and so forth. The only bit that made me squirm though, is the horrifying jerky scene, which wonders far too near torture porn territory for me. What makes it a bit worse, though, is that it follows the nightmarish scene where Norma and cohorts attempt to film a porno forcing two of the teenagers to star in it. This is wholly unpleasant and feels far too close to Rob Zombie territory.
The soundtrack, actually, is astonishingly good. It’s an earthy mix of guitar based tunes, and probably better than the film deserves. It does, however, work well in the context of the film, and more importantly allows guitar playing smackhead zombie his moment to shine.
Overall, meh. I give this two out of four and just can’t summon up the enthusiasm to either glowingly recommend it or batter it to ribbons. Trailer Park of Terror just isn’t enough fun and the film utterly fails to live up to the splendid opening or the gloriously trashy title. It isn’t a bad film, not at all, just, well, not a very good one. Annoyingly, the potential is there for a storming little dirty romp, but the film lacks the balls to push it all the way. A real shame.
Until next time,