Stan Helsing (2009)

Stan Helsing (2009)

The most feared monsters in cinematic have met their match.

Stan Helsing and his friends are on their way to a Halloween party but they get lost and forced to stop off at the Stormy Nights estate, formerly a film studio and now a gated community. The people who live there tell Stan that he is a descendant of the great monster hunter Abraham Van Helsing and that he is the only one who can free their community from the monsters that have plagued the town for the past decade.

 

And I thought the Scary Movie films were the nadir of horror spoofing! Stan Helsing is probably the least funny spoof I’ve ever watched and that’s saying something when Superhero Movie and Meet the Spartans have graced my DVD player (can’t believe I’m admitting that). Are these films made by idiots for idiots? Or is it a case that the sole target audience for this film were the friends and relatives of the director and writer and only they would get it?

The film has the most flimsy of plots and it runs like a scattergun of spoof scenes, some recent and some older. You get spoofs from Psycho, Pet Semetary, Jeepers Creepers and The Blair Witch Project amongst others. They see fit to throw in a Ring joke even though that’s old news. ‘Michael Jackson’ is even here, dishing out phallic ice-lollies to kids. All of the allegations and fuss about him has been a soft target for spoofs for years but it’s too old to be relevant or funny anymore. Even sending up the likes of Freddy, Michael Myers, Pinhead, etc. has been done time and time again and it’s just not funny anymore, if it ever was to start with. Watching these movie monsters collectively dance to the YMCA at the end of the film, I knew that I had hit the bottom of the barrel and could go no further.

Alas the film isn’t just about spoofs and there’s the usual array of sex, bodily fluid and fart gags that teenagers will laugh their socks at and also plenty of pop culture references are thrown out there for good measure (including President Obama turning up at a karaoke contest but he doesn’t say anything, doesn’t do anything and isn’t the receiving end of a joke – so what’s the point?). You get peeping toms in toilets, gay priests, lesbian Harpies, the list goes on. It’s silly, it’s juvenile and above all, not funny to an adult (well maybe an odd fart still raises a chuckle or two from me). It may not be as crude and offensive as the earlier Scary Movie films but it’s got its fair share of smut. There are a handful of decent scenes, probably the pick of which involves the characters stumbling onto the set of a hardcore gay porno featuring Frankenstein’s monster. But its slim pickings and they are too few and far between.

I really feel for Leslie Nielsen. I do. Here is a man who was a serious actor and starred in the sci-fi classic The Forbidden Planet yet found a niche and major popularity in comedy with his turns in Airplane! and The Naked Gun, two of the funniest films ever made. Since then he’s been stuck in spoofs and comedies, all of which seemingly get worse than the last. If The Naked Gun sequels weren’t as funny as the original, at least they were infinitely more entertaining than Spy Hard, Wrongfully Accused, Dracula: Dead and Loving It and 2001: A Space Travesty. Watching Nielsen try the same old deadpan stick as he did in the early 80s is like watching your granddad embarrass himself in public. The difference is that he’s stuck in drag in this film which makes things even worse especially given his age (eighty-three).

At least the rest is cast is actually pretty good, even if they are lumbered with some horrendous ‘comic’ lines. Steve Howey makes for an amiable reluctant hero. Diora Baird is just smoking hot in her Native Indian outfit and has a pretty decent dead pan delivery. Kenan Thompson (who I will always remember as the fat one out of Kenan and Kel) is actually pretty funny and has some decent moments, most of which involves him responding to comments from others by mumbling things he doesn’t want them to hear (and they sometimes do hear him which adds to the effect). They’re all likeable heroes and they deserve better than the script they’re served up here.

 

Stan Helsing should be the final nail in the coffin of the daft spoofs but it won’t be, that’s for certain. I thought they’d finally spoofed every single horror film in some form in some film but I guess not. Maybe someone will finally realise that these films are actually embarrassing to watch. This film only gets marks for Diora Baird’s glorious rack.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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