Trailer Park of Terror (2008)

Trailer Park of Terror (2008)

Fear Has A New Home!

Six trouble high school students and their youth ministries pastor are on their way back from an outdoor retreat in the mountains when their bus crashes during a storm. Stranded in the middle of nowhere, the group seeks refuge at a seemingly abandoned trailer park. However this trailer park is home to a group of redneck zombies led by Norma, a buxom blonde who struck a deal with the Devil when her lover boy was killed by jealous suitors in the park.

 

With a title like Trailer Park of Terror, it doesn’t take a genius to realise that it’s not going to be the prettiest, tactful and thought-provoking film out there. You’re going to get sleaze, filth and as much stereotyping as you can shake a stick at. Combine Two Thousand Maniacs! with John Waters’ legendary filthy classic Pink Flamingos and throw in Rob Zombie’s penchant for white trash cinema and you’ve got some idea of what to expect. With a morbid sense of humour, a ‘middle finger approach’ to taste and more depraved cruelty than any man is fit to watch in ninety-one minutes, Trailer Park of Terror means well and plays well for the most part.

The film opens with the back story about Norma and how the zombies came to be which is all well and good given that she spends her first few minutes wearing just a bra. I’m not American so don’t exactly get the whole ‘redneck’ thing but the way the films portray them as backwoods, inbred, retarded and perverted is just a little too clichéd now. I’m sure they’re mostly nice people really but you wouldn’t think it should you ever watch a horror film. Then the film switches to the present day to give us our band of travelling zombie chow in their bus. The characters are (surprise, surprise) of the stock variety and are so one-dimensional that labelling them as token slut, token goth and token asshole is actually quite demeaning to the word token. Their obligatory opening words are all filled with sarcastic barbs, designed to give us an immediate insight into their minds and one-line summaries of their character so that our pre-conceived notions of stereotypes come into effect. Smart work, Mr Writer – let the audience do the hard work so that you don’t have to.

The film knows that characters aren’t going to matter too much later on and these scenes are kept mercifully brief but the problem is that the redneck zombies don’t appear until the half-way point so you had better get sitting comfortably. When they do finally appear, the zombies look as good as they have any right to be. Some of them clearly are just wearing masks but the make-up jobs on a few of them look top drawer. They’ve all got a nice 80s-vibe to them akin to the likes of Night of the Demons and Return of the Living Dead. They’ve got a lot of cheesy one-liners too and the actors in the make-up all ham it up to immense levels. The pot-smoking country music-loving zombie is the funniest of the group, belting out a few musical numbers from the top of his trailer. It’s all silly and jokey but it’s clearly just padding out the running time a little more in between attacks. And it really gets on your nerves after the first couple of songs!

The goofy sense of fun and mischievousness that the film toys with is brutally cast aside during the scenes of cruelty and torture. These zombies don’t just want to get your brains, they want to chop off your arms, smash through your spinal column and turn you into beef jerky. The beef jerky scene alone is nasty, as one unlucky teenager is slowly peeled before being dunked into a bathtub of boiling oil. The scene feels like it goes on forever, such is the nauseating way the victim is slowly toyed with. They could have just dunked him into the oil but no, this is a 2008 horror film so that means excess is the key and torture is necessary. The ‘less is more’ strategy of yesteryear has been replaced by ‘show everything and string it out for as long you can.’ With the film being as hokey and cheesy as it had been up until this point, this scene seems a little out of place. But that seems like an overriding problem with the film. It’s played too over-the-top for anything to be taken seriously so when there’s an effective moment, it’s all lost in the goofiness.

 

Trailer Park of Terror is daft, silly and extremely cheesy which is fun at times and pretty cringe-worthy in others. Whether you like this or not will really depend on your mood. It’s that type of film. Just make sure you have a good wash afterwards as this film will make you feel dirty!

 

 ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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