Copper Bill (2020)

Two thieves attempt to steal 80 million dollars of hidden Texas drug money from the famed ranch belonging to a dead member of the Cowboy Mafia.

When I see a wrestler is in an upcoming movie, it’s time for celebration. Even though the world around us seems to be crumbling, I still can find some comfort in film. I saw Dustin Rhodes (AEW,WWE,WCW,TNA) was going to be in this crime thriller a few months back. It was originally supposed to hit VOD on Valentine’s Day but it was met with a bit of a delay. Thankfully, I found the time to sit down with it today.

Dustin Rhodes debuted as Preacher Woodward in 2014’s Meet Me There, an independent horror film that not only features wrestling in it but also stars a few other wrestlers in cameos.  He also was in The Murders of Brandywine Theater alongside Diamond Dallas Page. He has also been cast to be the lead in the director of Copper Bill, Brett Bentman‘s upcoming film, Thunderclap!, along with Kevin Nash and R-Truth. I’m especially excited for Thunderclap! because I am a big fan of Nash’s acting and R-Truth is one of my favorite current stars in WWE.

Copper Bill is about a down on his luck gambler named Jessup who cooks up a scheme to rob one of the ranches of a legendary member of the cowboy mafia. He partners up with Mitchell (Dustin Rhodes), a tougher than leather debt collector for a man known simply as The Indian. They run into some trouble when after breaking into the mansion on the ranch, they discover that the grand-daughter the man’s ranch they are robbing is mute and doesn’t want to disclose the location of the millions they are after.

Dustin Rhodes churns out a wonderful performance as Mitchell in this film. He looks the part of a rough and tough no goodnik, with his myriad tattoos, cut off shirt, cowboy hat, and boots. His speech is natural, which is a thing not all actors have mastered. Sometimes I have a real hard time believing in character because something about their manners and line delivery just seems off. Dustin really gets a chance to showcase his acting abilities in this film, his ferocity in questioning the grand daughter, Lily, was outstanding. He really commands the scenes he is in, because of his physical stature. I imagine that Dustin will see many more roles in his future after his outing in Copper Bill.

This movie is quite violent at times, almost alarmingly so at some points. I really wasn’t expecting this from the movie for some reason but it is not out of place. The violence really works to further the plot, so it is not gratuitous.  They used their budget wisely in this film and pull off some great special effects through out. The movie is beautiful to look at and I had an excellent time with it. You can watch Copper Bill on Amazon Prime Video for a small rental fee. I think most folks who are into crime thrillers will enjoy this.

Brett Bentman certainly seems to be on a great path as a film maker who works with wrestlers as he also wrote and directed 90 Feet From Home starring Shawn Michaels. With two films starring professional wrestlers already under his belt and one more in the pipeline, he is someone I’m going to keep my eye on.

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Resurrection of Gavin Stone (2017)

A washed-up former child star, forced to do community service at a local megachurch, pretends to be a Christian to land the part of Jesus in their annual Passion Play, only to discover that the most important role of his life is far from Hollywood.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is a 2017 Christian dramedy that stars WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels. This is an interesting watch for me as I always have a hard time when it comes to watching Christian films because they come from such a strongly post revivalist evangelical state of mind. I grew up in an intensely Penecostal background but have since shifted to Lutheranism so it’s a stark contrast to see these films nowadays.

This film centers around a former child star, Gavin Stone, whose recent life choices have lead him into a sticky predicament where he is forced to do community service at a church in his hometown of Masonville, Illinois. Originally set to do maintenance work he lies his way into getting involved with the church’s production of a play about the life of Jesus.  Gavin goes from an out of control man to someone that has finally seen that life isn’t always about what you want and that sacrifices are sometimes necessary

I won’t get into all of the theology of this film which is largely based on the idea that one can accept Jesus into their heart when the bible shows that humanity from its conception to death is whole-heartedly opposed to God and that even the good they try to do isn’t worth a lick of spit. Without the work of the  Holy Spirit through the Word our hearts would remain hardened. It also showcases that conversion is an extremely emotionally charged experience instead of a gradual learning process.

Shawn Michaels plays a tougher than nails biker named Doug, with a heart geared to do Jesus’ will. His character is a wonderful part of this film even if it’s just part of a larger ensemble. Shawn is a Christian off screen as well so you really know he was giving his all to the part. He was a very enjoyable part of this movie.

One thing I did find that the film had a particularly good grasp on theologically was forgiveness regardless of whether or not someone deserves it, a virtue that is heavily espoused in most doctrines. Again forgiveness without the love of Christ is meaningless and an empty gesture.

This film will go over like gangbusters for most folks who enjoy positive and encouraging films. It certainly knows when to crank up the emotional leverage at any given time. I do enjoy these types of films to an extent but a part of me is always weary because so many of them focus on the experience of conversion and that Jesus will make your life infinitely more happy and enjoyable when the Word of God shows us at many turns that even through the lowest of lows and misery that it is all done to the glory of God.

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Shawn Michaels as Doug

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Nash’n Through the Snow Extra: The Newest Pledge (2012)

The morning after kicking off their semester with a patriotic “stars, stripes, and strippers” party, the members of the Omega fraternity awaken to a find a baby on their doorstep. After little to no deliberation, the Omegas decide to pledge the baby. When a rival fraternity member, Rico, learns of this, he devises a plot to ruin the Omegas reputation in the eyes of the student body at Hamilton University. It’s up to the Omegas to not only secure their legacy at the University, but to also raise a baby in a fraternity house.

A baby turns up outside the Omega house with a note that says, He’s yours. A bunch of mostly irresponsible frat bros come to learn what it means to be a father. Kevin Nash is in this for less than 5 minutes as the Omega member Merkhaus’ father. I would have liked to see more of their interaction but it’s an okay cameo. He gets to tussle with the actor who plays his son, Greg Vrotsos. The movie itself is sort of charming in an odd way and I actually found myself enjoying it. It’s a fun little comedy and the baby Kegston is adorable. The actor who played Rico did a good job and I found his character insufferable and a great antagonist. If you’re only watching for Kevin Nash, I wouldn’t bother with this. However, if you are a fan of college life movies, you may like this one.

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Nash’n Through the Snow: Monster Brawl (2011)

Eight classic monsters fight to the death in an explosive wrestling tournament set inside an abandoned and cursed graveyard.

It’s been about 10 days since I first decided to watch and in this case re-watch a bunch of Kevin Nash movies before possibly meeting him tomorrow so far I have managed to watch five films starring the wonderfully entertaining co-founder of NWO and leader of my favorite wrestling faction the Wolfpac in those days. Of the 20 some films he has been in I’ve seen about 15 of them overall.

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Monster Brawl is a 2011 movie about a tournament that pits monsters against each other to see who will become the first Monster Brawl champion. The great thing about this film is that it melds two of my favorite things, horror and professional wrestling. It’s also pretty stacked as far as wrestlers appearing in it as well, Jimmy Hart, Kevin Nash, and Kurrgan are probably some of the more notable names, however, it also stars RJ City, Courtney Rush, Rico Montana, and Kelly Couture, who are all Canadian professional wrestlers.

I’ve watched this one a few times over the past few years and I have a blast when I watch it. It’s so cool to see monsters wrestling against each other and the commentary team of  Buzz Chambers and Sasquatch Sid Tucker is funny. Jimmy Hart plays himself, he serves as backstage interviewer, announcer, and has beautiful women with him when introducing the combatants. The tournament itself is divided into two conferences the undead conference and creature conference. The undead are represented by Zombie Man (Rico Montana), Lady Vampire (Kelly Couture), Frankenstein (Kurrgan) and Mummy (RJ City). The creatures are represented by Swampgut, Cyclops, Witch Bitch (Courtney Rush), and Werewolf (RJ City).

We are given some fun background and stats on each of the monsters, some of my favorite bits of the film. Witch Bitch, Werewolf, and Zombie Man are the standouts in my opinion. RJ City plays a man who loses the woman he loves and his unborn child and is then turned into a werewolf that hates monsters. His portrayal of a lycanthrope is one of my favorite ever put to film and I hope he gets more roles in films soon. Zombie Man’s story involves a Colonel and his Lieutenant who smuggle Zombie Man out of their secret facility to test him as a global weapon at the Monster Brawl. The Colonel named Crookshanks is played by Kevin Nash. His line of, “What are you gonna do when he defeats you and eats you?” uttered before Zombie Man’s fight is one of the most memorable bits of dialogue. The dialogue is full of interesting and funny bits, including Jimmy Hart berating a man pulling his cart to the tourney.

The wrestling in this is also fun to watch and it’s crazy to think that even non wrestling actors put on the performance they did in the ring. Their choreographer was excellent. I wish that the whole cast were wrestlers but this is still a gem of a film. It may turn some audiences off as it seems super niche but if you like wrestling you’re sure to find some enjoyment in this film. As for me I found a lot to enjoy. It was especially great to see Courtney Rush as Witch Bitch who had a comedic background story where she was trained and managed by a troll named The Grub. Watching her box with asshole villagers who had been torturing her was a fun bit of vindication that threw shade at the witch hunt craze. Altogether this is a film I will re-watch often and I can’t wait to get Nash to sign my copy. My copy is already signed by Jimmy Hart and it’s my plan to get it signed by all the wrestlers in it.

 

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Lady Vampire played by Kelly Couture

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RJ before becoming a werewolf

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Courtney Rush as Witch Bitch

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RJ City before being bitten by the werewolf

 

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Nash’n Through the Snow Extra: Klippers (2018)

An assassin is sent by his psychotic employer, to kill his ex-wife. In his quest to accomplish his task, he becomes familiar with his target, making his mission difficult. Now, he must face the consequences of his actions.

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This one is a thriller about a hitman who is hired to kill a woman but ends up falling in love with her. The reason he takes the hit is to pay back a loan shark played by Kevin Nash. It’s a decent low budget film with a few plot issues. Kevin Nash is not in this for a long period of time but is given very high billing. Kevin does a good job being a menacing loan shark in this. I think most people would give it a pass but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be after reading horrible reviews for it. As far as low budget thrillers go, it’s a decent outing.

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Nash’n Through the Snow: D.O.A. Dead or Alive (2006)

Four beautiful rivals at an invitation-only martial-arts tournament join forces against a sinister threat. Princess Kasumi (Devon Aoki) is an aristocratic warrior trained by martial-arts masters. Tina Armstrong (Jaime Pressly) is a wrestling superstar. Helena Douglas (Sarah Carter) is an athlete with a tragic past. Christie Allen (Holly Valance) earns her keep as a thief and an assassin-for-hire.

Dead or Alive is a film adaptation of a popular fighting video game franchise, Dead or Alive. I watched this many years ago but recently decided to purchase and give it another watch since Kevin Nash is in it.

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Dead or Alive is about an invitation only fighting tournament, among the many invitees are the professional wrestlers,  Tina Armstrong (Jamie Pressly) and her father Bass Armstrong (Kevin Nash). The film really nails the fun parts of the Dead or Alive franchise with a slew of wild characters, including the very attractive female fighters. It even includes a volleyball scene which is reference to a series of offshoot games in the franchise, Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball.

If you’re watching this movie, you’re probably here for the girls and the fights, which this has in spades. Some of the fights are pretty frenetically edited, but they’re all pretty great. Some of the highlights of the film are the soundtrack and the fight announcements lifted from the game. I really think this film is probably the closest adaptation of a video game that I’ve seen put to film.

My favorite part of the film though is Kevin Nash as Bass Armstrong, Tina’s father. The Armstrong’s are both pro-wrestlers but her father is much more over the top. Kevin Nash looks like he is having a blast in this role and I am totally here for it. His outfits in the movie are outlandish and his fight scene on the river against Tina is my favorite fight of the film. It’s just a shame that we only get to see him fight Tina as I would have loved to see some other matches with him.

Kevin was perfect for this role since he is a professional wrestler as well as an actor. I had so much fun with this movie. I connected with it much more than I originally thought I would. I watched it when I was younger only because it was a video game adaptation whereas now I watched it again because I am such a fan of professional wrestling and the games. Dead or Alive is a lot of fun and I recommend it for fans of martial arts movies, fans of professional wrestling, and fans of the Dead or Alive franchise.

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Jamie Pressly as Tina Armstrong enjoying a drink with her father Bass Armstrong played by Kevin Nash

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Nash’n Through the Snow: The Manor (2018)

“The Manor,” is the macabre tale of mental patient, Amy Hunter (Christina Robinson) and the horrific events that follow her release from Psychiatrist, Dr. Tryvniak (Rachel True). Amy’s mother, Jane (Tanja Melendez Lynch) feels it best to immerse her daughter in the warm, family atmosphere of Anders Manor, inviting Amy’s long lost family (Eric Lutes, Tandy Tugwell, Danielle Gulden, Michael Zuccola) to join them at the manor. The Manor, however, has deeper plans for the Hunter Family, as gatecrashers and cultists (Sully Erna, Kevin Nash, Mike Bennett) arrive as the nefarious and ancient demonic force, Aka-Mana (David Tessier) goes to work, in short order, to sow madness and reap blood.

At the end of the month I’ll hopefully be meeting Kevin Nash at Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Hell on Earth 15. Kevin seems to be a popular choice in a lot of low budget film castings  which I will forever be grateful for. Kevin’s imposing figure is always a welcome sight in any film I’m watching and he gets better with every acting role.

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I picked up The Manor sometime earlier this year at the local Family Video solely because Kevin Nash‘s face is plastered on the cover. I was pleasantly surprised to discover it also stars Mike Bennett (WWE, Ring of Honor, Total Nonstop Action, New Japan Pro Wrestling).The Manor.jpg

I have been having a whirlwind of a year emotionally and it’s kind of intensified this past month, one constant though has been movies. I had no idea what I was getting into with The Manor, I had never seen the trailer, I had simply read the synopsis on the back of the DVD. Why I picked today of all days to watch it is beyond me but odd frame of mind or not, this one is a wild ride.

A young lady, Amy, is turning 18, not only stepping into adulthood but also stepping foot out of the asylum she has been living in the past four years. Her mother has the grand idea to take her to Anders Manor to try to get some rest and relaxation with her cousins, aunt, and uncle. The only issue with this is her doctor feels she may regress because of the location and the attached memories.  They are not the only guests though, joining them are the backwoods Bayton brothers, Ole, Darsaw (Mike Bennett), Brett (Sully Erna of Godsmack) and a wonderfully odd group of universalists called True Believers led by Reverend Thomas (Kevin Nash).

Amy is a schizophrenic who has a hard time separating reality from her hallucinations, especially the heinous demon Aka Mana, who she feels manipulates her like a puppet. Add in all these wacky ass people who are mostly disturbed themselves and it’s a recipe for disaster. This film feels and is cut like a fever dream I might have when I can’t keep my medications down, surreal but still all to real. I probably wasn’t in the best mind frame to handle this film but I think there is no better way to watch it than when you’re just a bit off. It adds to its impact.

This movie is all over the place and has some pretty extreme plot elements, including incest, murder, rape, and mental illness. But mixed in with all those extremities stands Reverend Thomas, a kooky spiritualist with a heavy bent on universalism, who believes that “Love doesn’t care, let’s crank up the tunes.” He is the most positive person in the film along with his True Believers. Kevin Nash plays this role wonderfully and he is the only one who seems to actually care about Amy’s well being. I just wish there was more of him in this film. Cult like leaders are always an attractive element to me, so that’s probably why I’m so enamored with those particular parts of this film. His cotton candy social looked like the chillest thing to attend.

Another great turnout in the film is Mike Bennett as Darsaw Bayton, a perpetually horned up beefcake of a hillbilly, with an interesting perspective on familial relations, even espousing the idea of kissing cousins. He’s a true country casanova, replete with tank top, jeans and a flannel floppy eared hat who seduces one of Amy’s cousins. He’s a welcome addition in this film as he and Nash both help break up some of the depressing bleakness of the film.

The film is riddled with interesting music choices and the editing can be disorienting at times but I thought the film was entertaining. It might have to do largely with the fact that it affected me so strongly because of my current mental state but I highly recommend this film. Nash and Bennett make this good film into a great film and it’s one of my favorite movie purchases of the year. It is by far the oddest thing I’ve watched in 2019 but it will stand proudly in my collection.

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Mike Bennett on the right as Darsaw Bayton

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Kevin Nash as Reverend Thomas

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Playing with Fire (2019)

Almost a month ago this movie came to my attention when I stumbled across a poster for it while searching for movies that star wrestlers, after that I watched the trailer and knew I had to see it. I didn’t know exactly what to expect or what I was getting into other than knowing the film starred John Cena (WWE) and Tyler Mane (AJPW, WCW, CMLL) and that it was a comedy.

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Playing with Fire is about a group of  four Smoke Jumpers who fight wild fires and their rescue of three children who teach them that fires aren’t the only thing that can be a real handful. The group of jumpers is made up of extremely ambitious, goal driven Superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena), the hulking mute Axe (Tyler Mane) who carries an axe with him everywhere, overly sensitive Mark (Keegan Michael-Key) and the My Little Pony obsessed ex-con Rodrigo (John Leguizamo).

It’s hard to pick out just one stand out actor in this film as it such a great cast. Everyone here is in top form. John Cena excels best in films where he gets to play up his comedic side. Cena is legitimately funny with a charming personality so it is always great to see him get to do his thing in films like this. I don’t know why but extremely fit guy who takes himself too seriously but does silly things is a trope that really works for me. Keegan is hilarious as is John Leguizamo. They are amazing at character work. Tyler Mane’s outing here as the large and extremely intimidating man with a soft side, Axe was very enjoyable, too.

I was only semi-prepared for the more emotional side of this film. I assumed that since they rescued these kids there may be a plot element where there was the loss of parents, and I was bummed to find out that was a correct assumption. So odd to see a film that seems largely aimed at kids deal with such a serious subject matter. I also recently began another blog called Is the Dad Alive? where I write a bit on films that have this in their plot to inform folks who may be grieving. The film although sad at times is also an uproariously hilarious film.

I feel like this film will end up being my top film of 2019 because of John Cena’s exceptional performance as Jake Carson as well as Mane’s portrayal of Axe. John Cena has not only the comedic side of line delivery down, he also is great at physical comedy as well. I know it may be a cliche to call someone a renaissance man but Cena is one to the truest extent of the word both on and off screen. Tyler Mane has largely played the villain in his career so it was refreshing to see him tackle the role of Axe.

I really did love this movie and I wasn’t totally convinced I would love it when I first sat down but by the end of the film with tears in my eyes due to the emotional but positive ending to the film, I was won over. If you have kids, like dramedy, or have the propensity to watch anything that stars a wrestler I encourage you to seek this one out, if not in theaters then when it hits Blu-ray and DVD.

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Tyler Mane as Axe and John Cena as Jake Carson

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Slasher Month! Axeman 2: Overkill (2017)

This film is a continuation of Axeman which I covered over on B&S About Movies. It also happens to be a giant middle finger to Axeman in most forms of continuity. The axeman in this film is now played by former professional wrestler Bryan Clark who was Adam Bomb in WWF and Wrath in WCW, he also wrestled in AWA and All Japan Pro Wrestling.

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Although no one but Darren seemed to be left alive in the first one, he, Tammy and Liz are still alive. Tammy and Liz are severely injured in this film but are killed in the original. Instead of a bone stuck through Liz’ throat there is now a pen jabbed into the side of her neck. Tammy survived the strangling and now bares the wound where the axeman bit her cheek. Also Deputy Whitfield, played completely over the top by the wondrous returning Ariell Brachfeld, has a completely different car. However, none of this matters to me because this film is pure insane fun.

A group of crazy evangelicals are out to go to a couples retreat when they stumble across an injured Tammy, this of course leads them back to the Talbert cabin where all hell will shortly break loose. The criminals who planned the double cross on the crooks from the first film are also present in this and have tracked the money to the cabin as well. The group of criminals are a bunch of characters. Especially Bird and Sunshine. Bird carries an old dueling pistol around for some odd reason and it even seems to be semi-automatic. It’s fun to note that most of the prop guns in the films seem to be cheap Well airsoft guns. Nobody in this film is any sort of upstanding moral compass. Sunshine even calls herself satan’s whore at point. Sunshine is legitimately insane.

The reason I love this movie so much is because the director seems like he isn’t trying to make a super serious horror film this time around. He is here to put on a show and have a fun time doing it. I am baffled that this was the follow up to Axeman because they go in completely different directions from each other. This one explains why Bill Talbert is killing everyone. The director of this would also go on to make Snake Outta Compton which I also had a blast with. I covered that on B&S About Movies for Bastard Pups of Jaws month.

Bryan Clark kills it in his role as the axeman, Bill Talbert. He still looks like he could step in the ring and kick anyone’s ass that tries to step to him. He is delightfully maniacal in this film and has some great one liners. Seriously, I demand to see Bryan Clark in more film roles. In fact, I could see an entire franchise of him being a witty but menacing serial killer. Someone jump on that fast.

If you like crass, crazy, completely nutso films this is made for you. You can watch it on Screambox or rent/buy from amazon. I managed to get a digital copy from Vimeo before it was taken off so this has been sitting on my watch list for some time.

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Bryan Clark as Bill Talbert

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Slasher Month! Killer Campout (2017)

After my review of Wrestlemassacre, the director, Brad Twigg, offered me a screener of his 2017 slasher film, Killer Campout. At first I thought I would have to cover it on another site because I didn’t think it starred any wrestlers or wrestling personalities. I’m happy that I was proven wrong.

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Killer Campout sees a group of troubled teens heading off to a retreat in the woods for some therapy. However, lurking in those very woods is a cannibalistic killer on the hunt for food. It’s a homage to the slashers of yesteryear and is drenched in buckets of blood and guts. It stars Captain D. Capitate as the killer backwoods idiot, Gene Blackwell, Jenny Jannetty as the counselor Angelica and there is also a small cameo by Shovelhead Chuck.

This movie has a lot to love for fans of the slasher genre; naked flesh, lots of blood and gore, backwoods killers, and teens that are so stupid it is laughable. Oh, and did I mention Herschell Gordon Lewis (Godfather of Gore) does a voiceover for the beggining of the film and John Russo (Night of the Living Dead and Return of the Living Dead) has a small part as well. I really enjoyed the film, it looks like an old grindhouse picture, the killer’s ghillie suit is very memorable, as is his giant axe made out of what seems like road signs. The characters are all a hoot to watch as well especially the teens. The only character I really found unbearable was Chad.

Captain D. Capitate as Gene Blackwell is quite the sight. He doesn’t utter a single word and is super menacing. He makes for a great slasher villain. Jenny Jannetty as Angelica was mesmerizing, it was such an odd characterization. I couldn’t help be drawn to her any time she was in a scene. Shovelhead Chuck has a small cameo as Cletus near the end, that dude can make painting a fence a hilarious and entertaining experience. I need to see him in more stuff.

The rest of the cast is great. I’m an especially big fan of Luba Hansen, I love her line delivery and her presence on screen. It’s hard to imagine that Julio Fernandez would go from playing such a nice but troubled teen to an insufferable asshole in Wrestlemassacre but he pulls off both brilliantly.

If you like slashers, are a fan of gore, or you just want to have a fun time with a low budget film without worrying if it’s going to turn out to be a real stinker, Killer Campout is for you. You can get the DVD on Amazon. I will be picking up a copy when I can. I was sent a screener by the director but that had no bearing on my review.

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Captain D. Capitate as Gene Blackwell

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Jenny Jannetty on the left as Angelica

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Captain D. Capitate as Gene Blackwell

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Shovelhead Chuck as Cletus

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