So, anyway, in keeping with the theme, I will not be reviewing April Fools' Day, since I already did that, but, in fact, I will be reviewing shame on celluloid. A film that really should be relegated to the dustbin. A barker so awful that I'm surprised anyone's career who was involved in it remained intact.
Carnival of Souls (1998).
Ugh. Really, Wes Craven? You allowed your name to be associated with this? You asshole.
For people looking for any kind of connection with the original, don't. All we've got is a name.
For people looking for Shawnee Smith to be the star, don't. The star is actually Bobbie Phillips, a perfectly adequate actress that retired in 2004 after a bit part in Showgirls in which her bits were all hangin' out there for the world to see. (Showgirls is still the best unintentionally hilarious movie ever made.)
Not Showgirls but check out Shawnee's bitchin' 90's braid.
Let's talk about the plot, shall we?
Little Alex Grant (Phillips) watches her mom's scary clown boyfriend Louis Seagram (Larry Miller) rape and kill her. She spends the rest of her life in terror, waiting for the bad man to come after her and her sister, Sandra (Shawnee Smith). Surprise, fucking surprise, he does. Because this is Horror Movie Land and we wouldn't have a movie if he didn't.
Gun fellatio. Ahhhh... no.
During the process of exacting his revenge for being a balding prison bitch, Louis ends up in a car with Alex and Alex drives the car into the river which is only sensible. Sure. That's a distraction, alright. She seems to find herself in a carnival of sorts only without the actual carnival. She deals with freaky looking things whose only scary trait is the ability to twitch their heads around very quickly (which has now, officially, been overdone, just FYI) and has fully clothed sex with an angel and it all turn out to be just a death hallucination, the end. "Cause Alex is dead, see. She was dead the whole time.
And who wouldn't want to be dead after seeing this?
Creepy French tickler. Gah!
This movie is what I watch when I'm bored on the couch and need to take a nap but I can't fall asleep for some idiotic reason. Twenty minutes into it and I'm normally out like a light, snoozin' away, blissfully unaware of the suck playing itself out on the screen.
One of the big problems, here, is that not only did Wes Craven not direct this, but there were actually TWO directors. Sometimes this isn't bad, say, for example, in From Dusk Til Dawn, but this time around it looked like they fought to see who could be the most boring. Adam Grossman and Ian Kessner need slapped for realsies. Even people who are afraid of clowns would just point and giggle at the failure.
And then we've got the fact that they had a fantastic opportunity to go huge with the creepy carnival thing but... well... didn't. Flat, flimsy and flaccid were the circus sets. The only thing scary about their carnival was Louis' painted on mustache. *shudder*
The green screen stuff was fairly horrifying, too.
The acting was adequate and that's about the best you're gonna get out of me. It wasn't all stupid and wooden but it wasn't good, either. I'm really surprised that none of the actors involved, including Miller, didn't just hang up their hats after this one. Well, Phillips did but that was a few years later. We didn't see her again until she showed up on an HGTV home design show (she didn't show us her tits in that one). It's fortunate that Smith and Miller were able to move on to bigger and better things after this even though Larry Miller has always irritated the fuck out o' me.
So, yeah. Seriously. Do not waste your time. This is not a joke. Avoid this like a Sumatran Rat-Monkey. If you want Carnival of Souls, watch the original. At least that version has some artistic merit and uses subtlety to its advantage.