Ivan Reitman is better known as the director of Ghostbusters and the current Natalie Portman/Ashton Kutcher Ashter rom-com, No Strings Attached, but here’s an earlier comic effort he made back in 1973.
In this light-hearted spoof of the gory drive-in massacres of the day (especially Herschell Gordon Lewis’s bawdy bloodbaths), three geeky blokes are invited by a trio of desirable women to dine with them at a restaurant in a remote Canadian town. But the guys soon find themselves on the menu as the woman kill and devour them at the behest of a Svengali-like Reverend. This urban legend is told to a young couple, played by rising comics of the day Andrea Martin and Eugene Levy, who stop in the town while on a cross-country vacation. But the grisly tale soon becomes terrifying reality for the couple…
Reitman tries to strike a balance between gore and ghoulish humor with his spoof, but it isn’t as comic as it could to be – I suspect he was still finding his comic feature feet when he made this. Martin and Levy also play it straight – which makes you wonder how the film would have played had the duo been able to show off their natural comic talents a little more.
Still, this is a retro-classic that deserves a new audience, and I just loved the use of the William Castle-inspired ‘Warning Bell’ before the murders occur – it certainly brought back memories of hearing the horror horn in 1966’s Chamber of Horrors, and of Vincent Price telling everyone to scream for their lives in 1958’s The Tingler.
The re-mastered, restored collector’s DVD includes interviews with director Reitman, producer Daniel Goldberg and Eugene Levy; plus a host of trailers, radio spots, galleries, and – best of all – the original AIP press book.
Let the feasting begin…