Pleatherface. Fweddy. Michael Crier. Lucky. Needlehead. Mason.
All you need to know about 'Stan Helsing' is right up there. It's so unoriginal, so uninspired that those are the names that parody the modern slasher icons, leading one to wonder how many of the guys behind 'Scary Movie' are also behind this one. The answer? One. Bo Zenga. Address all hate mail to Bo Zenga.
One of fifteen producers/executive producers for 'Scary Movie,' it seems Mr. Zenga is about as talented and multi-faceted as the rest of the crew he worked with. His other work in film backs this up...'Soul Plane.' 'Soul Plane.' And the packaging for 'Stan Helsing' states this proudly.
So in the spirit of throwing together random themes and characters from other movies, along with a few poop jokes, and calling it a film, 'Stan Helsing' makes 'Date Movie' look good. It makes 'Meet the Spartans' look great. It even makes the ridiculous 'Van Helsing' look inspired. Since the effort it would take to create a "clever" review (one full of bad puns that would make readers hate me more than Zenga) of this "film" would take more effort than was put into 'Stan Helsing,' let's just delve head first into this monstrosity.
When Schlockbuster employee Stan (Steve Howey) is tasked with delivering a few videos on Halloween night, his plans to party with his best friend Teddy (Kenan Thompson), his date Mia (Desi Lydic), and Stan's ex Nadine (Diora Baird) go right out the door. Their trip soon goes awry, and they are left trapped in a town haunted by six parodies of infamous film slashers. In order to save the town, and their lives, they must....ah who even cares?!
To answer that question by process of elimination, Bo Zenga sure doesn't. His script wanders like a tweaker in search of the next fix, assaulting taste and cinema at every turn, but not by being crude and lewd, or shocking the audience; rather, by having no point, no humor, and no originality. Every "joke" is predictable, there's no real shock or gross out ever. Not even Leslie Nielsen in drag can save this wretched waste of 90 minutes. While I admit, I have to give the film some credit for a hilarious shirt parodying politics stating "Bruce Campbell '08." That's the only props I'll give the film, and that is the high point of the affair. A shirt.
The above mentioned lack of originality is key. We have a killer in a mask (the Michael Myers rip-off) that changes expression. Saw that in the first 'Scary Movie,' and it was done better. We have a killer with a hand loaded with random gadgets like a toothbrush (and an old school rap clock hanging from his neck), when 'Edward Scissorhands' and its cousin 'Edward Penishands' have already been there, done that (minus the clock). Michael Jackson in an ice cream truck selling penis shaped goodies to children? Oh, that's inspired. The film even copies itself, with two, count 'em two trips to the toilet that result in diarrhea plopping sounds. The Pinhead parody walks like something out of a 1940's creature feature, with his arms in front of him leading the way. Oh, and then there's The faux Chucky, named Lucky. A smart aleck with cuts on his face, Lucky is thwarted by being kicked. Wow.
Nothing in the film can be construed as being even close to funny, and that's the point of a parody film, or comedy in general. For all the things horror/comedies do right, 'Stan Helsing' undoes each and every one of them. From amateur cuts to vintage footage that would be best left imagined, to jiggly sounds when holding a woman's breasts (and a requisite popping sound when removed), this is just an exercise in futility, and hopefully a resume stain so powerful that the man behind it is never allowed to make a film again. The bottom line here is that Mr. Zenga apparently thinks the entire film going world is loaded with inbred mouth breathers, so much so that the words "A PARODY" immediately follow the title of the film.
Ok, so we know 'Stan Helsing' the film sucks in the worst way, and that we can judge this book by its cover, but how does it look?
Not good. It's almost as if every person involved in the production of this disc knew how bad the film was, and just threw the disc together, and didn't even bother to watch the results to see if there were any technical problems.
I know, I may be picking on this disc now, but on two separate occasions in the film, there is an artifact attack that you'd expect to find on a bootleg VHS, not a Blu-ray disc. Tall horizontal bars for numerous frames loaded with random colors and patterns flashing across the screen, at the 32 and 80 minute markers. The second time this error shows up, it is twice the size as the first one. I've seen some errors on Blu-rays, like the slow down, speed up error on 'Rollerball,' or a similar pixel/artifact attack on 'Transmorphers: Fall of Man' (Boy, I really do cover the some quality titles, don't I?), but just because 'Stan Helsing' isn't alone doesn't make it any more forgivable.
For the non-flubbed sequences of the film, things aren't horrible, but in the same respect, they're far from great. Detail is present, but it's never all that obvious, while there are a few softer shots mixed in for good effect. Colors are bold, I will admit, especially in brighter sequences. Kenan's Superman outfit is striking when well lit, but darker shots easily outnumber bright ones, and in them, the outfit looks flat uninspired. Whites of eyes and teeth are great in most shots, but turn blue when the film goes dark.
The grain level is hardly noticeable, while there were a few splotchy moments of noise. Jaggies and aliasing also pop up a few times, while artifacts are minor but present in solid blacks. Lastly worth noting, delineation can be troubling, as the dark night sky absorbs what definition exists.
The audio isn't anywhere near as poor as the other elements of this disc. While the audio defaults to the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, an uncompressed Linear PCM 5.1 mix is available through the menu.
Dialogue is never tough to hear, as you won't have any hearty laughter coming from anywhere in your house to overpower it. Score and soundtrack elements sometimes make discerning a line tough, but that may be a good thing. Rear speakers are mostly used for music, as the film itself lingers in the front speakers, even in crowds. There's some nice bass in the score at times, and in the opening credits, but it hides in shame for most of the film. There's no real high range to speak of here, either. But what can we expect when a film has a collective budget that cost less than dinner for five at Taco Bell?
Care to have more pain inflicted upon you? I sure didn't.
There's a long list of people I'd like to wish illness upon, and they can all be found on the IMDB page for 'Stan Helsing.' I prefer films with a point, I prefer comedies that are actually funny, and attempt to be original. There's none of that here. There's a reason Anchor Bay did not want reviews for this title up early. Save your money, but more importantly, save your money. Don't even rent it. Don't wish it upon your enemies. Don't give it to your children for Christmas in the place of coal if they've been naughty. Let every copy of this release sit in a warehouse collecting dust, and hope a flood wipes them all out.