Samhain (2002)

Ok, so stop me if you’ve heard this one: Five college kids on a field trip end up fodder for inbred killers out in the woods. Sound familiar? It ought to. It’s that very same premise that has dictated most of the slasher subgenre for the last thirty odd years. Some have been classics, and some . . . well, some have just plain sucked. Where does Samhain fit into this grand celluloid scheme? It succeeds in proving that there’s something really scary lurking in the woods, and by that I do NOT mean the aforementioned inbred killers. The menace I speak of is something far worse – Aging porn stars trying to act! Dear God, save us all!

Samhain was initially slated to come out way back in 2002, but due to various reasons the film has yet to see the light of day at all stateside. There’s a Region 2 DVD floating around (which this review is based upon), but that’s about it. Normally when dealing with a film this bad, I’d consider that to be a blessing; however, Samhain does a great job of fitting into that so bad it was good category. As horror fans we are a pretty forgiving bunch. A film has to be sacredly bad for us to shun it. Watching Samhain is like getting into a time traveling Delorean, setting the dial to 1983, firing up the old Flux Capacitor, and ending up right in the middle of a classic slasher film fest!

You have all of the cliché usual suspects lined up on the chopping block:

-A washed-up Hollywood star, this time Richard Grieco, making a cameo appearance a la Drew Barrymore in Scream for the film’s opening minutes
-The hot chick acting like a nerd
-The over-sexed “we have to go and explore the woods” couple
-The other hot chick looking for love
-And, of course, the obnoxious prankster whom said other hot chick settles for

Throw in a couple of 30-something chaperones, and what do we have? An 80’s style victimpolooza!

The nudity starts literally 40 seconds into the film, and the violence ensues shortly thereafter. And what would any self-respecting slasher film be without the resident nut whose only joy in life seems to be stalking the woods to warn the soon to be victims? Crazy Ralph would be proud, I tell ya! But wait! There’s more! Strolling up right behind the gibbering doom prophet is none other than porn icon Ginger Lynn (now billed as Ginger Lynn Allen as if the addition of a third name legitimizes her foray into film)! Anyways, it turns out Mr. “Stay on the path! Stay out of the woods!” is her brother. Nothing like solid character development, eh? Why she’s in this film, I have no idea, but her appearance was worth it for one thing alone – watching an ex-porn starlet throw Judo kicks at a slobbering mutant. Honestly, folks, ya just can’t make this shit up! It has to be seen to be believed. I was laughing so hard my stomach ached! I think I may have peed a little too.

Later on we’re also treated to the thespian-like skills of current Porn Princess Jenna Jameson. She, much like Lynn, seems to serve only one purpose as well. (No, she doesn’t know Kung Fu. Although now that I think about it, if Lynn and Jameson duked it out style vs. style, that would be pretty amusing as well). Jenna’s here to provide full frontal nudity while dying a horrible death. When this film makes a U.S. DVD debut, there are gonna be horny guys everywhere making good use of the freeze-frame / zoom in option.

So that’s the setup. It doesn’t take long for the blood to flow, and when it does, it does so in buckets. The deaths range from simple – pulled under bed and stabbed — to graphic — ever see an inbred cannibal eviscerate a woman and then try to chew on her breast implant? – to absolutely insane – hand shoved up a man’ ass, intestine pulled out, man then choked to death with own intestine. The amount of violence in this film is pretty impressive. Gorehounds everywhere will be in a state of nirvana! More importantly, all of the violent FX shots in the film were physical effects. One of the most disturbing new trends nowadays in film is CGI splatter. It drives me crazy. Everything in Samhain is good old-fashioned latex and stage blood — torn, ripped, and splashed on walls just the way we like it. The killers themselves are equally as disturbing in appearance as the violence in the film. It looks as if the guys from Stan Winston’s Wrong Turn have some really savage distant cousins. They’re memorable looking to say the least.

All good things must come to an end, however, and the finale of this film is well — to use the phrase “anti-climactic” would be an understatement. It was a fun ride while it lasted!

So we’re left with the burning question. Is Samhain a good film? Not even close. But let me tell ya this, it’s one hell of a guilty pleasure. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to head back to my DVD player so I can watch the scene in which Richard Grieco’s character is slowly being cooked on a spit sans arms and legs, prosthetic penis swinging gingerly over the dancing flames.

Samhain (2002)
(Velocity Home Entertainment)
Directed by Christian Viel
Starring Jenna Jameson, Richard Grieco, Ginger Lynn Allen, Bobbie Phillips.

3 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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