Club Dread

The real fun of “Broken Lizard’s Club Dread” is that it’s a
horror spoof for people who enjoy horror films, not a mainstreamed
mish-mash of pop-culture references and lame, only-funny-once sex jokes
that plagued the “Scary Movie” sect. Really, how funny is it to see
someone that looks like Michael Jackson possibly molesting kids: “Haha,
Michael Jackson, I know who he is.” It reminds me of Homer Simpson
laughing thoughtfully and saying “Oh, Jokes. I get jokes.”
The Broken Lizard folk emerged from comedy troupe oblivion a few years
back with “Super Troopers,” a joke-every-thirty-seconds assault of frat
humor and bizarre sight-gags (including “Manhunter” Hannibal Brian Cox
peeing on a cop car). The movie was hit-and-miss, but the humor hit
enough to make it one of the funniest dumb movies in years. “Club Dread”
cuts back a little on the humor, and actually grounds itself solidly in
the genre. The jokes don’t come as furiously, but they actually develop
some amusing characters and ratchet up the gore for some gruesome set

The story is pleasantly similar to the asinine set-ups of every post
“Halloween,” “Friday the 13th” knockoff with an improbably
omni-present killer stalking a group of dumb hornballs and dropping
brain-scrambling clues, either to his identity or the identity of the
next victim. The sordid shenanigans take place on Coconut Pete’s
Pleasure island, a small resort island with no way off for three days,
plenty of booze and pre-marital sex to go around. The Broken Lizard
boys play various staff members on the island, including director Jay
Chandrasekhar as a dread-locked tennis coach with a British accent and
Kevin Heffernan (hilarious as the treacherously obese Farva in “Super
Troopers”) as a 6’1″ Swedish Masseur.

Genre vet and all around underrated actor Bill Paxton runs the island as
the washed-up Coconut Pete, a beach-bum stoner whose
feel-good-and-get-drunk music career never recovered from rival Jimmy
Buffet bogarting his almost-hit single “Pina Coladaburg.” Paxton is
hilarious as the friendly yet deranged Pete, and he’s given plenty of
time to wax poetic about his glory days, play his special brand of soft
rock, and complain that “Eddie Money doesn’t have to deal with this.”
The rest of the island is chock full of the requisite beautiful women,
drunken lotharios, and of course a man in a pretzel suit having a
quickie with a girl dressed as a slice of watermelon. The killings
start before the opening credits, and you’ll know immediately whether or
not this flick is for you. If you find the fact that a trio of nubile
vacationers eschew the cemetery to have their sex and drugs in a
mausoleum, or that one girl says “it must be the wind” after the stone
door is suddenly closed, then you’ll have a great time with the
genre-references and in-jokes to follow. This is not hard-core by any
stretch of the imagination, and the comedy is at the forefront
throughout. However the killings are creative and executed in the
manner of our beloved ’80s slashers. Plenty of beheadings and slit
throats, half-naked girls running through the jungle, and, of course,
the disemboweling of a giant pear.

All five members of Broken Lizard are credited with writing the film,
and some of the jokes miss their marks. There are also odd stretches of
the film that don’t really include anything particularly funny or scary.
It will not change the way you look at horror or at comedy, however it
is certainly the best horror spoof in many, many years (“Repossessed?”
Anyone? Maybe this wasn’t such a high bar). “Club Dread” contains much
of the same frat-boy, “Jackass”-style humor of “Super Troopers,” but it
is toned down substantially in lieu of the story. Don’t get me wrong,
this is not “The Pianist,” and there is no subtlety or careful
storytelling, just a fun little plot and a good time at the movies. If
the preview made you laugh, it’s worth the 8 bucks. If you like your
horror unrelenting and with less fruit viscera, check out “The Passion
of the Christ” (Yeah, it’s not a horror movie, but man, I haven’t
cringed so much since Miike’s “Audition.”) Either way, “Club Dread” is
a fun little film while we wait in limbo for the next great horror opus.

Official Score

  • Annita Nickolson

    Does anyone know of any forums that discuss this issue in extra detail? I am fascinated.