What, exactly, does Chad Ferrin have against Ricardo Gray? In Someone’s Knocking at the Door he cast the young actor as a stuttering simpleton, and now – in the outlandish, just-released Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! — Gray stars (in a larger role, at the very least) as a mentally handicapped teenager. What gives? That being said, at the risk of sounding completely ignorant I will cease commenting on Gray’s portrayal in the film, except to say that if I were you I probably wouldn’t watch it with the parents of an intellectually disabled child. What I will say is that his character, Nicholas, isn’t your average horror movie protagonist, just as Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! isn’t really your average horror movie. Whether you’ll actually like the film really depends on your taste.
Raised by his loving but somewhat unbalanced mother Mindy (Charlotte Marie), Nicholas is a bundle of childish energy, prone to clapping his hands gleefully at the pop-and-scratch of his absentee father’s favorite record (oh, that absentee father), or exuberantly fawning over the sight of a soft, furry bunny (given to him as an Easter present by a mysterious homeless man pushing a shopping cart outside their house). As the film opens it’s Easter eve, and Mindy’s oily, bearded, no-good boyfriend Remington (Timothy Muskatell, appropriately slimy), who at the very beginning of the film we witness murdering the clerk at a convenience store, arrives at the family’s home wearing the plastic Easter Bunny mask he used to conceal his identity during the holdup. When Mindy’s normal “babysitter” Lupe (in a deft comedic performance by The Ghouls’ Marina Blumenthal) and her companion are told off by Remington, the sleaze-bucket is put in charge of keeping an eye on Nicholas while Mindy – attired in requisite slutty nurse uniform – heads off for a midnight shift at the local hospital.
And this is where the film, bogged down by a rather slow start, gets interesting. With Mindy gone, Remington proceeds to browbeat and degrade poor Nicholas, going so far as to pimp him out to an uber-creepy child molester (David Z. Stamp, stealing the show) in exchange for drugs. While Remington goes out to cruise for hookers, the whisper-voiced kid-toucher proceeds up the stairs, only to be greeted by…well, I won’t give it away, but if you’ve seen the poster art you’ll have a pretty good idea how to finish that sentence.
To be frank, Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! is a pretty shallow exercise, but Ferrin seems to know that and doesn’t masquerade the film as anything other than what it actually is – a fun, pretense-free throwback to a bygone era of exploitation cinema. It’s this sense of play that slightly elevates the film above Ferrin’s Someone’s Knocking at the Door, a movie I felt tried too hard to be about something when it would’ve worked better by simply following through on its gonzo premise. There’s no such attempt at message-making in EBKK; it’s sheer camp, a tongue-in-cheek nightmare of blood-splattered psychedelia and over-the-top (albeit clumsily edited) kills.
One positive characteristic Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! shares in common with Someone’s Knocking is in Ferrin’s attention to specifics – check out the molester’s oogy “molestation-kit” and long fingernails, or the way Lupe and her boyfriend comically interact with their non-Spanish speaking Latino counterpart in one of the later scenes. While Ferrin doesn’t possess the visual capabilities of similar trashcan-digger Tarantino (at least not with this budget), he has a similarly good ear for snappy lowlife repartee and a keen eye for the nooks and crannies of his freakish, off-center universe.
As a horror film, Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! is more gross than scary; a plethora of spilled brains and power tools stands in for the bargain-basement jump scares Hollywood routinely serves up like so much gruel. Cheap and nasty, EBKK is a film made for late-night movie marathons, preferably served up with cans of TAB Cola and Ding Dongs. Indeed, like many of its inspirations, once it’s over you may feel the compulsion to scrape the phantom dirt from underneath your fingernails. If that sounds like an insult, let me relate this: over the closing credits, we watch a particularly hefty load of human excrement (real or of the chocolate-and-orange-marmalade variety I don’t know or particularly want to know) circling down a toilet drain. In other words, Ferrin will probably consider my above statement a compliment.
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