Claiming a movie is worth seeing for the gore alone might sound like a backhanded compliment, but in the case of Night Of Something Strange, well, you ain’t seen gore like this before – trust me. Kicking off with some good old-fashioned necrophilia (so hot right now), the flick breathlessly establishes its bizarre tone with nary a word of exposition in sight. This crazy, gutsy, bloody opener, loaded with bad-ass practical FX, offers just a hint of what’s to come, the carnage getting increasingly madder from there.
The red stuff here is some of the thickest, gooiest, stickiest fake blood ever committed to celluloid – just watching makes you want a shower – and Night Of Something Strange has got gallons of it. Those being drenched are the young residents of a town in Nowheresville, USA (the movie was shot in Virginia), who are beset by a sexually-transmitted infection (a tag on that body being used earlier read simply ‘Radiation exposure/STD’) while on a road trip. Hot on their tail is the man we met in the intro sequence.
What immediately sets Night Of Something Strange apart from others of its ilk is the fact that the prologue isn’t throwaway; it sets the entire thing in motion while also introducing us to the main villain who, rather than perishing after committing his obscene act, becomes the catalyst. As metal-head-janitor-zombie Cornelius, real-life metal-head Wayne W. Johnson is electric – even if he doesn’t actually say much. He looks more like a Deadite than a traditional zom (if he even is, technically, a zombie), spending much of the movie with half his face missing.
Jonathan Straiton, shockingly making his feature debut here) that is delivered by a cast who are more than willing to get down and dirty with the material.
Straiton was inspired by The Return Of The Living Dead, Night Of The Creeps and The Blob remake. Although you can see where all those influences factored in, Night Of Something Strange is its very own fucked-up monster. It’s old school but the modern setting allows for some killer, on the nose references – including one to I Know What You Did Last Summer, weirdly enough, and a dinner party setup straight out of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre – although the movie never lingers. It isn’t here to pay homage, really, but to stake a claim for its wacky existence in the current landscape.
To go into detail about the many disgusting delights contained within would be to spoil the fun, but suffice to say that moment promised by the glorious poster does not disappoint. The cast of mostly unknowns are so game, the laughs come so thick and fast, and it’s all so charmingly offensive and in such bad taste that it’s impossible not to get swept up in the tide of blood and bodily fluids. In fact, there’s so much blood in use here that some of it even splatters on the camera–a lovely touch that isn’t used nearly enough in these kinds of movies.
Of course, they don’t really make ’em like this anymore, which is one of the many reasons Night Of Something Strange is so special. It’s queasily, disgustingly brilliant, yet another argument for practical over CGI and it’s funny as all hell–consistently, not just in throwaway moments such as when one character continues smoking while crawling away from Cornelius. There are some great scares along the way too, the movie not content with just earning the ‘comedy’ in the horror-comedy tag.
As a debut, this is emblematic of a seriously sick, twisted genius at work. And if you’re wondering what Straiton is up to next, he’s working on a little something called House Shark, which is, simply put, Jaws in a house. In keeping with the reputation Night Of Something Strange is sure to create for him, all of the effects are going to be practical yet again. If this movie is anything to go by, it will be completely insane. Though maybe with slightly less ripped-off vaginas.
WICKED RATING: 8/10
Director(s): Jonathan Straiton
Writer(s): Jonathan Straiton, Ron Bonk
Stars: Wayne W. Johnson, Toni Ann Gambale, Trey Harrison, Rebecca C. Kasek
Studio/ Production Co: Duke Studios
Length: 94 minutes