There is a reason so many people remember eighties horror movies so fondly and it’s because many of them were actually, you know, fun. Fun is important and fun is impossible to fake. If you really enjoy and believe in what you’re doing, fellow humans can often detect it. It’s like a sixth sense or something. If you create something solely to make money, bask in your own ego or grind a boring axe, people can smell that too and it smells really bad, like as bad as that sponge in my sink is beginning to smell. To prove my theory, just watch both A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and its remake back to back. Notice how the first one smells like fine leather and the other one smells like being smacked upside the head in a urine soaked alley with a sweat stained tube sock stuffed with spoiled clam dip? That’s what I’m talking about!
2004’s THE HAZING directed by ROLFE KANEFSY is officially NOT the best movie I have ever seen in my entire life (how could it be, it doesn’t even have DIANE FRANKLIN in it?) but I can assure you that it IS fun and you won’t have to whip out the glade brand room deodorizer afterward either. The budget was obviously on the light side and some of the special effects are sub-MR. BOOGEDY, but it has heart and what I detect as a genuine desire to show its audience a good time. It actually began life as a potential sequel to 1981’s HELL NIGHT which it still vaguely resembles, but it ends up being more of a cross between THE BREAKFAST CLUB and NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (the original, non-depressing one.) You may notice nods to TOURIST TRAP and THE EVIL DEAD too and happily these nods come across as affectionate hat tips rather than cinephile regurgitation.
You can’t have a likable film without a likable cast and fittingly you’ll find one here. NECTAR ROSE as a bimbo hiding her inner Buffy comes across as this generation’s answer to NANCY ALLEN, TIFFANY SHEPIS shows some real range for someone constantly clad in a skin-tight astronaut outfit and when is anyone NOT glad to see genre legend BRAD DOURIF? You get decapitations, you get laughs and you even get to know some of the characters before they die. I forget and refuse to Google how many more days it is to HALLOWEEN but the best part of THE HAZING is that it makes it seem so much closer. Check this one out on Netflix Streaming while you can and you just might find yourself positioning it on your permanent October playlist in the future.