Cinema Psycho

"You know what? You have a losing personality." – Manhattan

The Last Horror Movie

Posted by CinemaPsycho on November 1, 2004

Directed by Julian Richards/Screenplay by James Handel/starring Kevin Howarth, Mark Stevenson, Antonia Beamish/Fangoria Films

A British serial killer records his exploits over video-store copies of a slasher movie.

I really wanted to like this movie. It’s gotten rave reviews and even won awards at film festivals. I was really looking forward to seeing it.

There – I’ve just said all the positive things I can possibly say about The Last Horror Movie.

I don’t really know what movie those people saw, but the one I sat through was annoying, pretentious and a complete ripoff of Man Bites Dog. If you’ve never seen Man Bites Dog, it’s basically the exact same movie as this one, except they did it first. It’s a 1992 Belgian film about a serial killer who records his crimes and spends a lot of time philosophizing about them. I guess nobody in England saw Man Bites Dog (or maybe just Richards and Handel), because now we have a British film about a serial killer who records his crimes and spends a lot of time philosophizing about them. Yawn.

OK, so lack of originality isn’t always a bad thing. But The Last Horror Movie has nothing new or interesting to add to that basic story. Early on, the lead character, Max (Howarth) states that he wanted to do something that hasn’t been done before. Suffice it to say that he does absolutely nothing that hasn’t been done before.

Even worse, Max is such an insufferable prick that watching him ramble on and on is really quite excruciating. Of course we’re not supposed to like him, exactly – he’s a serial killer, after all. But there’s really nothing about him that’s sufficiently fascinating to justify watching and listening to him, even for 80 minutes. He’s just a scumbag who happens to be articulate. Max obviously loves to hear himself talk, but I can’t imagine why anyone else would want to listen. Max is like that foreign guy who goes to college in America just so he can screw local girls who are charmed by his accent.

Never mind that Max has nothing to say. He’s just a raging dickhead who has no particular reason to commit his crimes. He kills only because he can, and he makes that point abundantly clear. Over and over again. If you’re looking for some insight into the mind of a serial killer, you’re not going to find it here. If you’re looking for insight into the mind of a complete narcissist, however…well, good luck to you.

Sure, Max spouts off about the hypocrisy of society, and how people are basically superficial sheep who live only to cause the suffering of others, and blah blah blah. How this justifies the random murder of innocent people for no apparent reason…that part I don’t get. The filmmakers don’t seem to have thought this out at all. Yes, people in general are assholes, no question. That doesn’t give you the right to be a much bigger asshole! Killing innocent people just adds to the suffering in the world – it doesn’t take that away. What about the suffering of the friends and family left behind? That’s the kind of thinking that says dropping bombs on people is the way to make peace. Right, OK.

Let me be clear about this: Max doesn’t hate his victims. He has no particular motivation for doing what he does. These aren’t people whose absence will make the world a slightly better place. They’re not even unhappy and waiting to be put out of their misery. They’re just normal, average people who happened to cross paths with one particular fuckhead who doesn’t care. Who knows, maybe that’s the way serial killers really are. Maybe that’s the whole point.

But that doesn’t make it interesting.

The title, of course, is pretty laughable. Technically, this isn’t really a horror movie at all. It’s more like a fake documentary about a person whose life really doesn’t deserve to be documented. I don’t think Richards and Handel really understand horror movies and why people like them, if this sorry excuse for a movie is meant to replace them in some misguided way. They might as well have called it The Last Western, The Last Gangster Movie or The Last Gay Porno. The film starts with a parody of a typical teen slasher flick, and while it looked pretty awful on purpose, I can honestly say I would rather have seen that movie than this one.

* 1 star. 11/1/04

The Last Horror Movie is currently scheduled to be released on DVD on Dec. 7. If you absolutely have to see it, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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