Many movies have claimed to capture the essence of 80s slasher with many falling by the wayside due to an apparent lack of understanding as to why the movies are cherished as they are. It is no surprise either – even during the slasher heyday plenty of movies tried to copy the formula and failed, it’s not surprising that 30 years on many movies repeat these mistakes. In my humble opinion the successful slasher is not about adding the ingredients and getting the cake. It’s about investing in a movie at all levels, the magic ingredient therefore to continue the analogy is ‘soul’.
Come 2015 Monster Pictures release a movie entitled ‘Charlies Farm’ which in my opinion has got it bang on, soul and all! The movie is pitched as a 80s slasher, contains horror icon Bill Mosely, and for all intents and purpose it is 80s slasher at its finest.
The plot follows a group of Aussie twenty somethings who, upon hearing the story of an abandoned farm nestled in the Australian outback cannot resist visiting and seeing if there is any truth to the myth. The myth being, of course, that the farm was one residence to a murderous family of cannibals, killed by the locals once their deeds were discovered. All killed but one, the titular Charlie, the retard kid is now left out in the wilderness to grow up feral. So off they go, and one by one they get the live version of the myth!
Whilst I won’t try to analyse the plot, it is worth noting that if you were to compare the movies tone with another I would definitely go for ‘Madman’. Sure the whole deformed kid growing up killer is ‘Friday the 13th’ but the brutal tone, and comparatively low body count reminds me of the aforementioned movie. The characters are good, solid performances all round, and although I truly struggle to accept Tara Reid in such movies, even she got into character eventually – wooden is not the word! The setting is sufficient, and there are several nice touches throughout the farm which enhance its creepy setting both at night and in the day. The scripting is good, and whilst it should come as no surprise (many other movies in the Monster films back catalogue are equally so) the humour is as effective as ever. Bottom line, as with all the best slasher movie, it set the scene nicely by creating its own mythology, and followed through with some decently bloody murder-set-pieces, delivered at a good pace.
The killer ‘Charlie’ isn’t exactly going to go franchise in the fact that he isn’t all that unique in creation really, but seriously you cannot help but be impressed at the imposing frame of muscle man Nathan Jones in the role of the killer. The murder scenes are nice and original, completely gratuitous of course, but the effects are good and the camera works well to show you everything that you need to get the point. There is even a wang removal/suffocation combo which, lets face it, is always going to impress!
Overall, the only thing holding this movie back from the full 5 stars is the fact that it perhaps leans a little too much on its source material as there are not many original ideas to be found. That aside it’s a fantastic achievement, and should be added to any slasher fans collection