Friday, October 23, 2009

Horror spoof "Stan Helsing" has no fangs

By Frank Scheck

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - If there's one thing of which the cinematic world doesn't need more, it's horror movie spoofs. But that hasn't stopped writer-director Bo Zenga from mining this barren territory for yet another example of a genre that probably reached its creative peaks with "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" and "Young Frankenstein."

"Stan Helsing," being given a perfunctory pre-Halloween release beginning Friday (October 23) by Anchor Bay Entertainment, is highly unlikely to achieve the success of "Scary Movie," which Zenga executive produced, or even his "Soul Plane."

The perfunctory plot depicts the Halloween night adventures of the titular character (Steven Howey), a video store clerk who has no idea, despite his name, that he's related to the famous vampire hunter; his best friend ("SNL's" Kenan Thompson); and their bodacious female buddies (Diora Baird, Desi Lydic). On their way to a party, the quartet find themselves trapped at Stormy Night Estates, an enclave for such (slightly renamed) iconic horror movie characters as Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, Pinhead, Michael Myers and Chucky.

The filmmakers seem to have invested all of their creative energy providing reasonable facsimiles of the above-mentioned figures, with the result that "Helsing" is otherwise fairly devoid of a plot, wit, decent gags or anything else that would distinguish it from the hordes of similarly themed parodies that have preceded it.

The quartet of young performers are a game lot, with Howey and Thompson managing to eke out some laughs despite the general barrenness, and Baird and Lydic admirably unafraid to exploit their considerable sexuality for comic effect.

But the end results are beyond lame, and the presence of Leslie Nielsen -- playing in drag as a brusque coffee shop waitress -- will only serve to remind viewers of the far better spoofs with which he's been associated.

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