Amanda By Night's Retro Ectero Page

Retro Ectero is a place to wax poetic about all the wonderful silly things of a past long gone by.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Backlot Murders

Corey Haim picks up a paycheck, barely making an appearance in yet another made for video horror movie trying to ride on the coattails of Scream. A really bad up and coming rock band head to a Universal movie studio lot to shoot their music video directed by Henry (Charles Fleischer - that’s right, the voice of Roger Rabbit!). The band’s bitchy agent Stephanie (Pricilla Barnes) tags along with some groupies and obnoxious film crew, unaware that among them walks a killer in an Elvis costume! I’m not making this up!

The back of the box claims The Back Lot Murders is not an ordinary genre film because of its unique combination of horror and humor (gee, I‘ve never seen that before!). The only humor you’ll find would be that of the grinning producers who not only got the viewer’s money but also managed to take a couple of precious hours of the their life as well. And it’s never coming back, folks...

Usually I find these kind of ‘rawk-n-horror’ combos a can’t miss, at least in a cheesy sort of way, especially with the sleepwalking Corey Haim, whom I normally love (Demolition University, anyone?). Unfortunately, he only shows up long enough to unbelievably act like a ladies man and get slaughtered. Fleischer and Barnes by far the best part of the movie, but it’s not enough to save it. Eagle-eyed soap opera fans may also spot Brian Gaskill as the uncharismatic lead singer. He grins his way through every line hoping we find him as cute as he thinks he is! Uh, we don’t!
Everything is contrived from the silly music, bloodless murders and silicone filled groupies. There is only scene worth watching, which involves Fleisher giving the band a piece of his mind. The scene which was improvised, only goes to prove that Fleischer is way above his element here and is more deserving of a better role.

At least Corey Haim can rest knowing The Back Lot Murders isn’t nearly as bad as his godawful 1993 genre effort Fever Lake (at least this film is watchable). As for the rest of us, this film is guaranteed to bring you nightmares, but not the kind you were expecting!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't moved or impressed with this flick, but I'm reminded that all of these actors can only do what they are written and directed to do. If they had a better story, better characters, it would be a different show altogether, guaranteed.

Brian Gaskill, for instance, "grins his way through every line hoping we find him as cute as he thinks he is!" . . . From all I've read and know I can assure you this has to be one of the most modest, unassuming guys in the biz. A real 180 going on here.

Haim, Barnes, Fleischer . . . Eh. I get tired reading how these folks are the best this film has to offer. Yeah, I laughed at a few things Fleischer said (but then again I can't remember later what they were!) I watched Barnes before, I know what she does and is capable of. Let's face it, this isn't Shakespeare going on here. I don't understand why these three are propped up when in truth this just isn't a very good film, period. I don't look for it to be featured prominently on their resumes.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Amanda By Night said...

You get tired of reading how good Haim, Barnes and Fleisher are in this? How many reviews have you read?!? :)

Maybe I'd like Mr. Port Charles better if he wasn't always mugging it. People who work mostly on soaps are pretty famous for being great people and especially great to their fans, but I have to get what is so intriguing about him...

I have to say this film grows on me a little every time I see it (which is only three) because even in its pompousness, it's kind of sweetly straighforward.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Casey C said...

Gah this is driving me nuts! I think I've actually seen parts of this, but never all in one sitting! You'd think I'd remember a killer in an Elvis suit though.

That said, now I have to track it down so it stops bugging the crap out of me, and to see a killer in an Elvis suit.

7:07 AM  
Blogger John Barleycorn said...

I watched this when I was on a sad Corey Haim kick. You see, after catching his pathetic E! True Hollywood Story, I felt bad for him, and truly believed, for some reason, he had some talent. So I sought out a bunch of Corey Haim movies and didn't finish a single one they were all so bad. Then I found this one and thought it'd be even sadder to see him washed up, bloated, and pathetic, but again, couldn't finish it. Kudos to you for making it through.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Jay Amabile said...

i like this movie and own it on dvd. I guess I'm odd.

9:32 AM  
Blogger mandingo said...

I hate to focus on a cinematic footnote like Corey Haim when there is so much other good stuff in this blog to comment on, but I am going to anyway.

I am torn with Corey; on the one hand, I have inbuilt respect for anyone breaking into the biz- a has-been is always preferable to a never was. That is, unless you continue to inflict suffering long after your use by date.

It's a conundrum; to take the money and appear in forgettable dross, or to spare a thought for those who stumble into the cowpats of your outstayed cinematic welcome and do everyone a favour by just going away.

I have felt, of late, that old Corey does a mean DVD commentary; perhaps his future lies in some kind of show- 'child actors all grown up and pissed as hell', or something. I haven't exactly searched for such a show, but if he isn't doing something like this, he probably should. I would listen, for one.

Anyway, far be it from me to use a comment space on someone else's blog to tell another what to do with their life, when I probably ought to be taking a closer look at my own.

I still think the world is a better place for having 'Goonies' and 'Lost Boys' in it, so Corey will always get the benefit of the doubt from me...

Humbly submitted for your approval from that 'grey area that knows neither victory, nor defeat'...

7:01 PM  

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