I am so pleased at this seeming resurgence of the classic slasher film. Hell Fest contained every element that made the slasher genre of the early 80’s so enjoyable. The attraction of Hell Fest on just a visual level was remarkable. Despite the presence of a seemingly unstoppable serial killer, this traveling theme park is definitely one I would visit. Hell Fest contained intricate mazes and endless actors to facilitate a truly frightening experience. Some of my favorite scenes of the film were images of the teens running around and enjoying the scares. As someone who visits at least one haunted house attraction every October, it actually was a feel good moment for me.
However, this attitude is what contributed to the most terrifying aspect of the film – who attending a horror attraction would believe that there is an actual killer amongst them? Who is going to step in while someone is screaming ‘help me’ when there are performers doing the same? No one became the glaringly clear answer to these questions.I couldn’t help but thoroughly enjoy the similarities to Scream 2 – another great slasher film. The only real issue I had with the concept is if you truly felt fearful for your life and the lives of your friends why would you not leave the park? If I’m being chased by a man with a knife through a giant park, I’d certainly like to think that I would react differently. Maybe try to blend in with another large group or, as stated previously, just leaving the park.
The death scenes were more on the mild side, especially compared to the likes of Scream. Although I do have to admit that I’ve never seen a man’s head crushed by a mallet before. It didn’t necessarily take away any of the fun from the ride of Hell Fest, but the groundwork was definitely laid to create a franchise out of this film so an up in gore would be necessary.
Seeing Tony Todd on the big screen again was an absolute delight. His performance, although brief, was one of my favorite parts of this movie. I felt like a little kid again watching Candyman for the first time. I’ve said this once and I’ll say it one hundred times more: Put Tony Todd in more big box office films!
I enjoyed Hell Fest much more then I was anticipating and it was a great way to bring in this Halloween season.