Growing up I would classify myself as a “pure” slasher fan. I didn’t enjoy comedy mixed with my horror as I found that more often than not it diluted the effectiveness of the scares. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the comedy-horror subgenre. “Night of the Creeps” and “Return of the Living Dead” were two of my favorites from the subgenre growing up. Maybe it has something to do with zombies. I never was able to take them very seriously so they seemed to mix well into the comedy format for me. All of this brings me to one of my favorite horror-comedies from the early 90’s, the sorely underrated “My Boyfriend’s Back.” Hilarious from beginning to end with some of the driest dark humor to come out of the 90’s, the film was a box office bomb on initial release making less than $4 million on a budget of $10 million. With an all star cast (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Matthew McConaughey, Renée Zellweger, and Matthew Fox all appear in small roles) let’s dig into this film that deserved to be a hit.
The film starts in a flashback as we meet the young Johnny Dingle at the age of 6, he has been in love with beautiful Missy McCloud for as long as he can possibly remember. For a 6 year old, this is a very, very long time. It is Missy’s birthday and he plans to give her a heart shaped locket with the pictures of the two of them enclosed. This is the day where he finally is going to get up the courage to tell her how he feels. What do you know…he chickens out and keeps the locket safely tucked away in his bedroom closet. Someday will be the day, right?
We flash forward ten years to high school where Johnny (the wonderfully deadpan Andrew Lowry) is still in love with the still beautiful Missy (played by the very appealing Tracy Lind) but Missy has a boyfriend: the typical asshole jock boyfriend played with swarmy perfection by Matthew Fox. Johnny finds out through the grapevine that the two have recently broken up so he decides to make his movie in the most drastic way possible. She works at a convenience store and he plans to have his friend Eddie “rob” the place while he heroically saves her. She will fall madly in love with him and they will live happily ever after. The plan doesn’t go well and Johnny dies right after Missy says she will go to the prom with him. What’s a guy to do? Come back from the dead for his girl of course.
This results in some of the most delicious dark comedy I’ve ever seen in a wide release horror comedy as the town doesn’t seem to react much to the fact that Johnny has come back from the dead (well, besides the ones that want to burn him at the stake but…). In fact, this is a typical exchange:
Johnny: Sorry I’m late, Mrs. Cooper. You wouldn’t BELIEVE the trouble I had getting here!
Johnny’s School Teacher: I would believe it. And I’m not impressed. You get one demerit.
Johnny’s School Teacher: Just because you’re dead does not mean that you can come waltzing in here whenever you like.
Make you laugh out loud? If yes, head to Amazon at the link below and buy a copy this minute. If not, maybe this dark comedy isn’t for you. With a game cast and some off the wall humor, it just puts a smile on my face. I hope it also puts a smile on yours.
I’ll leave you with just one more line:
Dr. Bronson: Okay, well, you’re dead. Which is unusual, because we don’t normally see this much activity in a dead person.
Okay, I’m done! Buy it!
To purchase: My Boyfriend’s Back (DVD)