Over the last few months I have been moaning and groaning about the lack of quality slashers in the marketplace. With the exception of Texas Chainsaw 3D (which just barely qualifies as a slasher), can you name the last slasher to receive a nationwide theatrical release? You would have to go back to the release of Scream 4 back in April 2011. That’s right, there hasn’t been a quality slasher to hit screens in 20 months. Back in the 80’s, you couldn’t go 20 DAYS without a brand new slasher hitting the marketplace. The times are changing and slashers are being released straight to dvd. Last year saw the release of two high-quality slashers, Justin Russell’s The Sleeper and Steven Miller’s Silent Night remake both of which, with the exception of a small theatrical run, shuttled unfairly to dvd. The point of this all? The best slashers are going straight to dvd and the indie horror world needs to stand up and take notice. Today’s slasher tale, Adam Dunning’s Laughter is such a slasher.
Laughter tells the tale of Joey, an angry and seriously depressed teenager with a love of clowns and the masks thereof, who has an abusive father and a lot on his mind. Joey along with friends Chris and Brian decide to play a brand on a group of students celebrating the end of the school year. Just as they huddle around the campfire to share their scary stories, Joey pops out, clown mask and all, to scare the hell out of them. Sadly for Joey, the joke backfires. It backfires big time actually as he is attacked by resident bully Mike beats Joey to death. The team decide to band together to bury Joey in a hole vowing to never, ever speak of the horror night again. A few months later, someone is harassing the group with strange calls and texts. One by one, the original campfire teens begin to disappear. Has Joey come back for revenge or is someone else getting the revenge that Joey deserves?
Laughter is the kind of slasher that would fit right in with some of the best SOV horror movies of the 1980’s. It has a low budget that it wears with a badge of pride. Sure the acting is a little on the stilted side and some of the performances are a bit forced but it all tends to be part of the charm of this film. Writer/director Adam Dunning knows the genre and every inch of this film is filled with a joy and kinetic energy that is simply missing from most of the horror today. It is fun from beginning to end and I gotta love and appreciate the practical effects that were applied in this film. No CGI here and the film is better for it. The love of horror as displayed in this film is simply refreshing and it makes me wonder what Dunning could do with a larger budget and a slightly more experienced cast. Either way, this is a must see for fans of indie horror (the clown mask is truly terrifying and the deaths are a lot of fun). It looks like they had a blast making this film and I was right there with them watching it.
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