A while back, Jackie posted a blog about the new web series Splatter that was streaming on Netflix. I decided to check it out tonight. It’s got great credentials, on the face of it. Produced by the legendary Roger Corman, written by legendary Richard Matheson, and directed by semi-legendary Joe Dante and starring Tony Todd and Edgar Frog. Seems like a fun win-win situation.
Until you watch it.
Splatter is probably one of the worst things I’ve seen all year. Corey Feldman plays Jonny Splatter, a famous rock star who kills himself on camera. He has invited a bunch of his enemies (including his manager, his shrink, bandmembers, mistresses, etc.) to his mansion for a final goodbye, a reading of his will. Popping up on a television behind his casket, he tells each character either what they aren’t getting or where they should look to find whatever it is he is leaving them with. One by one, the greed of the characters leads them to find their gifts only to instead find a zombified Feldman cracking awful one-liners before he unimaginatively dispatches each rival in various ways. I mean, it’s really cookie-cutter bullshit. For one death, he pulls out a groupies heart because she metaphorically “tore out” his. It doesn’t take long for Tony Todd to chop off some body parts and speak some mumbo jumbo and force Feldman into a resurrection of his career…albeit at a 5% commission. The end.
I know Corman is established as making low budget dreck. But the thing that made Corman great was not that he made low budget crap, it’s that he made low budget crap good. Here, there is no attempt whatsoever to hide the fact that there is no money involved. It’s cheap bad, not cheap good. Joe Dante, probably due to some loyalty debt to Corman, completely phones it in as a director. It looks ugly and he does absolutely nothing creatively. But the person who comes out of this worst of all is Richard Matheson. People tell me this guy is a genius but man, I can’t imagine even the most die hard of Matheson fans being able to defend some of the dialogue and story decisions here. It literally seems like he wrote this in about three minutes, presumably with a gun to his head. Yeesh.
This is under half an hour so if you’re really curious to see a train wreck, go ahead and view it here. Nobody comes out of this one unscathed and it’s only notable for being such an epic failure even though there is a lot of talent floating around. Or maybe “talent” is a word that doesn’t apply to anybody involved in this anymore. Dante, Matheson, Corman…none of them have really done anything that warrants horror fans purposely seeking out their material in a long time. It’s out of respect for the past and nostalgia for the great things they did that we watch their garbage now, more than anything. It’s weird to think that there is an entire generation of horror fans that weren’t even alive when these guys were defining the genre. It’s unfortunate that this is the kind of introduction they are relegated to in the 21st century.