Broken Lizard, an American blend of Canada's Kids in the Hall and England's League Of Gentlemen, have a subtle, yet riotously funny sense of humour. I guess what I like most about this comedic troup is the way that they "spoof" without really spoofing. Take, for example, Club Dread. What (to the untrained eye) appears to be a spoof on the horror slasher is, in fact, more of an homage. It's a seriously hardcore slasher that just happens to be funny as hell. The film obviously pokes fun at the slasher genre, but it does it in such a way that it comes off as more of a good natured satire than a Wayan's Bros. "throw 'em to the wall and see what sticks" joke-a-thon. It also helps that Club Dread is ridiculously violent. We're talking limb-hacking, blood-spraying, machete to the cranium gorefest, folks, and yeah, it's good.
Welcome to Pleasure Island, a tropical resort for the most discriminating of hedonists. Owned and operated by Coconut Pete (Paxton), a drug addled cult rock star of the Jimmy Buffet variety, Pleasure Island is THE destination for sex, drugs, and...more sex and drugs. It's also the scene of a gruesome killing spree in which members of Coconut Pete's staff are being offed one by one by a killer whose murders mirror the lyrics of one of Pete's songs. The list of suspects is as long as the swim back to civilisation, so Pete and his surviving employees decide to follow the killer's instructions, and run the resort like there's nothing going on. However, as the list of suspects is slowly narrowed down to a member of the staff, it's every man for himself.
Club Dread is a really odd film. As the end credits rolled I found myself shrugging and asking aloud "What the fuck did I just see?!?". I was also smiling from ear to ear. This movie is funny as all hell, as gorey as the most vicious of slashers (perhaps even a touch more so!), and features a healthy dose of pointless nudity, hot chicks in bikinis, and so much stoner humour that it made me wish I still sucked on the bong. Director/Head Lizard Chandrasekhar shows a very keen eye for horror, and actually manages to ratchet up a bit of suspense here and there. How many horror "spoofs" can you say that about, eh?? There are all sorts of nods to classic slasher moments, atmospheric stalking scenes, and a virtual potpourri of execution styles ranging from hilarious to downright hostile. I've heard that more than a few people weren't sure whether to laugh or recoil in horror during some of the film's harsher moments, and that's just one of the many things I loved about this film. Of course, like all comedies, the humour can be hit-or-miss, and Club Dread misfires about as often as Broken Lizard's second film, Super Troopers. However, these minor missteps are more than made up for by the sheer amount of footage dedicated to Jordan Ladd's extremely toned bod.
The DVD from Fox is sadly devoid of special features, save for the choice of widescreen and fullscreen formats, and a cast commentary track. It's slim pickin's, allright, but the commentary track is funny as hell and actually pretty informative.
Club Dread is not onlye one of the best horror satires I've seen, but it's also a pretty damned efficient little slasher film unto itself. This is a spoof that's obviously got a lot of respect for the genre it's riffing on, and slasher fans with open (or altered) minds oughta eat this one up. Great stuff!