If ever there was a film to dub over the dialogue with audience commentary, Don't Go Near the Park would be it. Following in the footsteps of MST3K films, this upcoming release from Dark Sky Films has maybe 2 or 3 moments where the viewer (in this case, me) CAN'T make the film more enjoyable by adding their own dialogue. Think of this film as a giant Mad Libs..... and if one has the appropriate software, an over-dubber's wet dream.
Flashback! It's 12,000 years ago and a cave age couple is being setenced to eternal soul-lessness by their cult leader for sacrificing the young within their own circle. Of course, the viewer can't catch on to that this early in the film because the dialogue is so jumbled, and the acting so over-dramatic that one cannot focus long enough to digest the happenings. I do know that there was a lot of rambling by a poorly made-up old woman, some ugly chick screaming "No!" repeatedly and a guy named Crackers Phinn playing the lead of "Gar". What a name... Gar. Is he a 12,000 year old pirate?
Anyways, the non-sensical screaming ceases and Gar picks up a strange rock before the bad editing sets in and we see a shot of a young lad traversing a wooded field. This is when I think to myself "Oh shit! They had flannel shirts 12,000 years ago?!" Finally, cue the "Present Day" notification across the screen long after my thought had lingered. Not long after the young lad sets up his rod to do some fishing, Gar, all decked out in a polyester brown suit, confronts the boy and begins ripping his (foam) stomach open for no reason at all! What a dick! Even worse, he eats the kid's insides and reverses the aging process in a shot sequence comparible to Lon Chaney's change-over in the original Wolfman. Big budget filmmaking in 1981..... that's where it's at, kids.
Through the magnitude of rubbish that is Don't Go Near the Park, we find that Gar needs to plant his seed in a virgin so that he and the screaming ady from the opening sequence can eat the child in sacrifice when it turns 16, thus freeing their souls from eternal damnation. Got all that? Good. Cue Linnea Quigley, who Gar is eyeing down at a parade. He follows her home and proceeds to bust into her house while she's showering! Covered only by a towel (and looking all of 15 years old), Ms. Quigley is only momentarily terrified by the intruder, then calms down quick enough to offer him a room for rent in her house. Sounds logical, right?
"He just saw me naked after breaking into my house, so why not offer him some lodging?"
So days turn into years, and Gar ends up wedding the virginal Quigley, ultimately planting his seed in her fertile crescent. The child is born, and faster than you can scream "Gar!" the movie jumps ahead to young Bondi's 16th birthday. Yes, her name is Bondi. There was an explanation for that somewhere in the movie, but I seemed to have lost track after the bathroom/break-in scene. Along the years, Quigley seems to get fed up with Gar's babying of well, the baby, and decides to kick the child out at the age of 16. Keeping in tune with the title of the film, Bondi wanders into "the park" where she finds shelter with an 8 year old boy, a teenager named Cowboy and the old crow that cried "No!" from the beginning of the flick. See how everything's tying together nicely, folks?
Okay, so the plot is about as thin as Kate Moss' septum, but let's face it , we're not looking to gain any sort of Oscar accolades from this film.
Although quite graphic in certain scenes, the gore factor isn't quite as poignant as say 2001 Maniacs, but it serves the purpose of driving this film past the standard USA Up All Night Fare. There are a few kill scenes that showcased some wonderful foam outfits and animal guts, but the reverse-aging scenes and sped up aging scenes were really sad. Almost as sad as the score. Which by the way was probably done by some guy named Chaz on his uncle's Casio. Anything is possible with this film when one of its stars is named Crackers. Ha ha!
Ridiculum aside, Dark Sky manages to put together quite an impressive package for a film that would make the B movie gag reels. Stuffed on the disc of Don't Go Near the Park is a plethora of extras, including commentary by visionary director Lawrence Foldes and an older Linnea Quigley. There is also a funny (not quite as funny as the movie) segment titled "Grue!!" showcasing some of the flubs and fuck ups dealt with while trying to create the "high-tech" gore scenes. Throw in some deleted/extended scenes, a photo gallery, original theatrical trailers and a TV spot for the film and you get a really nice package.
Based on comedic value alone, Don't Go Near the Park is worth every penny and excruciating plot flaw spent on the film. I can't remember the last time I have laughed so hard during and after watching a film that was a non-comedy. Even as I type this review I can't help but chuckling about the craziness that this movie contains. Trust me when I say that you'll never experience another film quite like Don't Go Near the Park.