Some Guy Who Kills People. They piqued my curiosity with the title alone, but, factor in both the hugely talented (and woefully underappreciated) Kevin Corrigan, the living legend that is Karen Black, and horror/comedy maestro, John Landis (who serves as executive producer)? Well, now they had my attention!
Meet Ken Boyd, a depressed, distressed, and thoroughly obsessed former mental patient turned ice cream parlor whipping boy. Ken’s had a rough go of things over his 34 years, with a particularly nasty incident involving high school basketball team serving as the catalyst for his descent into madness. You see, Ken once served as the team’s mascot, and, for a while, anyway, felt like he was one of the guys. After realizing he was nothing more than a walking punch line to his “teammates”, Ken put his artistic talents to work, humiliating them in an a self-published comic book. The team didn’t take kindly to Ken’s portrayal of them, so, one night, they kidnapped their mascot, tied him down, and tortured and scarred him for life (both literally and figuratively).
When we’re first introduced to Ken, we see him in flashback, tied to a chair and on the receiving end of a gasoline bath, courtesy of his former chums. Ken awakens with a gasp, scowls when he sees he’s overslept, and hurries off to work at the local ice cream parlor where his friend and co-worker, Irv (Leo Fitzpatrick), informs him that his boss is none-too-pleased by Ken’s tardiness. It’s here that we see what a hopeless, put-upon schlub Ken has become. He’s a shell of a man, compliant to a fault, and always quick to recognize his own shortcomings. When Ken’s boss informs him that he’s going to be “working a party”, Ken dons his mint chocolate cone suit and asks his boss to point the way. However, when Ken finds out that the party he’s working is the 34th birthday celebration of one of his former oppressors, something in him snaps. Later that night, said oppressor is found doused in gasoline with a hatchet lodged in his scalp, and it’s not long before more of Ken’s tormentors get their just deserts!
Meanwhile, another piece of Ken’s past comes back to haunt him in the guise of his eleven year old daughter, Amy (Ariel Gade). Conceived during her mother Janet’s (Janie Haddad) brief fling with Ken, Amy always believed her father had run off when she was born. After the discovery of a gift given to her by Ken when she was a baby, Amy learns her father’s true identity and whereabouts, and forcefully injects herself into Ken’s life, much to the shock/horror of his acerbic mother, Ruth (brilliantly portrayed by Black).
Just when it seems that Ken is getting his life together and is adjusting to his new role as a father, Ruth’s boyfriend, Sheriff Walt Fuller (Barry Bostwick), begins to piece together a pattern in the killings, and Ken becomes his number one suspect.
Some Guy Who Kills People is a pitch black comedy horror flick that sports ample amounts of gore and some really big laughs. It’s a low-budget movie ($300,000), but the film’s director, Jack Perez, manages to make that paltry sum (at least by Hollywood standards) go a long way, with convincing practical effects, impressive production values, and a very effective and budget-friendly ensemble cast. I’ve always been impressed by Corrigan’s many show-stealing supporting performances (Superbad/Pineapple Express/The Departed), and it’s great to see him get the chance to carry a flick as its lead. As Ken, Corrigan relies on his trademark deadpan delivery, but, at the same time, he imbues the character with palpable sadness, sweetness, and a subdued sense of inner-rage. Once Amy enters his life, Ken begins to blossom as a human being, and we start to see a very different side of the character – one that is hopeful and even a little happy. It’s a really great-yet-understated performance that is complimented by a host of them, especially Black, whose turn as Ruth showcases the actress’s comedic talents to those only familiar with her as a horror icon. Bostwick, meanwhile, rehashes the deceptively dumb shtick that he’s employed throughout his career, but I’ll be damned if the man doesn’t always makes it work. Rounding out the solid performances is young Ariel Glade, who some may remember from the short-lived sci-fi series, Invasion, as well as Jennifer Connelly’s daughter in the terrible Dark Water remake. She’s grown up (a little – despite being sixteen, she actually looks about eleven, here!), and her acting chops have grown with her. While I’m not usually a fan of this sort of character arc, her Amy is both sweet, funny, and a little devious, and the relationship between her and Ken thankfully never devolves into the saccharine affair these things usually shake out as.
While I enjoyed Some Guy Who Kills People, I did have some problems with the film, the most glaring of which is its rather predictable screenplay. It could just be the fact that I’m a jaded horror movie fanatic who’s seen dozens of films with similar plot devices, but I saw the ending of this film coming within the first few minutes. It didn’t ruin the movie for me, but I wish Perez employed a slightly more effective brand of cinematic sleight of hand. I’ve also got to comment on what amounts to something of a wasted opportunity in Lucy Davis’ (The Office/Shaun of the Dead) role as Stephanie, Ken’s love interest. Davis does fine with what she’s given to work with, but the character just felt completely superfluous and shoehorned into an already busy plot.
Anchor Bay brings Some Guy Who Kills People to DVD (sorry, no Blu-ray!) with a solid assortment of extras, including a commentary track, Perez’ short film The Fifth, a brief making-of featurette, and trailers.