By DAKOTA DAHL
Starring Curt Clendenin, David J. Uchansky andJessica Morris
Written by Jen Mathiasen and Ryan McGonagle
Directed by Anthony Hall and Ryan McGonagle
It seems like just yesterday we were warning you all to stay away from the joyless Black Pumpkin, since it insisted on trying to force a horror icon down our throat by the name of “Bloody Bobby.” We went so far as to predict (it was more of a desperate hope) that Bloody Bobby was never going to be a thing, but how wrong we were. THE LEGEND OF FALL CREEK is a D grade B-movie with no heart, building a franchise on a foundation that was softer than a weeks-old pumpkin.
The film opens by miserably trying to let you know that this is meant to be a “grindhouse” experience. Not only does it ham-fistedly ape Quentin Tarantino by doing that “feature presentation” thing, but it also opens with an actual goddamn definition of the word grindhouse. The big problem with emulating Tarantino is that he’s already emulating other films, so now your film is just a copy of a copy. You’ve lost all trace of the original charm, simply miming the motions you think endeared audiences in the first place. It’s also worth noting that grindhouse films didn’t set out to be bad, they set out to realize a shocking vision, and simply lacked the resources to pull it off in a polished fashion. If you set out to excuse your bad film by labeling it “grindhouse,” it shows a lack of original intent.
After that rant inducing beginning, complete with digitally inserted cigarette burns and film grain, we get slapped in the teeth with an exposition crawl, but not in a cool way, like Star Wars. The film lets us know that way back in 1988, Robert “Bobby” Maxwell was tormented by a bunch of kids at a costume party. He had a panic attack, got a nosebleed, and then the little shits chased him into the woods, where he never came back from. Presumably, some bullying turned murder happened, much like the beginning of Prom Night, except told through text and not acted out, because storytelling is for suckers.
Smash cut to Reggie (Curt Clendenin) who is being interviewed for being involved in some way related to the “greatest tragedy in the history of Fall Creek Valley.” He then laments how, no matter what he says, there will always be an urban legend surrounding “Bloody Bobby” which he then begins chanting, attempting to hypnotize the film into relevance. We then see a couple on the way to Fall Creek Valley who get pulled out of their car by an unseen force. What’s really spooky is that they got nosebleeds before their demise! Gasp! And they were right near the exact area Bobby disappeared! Subtle!
The cops show up to the abandoned vehicle the next morning, do some hapless stuff, like say that they can only find one victim, before the sheriff literally walks twenty feet away from the abandoned car and finds the second body, which has been disemboweled. Admittedly, it’s pretty cool looking.
We rejoin Reggie, except he’s like way drunker and more hungover, so we are led to believe the opening of the film actually takes place after the climax, which is something films do sometimes. Reggie is a trainwreck, visiting his favorite cousin and hating that he is returning to a town that he fled in his youth due to extreme bullying. While noodling around town, he reconnects with an old crush, who actually expresses interest in him! He also runs into some of his old bullies, which leaves him less than thrilled.
As events unfold, almost everyone that Reggie runs into gets murdered, presumably by Bloody Bobby, or more accurately, what we are led to believe is Reggie dressed as Bloody Bobby. This culminates in a costume party where guests start dropping like flies, always when Reggie is nowhere to be seen. We are pummeled so excruciatingly with signs that Reggie is the killer, that when it is finally revealed that he isn’t, nobody cares. It’s kind of expected that the killer isn’t just some slighted jerk since they can induce psychic nosebleeds in their potential victims. After the less-than-convincing bait and switch, Bobby continues running around killing a few people here and there. Don’t worry, they leave so much room for an unwanted sequel you could park a jet in there.
A good grindhouse film knows that it is going to fall short in some respects, so it pours its heart into whatever it can actually pull off, usually nudity and gore. The filmmakers behind THE LEGEND OF FALL CREEK decided to cut even those corners, instead focusing on bad lines delivered by bad actors to draw out a non-mystery. What really gets my goat is that audiences are led to believe that this is a prequel follow up to Black Pumpkin. Turns out, it’s an even more soulless cash grab than we already thought, since this is actually just a rerelease of 2016s Bloody Bobby, and that Black Pumpkin was actually supposed to be titled Bloody Bobby 2. Following this trend, I can’t wait for Black Pumpkin to be released under the title “The Legend of Fall Creek 2” so that the filmmakers can just keep leapfrogging their way into morally bankrupt paydays.
THE LEGEND OF FALL CREEK hits On Demand, DVD and Digital on Tuesday, February 9th, 2021.