Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
September 1st, 2018


Directed by Powell Robinson, Patrick R. Young
Written by Patrick R. Young
Starring Rebekah Kennedy, Ellis Greer, Dan Creed
81 mins

Well, congratulations, folks...we've reached the end of the latest installment of the After Dark Horrorfest series. We've had some hits, we've had some not-so-hits, and we've had one dog. That's the After Dark series in a nutshell, the same as it's pretty much ever been since After Dark started pumping out movies back in 2007. Well, there was the little matter of 2008, which had two dogs, but that was the last time that ever happened. Now we see just how complete the series is by covering Bastard, a movie that's got some familiar beats, a few nifty twists, and every chance to keep a good thing going.

Bastard takes us up to a quiet mountain town--and if anyone else is hearing South Park singing right now, man, you're not alone--where a group of five people find themselves neck deep in a serious problem. "A masked serial killer corpsing up everybody he can find" sort of serious. Suddenly suspected, yet just as likely to get killed themselves, the group must band together in a bid to get to the bottom of the killer's spree of carnage, while at the same time keeping themselves alive.

What's immediately noteworthy about this one is that two of the five folks involved are actually serial killers themselves. Newlywed serial killers, in fact, so they'll actually be taking on one of their own. Longtime readers may already be familiar with my fondness for "bigger bad" movies, where horrible people and monsters end up not only meeting something worse than themselves, but have to team up with regular people to put an end to said greater horror. Considering that our serial killers aren't averse to a hammer slaying, but the first appearance of the masked killer involves the removal of a major body part (hint, it's internal, made of bones, and pretty much keeps you upright), it's a pretty bigger bad involved.

Sadly, while the movie takes a long time to get going, it doesn't exactly stay going very hard. I mean, yeah, we get a spine-ectomy, and a hammer killing, but 40 minutes into an 82 minute movie, that's about all we get. In fact, it gets downright weird the farther in we go. But when the killing gets fired up for real, and with virtually no time to spare in the last 20-odd minutes, it's going to go like a house afire. Not just a house afire, but a house afire that's full of gasoline and sparklers. Multi-colored sparklers, too, because this isn't just going to burn, it's going to burn in weird colors.

For instance, we're going to find out about serial killers' musical background, incest, alcoholism, cannibalism, and feeding infants blood from baby bottles. Oh, and also, we'll find out vastly more about former law enforcement officials pooping in their own backyards than we probably ever wanted to find out. That's going to happen.

The ending, frankly, makes me kind of sad. They're going to beg a few questions that they'll actively refuse to answer, just kind of glossing over the points raised with an "and then this happened" sort of approach. Of course, they're leaving the door open for a sequel, and that's not just supposition, either. After the credits, there's a text crawl that notes "The slaughter will continue in...Bastard Reborn."

Completing the streak, once again, there are no special features here. Way to release the laziest, slung-together presentation ever, Fox, and in the process, cripple a leading name in horror.

The slaughter may continue in Bastard Reborn, but I kind of doubt I'll be around for it. This misses being a second dog in the Horrorfest by the slimmest of margins, because it's just so blatantly, unabashedly weird that it's not really bad. Just very, very weird. And in the end, "weird" and "bad" aren't the same thing, even if in this case, they're almost as close as an incest baby created by a brother and sister runaway.