The 90s has always been the red headed stepchild of the horror genre. It’s understandable, just look at the decades that came before. Lightened censorship, creativity and violence meshed to near perfection in those golden years between 1959 and 1989. Prior to that you had the birth of the genre, genuine classics and monsters of every variety. What I’m getting at is, I understand why the 90s are kind of ignored amongst my horror brothers and sisters. Outside of a handful of some bonafide brilliance it was a decade littered with DIY gore and SOV fever dreams. Enthusiasm outweighed talent and here in lies the beauty of 90s horror. If you’re a fan of trash cinema, it’s a decade you really should explore. The people who grew up watching those masterpieces of the genre had cameras of their own and they were going wild all over this silly rock we live on. One such example is a lovely little diddy from a few fans of Evil Dead 2…
The Hillcrest Inn lies comfortably off the road in the middle of nowhere. Not only does the dilapidated motel contain a few rooms for travel weary motorists, it also serves as a mortuary for the neighboring small town. Run by a creepy old dude named Doc who kind of resembles what I imagine the Cryptkeeper looked like before the rot set in. Working in the mortuary while her grandpa (Cryptkeeper dude) runs the Inn, Billie Jo (cute as hell Kerstin Steinbach) lives a pretty lonely life. That all changes when a clumsy Heavenly Host Supply salesman makes a delivery and falls fast for her. Unfortunately, a group of escaped convicts and their female accomplice figure the rundown inn is the best place to hide from the police.
The leader of the escapees is a psychopath named Johnny (Todd Kimsey who is having a blast) and he ain’t taking shit from any weird old man. His attitude eventually leads to a few deaths, including Doc’s granddaughter. Well, this proves to be a huge mistake. Naturally, Doc has invented some strange powder with the ability to bring the dead back to life. Now Billie Jo is back looking like Karen Black in her prime and full of supernatural powers.
Everything goes Black Eyed Peas and the convicts are soon fighting for their lives. Zombie attacks, a seance, sentient hand attack and the Devil himself all make an appearance by nights end. Not only that; we get a whole bunch of failed but charming humor, a genuinely odd vibe and some wonderful low budget special effects.
The creative brains behind Dead Inn obviously had a love for Evil Dead 2. You can see it in how some scenes play out and in a few stolen moments but most importantly the creators didn’t just stick to the familiar template. They had a wild hair and let their horror hearts pump life into their baby. You can feel the fun in every scene. Sure the jokes mostly miss the mark but it was probably funny as hell to those involved. There are some bits of uncomfortableness and awkwardness but it’s hard not to love a group of like minded individuals pouring their hearts into a low budget horror flick. In a perfect world, the horror genre of the 90s would be remembered fondly for the low budget explosion VHS initiated. It’s not, probably never will be but a few of us love the genre weirdness that exploded forth from the decade. Dead Inn is a fine example of that oddball independent spirit that curious trash hounds have been discovering for years. 7/10
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