Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
Stan - not Van - Helsing is a video store clerk and slacker extraordinaire. But when he and his friends get sidetracked on the way to the best Halloween party ever, he must get in touch with his destiny and defeat the stupidest monsters ever.
Is it good movie?
Stan is an amiable enough guy, even if he is a noncomittal slacker, working a dead-end job at a video store. He espouses several mottoes throughout the film, all having to do with avoidance of responsibility. On is way out of work on Halloween night, his boss pressures him to make a delivery of videos to the owner's mother, much to the chagrin of his friends. Once they get to the gated community where the never-seen mother resides, they find themselves trapped inside and expected to fight off a conglomeration of monsters who haunt the town after a mysterious fire ravaged it decades previous. The gang of kids find themselves in various predicaments through the course of the night, and it is not until Stan finally comes to terms with his legacy as a descendent of the vampire killer Abraham Van Helsing do they prevail and take back the night.
Now, that all sounds pretty stupid even before I tell you that this is a parody. Well, it is intended to be a parody, but never quite achieves that goal. In order to truly lampoon a genre, you have to know something about it beforehand. This movie was clearly not written by someone with a love of horror, who wanted to good-naturedly skewer its admittedly often ridiculous conventions. In this case, it appears that writer/first-time director Bo Zenga had merely seen the trailers for films featuring mainstream horror icons, and felt content just changing their names and poking fun at their appearances: we have Fweddy, who wears a clock like Flava Flav; Needlehead, who has pub darts sticking in his noggin intsead of pins; Mason and Michael Criers, who both look relatively the same as their counterparts (Mason is even played by Ken Kirzinger); Pleatherface, who wields a leaf-blower as a weapon; and Lucky, who is possibly the least well-rendered of the bunch. Not a single one of them does anything interesting, and the script never shows an instant of having any idea how to spoof them in a meaningful way. The whole monster thing is a dead end from Scene One. When they all get together and do a ribald karaoke version of YMCA, a part of me died forever.
The gang of kids is another matter entirely. They similarly never have anything interesting to do, but some effort was made to give them at least perfunctory depth. Steve Howey and Kenan Thompson as best friends Stan and Teddy are a pretty good pair, both probably relishing their time on a movie set after making minor names for themselves on television, and Diora Baird, as Stan's would-be love interest Nadine, well-known to most horror fans (and who will be seen in the upcoming Night of the Demons remake), is beautiful, if sort of bland personality-wise. But Desi Lydic, as Teddy's date, Mia, steals the whole movie. She is quite simply a revelation. Not only is she disarmingly gorgeous, but she displays an intuitive comic timing rivalling any heavyweight Hollywood actor out there. She also gives a fearless performance, whether she is giving a dead dog and massage in the middle of the road or showing us her O-face when a rat climbs up under her skirt. I defy you to look at anything else going on in the movie when she is on screen.
To be fair, I absolutely hate parodies. So when I ripped open my latest care package from AITH and saw Stan Helsing, I literally cried out in dismay. But I was determined to go into it with an open mind. And I was surprised to find that the first 15-minutes or so did have some pretty funny jokes. I thought to myself, hey, maybe this one is different. Maybe I will have to eat a little crow. Alas, it was not to be. As soon as the gang got to the haunted town, all of the humor dive-bombed and exploded into the dirt. It then became a painful exercise in poor scripting and lame jokes. In a movie like this, you either have to have a sophisticated wit or the balls to go for the jugular, offense-wise. This film had neither. It just embarrasses itself and will annoy you.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen. The transfer looks fine, even if the cinematography is of an uninspired tv movie variety.
Audio: Dolby 5.1 Surround, with optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired.
Commentary: Writer/director Bo Zenga and stars Kenan Thompson and Desi Lydic give a uniformly half-hearted commentary. It is sort of entertaining, when they speak. But nothing I felt the need to listen to all the way through. Sometimes I find the commentary more interesting than the movie: this is not one of those cases.
Killer Parody: The Making of Stan Helsing: Pretty standard making of piece, with behind the scenes footage and cast and crew interviews. Plays better than the movie, though it is bizarre how these people all felt they were really making a funny and relevant piece of cinema.
Extended, Alternate, and Deleted Scenes: It is interesting to note that almost all of the deleted scenes were of a prurient nature. There is a strip club scene and a phone sex scene where 90% of the bare titties hit the cutting room floor; a scene on the set of a gay porn where we get to see a large variety of rubber dicks; and a scene where "Lucky" gets raped by a bin full of various other dolls. Along with the extended YMCA karaoke scene, I am sure glad they included those here (sarcasm).
Outtakes: The outtakes are actually pretty funny. So funny that most of them appear during the end credits anyway.
In addition there is a trailer, a still gallery, and a storyboard gallery. All standard stuff. Though it is important to note that Lydic's upskirt shot was actually storyboarded. Class, fellas.
There is absolutely nothing here for horror fans. Watch it for the brilliant and amazing Desi Lydic, and ignore everything else.