J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lake Nowhere: The Return of 1980s Nostalgia

Welcome to Lake Nowhere, where all the kids are below average. Their hedonistic indulgences, most definitely including sex, drugs, and booze will kill them even quicker than C. Everett Koop would predict. 1980s VHS horror nostalgia returns like a psycho-slasher who never dies in Christopher Phelps & Maxim Van Scoy’s short feature Lake Nowhere (trailer here), which releases today in a BluRay-DVD combo-pack.

Much like Dude Bro Party Massacre III, Nowhere will try to recreate the lo-fi pleasures of VHS tapes, but instead of a bootleg recorded from a UHF broadcast, this supposed relic from the eighties tries to pass for a well-worn commercial VHS tape, most likely released with the rental market in mind. It comes with two fake trailers, one for a Giallo that looks like it could actually be the real thing and an environmentally-themed body-horror-conspiracy thriller that could have been released by Troma last week. There is also a brief advertisement for Wolf White Beer, which would definitely aid the viewing experience.

Okay, so a carload of thirtysomethings acting like teens arrive at Lake Nowhere for a weekend of drunken, stupid fun. When Bonnie finds a gravestone with some heavy satanic passages while walking her dog Fozzie, she thinks little of it, because why should she? Similarly, nobody is much concerned when Danny disappears for at least twelve hours skinny-dipping. This is not an intuitive bunch, but so much the better for the Masked Maniac. At just fifty-one minutes including front matter, he will have to work quickly to make mincemeat of the revelers. However, since he also seems to have some supernatural mojo going on, he should be up to the challenge.

As far as eighties slasher spoofs go, Phelps & Scow ace the look and vibe of vintage dead teenager movies, even surpassing the relentlessly grungy Dude Bro III, but they never approach the wit and inventiveness of Todd Strauss-Schulson’s Final Girls. In terms of quality and entertainment value, it probably ranks dead center between the two comparison films. It certainly knows where it is going and how it should get there.

Lake Nowhere will get you in the mood to binge-watch Prom Night and Sleepaway Camp movies, so it definitely pushes the right buttons. As satire, it arguably allows fans to indulge their sentimental nostalgia, without seeming excessively creepy. Still, the relative brevity is probably a blessing. Recommended for those who will appreciate where it is coming from, Lake Nowhere releases today on BluRay-DVD, from BrinkVision.

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