Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 29/08/2022

THE ONCE AND FUTURE SMASH + END ZONE 2 [FrightFest 2022]

Everyone knows the legend of the End Zone movies, right? Early ‘70s films that were influential to the slasher cycle that followed? So much so that Friday the 13th ripped the premise off completely. No? Well, the films have disappeared from screens and have been hard to find over the years, after all.

At a monster convention, the two actors who played Smash Mouth, the mutated villain of End Zone 2, have arrived to sign autographs (and blenders) but with a remake/sequel in the works, which one will make it to play the future Smash Mouth?

Presented as a straight documentary, Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein (Clickbait) have crafted a world in which you actually doubt whether End Zone is made up or not. The mythology built up around the film in question is fantastic (there’s even an IMDb page). A vast array of talking heads from the cult movie scene get involved, enthusing and getting in the spirit of things, which is lovely to see. A standout is a brilliantly straight-faced performance by Friday the 13th writer Victor Miller. Michael St. Michaels (The Greasy Strangler himself) and Bill Weeden (Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.) play the two embittered actors, the former with an over-inflated view of himself, the other is just happy to make a buck and forever spouting a catchphrase that wasn’t even in the movie.

Everybody involved clearly has a love for the real era of grindhouse cinema (the real type, not the ‘throw some digitised lines on it’ ones) and this is clear with End Zone 2 itself, which is presented how it ‘exists’, which is missing the last half hour (which canonically is the only section Weeden’s William Smash played a part in). Like many of the films of the time, it’s a talky, exposition-heavy production that focuses on the clichéd characters but delivers some hilarious shocks later on.

Writer/directors Sophia and Michael have previously deconstructed Euro-horror with their feature debut Blood of the Tribades and they do the same fabulously with both the documentary and movie part of this fun double bill. Like that Franco/Rollin tribute, End Zone 2 won’t be for everyone, but The Once and Future Smash provides universal entertainment in Spın̈al Tap fashion. TOUCHDOWN!