WEEDJIES: HALLOWEED NIGHT / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: DANNY DRAVEN / SCREENPLAY: SHANE BITTERLING / STARRING: BRETT HARGRAVE, VICTORIA STRANGE, YO YING, JOHNNY LEE, DENISE MILFORT, JAMES ADAM TUCKER / RELEASE DATE: TBC
In a rundown Las Vegas hotel, a trio of young women throw a Halloween party to raise money for college, attracting revellers with a scavenger hunt for a bud of powerful marijuana created by their science nerd friend. Unfortunately, the blowout catches the eye of the mysterious Baroness, who convinces them to use an odd Ouija board that releases the weedjies, mischievous critters who the girls must capture by midnight, or they will become sucked into the netherworld and become such creatures themselves.
Although the heyday of Charles Band and Full Moon was firmly in the ‘80s, along with the popularity of the kind of horror comedy with which he was most successful, he still manages to churn out multiple titles a year, and Weedjies: Halloweed Night is a gloriously unrestrained throwback to that decade of excess and overkill. The blend of humour and horror is very much in favour of the former and what surprisingly little violence features is so cartoonish there are even the occasional sound effect reminiscent of Loony Tunes.
The titular quartet of creatures are mesmerisingly hideous creations, reminiscent of titular monsters of Ghoulies (on which Band was also a producer), Critters, and Gremlins. Brought to life through puppetry and practical effects, they fit in perfectly with the colourful setting, and you never question for a moment they are a true part of events rather than artificial props. Each of them is so distinct in design that any scenes featuring their antics never even approach repetitive, instead growing into elaborate set pieces as fun as they are ridiculous.
As well as providing a large pool of people to be killed in inventive ways, central notion of a Halloween party also provides great potential for variance in costumes for supporting character and extras and does not disappoint. Some are skimpy and eye-catching while others are themed and imaginative, including a pair dressed as Blade and Tunneller from the Puppet Master films.
The main issue is the film’s pacing, with it being over half an hour into proceedings before the titular creatures even make an appearance. For film that runs less than 75 minutes (including credits), it doesn’t leave a great deal of time for the chaotic rampage that is the film’s main appeal. When it gets underway, it delivers all the grotesquely comical set pieces hoped for, but you do come away with the feeling of having wanted a few more of them.
Weedjies: Halloweed Night is an unrestrained riot that delivers pretty much exactly what you would expect from it. With a central notion of cute girls in sexy outfits hunting mischievous monsters the film knows exactly the kind of audience it’s appealing to, and as it fully embraces the unbridled sense of its own anarchic absurdity and camp fun it only asks that you do the same.