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John’s Horror Corner: The Hills Run Red (2009), a pleasant surprise of a grimy, gritty, gory slasher wrapped up in a movie within the movie.

December 3, 2022

MY CALL: The raunchiness and gory feistiness of Wrong Turn 3 (2009) meet the brutal, grimy Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) in this unexpectedly pleasant surprise. The writing and acting may feel more than a bit unpracticed, but this movie still does an excellent job delivering the goods from story, pacing and over-the-top villainy to mean, gritty gore and wild twists.

Most likely inspired by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) and aiming to take its grotesque themes to the next level, the opening scenes of this movie are successfully wincing in this bloody, flesh-snipping endeavor with graphic imagery of visceral self-mutilation.

After the release and subsequent ban of a sadistic slasher movie in 1982, no sign of any film prints nor cast members nor even the director Wilson Wyler Concannon (William Sadler; The Grudge, VFW, Ava’s Possessions, Tales from the Crypt) were ever found. Determined to find the long-lost original film, Tyler (Tad Hilgenbrink) sets out to make a documentary of his investigation as he visits each 1982 filming site. After recruiting the filmmaker’s daughter Alexa Concannon (Sophie Monk; Blood Feast), Tyler is joined by his girlfriend Serina (Janet Montgomery; Salem, Wrong Turn 3) and friend Lalo (Alex Wyndham; Yellowjackets) to pursue this project.

Visiting one site at a time, they interview locals and people who saw the movie back in 1982 as they trek deeper into the woods and farther from humanity. We also enjoy gory flashback recounts of the lost movie’s scenes as they arrive to locations of death scenes. The “tree scene” is grotesque and reminds me of the gory, booby trap feistiness to be found in Wrong Turn 2-3 (2007, 2009).

Something that took me aback is that this movie features a LOT of nudity. So much, in fact, that I was highly skeptical of the quality of the film to come. It’s not unlike when an adult filmmaker tries his hand at horror, but sticks to what he knows to an uncomfortable degree. However, much to my surprise, this movie needed no such thing. Yes, there’s a lot of completely gratuitous nudity; so much that it doesn’t make sense sometimes. Yet, this is a substantially entertaining horror film all on its own. It never needed these cheap tactics.

Director Dave Parker (Tales of Halloween, Puppet Master: Doktor Death) combines the raunchiness and gory feistiness of Wrong Turn 3 (2009) and the brutal, grimy Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) in this really pleasant surprise of a movie! Among the gore, we see a meat hook-impaled victim ripped in half at the middle, a menagerie of elaborately mangled corpses, a vile and long torture scene, and various acts of brutal bloody violence.

The Babyface killer (Danko Jordanov; Wrong Turn 6) is a dark force of nature, with an incredibly creepy cracked mask. His hair and skin harken of Jason Voorhees whereas his mask, behavior and backstory smack more of Leatherface’s origin. When this hulk springs into action, he is fast, agile, skilled and shocking. Any gorehound ought to be quite pleased with this.

The writing and much of the acting is B-movie quality (but more by inexperience than just plain badness), and the story takes some wildly interesting turns. Truth be told, I wasn’t wowed with the twists within, but it didn’t matter. I was still very entertained by this movie overall, from the plot points and back story to the death scenes. The end is a fun, bloody, double-crossing free for all. Very fun watch for gorehounds and fans of the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) (and sequels) and Wrong Turn 2-5 (2007-2012).

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