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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Party Bus to Hell (2017)




This is a movie that I found on Amazon Prime while poking around. I was initially interested because I saw Tara Reid’s name attached. What can I say I love me some Sharknado. This seemed to be a goofy horror comedy, so I fired it up. Then I saw the director was Rolfe Kanefsky who did a couple great independent movies including The Hazing and I was sold.

The movie kicks off with Reid’s character running thru the desert with a friend. They are being chased by someone for reasons never explained. She ends up killing that dude. Though his decapitated head keeps yelling at her so she might have been justified. I mean he is really annoying! Then we meet a bunch of characters getting on a bus to head off to Burning Man. That bus eventually takes a shortcut and runs into Reid’s character. Literally they run her over… this is a glorified cameo. Eventually the bus is trapped and surrounded by a cult that wants them to pass the chosen one out to them so that a demon can be reborn into the world or something.

This isn’t the kind of movie where you worry too much about the plot. There is one and it sort of makes sense, but Bus Party to Hell is more about what you get to see. There is a lot of nudity in this movie. Seriously a lot of pretty ladies are on display and while that might not be too popular in today’s political environment, I thought it was a fun throwback to the old days of eighties horror. If it matters the writers make sure that our heroes are some kick ass women who finally make their escape and take out a lot of the bad guys along the way. So that makes all the breasts okay… right?

That previous paragraph sounds silly but that is the tone of the movie. The kills, nudity, characters, and situation of being surrounded is all played for laughs. This isn’t an outright comedy, but everything is so over the top that you can’t help but giggle here and there at what you are watching. There are some funny jokes along the way that land and the performances from the cast sure seem to be reinforcing this. Kanefsky is a director who always does a good job weaving comedic elements into his movies.

Love the creature effects
That said this is a horror movie, so we have to talk about the kills. This is the other thing that you get to see a lot of as they are plentiful. There is a throat cut, a decapitation, some hammer and machete killing, and an arrow to the head. We also get a crazy death by snake birth that is staged well and leaves your imagination to fill in the blanks. The kills are all pulled off with CGI and most of it is bad. Party Bus to Hell is clearly a low budget movie so I kind of expected digital gore. I won’t say that it didn’t bother me, and I had wished a few practical effects kills but it isn’t a deal breaker. The one great thing about the movie is the design of the creature. We don’t get to see the demon until the very end, but it is all practical latex appliance work and it is solid. At its core Party Bus to Hell is a monster movie so a decent creature was important.

If this was presented as a straight horror movie it simply wouldn’t have worked. The lack of budget, CGI kills, and simplistic story would have landed it solidly in the don’t bother category. But since the movie made me laugh, I think I can sort of recommend it, especially if you can catch it for free online like I did. I don’t recommend spending money on it as I don’t think it would be as entertaining the second time around.


© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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