Note:I originally wrote this review several years ago and it’s gone from site to site. As the years have passed, I’ve come to find this little ditty has grown on me, so there have been some edits. This might not be Corey Haim’s shining moment, but it’s not a bad little slasher either. RIP Corey. You were all kinds of awesome!
A really bad up and coming rock band head to a Universal movie studio lot to shoot their music video directed by an auteur of the highest order (Charles Fleischer – that’s right, the voice of Roger Rabbit!). The band’s bitchy agent Stephanie (Priscilla Barnes) tags along with some groupies and the obnoxious film crew, unaware that among them walks a killer in an Elvis costume! I’m not making this up! Corey Haim picks up a paycheck, barely making an appearance in yet another made for video horror movie trying to ride on the coattails of Scream.
The back of the box claims The Back Lot Murders is not an ordinary genre film because of its unique combination of horror and humor (gee, I‘ve never seen that before!), but aside from Fleischer’s excellent improv skills and Barnes zero to ninety bitch-o-meter, there just isn’t much (intentional) humor to be had. I originally stated that perhaps the only laughing can be heard from the producers on their way to the bank! Oh, but I was being harsh (kinda)…
I originally found The Back Lot Murders to be oh-so-contrived. I’m normally a fan of those ‘rawk-n-horror’ combos, which I think are a can’t miss at least in a cheesy sort of way. And although I adore pretty much anything featuring Corey Haim (Demolition University, anyone?), even the big man hair and Haim’s short appearance couldn’t keep me interested. Fleischer and Barnes are by far the best part of the movie, but it’s not quite enough to save it. So much is poorly put together from the silly music, bloodless murders and silicone filled groupies. So, why do I find myself enjoying The Back Lot Murders more and more with each viewing? Simply because through all of the post-Scream pretensions, there is a fun (if not well made) movie to be had. The pacing is good, and like I said Barnes and Fleischer are kind of amazing. And at least it can be said this isn’t nearly as bad as Haim’s other DTV horror flick, Fever Lake (puke!) At least this film is watchable.
The secret to truly enjoying the Back Lot Murders is to watch it with a friend. I did upon my second viewing, and we laughed. And laughed. It’s a group film for sure. Perhaps it’s just too self-aware to be taken seriously (or to be watched alone), but with a few friends and a six pack, it’s got the potential to be really fun stuff. Can I give it a full hearted recommendation? No, that would be lying. But I can say it’s aged surprisingly well. Maybe that’s because so much crap has come out since 2002 (horrible shot on video horror I’m looking at you!), but there you go.