Filmed in 2015 and self released on Vimeo and DVD in 2017 then on Amazon Prime in 2019, the horror comedy Black Holler is finally getting a proper release. Is it a great film that managed to stay under the radar all these years? Or a cursed relic that needed to stay buried in the ranks of mediocre movies?
In 1959 a pair of archeologists digging in Black Holler discover an incredible artifact only to break it in two and fall victim to a terrible curse. In 1989, Laquita Johnson (Tamiko Robinson Steele, Beast of the Water, Tales from Parts Unknown) arrives for her first day of classes at O’Fish Community College. That’s the same day her Archepology 101 class is going to Black Holler to do some research. And like it or not she’s going with them.
Remember that artifact they found in the prologue? Well it’s about to get rediscovered, and that’s bad news, because in the Holler no one can hear you holler. Or hear you snore for that matter.
Horror and comedy go together like oil and water and making a successful comedy is next to impossible. And when it does work it’s usually a carefully targeted piece of satire like You Might Be the Killer, not a “zany”, throw everything at the audience and hope they laugh effort. And Black Holler, like slasher spoofs Camp Wedding and Camp Death III in 2D! goes after everything it can think of and usually misses the target.
The prologue did get a laugh out of me, well one line did and it’s probably easy to guess which one. After that Black Holler went downhill fast. Our introduction to Laquita’s classmates involves the nerdy kid being called a homo. A fat white guy claiming to be a minority because he’s one sixtieth Native American, and other suburban white folk trying to act all gangsta. And since she’s a black girl Laquita has to be a troublemaking badass.
It’s all far from politically correct, unfortunately it’s even further from funny. It’s almost as though director Jason Berg who co-wrote Black Holler with Heidi Ervin and Rachel Ward Heggen wanted to make a Troma style outrageous and offensive comedy but didn’t have the balls to go there so they tamely tiptoed around it. If you’re going to go there then go hard and own it like The Toxic Avenger, otherwise you’ll still be tasteless, you just won’t be funny.
It doesn’t get any better once the class gets out to the woods. The level of horror related humour is someone performing demonic rituals to bring their pet cat back to life, a dumbass in a bad Leatherface mask and mostly bad Evil Dead references. The song that plays while they’re running through the woods around the hour mark is quite terrifying though, it sounds like a lost Dokken track.
I’ve said it before, comedy is a very subjective thing and what works for one person falls flat for others. I’m obviously not the intended audience for Black Holler. About all I found funny was the appearance of “Deus Ex Mackinaw, of the ancient Mackinaw people”. But if you find endless attempts to be edgy that were already tired in 1989 funny you probably are however.
Same thing if you find the school being run by Dean Dean (Brad Edwards) or another character bearing the name Barbara McCuntser (Vivi Vendetta) hysterical you’ll love Black Holler. You’ll probably even like the rap during the end credits.
Wild Eye will release Black Holler to Digital on November 16th. You can get more information on the film’s Facebook page.