You Can’t Kill Stephen King (2012)

Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #163

Number of Views: One
Release Date: January 19, 2013
Sub-Genre:  Comedy Slasher
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 86 minutes
Director: Ronnie Khalil, Monroe Mann, Jorge Valdés-Iga
Producer: Monroe Mann, Ronnie Khalil
Screenplay: Monroe Mann, Ronnie Khalil, Bob Madia
Special Effects: Anthony Jones, Eric Anderson
Cinematography: Jorge Valdés-Iga
Score: Bruce Chianese
Editing: Gabriel Cullen
Studio: Loco Dawn Films, Clownfish Productions, The Maine Studios
Distributor: Camelot Entertainment Group
Stars: Monroe Mann, Ronnie Khalil, Crystal Arnette, Kayle Blogna, Kate Costello, Justin Brown, Polly Humphreys,  Arthur S. Brown, Michael Bernstein, Jason Martin, Bill Steven McLean, John Mancini, Jeffrey R. Kelsey, Vanessa Leigh, Skylar Collins, Lori Richardson

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Suggested Audio Candy

Sade “Your Love Is King”

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It is a well documented fact that you can’t keep a good man down. On June 19, 1999 the master of horror Stephen King was involved in an almost fatal automobile accident whilst out taking a stroll. It took a number of operations to treat and, at one point, appeared his shattered leg may need to be amputated, so severe was the damage. He recovered of course and by July he was writing again, with his near-death experience providing inspiration for his novel Lisey’s Story. At that juncture it began to become clear that you can’t actually kill Stephen King.

Cut to thirteen years later and Ronnie Khalil, Monroe Mann and Jorge Valdés-Iga’s maiden full-length feature which explores his God-like invulnerability and uses it as its unique selling point. It doesn’t feature King itself and instead banks on using copious amounts of references to his work to endear itself with his leagues of devoted King-ites. A most dicey move it would appear, even more so when you consider that they opted to go the ominous route of inane spoof to tell their tale.

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Keeper grew up like any other adolescent, watching Police Squad and Airplane. When done correctly, and this is on rather rare occasion, films of this ilk can work a treat. The instances of this happening within the umbrella of horror however are few and far between. There were a glut of slasher spoofs in the early eighties but then the penny seemed to drop and folk left well alone. For an avid comedy buff like me, I always have the knives sharpened when it comes to anything caught hamming it up as it ordinarily yields fairly mind-numbing results.

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It takes all of thirty seconds to realize that the young directors have absolutely no intention of playing it straight here as each character is introduced via freeze-frame victim roster denouncing their stereotypes a la John Gulager’s rambunctious creature feature Feast. Whereas with Feast this technique was implemented rather well, here it just points out the obvious. Token Black Guy for example, doesn’t need to be spelled out quite so literally as it only takes until he flaps his lips for the first time that we are all more than aware of the part he plays. Not the best start then and already signs were ominous for this light-hearted romp.

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Two of the three directors take key roles and it fast becomes blatantly clear that this is something of a labor of love for them. It is here that Keeper began to soften some, dropping my guard for a second and just taking You Can’t Kill Stephen King for exactly what it is…irreverent fluff. It actually worked, I had to devolve a few notches but suddenly I didn’t feel such blind contempt towards the kids. At this juncture, I was still some way from being sold and would concur with being worn down rather than won over but the sweetener arrives courtesy of a somewhat luxurious locale and some atmospheric photography from Valdés-Iga.

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For what it’s worth the group are attempting to locate the great man and sources have led them to believe they will find him at this quaint quayside residence. That’s all the motivation given thankfully enough as it allows us to get straight to the gammon and spuds. Our first real taste is a reasonably well-executed throat slice and hints at a promise of grue which is sadly never recognized. Instead each kill is content to mimic a scene from any number of King’s works and uses reference over visceral impact.You won’t be seeing the great man himself as he declined the invitation which seems rather sad all things considered. Kind of like not turning up for your infant’s first nativity. I make him right actually, after all his name isn’t Stephen Clown-Shoes.

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There are affectionate nods towards many of his works, some of which are well-conceived but many others shoe-horned in for effect. The plot becomes all wrapped up in itself and, at one point, it looks as though the whole sorry shambles will fall apart. So what stops this? The wide-eyed boy within me, my rose-tinted spectacles and the ability to utilize a mere 1% of my cerebral matter when called for. It’s the visible verve of the young players which rescues this from the abyss and, once you get over yourself and simply succumb to its harebrained charms, it’s…shhh… quite a lot of fun… shhh.

The best way of which I can sum up You Can’t Kill Stephen King is by offering this little nugget of advice: if you’ve had a long day of grind at the office and feel ready to shelve 99% of your brain for 86 minutes, give or take, then knock yourselves out. I’m sure someone, somewhere is turning in their grave as we speak, but one things for damned sure, it ain’t Stephen King.

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Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 6/10

Grue Factor: 1/5

For the Grue-Guzzlers: Nothing much to see here I’m sorry to report. Actually the standout kill is entirely bloodless and involves one hapless belle having handfuls of sand stuffed into her oral cavity Beachworld style. Other than that, and aforementioned throat cut, it’s slim pickings I’m afraid.

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Richard Charles Stevens

Keeper of The Crimson Quill

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  1. I’ve avoided this because as a King-ite I was sceptical, now I think I may just have to find this one! MUAH thank you Keeper, much love!!

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