Scary Movie 2
Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans

Cast: Anna Faris, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans
Review by Brian M. Sammons

This September 20th Lionsgate is all set to bring these two spoofs of spooky flicks to Blu-ray for the first time. Since they are essentially the same film, that being a collection of comedy skits based on horror movies only strung together by the barest of threads, I thought I’d cover them both in one go. So, without further ado, here they are.

The idea behind all the Scary Movie movies is to take whatever horror films were popular the year or so before and cherry-pick some bits to spoof and satirize. While the original movie largely focused on the Scream series of neo-slashers, starting with part two, the Scary films would incorporate any and all remotely genre based movies in a scatter shot approach to comedy. That is, by throwing enough stuff at the wall from various sources, the hope is something is bound to be funny. Maybe it is, but the more narrow focus of the first Scary Movie was easily the funniest and best of the lot, or maybe the creators took their time making it, whereas after it, the studio that owned the property was just concerned with churning out a new flick ever year. That said, there were still enough good, if oftentimes silly or sick (or both), bits in these two sequels to give them a watch. Ok, overview over, let’s get to specifics.

Scary Movie 2 begins with some fun at the expense of The Exorcist, because you know, that classic film from 1973 was so hot and current back in 2001. Whatever, this bit was easily the funniest part of the film, with James Woods knocking it out of the park lampooning the Father Merrin part. After that, the majority of the movie takes on the truly awful The Haunting. No, not the amazing 1963 original haunted house film, although with them first covering The Exorcist, I guess it could have been possible, but the truly abhorrent waste of time and celluloid that was the 1999 remake. And honestly, I think that was a huge mistake, because The Haunting remake was so damn spirit-crushing bad that no amount of funny could be wrung from the pain that film inflicted on horrorheads. Anyway, there are other bits tossed in (like I said, scatter shot) including jibes at Hollow Man, What Lies Beneath, Hannibal and even the blink-and-you-missed-it news story of Firestone tires blowing out. Yeah because that doesn’t date this movie at all!

With all that said, I did get some giggles out of Scary Movie 2. The original creative team behind the first Scary Movie was also behind this one and it shows. Not only is there a plethora of Wayans brothers in it, but the same juvenile, over the top gross-out humor is evident from scene one. As someone who can appreciate gross-out comedy when it’s done well, I applaud its hard R approach to humor.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the following sequel, which not only ditched the Wayans brothers from the writing, directing, and acting positions, but totally revealed that this series was nothing more than a cynical cash grab when they played it safe and completely neutered the adult humor in an effort to obtain the far more lucrative PG-13 rating. Oh well, at least they put David “one third of the team that gave us the amazing Airplane! films” Zucker into the director’s chair. I can only guess that his involvement is the only reason that the third film is even somewhat watchable.

Ok, we’re in the home stretch now, so on with part three.

Scary Movie 3
Director: David Zucker

Cast: Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen, Regina Hall
Review by Brian M. Sammons

Scary Movie 3 has Anna Faris and Regina Hall returning as Cindy and Brenda, the only two recurring characters since the aforementioned Wayans brothers walked away from the project. That left a big hole in the cast, so luckily they had a big A-hole (zing) on hand to fill it: Charlie Sheen, who played the Mel Gibson role from the alien invasion flick, Signs. The Ring is the other horror film they pull large bits from for this movie, and that makes sense since the movie is called *Scary* Movie, but then they also include bits on The Matrix, The Hulk in an alternate ending, and Eminem’s 8 Mile. Why? Either there wasn’t any other fright films to make fun of from the year before, which wasn’t the case, or the creators just took the lazy way out to pad the film with whatever came to mind the easiest. Hmm, considering that the “brains” behind this movie (and yes those are ironic finger quotation marks) went on the make the hodgepodge messes that were Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, and other cinematic eyesores, I’d bet it was the latter reason. But hey, they do promote this movie on the Blu-ray cover as the “exclusive unrated” edition, even going as far as to give it a subtitle of “Scary Movie 3.5”, so there is that. But honestly, I didn’t see any differences between this version and the last time I saw this movie.

The good news is that both of these Blu-rays from Miramax and Lionsgate have had a bit of visual polish added to them and they look great. Additionally they each have a nice collection of special features and extras, with the lion’s share of goodies being on part three. However all these extras were on the earlier DVD editions of these films, so if already own these movies on disc, there’s no real reason to upgrade. But if you don’t have these and you like lowbrow, gross-out humor, then I can give a partial recommendation for Scary Movie 2 but only a limp, lukewarm “I didn’t really hate it” recommendation for Scary Movie 3.

About Brian M. Sammons

Brian M. Sammons has penned stories that have appeared in the anthologies: Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, Monstrous, Dead but Dreaming 2, Horror for the Holidays, Deepest, Darkest Eden and others. He has edited the books; Cthulhu Unbound 3, Undead & Unbound, Eldritch Chrome, Edge of Sundown, Steampunk Cthulhu, Dark Rites of Cthulhu, Atomic Age Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu and Flesh Like Smoke. He is also the managing editor of Dark Regions Press’ Weird Fiction line. For more about this guy that neighbors describe as “such a nice, quiet man” you can check out his infrequently updated webpage here: http://brian_sammons.webs.com/ and follow him on Twitter @BrianMSammons.

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