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Life’s a beach and then someone dies in Slaughter Beach, a low budget horror-comedy slasher from the crew at Clockout Films. Last week, the film’s official premiere was hosted by Delco Horror Haven, a new non-profit horror organization dedicated to supporting indie horror in the greater Philadelphia area.

Director Daniel C. Davis (Same Dance) takes a different approach with his take on the serial killer subgenre. When two underachievers are unable to land jobs due to a serial killer ruining their beach town’s tourism and economy, the duo become low rent superhero crime fighters to end the murderer’s reign of terror. Ralph (Jon McKoy) and Barry (Ethan Han) develop their new personas, Awesome Boy and Bludgeon Man respectively, to form the Defender Benders and clean up the streets in their Bender Mobile.

The film’s main antagonist causing havoc in their coastal town is a killer fisherman who yields a murderous hook. From that description, you’d might think it’s a nod to I Know What You Did Last Summer, but our yellow slicker-wearing killer resembles the Gorton Seafood’s fisherman mascot more than Ben Willis. Especially since there is no mystery to the killer’s identity by the midway point of the proceedings. Our villain also rocks a tackle box filled with body parts from his victims that he uses as bait for his fishing adventures in between kills. So as you can see, our villain is indeed a unique one, or as unique as you can be following the thousands of slasher film villains that have come beforehand.

The film’s first act really focuses on developing our two main characters as we follow their bizarre foray into crimefighting via some silly scenarios. But once they cross paths with Fish Man Sam (Jim Cannatelli) spouting his Moby Dick-esque tale of Lulu the giant Horseshoe crab, which I recently learned is a medicinal crab, the killings become plentiful, and things start to take off.

Can Ralph prove his dad wrong by rising above his slacker status with Barry to defend his turf from the evil fisherman on a serious murder bender? Or can he at least just get some form of employment and help pay their bills? Is Lulu really a horseshoe crab or just a horse shit tale? You’ll have to walk in the sands of Slaughter Beach to find out.

As you can tell by that premise, the emphasis of this horror-comedy leans more to the comedic side of the field, but there are enough creative kills and surprisingly great practical gore effects for such a humble budget to scratch that horror itch. Ever see an’80s-inspired murder spree montage set to upbeat music in a film before? Slaughter Beach checks that box rather entertainingly. Again, the montage is played for laughs versus scares, but it is nonetheless effective with its use of gore while still maintaining the film’s intended zany, off the wall tone.

Director Davis employs many slasher flick tropes such as a folklore legend used to drive the narrative, the villain casting some one-liners during their kills, ineffective and incompetent local law enforcement, and a killer mainly using a signature weapon on their prey. However, it’s all played with tongue firmly jammed in cheek, which is the right play for this type of film.

The best way to gauge your interest for whether you should watch this film or not is how you feel about Troma films. Because Slaughter Beach most certainly feels inspired by some of the older throwback films within Lloyd Kauffman’s cinematic playground in many ways. Watch this film if you see that as complimentary statement, or steer clear if you are on the opposite side of Troma’s very polarizing spectrum.

This 78-minute affair was produced with little budget, but also noticeably with a lot of heart. Not to mention a pretty killer soundtrack that really sticks out in a good way, especially during the beach scenes. It is also short enough with the right balance of levity to offer up some quick, mindless fun. And isn’t that something we all need more of in life?

Slaughter Beach can be viewed for free online right now at Tubi.

Delco Horror Haven is planning more independent film premieres throughout 2024. You can keep up to date with all their events over on the official Delco Horror Haven Facebook page.

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