Review of "Johnny Gruesome" by The Headless Critic
Johnny Gruesome – 2018
Production by: DeInstitutionalized, Red Hill Movies
Distribution by: Uncork’d Entertainment
Heavy metal hellion Johnny Grissom (Anthony De La Torre) doesn’t exactly fit in to his local high school. Labeled Johnny “Gruesome” by some of his classmates, Johnny never hesitates to defend himself in a fight. When one rebellious fight leads to murder, Johnny shows them just how Gruesome he can get coming back in the afterlife. Secrets will be repent as his killers meet their grisly demise. “He will have his revenge.”
Based on the award winning novel from Greg Lamberson, a director who’s been bringing us gruesome tales since Slim City in the 1980’s, Johnny Gruesome is a passion project a decade in the making. The directors who brought the dirty days of New York City to cinema are mostly gone but are not forgotten. An old tale updated for modern times, Lamberson captures that gritty feel in an 80’s style movie that just as fleeting if not gone in cinema today.
The CGI used isn’t the best but it’s also minimal. I would have preferred a film that feels so late 80’s, early 90’s to have gone completely practical in their effects. The kills are fun on a budget like any horror comedy should be. It’s filmed bright but still has grittiness about it. It’s pleasingly Hollywood unrefined with the filmmaking experience that shows, which we don’t find much these days. Lamberson films gruesome, comedy and horror like few can.
What The Crow is for goth kids, Johnny Gruesome does for Metalheads. He may not make an emo girl’s panties wet but he will soak them in blood. He’s not white faced sexy sorrow either, he’s dead and decayed. This zombie rocker doesn’t come back from the dead for romance, he’s back for revenge. Why isn’t he dead? He couldn’t sleep. “Live fast, die young, leave carnage.”
Playing at Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Fest Nov. 3rd, 2018
3 out of 5 Headless Critics
Director Greg Lamberson’s interview on Without Your Head