Director Dave Campfield brings forth an odd creation entitled Caesar and Otto’s Deadly Xmas, noted as the fifth installment of the Caesar and Otto’s tales of mishaps and insanity, this film is obviously a Christmas Horror, a subgenre in horror, and likely one of the tougher ones to compete therein without becoming too campy or corny. However, Dave goes head first down the tough path, of creating a parody and dancing on a razor’s edge of campy versus corny, his facing grace, likely the inclusive of b-list b-movie actors. Many critics, downplay this film, and that it comes from the aspect that its straight-forwardness lacks a constant storyline, nevertheless, one must accept an independent film that wrapped itself in parodies and then crated in a cheesy almost over-the-top, never actually takes a serious tone with neither the film, nor the individuals in front and behind the camera.
The storyline contains somewhat of a jumbled plot and leans more to a parody, rather than homage to Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984), except with the following scenes, first involving scream queen Linnea Quigley and a fine set of antlers, with Deron Miller, mounting her on display. Deron Miller of CKY fame, stars as a costumed Santa Demian, displaced from his job, brothers Caesar (Campfield) and Otto (Paul Chomicki), who stars as his half-brother, still sweet on a woman from high school, Summer Ferguson. Perhaps as an inside gag, their lacks a strong credibility that they are true brothers, maybe something one of the previous installments already covered. Then, secondly, the legendary actor, director and producer Lloyd Kaufman as Caesar’s grandfather, and mentions the usage of a chainsaw for removing male genitalia. The storyline has Caesar and Otto obtaining Santa and his elf position at the clandestine Xmas Enterprises that then switches to creating a horror film and ending with visit to a Satanic Cult Mass. Meanwhile Demian obtains Caesar’s Thanksgiving invitation list and begins a sloppy, bloody and loony killing spree. Sounds perfectly normal – no, this not a Troma-style film, nor a homage to that style of filmmaking, rather what an independent creation becomes when Campfield’s dons at least five hats for this production – aside from director, he takes on the responsibility of writer, producer, editor, actor and even promotional duties. In addition, award-winning screenwriter, Joe Randazzo, who met Campfield, at film festivals joined as both producer and screenwriter, lent his talents to this film. Caesar’s character condemns certain styles of screenwriting, such as flashbacks, and yet uses them, at the same point using other 1980s filmmaking stylized points such as split screens for phone calls.
Other notable actors, in the production include an insane appearance from Joe Estevez following a clueless 911 operator by the name of Kara (Debbie Rochon) with both in their separate providing solid comic performance. Brinke Stevens and Robert Z’Dar also contribute cameos to the film, with Felissa Rose of Sleepaway Camp fame, rounding out the lunacy of the plot; nevertheless, many more cameos appear as gifts around the bloody snow-covered tree waiting for eager fans to discover the joys. Again, Campfield has the cameos from these stars and no one taking them too seriously, providing a film that just contains fun, for at the height of Christmas season, mindless zombified people staggering through malls, endless loop-cycle music drowns any cheerful, and many starts thinking of homicidal acts. Therefore, the blood, violence, chaos and some gore spread merrily throughout the film with the required topless shots to fill-out the naughty checklist of any slasher Christmas horror fans.
One, of the points of film tries to portray Caesar and Otto as a new modern-day comedic team and some found offensive, as to compare them to Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello, the only resemblance is their body shape, one is thin and fast talking and the other is obese and dimwitted. The sound effects of their tomfoolery touches back to The Three Stooges, however, if Moe strolled onto that set, someone would definitely experience a double poke in the eyes.
The lighting, sound and overall film, achieves high marks, the editing though, scrambles, a tad too fast, intended – not likely, perhaps a decision skip over any plot problems, as with any independent movie of this caliber reshoots do not exist, time constraints present themselves more frequently than pot-holes in wintertime.
A saving grace of the film, comes from the DVD from Wild Eye Releasing including three commentary tracks, a behind the scenes featurette, trailers and three short films: Otto’s First Job, The Perfect Candidate and Piggyzilla. So many big-budgeted films and even other moderately independent films, do not include these many extras for a film, hence the creators took the time for a classy production for fans.
Deadly Xmas, never achieves award-winning Oscar status, nor the disastrous style of a vintage Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) rather it lies as a wounded creature, and those become the dangerous ones to avoid, as they tend to always return from the grave to terrorize one’s life, for either good or sinister delights. The recommendation, if you seek serious high-brow horror – avoid, but if thought of b-list actors, b-movies, and a super silly campy style within this film enjoy, then seek this out for all your delight.
This review was originally posted in March 2014 on Rogue Cinema’s now defunct website with a view count of 577.
Tis the Season To Be Screaming
IMDb Rating: 4.1/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.0/10