Saturday, 15 September 2012

Satan's Little Helper

"Satan's Little Helper" (2004, American World Pictures, Satan's Little Company, LLC, Intrinsic Value, Jeff Lieberman) is a B-movie slasher laced with dark comedy set at Halloween. I was going to keep this flick for Halloween, but had heard so much about it, I couldn't wait!

Nine year old Dougie Whooly (Alexander Brickel) is an odd child, but once you meet his mother, Merril (Amanda Plummer, whom you may recognise from The Fisher King and other films), you begin to realise why. His whole family are a little strange. He has become obsessed with a game called "Satan's Little Helper", which has inspired a sudden admiration of Satan in him.

He is excited for Halloween for three reasons, and none of them involve teeth-rotting sweeties!

1) Dougie is excited to see his elder sister Jenna (Katheryn Winnick) who is home from acting college for Halloween to take him Trick or Treating.

2) He is looking forward to dressing up as his favourite game character, 'The Helper' from "Satan's Little Helper", who mainly helps Satan attack and kill random people in the highly featured, terrible animation during the film

3) And he is convinced that he is going to find the real Satan and 'help' him "rip people's guts out". Little does he know how true this wish is going to come...

When Jenna returns with her new boyfriend, Alex (Stephen Graham), Dougie is upset (he's a little incestuously interested in his elder sister, in that way where most 3 year old girls are convinced that one day they'll marry their daddy).

In a huff, Dougie storms out into the street, bemoaning the fact that his sister has ruined his Halloween. He spies a man dressed as a demon dragging a body out into a porch and arranging it like a decoration. Convinced that he has found Satan, Dougie follows this man as he clearly goes along arranging obviously real dead people around the neighbourhood. The 'demon' spies young Dougie who is now gleefully cheering him on in his 'game' and is about to either run or dash the boy's brains out, when Dougie explains that he is Satan's little helper, and would like to help him out!

The boy then hangs out with this serial killer for the rest of the film, helping him, while clearly convinced that it is all a game. As I said, this boy is very strange and clearly a little stupid... OK, a lot stupid! But then, the rest of his family aren't much better. His mother appears to be stoned, her friends appear to be blind and his sister turns into an instant slut (like a lot of girls do around Halloween)!

The film delivers some moderate B-Movie gore and also the laughs in plentiful supply, and the sheer WTF moments just add to the fun. We spent a lot of time going "Why...? Oh wait... They're clearly just not a 'smart people'". But believe me, this isn't a criticism.

The killer is brilliant. He gets a lot of screen time, doesn't speak, never shows his face and is both sinister and kind of enjoyably & darkly charismatic all the way through the film! His rapport with the deluded young kid is kind of oddly endearing, if, of course, you ignore the fact that he is a psycho murderer, and also apparently an aspiring rapist, once he sees Jenna in her sexy Wench costume...

Although the base storyline could be considered a rehashing of "Halloween", I argue that's it's not. The addition of the innocent (and clearly misguided) child, really keeps the humour and shock coming, and adds a lot more to the story than simply a psycho killer in a mask stalking a babysitter. (Not that I dislike "Halloween", of course! That classic is definitely on my All Hallows Eve watch-list).

A film that deserves a cult following, "Satan's Little Helper" is an excellent slasher comedy, which contains some effective, if simplistic, special effects (despite virtually non-existent budget) and some actual scares, contained in a nicely produced B-Movie format which I really love. Also, there are a fair amount of boobs and cleavage, for those looking for that!

It doesn't help the argument that games don't effect children's view on violence, however...

[Picture: Satan's Little Company]