If you thought we forgot about the After Dark Horrorfest III, you’re wrong. We’re just really lazy and prioritized a few other movies over the last few titles. But never fear (or always fear, we love horror movies here) because we’re back and with one of the better films of the fest. Perkins’ 14 is a low budget film that takes a swing at the zombie genre in a slightly different way. Rather then reanimating the dead or all that jazz, a messed up mother performs isolation experiments on kids and screws with their heads until they’re pretty much mindless killing machines. In the midst of this, a troubled Sheriff whose life is crumbling around him still pines for vengeance after his son has gone missing – and as you might guess, the son might just turn up thirsting for blood.
About fifteen people find their demise at either the hands of messed up kids, get their faces smashed by solid objects, or catch a few bullets on their way to hell.
Some people get ripped apart and eaten by the crazy kids. We see a bloody corpse, there is a bullet to the brain, a slit throat, some beatings, a hand gets chopped, a few more bullets. A face gets totally destroyed by a bottle (awesome), a shiv meets an eyeball, some intestines end up on the wrong side of the skin, some legs get blown off and there is plenty of blood.
We see some bra action and there is some finger sucking if you’re into that – I’m not but whatever. We also see most of a boob, but its not entirely sexy.
Much like a ho, zombie children aren’t to be trusted.
Perkins’ 14 was actually one of the first films of the fest I popped in. I was intrigued by the interesting cover art that was retro and exploitative in a way, but great cover art by no means indicates a great movie. What I found in this was good cinematography that captured that grainy 1970s vibe mixed over stylish camera work that was beneficial to the movie rather than distracting. It was a perfect example of good filmmaking overcoming a typical story in that there wasn’t much new or interesting about the set up itself. The real impact of the story came from lead actor Patrick O’Kane who players Sheriff Dwayne Hopper, a beat up husk of a man who is oblivious to his wife’s cheating, unsure of how to handle his teenage daughter, and still obsessing over how his son was taken right from underneath his nose. O’Kane brings a realness to the role that never seems over the top or underplayed. Sure, the character makes a few mistakes in his hesitations to blow brains out here and there, but as the emotional center of the story, O’Kane nails the role.
This dark and depressing film packs in the gore and kills, satisfying your bloodlust, but doesn’t want to make the story about the deaths but rather about the characters, which is pretty rare in lower budgeted horror. It’s not a feel good let’s celebrate the blood movie as it maintains a sense of seriousness throughout. The story, while somewhat cliched, is handled well enough in creating an air of mystery around what’s actually happening. The first 30 minutes are closer to a cop thriller before all hell breaks loose and the 14 are released to create carnage. All in all, Perkins’ 14 is a serious take on the damaged children as zombie genre that delivers the kills you want with an added bonus of an interesting character and a great performance by O’Kane.