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Edgar Friendly Jr. – aka Bonejangles – is a serial killer.
Over 100 kills. His father Edgar Sr. (a scene-licking cameo from Phantasm‘s Reggie Bannister) was a serial killer of some repute himself who went by the name of The New Brunswick Ripper, and his mother was a voodoo priestess. Over the years, Bonejangles has been shot, stabbed, burnt, drowned, doused in toxic waste and even frozen. But he keeps on popping back up like… well, a hideous supernatural slasher movie monster. And that’s the official police line on the guy!
What they DO know is that electricity seems to harm him (they all have a weakness somewhere, don’t they?) and, despite their assault being prefaced by the captain’s warning that “Most of you won’t be coming back tonight,” Bonejangles opens with the town’s entire small cadre of police officers – including the nerdy virgin stoner Randy (Jamie Scott Gordon) and his wiseacre partner Doug (Kelly Misek Jr.), both straight out of the Police Academy franchise, it seems – attempting to corner Bonejangles in a warehouse, armed with Tasers. Against the odds, they succeed in capturing Bojangles but at heavy cost to the police force, almost all of whom are killed; all but Doug, Randy and Lisa (Hannah Richter) in fact, leaving the station so depleted that they have to draft in another cop from elsewhere to help run the place and, for some reason I couldn’t quite fathom, this cop – officer Juan LaRhumba (Lawrence Wayne Curry) – is an enormously camp gay black stereotype from the early eighties. I think it was for comedy effect. Cos, you know, gays are funny, and black gays are hilarious. Yeah.
Anyway, their first objective for this bungling cop quartet is to move the monstrous Bonejangles to a sanitorium in the nearby city of Argento (yep: Argento).
Marrying up The Purge with Night of the Living Dead and even The Town that Dreaded Sundown, the city of Argento is buzzing. Everybody is stockpiling provisions and weapons.. Why? Well, it’s April 18th, and on the night of this date every year Argento – cursed long ago by a witch – plays host until sunrise to hordes of zombies eager to chomp on anyone who comes near. On top of this, town “hero” Clint (Devin Toft) and his belle Sally (Julia Cavanaugh) are about to marry. Bit of a strange night upon which to declare one’s nuptials but, hey-ho, I’m sure it’ll come to bear somewhere down the line. Soon, the cops’ transport van is crashed, they’re on the run through the town, Bonejangles is loose and, between him, the zombies, the witches and the local rednecks, will the cops stay alive? Will the town’s residents stay alive? Will Clint and Sally get hitched? Will any of you keep watching past the first twenty minutes?
Bonejangles, written by Keith Melcher and directed by Brett DeJager, is a bit of a mess to be honest. It’s a horror-comedy attempting to tread a similar path to the surprisingly good Tucker & Dale vs Evil, with its tonal emphasis on the comedy leaving the horror purely to the visuals. Alas, the comedy frequently falls flat and the visuals suffer from clear budgetary restrictions. It’s actually to the movie’s credit that there’s an awful lot going on within the movie’s brisk 78-minute runtime.
Now, some might say – with plenty of justification, mind you – there’s too much going on but, thanks to this, you may well catch Bonejangles one day on The Horror Channel or somewhere like that at two in the morning and have yourself a sweet leaf-assisted blast with it, ahem. Outside of those fairly narrow parameters however, you can probably give it a swerve.
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