Daddy George A. Romero’s quotation on the back of son Cameron Romero’s Staunton Hill DVD says, “This is as scary as it gets.” A few minutes into the movie (after a confusing, banal credit sequence), Rovin turned to me and said, I think that quote was out of context. What daddy Romero meant to say was “This is as scary as it gets?” That about sums it up. As the credits rolled at the end of the flick, the only emotion I felt was anger. Anger at having wasted an hour and a half of my Saturday night. Driven by that anger, I am writing this review.
As aforementioned, Staunton Hill starts with a confusing credit sequence. Fuzzy sound drifts over a white room, a blonde girl lying on an operating table with a hole in her neck. A musical motif that returns throughout the movie plays – a lazy guitar riff, a harmonica buzzing along. Cut to a group of five “hot” young hippies, hitchhiking to a rally somewhere – it might have been revealed, but I’ll be dammed if I remember (and a Google search of the film’s plot reveals nothing).
The group arrives at what I assume is a junkyard/car parts shop, where they meet Quintin (Charlie Bodin), who offers them a ride. When Quintin’s truck breaks down en route, the group heads into the woods in search of help (given that it’s about 10 minutes into the ride, the logical thing to do might be to head back to the junkyard… just saying). They come upon a creepy farm inhabited by a family that might be described as Leatherface’s less attractive, retarded distant relatives. Murder and Mayhem try their damnedest to ensue. Terror waits on the outskirts of the farm for its time to shine. After an hour of waiting, it gives up and takes the short bus home (not that Terror is a retard, it’s just that short buses seem to be the only buses that would drive around baby Romero’s world).
Staunton Hill’s cast comes from various TV shows, and to be fair, none of them are horrible. I suspect the problem is more that they just didn’t have anything to work with – not that they are bad actors. It is worth noting that actor David Rountree, who plays Cole in the film, wrote Staunton Hill. He’s had various other acting roles, my favourite being “Hunk” in Britney Spears’s “Greatest Hits: My Prerogative” (in the “Oops I Did it Again” segment). Hubba hubba.
The gore in Staunton Hill is good enough I suppose. There are a couple of “ew”-worthy skinning/scalping scenes, and a few scenes that feature some nice runny/dripping gore. A few nice squirts erupt from arteries now and then. Nothing to write home about really. And for all the gore, there are no boobs. At first I wondered if the movie was rated PG-13, but such is not the case. Upon careful consideration I’ve decided that the filmmakers just couldn’t afford to pay any of the actresses enough to show their racks – and racks there were, mind you. Unfortunately, these remained safe and sound inside their shirts throughout the film, unless you count a scene where we see a “naked” skinned body. I don’t know about you, but as far as my rules go, if there are no nipples, it doesn’t count.
I hate to rain on Romero Jr.’s parade, I really do. The guy is Zombie-god Romero’s seed, after all. It’s just that during the hour and a half that I was watching Staunton Hill, I must have uttered “I hate this film” more times than when I watched “Crossroads” (the one starring Britney Spears, seriously). Numerous times Rovin, who watched the film with me, asked what the hell was going on – and he’s usually the one who gets the confusing stuff. So, dear Cameron Romero, with all due respect, I’m sorry but I’m going to have to tell our readers to take a pass on Staunton Hill. However, everyone makes mistakes, and I will eagerly await your next film.