The Landlord (2009)
Directed by Emil Hyde
A few months I posted up a trailer for a little indie horror-comedy flick called the Landlord. I recently got a screener of the flick and after my hectic schedule I got around to watching it.
The thing about the horror comedies is that if you attempt to do one, you have to be ready to be compared to the ultimate horror comedy and that of course is Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy. Especially the first one which broke all the rules for low budget but low budget done sooo ultimate freakin well.
I've seen my share of low budget black horror-omedies done extremely well (see Thicker than Water) and I've seen my share of "it's so bad it's MST3k worthy".
The Landlord to me just wasn't funny for what it was trying to do. I recognized the jokes, the strategically placed gags and all, but I had hoped to see a bunch of talking monsters in the vein of an episode of Buffy or Angel. You know acting natural about the supernatural. Vampires, demons, etc just being wickedly funny about being wicked. Sure there were attempts, but the attempts just missed.
What the Landlord felt like was watching those low budget flicks of the 80s (Troma-ish) in a way with rubber bloody leg gags and cheesy special effects. The 100 minutes is filled with many many attempts to be funny about a world full of demons and monsters...but I just couldn't get the joke.
The Landlord is the story of Tyler, the unfortunate young owner of a demon-haunted apartment building. Finding tenants has never been a problem for Tyler, though he does have trouble keeping them alive to pay rent. No matter how nicely Tyler asks the demons not to eat the renters (or to at least wait a month or two), they never listen. And why should they? As far as the demons are concerned, humans are merely dumb, tasty animals - kinda like chickens - and Tyler is their pet monkey.
But all that might change when Tyler takes a liking to the newest tenant, a desperate young woman running from demons of her own…
Tyler is the landlord in The Landlord. He's like an Apatow clone, chubby but lovable. He has been feeding two demons (one that looks like Lorne from Angel) and another woman demon with a face of a dog?!?
Tenants who rent the apartment and are quickly eaten by the 2 resident demons. Besides these demons, we meet Tyler's sister Amy, who is a cop...a crooked cop who with her brother has made a deal with the demons. Tyler and Amy feed em and they clean up the mess. In return, well you'll see why they do what they do at thee end. Amy and her cop partner also have a deal with the underground vampirey demons. They get to eat the wasteoids and degenerates and they turn a blind eye and score some loot.
As much as we accompany Tyler on his little journey, I'd have rather just watched his sister be the star of the movie. She is a cheating whore who steals, kills and get this....is a loving mom. Wow, what a character. In no way is Amy anybody you would remotely want to root for, which is why you'd want to see what she would do next.
Instead we follow Tyler who then rents the apt to Donna, a southern belle whose on the run. They share a few karoake laughs and soon she discovers the real "tenants" of the building. But the humans in this film are instilled to be the "straight guy". It's the monsters who should be carrying the laughs. And unfortunately they come across as retarded.
The Lorne looking monster is goofy and does a majority of the kills. A yuppie couple, a couple of annoying cops and a jealous boyfriend. Their ultimate demises is summed up in Halloween body part gags.
There a few gags that gag away. An infomercial was quite cute as is a few throwaway one liners.
I could see what Hyde was attempting to do in so far as making the laughs Munsters like and giving you a few ha ha's of Satanic rituals gone awry. The movie is definitely low budget, but shot in nice HD. The special effects have that LSD effect to em and indeed a drinking game was invented for the flick to capitalize on monster teeth and gratuitous demon vanishes.
I think my biggest gripe was that I just didn't care for Tyler, the lovable lump who has the unfortunate job of being the monster janitor rather than the landlord.
As I said before, I'd have rather have seen the sister being evil (and by the end seems more than likely) and how she juggled being a corrupt cop, a cheating MILF, a mommy and her dealings with the monster underground.
But then if that was the movie....it wouldn't be called the Landlord.
The sister going nuts
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
I think the Landlord would have worked better as a sketch comedy rather than a feature. It's has all the elements of something to see on stage than in a movie theatre. I applaud Hyde's efforts to go full force on a undertaking of making a horror comedy. It's not easy. Some would say they'd go to hell than attempt it. Kudos to Hyde to avoiding hell and making the attempt.
Thanks to Mr. Hyde on sending me a screener of the movie.
For more information, check out the official site.