(Weird) Watching with Alex, Episode 15: Breakfast of Camp-ions

Lumberjack Man [2015]
Directed by: Josh Bear
Written by: Josh Bear & Bill Muehl; Ed Kuehnel & Matt Entin (screenplay)
Featuring: Michael Madsen, Ciara Flynn & Jarrett King
Production: Madisonian Films
Category: Camp Horror

Let me ask you a question: when was the last time you saw somebody get beaten to death with an enormous pancake? Well, I’m about to fill that void in your life, dear reader, because today we’re getting busy in the kitchen.

The first time I caught Lumberjack Man on cable I was feeling the need for some simple bad horror. “Demon lumberjack stalks campers” sounded like something my stressed, tired mind could handle and since I was trying to fall asleep I didn’t care that it was already twenty minutes or so into the movie. I click over and am greeted with two counselors stuck with mucking out the horse stalls while their overseer smokes a blunt. Using the guy’s high against him, the two build mannequins out of horse shit, dress the doppelgangers in their clothes and beat a hasty retreat.

Well. No horror movie has ever sprung that on me before. Then another counselor comes across a wagon of giant pancakes. “Wait, what’s with the pancakes?” I say aloud. “Those are some big fucking pancakes.”, says the counselor.

This is a weird movie and it took another full viewing for me to completely appreciate where all that crazy was coming from but it’s easy to sum up. It’s summertime at “Good Friends Church Camp” and everyone is getting the place ready for the campers who arrive in a week. This being a campy camp horror flick, the counselors and staff fall into two categories, one being composed of zany caricatures of the uber-faithful and the other half made up of zany caricatures of the faithful who get naked and sin like the dickens. They’re about evenly divided and provide pretty much the same fodder for what’s to come.

Most of these youths are modular and any one of them could stand in for another without the change even registering so we’ll be focusing on our leads into this trip, Faith Fitzsimmons and… damn it, all the dude-bros ran together in my head again. How about Doug, the camp organizer, Reggie, the camp chef, and… was it “Jeff”? I’ll just go with him because he’s the least dude-bro and around the most. Jeff the Guy. Re-drafting archived reviews is tough, I usually have a better head for it than this. Then again, I don’t usually start movies off with shit-mannequins, either.

There are a lot of topless girls and hedonism on display as befits the joke that Lumberjack Man is intent on making, which in turn presents the hellish behemoth with a lot of rowdy counselors to kill in lumberjack-styled ways, as well as a few stranger ones, such as contorting one girl into a table to try and eat his pancakes on. The fiend isn’t just out for blood though, he’s also out for breakfast. The blood of each victim he takes is used to top his super-sized pancakes, which are steadily consumed throughout the running time.

It’s not just for flavor either, or so Dr. Peter “You Don’t Know What Breakfast Is” Shirtcliff tells anyone who will listen to him on his way to the ranger station and the camp. Dr. Shirtcliff is a bit nuts but he knows a lot about what drives the demonic lumberjack. With each bite of those bloody pancakes he grows more powerful and once he’s finished them off, no force on Earth will be able to stand against his rage. So how do stop a lumberjack from eating his pancakes?

Favored Ability: INT. This movie knows what it is at all times and stays at the same level of “horror-funny” throughout, not the hardest of things for stuff in this sub-genre to screw up.

Rating: 3/5 (Average) [+1 Baneful Breakfast, +1 Jackenstein, +1 Bountiful Babes]

Summer Camp Slasher is a sub-genre of horror that is easily lampooned and just as easily screwed up by being too self-aware and mocking the tropes. Where Lumberjack Man succeeds where a lot of other dumb slashers fall short is its seeming lack of that awareness. It’s passed out drunk on the couch in boxer shorts, allowing every over-the-top occurrence in the film to simply happen without judgment or comment from anybody involved. You’ll chuckle, you’ll laugh, and you might even learn how to make some killer pancakes, too.

Or if you just like topless girls and syrup, there’s that. I’m not here to judge you, much.

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