For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to find a range of horror movies for this special month. So far, the ratio of good/entertaining to bad seems like to be on the positive tilt. The good have been more on the disturbing end rather than screamingly scary. Making a scary movie is hard.
You know what else is hard? Comedy (Get your mind out of the gutter.). And even harder (Guys, c’mon now.)? Horror comedies. It’s a tricky equation to pull off. You go too far in either direction and it’s a total mess. Some of the greats are able to find that perfect sweet spot, while others might lean a little more in one direction than the other. What happens when you make a horror comedy that isn’t scary or funny? We’ll find out.
To go along with this quote-unquote horror comedy I went with another beer on the darker spectrum to stay with the theme. The name seemed to fit too.
Killer Boots: The Basics
- Brewery: Verboten Brewing (Loveland, CO)
- Style: English Porter with Caramel
- ABV: 6.0%
Killer Boots: The Details
I’ll admit I was a little hesitant about picking up this bottle. Some of my recent experiences with the brewery has been met with indifferent taste buds. Not bad, but more of a shrug of a shoulder and lacking something. But I think about the time I visited the tap room and truly enjoyed the flight I ordered. Maybe I need to make more visits.
Killer Boots is described as an English-style porter infused with the brewery’s housemade caramel, yet American influences can also be felt on this one. The beer pours a beautiful fluffy head that brought back memories of making root beer floats. The head gradually settles down leaving behind a persistent lacing that slides along the glass. The body of the beer has a nice dark walnut wood complexion with ruby highlights at the top.
The smell is oh so a porter with a sneaky element of caramel. It has an inviting nose of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and perhaps a little bit of nuttiness. As the beer warms the caramel starts to come out. The sweeter smell of the caramel creates a nice balance with the stronger elements of the coffee and chocolate notes.
It’s been awhile since I’ve had a porter, as I usually stick to stouts when going darker, and depending on how it tasted could have determined my opinion on Verboten. But guess what? I pleasantly surprised. The flavor is a little light (my main issue lately with the brewery), but there was something that had me going back for more sips. The roasted coffee and chocolate notes are subtle, and the caramel addition is at a respectable level of sweetness. That sweetness leads to a slightly smokey aftertaste. I was imagining myself in a dimly lit pub with a fire crackling for warmth, and enjoying a beefy stew with thick cuts of veggies.
The body tends to follow the taste. Yet there is a creaminess that sticks to the tongue. Killer Boots has a light carbonation that you will feel at the back of your throat as it goes down the hatch. There’s very little bitterness noticed making for a really easy drinking beer at 6.0% ABV.
The Babysitter (2017)
- Director: McG
- Genre: Horror Comedy
- Total Running Time: 1hr 25mins
- Rating: TV-MA
- Availability: Netflix
Man, I have not heard McG’s name since 2009’s disastrous prequel/sequel Terminator Salvation. Apparently he’s been keeping busy in the world of television with a ton of producer credits. This Netflix original is probably not going to help his chances for future features.
The Babysitter is a lazy story with cliched characters and an erratic, disconnected visual style. The basic premise goes like this: nerdy 12-year old Cole is love with his cool and sexy babysitter, Bee. She protects him from bullies, and it seems like she babysits him quite a bit (seems odd). Cole spies on Bee while his parents are out of town. That’s when he finds out her her and her “friends” (they don’t seem to really like each other) belong in a demonic/satanic cult (it doesn’t matter) when he witnesses them killing some poor nerd in his house. Part of the ritual is that they need blood from two virgins (Cole being the second) to do something or other. From there it’s a game of cat and mouse within and outside the home.
The violence and showers of blood are so ludicrous that I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be shocking and/or comical. There’s a scene where two cops bust into the house and shoot the Bee’s cheerleader friend in the chest sending her flying all the way across the room. Don’t worry, she’s fine. She’s just upset she’ll have a deflated boob for the rest of her life. I don’t think that’s how breasts work. Unless this is the film’s humor? [Rolls eyes] This film has such witty humor like Cole and Melanie, the cute girl across the street, thinking prostitutes are called Protestants. There is also a scene where the action inside the house cuts to Cole’s parents in their hotel room where mom is reading and treating dad to a five knuckle shuffle. It’s like a Family Guy joke.
The cinematography is a half-assed attempt of cobbled together visual storytelling techniques that you’ve seen done better elsewhere. The visual flavor changes from shot to shot and scene to scene to create a lurching effect. There’s no connective tissue to the impressions of Edgar Wright’s work, the Evil Dead series, Scream, and other horror classics. It’s visual equivalent of taking whatever’s left in the fridge and throwing it in a pot. You could technically call it a meal.
The characters themselves are disasters. Besides Cole and Bee, there are the school quarterback who spends most of the movie with his shirt off, the artsy girl who wears a beret and probably writes bad poetry and listens to Lana Del Ray, the token black guy who’s woke, and the dumb, superficial cheerleader (the one who got shot in the tit). These supposed tongue-in-cheek character and meta commentary are just example of lazy writing. (Fun fact: I went to college with the actor who plays Melanie’s dad. He had his own late night show on campus that he brought to Comedy Central. I mostly see him in commercials where I point at the screen and go “I know that guy.” Cool story, huh?)
Killer Boots is a reliable porter. It’s a nice sessionable dark ale for those chillier nights. It achieves a really nice balance with the caramel that could have gone in the wrong direction. Killer Boots has restored my faith in Verboten for now.
I wanted to go out on a bang on this one, yet here we are. This film has some missed opportunities. The premise isn’t terrible. You have a coming-of-age story for Cole. It’s revealed that for some time now that Bee has been doing this ritual. A deeper dive into that supernatural element could have added extra layers to this film. Does she turn into an ugly hag if she doesn’t get the blood? And it wastes a performance by Ken Marino (The State and Party Down). It’s been reported the Netflix plans on releasing 80 films next year. It might be best to focus on quality, not quantity.
If you feel inclined to check out The Babysitter, don’t let me dissuade you. Yet there are other quality horror comedies out there. I recommend hunting down Slither, Shaun of the Dead, Cabin in the Woods, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Evil Dead II, An American Werewolf in London, Bubba Ho-Tep, Beetlejuice, and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon to name a few. Enjoy your Halloween if it’s marathoning scary movies, costume parties, or trick-or-treating with the little ones.