- 1 hr 23 min
Wacko is an outlandish horror-comedy film from 1982 that follows the chaotic lives of a group of high school students who are being stalked by a crazed killer dressed like a scarecrow. The movie boasts a star-studded cast, including Joe Don Baker as the bumbling detective, Stella Stevens as a promiscuous mother, and George Kennedy as the school principal.
The film is set in a small California town where strange things keep happening. The high school students are the main targets of the killer, who seems to be obsessed with rituals like the annual Halloween dance and the senior prank day. The movie is packed with unforgettable scenes, like the one where the killer chases a scared couple across a golf course while dressed as a giant rabbit, or the one where a clueless janitor accidentally sets himself on fire while trying to clean the school.
The movie's style is a mix of slapstick humor and gory horror, with plenty of 1980s' pop culture references thrown in. The pacing is brisk, and the tone is irreverent, making it an entertaining experience that doesn't take itself too seriously. The movie's tagline sums up the tone perfectly: "Who's laughing now? You will beâ¦unless you're dead."
Joe Don Baker is the standout performer in the movie, playing the role of a detective named Dick Harbinger. Harbinger is an eccentric, inept investigator who is more interested in hitting on the high school girls than catching the killer. He's a parody of the stereotypical detective in detective films, complete with a trench coat, a fedora, and a cigarette dangling from his lips. Baker's performance is over-the-top, but he manages to make the character likable despite his flaws.
Stella Stevens, who plays Mrs. Doctor Graves, the mother of one of the students, is a scene-stealer as well. Her character is a sex-crazed widow who seduces almost every man she sets her eyes on. Her scenes are some of the funniest in the movie, especially when she tries to seduce Harbinger. Her chemistry with Baker is effortless, and the two actors play off each other brilliantly.
George Kennedy, who was known for his serious roles, is a welcome addition to the cast as the eccentric principal of the high school. His character, Mr. Doctor Graves, is quirky and likable, and his scenes with Baker are hilarious. Kennedy's acting may seem out of place in a comedy, but he manages to pull it off effortlessly.
The rest of the cast is made up of relative unknowns, but they all deliver solid performances. The students are likable and relatable, and their interactions with each other provide some of the movie's most memorable scenes. The killer, who remains a mystery until the end, is a menacing presence, and his costumes are creepy and unsettling.
The movie's direction by Greydon Clark is competent, but it's the script by Michael Spound and Mark Lisson that truly shines. The dialogue is witty, and the jokes are clever. The movie is loaded with references to horror classics like Halloween and Friday the 13th, but it never feels like a rip-off. It has a personality of its own, and the filmmakers were clearly having fun with the material.
The movie's special effects are a mixed bag. Some of the gore is convincing, but other scenes look cheap and fake. The editing is choppy at times, and some of the jokes fall flat. But these shortcomings are easily forgivable, given the movie's overall sense of fun.
In conclusion, Wacko is a hilarious and absurd horror-comedy that is sure to leave you laughing. It's not a masterpiece by any means, but it's a good example of how the horror genre can be mixed with humor to great effect. Joe Don Baker, Stella Stevens, and George Kennedy are all highlights, and the rest of the cast delivers solid performances. The movie's script is clever, and the movie has a unique style that sets it apart from other comedies of the era. If you're looking for a good laugh, Wacko is definitely worth a watch.
Wacko is a 1983 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 23 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 4.8.