You’ve got a lot of miles to cover if Anna Faris is the main attraction of your horror movie and it’s not the Scary Movie franchise.
Ah, the lovers lane, a product of the 1950’s when middle-class Americans could afford cars, teenagers were horny, and there was nowhere to go but out of the way places to release built up tension. The result was a lot of unwanted pregnancies and campfire tales to scare kids while making smores. Have you heard the one about the escaped convict with a hook for hand? Two teens making out in a car at a lover’s lane hear a scratching on their car, while making out they hear a news bulletin on the radio about an escaped inmate from the insane asylum, scared they speed away leaving lovers lane and possible coitus behind. The next day they see a hook dangling from the back bumper of the car. Lovers Lane is that story, kind of.
THE KILLER WITH A HOOK
Lovers Lane has a killer with a hook and he kills lovers in a secluded area. It has horny teens doing what horny teens do in 90’s horror movies. That’s where the comparison ends because not a lot of time is spent at lover’s lane. In fact, only a few minutes of the movie is dedicated to lover’s lane. If more time was spent dispatching horny teens at lover’s lane it would have made for a better movie.
Lovers Lane was released at a time when casual misogyny and pedophilia were laughing matters. It was released at a time when killing a cheerleader with a hook in the vagina, while simulating an orgasm, was a good idea. Lovers Lane tries to be Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and every other 90’s teen slasher movie. Unfortunately it fails at the attempt.
A NON SLASHER SLASHER MOVIE
For a slasher movie it’s long on exposition without doing much more than confusing the viewer and actually short on slashing. We’re forty minutes into the movie before the first on-screen kill occurs. It’s forty minutes of set up, which under other circumstances could be a good thing, but in Lovers Lane it most definitely is not a good thing. It’s enough time for the viewer to realize the acting is bad and the story is typical and boring, two cinema sins that can never be forgiven. There’s a fine line between cheese and campy. Forty unneeded minutes gives us more cheese and less camp when it should have gone full camp.
Horror fans, especially horror fans in the 90’s, want kills. It’s the standard most horror movie fans use when deciding if a horror movie is good. The film becomes grainy when a kill is about to happen. It serves a few purposes. First, it covers the lack of special effects in the movie. Second, it clues the audience in when a kill is going to happen which is usually signaled by music. Clearly, the budget did allow for a score. It makes the few kills in the movie look a lot gory than they actually are. Full camp would have embraced the low budget-ness and elevated the kills out of the shadows.
Had it gone full camp a lot of what happens in Lovers Lane could be forgiven. We could forgive Mandy for thinking the killer was after her and her friend because of their parents. “It can’t be a coincidence,” she says. Yes, yes it is. We could forgive the school principal who has about three different wig changes over the course of the movie. We could even forgive what appears to be a different actress playing the principal for one scene. We could even forgive the very elaborate plan to blow the killer up. But it didn’t go full camp. What’s left is a low budget horror movie best left buried in the 90’s.
ARROW VIDEO RELEASE
However, Arrow Video is set to release Lovers Lane this month on Blu-ray with two different covers, one with a slip case. Arrow Video has become one of the leading boutique distributors of classic cinema and forgotten gems. The Arrow Video release is in 2K from a 4K scan of the original print. They did such a good job cleaning up the video it’s hard to imagine what unrestored video looks like. They’ve also included a brand new commentary with the producers, a featurette about the enduring legacy of Lovers Lane, and a booklet written by Lindsay Hallam.
If you’re one of those people who’s been looking for Lovers Lane, and from the featurette there are a lot of you out there, the Arrow Video release is what you want. Lovers Lane has you covered if you’re just a fan of bad, low budget horror movies.