You heard the story. The one about the goriest, bloodiest splatter flick ever, the one made in the ’80s but mysteriously lost. Flash forward to now: Young cinema buffs search for the secret location where the movie was shot, hoping to find the film. What they find is that the goriest, bloodiest splatter flick ever is more than a movie. It’s real. And it’s happening to them. The Hills Run Red with a whole new level of horror as the terrified interlopers confront a demented killer who covers his hacked-up face with a babydoll mask. Wait, Babyface is just a character from the movie, right? Wrong. He’s alive. He’s waiting. He’s thrilled to meet fans who will die – slowly, gruesomely, shockingly – for his art. Roll camera!
There was once a film so terrifying, so incredibly scary, that it only briefly played theaters and was immediately suppressed. And possibly destroyed. Never heard of it? That's because this urban-legend mystery exists in director Dave Parker's The Hills Run Red, a clever little number about a group of young cineastes on the trail of the aforementioned movie. Would-be filmmaker Tyler (Tad Hilgenbrinck) finds a stripper named Alexa (Sophie Monk), who just happens to be the daughter of the mysterious director of the legendary lost film; Tyler drags two other friends (Janet Montgomery, Alex Wyndham) into the woods to research the location shooting of that fabled project. Since these characters are all hip in a post-Scream way to the dangers of young people going off into the woods, there's plenty of self-conscious humor about horror-movie clichés. Sure enough, once they leave civilization, the inbred weirdos and secret hiding places and gothically bizarre torture implements begin to crop up. The movie gets points for being clever, and there's at least one great plot-shifting moment (it involves the word fetch); but once the blood starts running, a familiar series of lacerations and punctures fills in for character development. Veteran character actor William Sadler runs a few variations on the classic bad guy, and Parker introduces a mask-wearing, knife-wielding killer who's clearly meant to join the ranks of Jason and Pinhead and other slasher icons. Call him… Babyface! In other words, not terrible for a direct-to-DVD offering from the Dark Castle company, but not great. The Babyface sequel can't be far off. --Robert Horton