A friend of mine sent me a poster for what turned out to be a fun comedy-horror short called The Quacky Slasher. And any time I find something interesting I set about finding what else the filmmakers had done. That introduced me to the films of Slumberjack Entertainment.
There are two people listed as forming the core of Slumberjack Entertainment. First is Peter Mckeirnon, who has written and directed everything they’ve released. (He’s also written 3 horror novels.) With him is producer Rod Hay. Andrew Butterworth and Kate Dailey are also involved.
As is typical of low-budget producers, there are a lot of the same people working in front of and behind the camera on various projects. Of particular note is actor Neil Gallagher.
swings & roundabouts (2017)
Their first film is roughly 7 minutes without credits. It is shot MOS, as with pretty much all of their work. But in this case there is only voice-over. It features a man (played by John Williams with Ian Finney doing his voice) who sits in a park and talks about his youth being bullied.
It establishes a few things that are true for all their films. First, it features beautiful, carefully crafted shots. Second, it exhibits a darkly comic sense of humor. And third, the make-up effects are both realistic and attractive.
The Quacky Slasher (2017)
Despite the name, The Quacky Slasher is very simple in terms of plot: an insane man escapes from the mental hospital and becomes a vigilante wearing a duck mask. There is a backstory that I will leave to the film to explain.
The dialog is sharp and it features some excellent visual comedy. One part that I appreciated was that the cops here are pretty much identical to the ones in Blood Feast. They have no idea how to stop the killer unless the information is brought to them. I doubt this is an explicit allusion (Who knows Blood Feast like I do?!) but it’s a common thing in horror films — most likely because no one is that interested in police procedure.
The Quacky Slasher features Neil Gallagher in three substantial roles. I was especially taken with him as the slasher’s mother, which he plays with justified gusto wearing fake teeth that only Wallace could love.
The film is available to watch for free. If you have Amazon Prime, you should watch it there, since they probably make more money that way. If not, it is also available on YouTube. (It can’t be embedded because it is age restricted for reasons that are unclear to me.)
Dead Town (2016-2018)
Dead Town is a series of short films (named after lines in Talking Heads songs) that follows two brothers and a friend as they look for one’s daughter during a zombie apocalypse. The principals are Neil Gallagher (again), Michael Hagen, and Karl Davies. John Williams has a big part in the last two episodes.
This series has a very Quentin Tarantino feel to it. Basically, it’s just zombie-fighting scenes combined with the characters discussing various bits of nonsense. But it’s far more casual than anything Tarantino ever did.
All together (without credits), it clocks in at roughly 75 minutes. So it’s a feature length, but there isn’t much structure. If they wanted to, they could certainly create a B story about the daughter and wrap it all up. But it would take away some of the charm.
The first 3 episodes feature excellent effects by Andrew Savage. Later, Paul Fay puts together a dynamite dead zombie. It’s a thing to behold. It’s at 12:30 in the fourth episode if you only want to see it. It also includes some maggots, which I, as a huge Lucio Fulci fan, very much appreciated.
The Dog Walker (2018)
Their next release was a 4-minute short. It stars Gallagher and has just one idea. It isn’t especially surprising, but it’s well-done.
There is also a 7-minute short starring Ian Finney called The House That Henry Built. It is not available anywhere that I know of.
There is other stuff of note on their YouTube channel. Two remind me of the short films of Michael Kallio. The first is Playtime With BUTTONS, which tells as full a story in 15 seconds as many features do.
The second is The Slip, which features Rod Hay:
There’s also a 7-minute comedy DEGSY starring Gallagher and Lisa Bazley. It’s actually kind of heartbreaking.
According to their YouTube channel, they have a feature film in development. But the only mention of a feature is a segment in an anthology film called “The Micro Killers.”
On their website, they say their segment is “The Fisherman.” But on their YouTube channel, they provide a preview for a segment called “Sins of the Father.”
It doesn’t really matter. They continue to produce films and it will be interesting to see what they do!