Saturday, September 23, 2023

Spooktacular (2023) Fantastic Fest

SPOOKTACULAR is a look at the legendary horror theme park Spooky World which in its heyday operated  the entire month of October in Merlin Massachusetts and drew millions of people from across the  globe to a place where they could relive their favorite horror films. The park was inspired by haunted hay rides in New Jersey in the 1990's  but was taken to the next level and included appearances by horror stars. 

Good overview of the park and what it inspired, this is going to be a shot of nostalgia for anyone who ever went to experience its haunted goodies. Full of (too) loving remembrances by fans and stars the film is going to make many wish that there would be a return of the park- despite the fact that it inspired other places across the country.

For me the film was just okay. Much too in love with it's subject the film suffers from the affliction most films like this have which is that despite being full of clips and stories, the film never fully gives us a sense of what this place was really like. Yes we have the stories, but after a while you get the feeling this would have meant more if we had gone. I never went and my interest waned. This would have been better for me as a more focused 40 minute film.

The film is also so in love with it's subject that it is full of crazy hyperbole and fudging of the facts.  Beginning with a writer's bold statement that "golden age of horror" started with Halloween and Friday the 13th because it ushered in the Michael Myers, Jason, Freddy and other over hyped creations (all of which played a part in Spooky World), the film kind of fudges the history of horror attractions by saying there was nothing really before Spooky World. While there may not have been anything on the scale of the park, there were attractions that ran across the country for decades before it opened.

While SPOOKTACULAR is never really bad, it comes off as as the cinematic equivalent of an insistent friend who says you are going to love this thing  way too much that you end up not liking it much.

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