LAFF 2015 Review: ‘Dude Bro Party Massacre III’ is Better Than the Original
A title like Dude Bro Party Massacre III sets up a lot of expectations. First of all, you’re promising a sequel without even making us sit through the original. The title is making fun of movies that condescendingly sell guys a sexist superficial caricature of themselves, as well as outlandishly themed slasher movies of the ’80s and gratuitous sequels to said sexist superficial outlandish slasher movies. Delivering on all three may make DBPMIII overwhelming, but in a wonderful way.
The premise is this is a VHS recording off late night TV before President Reagan banned the film. That would also explain why we’ve never heard of this trilogy until now, but I don’t believe they specified the first two were banned. Like the Grindhouse movies, the footage has been degraded, in this case to look like a VHS dub. Instead of missing reels we get to see snippets of fake commercials left in the recording. Good start.
In ’80s horror sequel fashion, DBPMIII begins with a full recap of the nonexistent predecessors. Getting to see all the best kills and nudity in a single montage makes sitting through the entirety of part three a striking juxtaposition, but the filmmakers really seem to understand horror franchises. The killer, Motherface (Olivia Taylor Dudley), is many homages in one, and the most important is that the first movie’s killer was a vengeful mother while the sequels had a killer wearing a mask in her honor. It’s a stretch that the hero actually survived two entries but fortunately part three is about his twin brother. Starring in three horror sequels would be ridiculous. Who do you think you are, Jamie Lee Curtis and Heather Langenkamp?
DBPMIII is a pretty astute parody/loving homage itself. Sorority horror was such a strong subgenre, for its contained location and abundance of scantily clad victims, and the idea of fraternity horror is likewise ridiculous. Watch them exploiting soft male bodies the same way and you’ll see what I mean. Gay stuff is fortunately minimal; this is not a homophobic panic movie. If anything it’s a feminist statement by forcing men into situations we’ve taken for granted as feminine. Horror movies had male victims too, I know. We’re dealing in pure extremes here.
There have been a lot of meta horror movies about fake movies in the decades since Scream. One of the traps they fall into is the pretense of their fake movie being a real movie, when it really can’t measure up to an actual horror movie. DBPMIII smartly has no pretense of being a real movie. This feels like an outright spoof. There’s no way they would have made this movie in the ’80s. It’s self aware enough to not be pretentious, while maintaining a tone of unwavering enthusiasm. They are completely committed to dude bro partying. Motherface actually is one of the better masks from movies within movies. She’s no Cinderhella but she’s up there.
So Brent (Alec Owen), the twin brother of Brock, joins the fraternity right when they get kicked off campus and have to go to a cabin in the woods. Motherface comes after them one by one, in endearingly absurd ways. Since she’s playing off their individual fears, flipping the genders contributes to absurdity. For example, a male virgin is afraid of becoming a dad and his girlfriend is pressuring him to have sex.
When you begin as aggressively as DBPMIII does, 90 more minutes of it could be exhausting. Letting up isn’t really an option though. Plus, it’s a sequel. And Dude Bro Party Massacre III is clearly better than the original.