Directed by: David Heavener
I should start by saying I'm not familiar with David Heavener films at all. I know of him, but this would be my very first introduction into the world of David Heavener cinema, and it seems that based on this particular films cult status, I chose one of the best, or in the very least, one of his most entertaining in his decades long career.
A group of mental patients from a psychiatric hospital for veterans go away for the weekend on a camping trip, only to discover that the trip is actually a hunting game where they will be the ones being hunted for sport.
So yea, Kill Crazy is pretty terrible. But you know what? That just so happens to be one of it's biggest advantages and in a weird way, one of it's most endearing qualities. It's an amateur production if I've ever seen one, and Heavener, who acts as writer/director/star and songwriter in this, has no discernible talents behind the camera. Every aspect of this production, from the script, to the really bad parts where it tries to be funny, and down to the bad directing and editing can all be attributed to the fact that Heavener should have had some help in any one of these area's. But you know what? It's these amateur touches that really gives the film it's edge. Had someone more competent come in and made it better, I doubt it would have the lasting cult status it currently has. After having finally seen it, I get it too.
I will say this, I've certainly seen worse. And while I knew it would be bad going in, obviously I was hoping for David A. Prior or Amir Shervan level/quality of entertainingly bad low-budget action. Sadly, it doesn't quite reach that level of awesome, but it gets pretty close. And that's really what makes this film one that you can endure, because while it is definitely a bad movie, it hangs on to the edge of So Bad, It's Good aka Bad Movie Night material, and that alone makes it worth the effort.
I think one of the biggest surprises for me in this film was it's cast. I'm still a bit surprised who was in this mainly because I've seen a few of them do some pretty big stuff. For starters, Burt Ward is one of the mental patients. That's right, the original Robin: The Boy Wonder from the 60's television show himself. And then there's a sort of "Welcome Back, Kotter" mini reunion with Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (Washington) and Robert Hegyes (Epstein) both playing mental patients as well. I don't know, it was kind of surreal for me to see these 3 actors from television shows I watched as a kid playing mental patients in a low-budget action film from 1990. But that's also kinda cool. It made the experience of watching this all the more.....entertaining, if a bit surreal.
Then there's the one and only David Heavener. I can't help but wonder that this guy would be a much better actor given the right material, or under the direction of a professional. He's not bad, not in the least. But one can't help but notice that he's just not a good filmmaker, and how much better the whole thing would have turned out with someone else handling the directing duties. And is it just me, or is he a dead ringer for Michael Nouri? It's uncanny.
Oh, and lest we forget his uber catchy country songs littered throughout the film, starting with the opening credits. I tell you what, they're fantastically cheesy, catchy, and unintentionally hilarious. It's painfully apparent Heavener wanted to be a country singer. I discovered that an earlier film of his, Outlaw Force, simultaneously released a soundtrack of his country songs on vinyl along with the film. In fact, the VHS has an ad that runs before the film to order that soundtrack by telephone. I've been told that commercial/ad is actually the best part of watching Outlaw Force. I guess I'll have to get to it someday to see for myself.
In one sense I was kind of hoping for more unintentionally hilarious Bad Movie Night material. As it stands, it's a decent entry into that particular little sub-genre that I love so much. We had a good time with it and it's one of those that gets better and more entertaining as it moves along, culminating in a very satisfying third act. I wouldn't say it's one of the best, but it may be one of the best in David Heavener's career.
How to see it:
Officially it's never been released on any format other than VHS here in the U.S., however, you can find it uploaded in it's entirety on YouTube from several different users.