Kevin Corrigan is very likely a familiar face to many film fans, even if they don’t know him by name. He’s appeared in dozens of films and television shows, one of those character actors whose appearance on screen is happily greeted with “Hey, it’s That Guy!” And so it makes some sense that the promotional materials for Some Guy Who Kills People, Corrigan’s first real starring vehicle, point up the fact that the film was executive produced by John Landis. Landis isn’t just a more recognizable name, though– the association with horror/comedy classic An American Werewolf in London invoked at the mention of Landis’s name is entirely appropriate for such an unusual film, a deft mix of low-key relationship comedy and slasher thrills.
Ken Boyd (Corrigan) is fresh out of what his best friend Irv (Leo Fitzpatrick) refers to as “the looney bin,” and is stuck living at home with his frustrated mom Ruth (Karen Black) and working with Irv at an ice cream parlor. The job mostly entails serving ice cream in the shop, but also requires Ken to sometimes don a chocolate mint cone outfit, either on the street in front of the shop or (much less fortunately) at private events. At one such event, two big things happen in Ken’s life: first, he meets a sweet stranger named Stephanie (Lucy Davis), and secondly, after the party the “birthday boy” is found murdered. In this case, though, the “birthday boy” was in his 30s, and he tormented Ken in high school. Ken appears to have more on his schedule than just dressing up like a giant ice cream cone.
Complicating matters for Ken is the fact that his mom is dating Sheriff Walt Fuller (Barry Bostwick), and that Amy (Ariel Gade), the 11-year-old daughter Ken hasn’t seen since her infancy, has just learned of his existence and wants to get to know her dad. The body count continues to rise as alumni of Ken’s high school class keep turning up dead, all while Ken tries to learn how to be a father and tentatively approaches dating Stephanie. Can Ken juggle the responsibilities of parenthood and a new relationship while the evidence mounts and the Sheriff is over for dinner every night? Or are things really as straightforward as they seem in the small town of Greendale?
Some Guy Who Kills People is a great horror/comedy, shot through with a surprising sweetness. The relationship between Ken and Amy is the best part of the film, mostly due to the chemistry between Corrigan and young Ariel Gade. The interplay between them and Karen Black as Ken’s mother is natural, and they make a believably wonky family. Barry Bostwick nearly steals the show with his very funny performance as the stumped Sheriff, who provides the biggest share of the film’s laughs. Still, this is a movie called Some Guy Who Kills People, and it certainly delivers on that score, too– this may be the sweetest film to ever feature graphic decapitation and throat slitting. Director Jack Perez pulls off a tricky balancing act here, though, and the violence is never too strong to overshadow the film’s humor and heart. Some Guy Who Kills People is one of the best horror/comedy films to come along in quite some time, and John Landis is no doubt proud to have his name at the top of the DVD cover.
Anchor Bay released Some Guy Who Kills People on DVD on 3 July 2012. Special features include a commentary track with the film’s director and writer/producer, the short film that inspired the feature (“The Fifth”), a making-of featurette and the film’s trailer.