Posted: 09/11/2004

 

The Fanglys

(2004)

by Barry Meyer



The legend comes alive!


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For 30 years on Halloween, the younger generations in the small town of Layton, Texas, tempt fate by driving slowly down Storm Creek Road in search of Fang Lady—a soul-stealing witch and the matriarch of a family of cannibalistic hillbillies. Each year nothing happens…until this year when the legend comes alive!

Hillbilly horror is a sub genre that has some great gory roots in the literary world, with Jack Ketchum’s shocking Off Season, James Dickey’s Deliverance, and Richard Laymon’s The Woods Are Dark. But the movie world has fallen behind in the game, only pumping out sequels, remakes and clones of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Sure Wrong Turn made an okay play at it (House of 1,000 Corpses didn’t), but where are the new Mother’s Days?

With the field wide open, director and writer Christopher Abram takes a stab at the mountain maniac genre, but his Fanglys fails (not horribly) to capitalize on the limitless boundries. Instead, Abram’s fills Fanglys with the usual redneck cliches found in all the other hillbilly horror flicks. A bunch of friends go out in the woods and come across some crazy inbred who brings them back to the cabin in the woods to either rape ‘em or tenderize ‘em for the cooking pot… or sometimes, both. And that’s about the extent that Abrams’ script goes.

Oh, I forgot that there is something about the Fang Lady sucking out the kid’s souls, but that doesn’t really lead to anything except some really cheesy computerized glowing eyes FX. The sub-par acting doesn’t really help matters much neither. I blame the overly talkie script for that. Had Abram’s spent less time trying to explain the story through dialogue, and more time just telling a story, he might have had a better creeper on his hands. But, I will give him big fat kudos for his casting coup of snagging one of my favorite Hollywood rednecks, Burton Gilliam, as the town Sheriff (you’ll recognize Gilliam as Lyle in Blazing Saddles). I’m sure that most of The Fanglys’ $75,000 micro-budget had to have gone to his salary.

Update
Since this review was posted, we have been contacted by Keith Randal Duncan, Member: Dallas Producers Association (www.dallasproducers.com), with the following information.

“The film cost about only $2,500.00 out-of-pocket to make, not $250,000.00 as reported. If Chris had only had that kind of money! …Chris will be paying everyone from the revenue coming in from sales of the Fanglys to the tune of about $75,000.00. He is LAST on the list for payment. As yet he hasn’t made a personal dime on The Fanglys. Thanks!”

Thank you, Keith, for the information.

Barry Meyer has his own bathtub gin mill in his New Jersey home.



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