Movie Review: Johnny Gruesome (2018)

September 9, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Johnny Grissom (Anthony De La Torre) is one put upon metal head; he gets static from the jocks, gets suspended from school, his father attempts to kick his ass, and his psychotic best friend murders him for driving too fast which puts all of Johnny’s friends in the hot seat since they were witnesses and all that. The gang definitely sweat that last one, so they try to cover-up the murder as an accident…which would go a lot smoother if Johnny didn’t return from the dead hungry for revenge! Now friendships are strained and no one is safe from Johnny’s vengeance from beyond the grave!
Johnny Gruesome is one slick fright flick my creeps! Johnny is your classic teen rebel, and his quest for revenge is pure horror comic book cool (think Rebel Without a Cause adapted by EC Comics) ! De La Torre makes for an engaging lead, and the make-up used on his undead visage is truly superb…he’s definitely a terror icon in the making with his distinct aesthetic (and his custom skull and flame emblazoned ride ain’t too shabby either). The supporting cast is excellent as well with Byron Brown II, Aprilann, and Chris Modrzynski (who is definitely one of the most charismatic thugs you’ll ever see on the screen) making for a fine crew of misfits indeed! Also on devilish display is some good ol’ gore to satisfy any horror hounds blood tooth! Finally, there is a solid element of humor that runs through the piece that never takes things into parody territory, but definitely lends the picture a darkly tongue-in-cheek direction that nicely compliments the creepy craziness at hand!
On the negative side of the coin, there are some dodgy CG effects utilized here and there (mostly involving smoke) that prove to be distracting when they are on the screen. It’s a minor quibble for sure, but a quibble all the same...buuut, there are some stop motion effects too, so that balances things out perfectly for your’s cruelly!
To put a beastly bow on it; Writer/Director Gregory Lamberson (Slime City) really delivers a top notch terror pic with Johnny Gruesome; it’s funny, gory, ghoulish, and above all eerily entertaining! Slap your putrid peepers on this one as soon as you can boils n’ ghouls!


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