Sunday, October 21, 2012

32-bit of Terror: Satan's Little Helper (2004)

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 Satans Little Helper 2004 poster

Jeff Lieberman's Satan's Little Helper has been on my radar since, well, since I first read about it in an issue of Fango some 8 years ago now. It's not difficult to figure out why such a film would grab my attention; it has an interesting idea, a cool looking costumed character and, most significantly, it's set on Halloween. But does Satan's Little Helper deliver a proper Halloween treat, or did it leave me tricked out like a $10 hooker in Hoboken? We'll just have to leave it to the 32-bits of Terror to decide the fate of this one, now won't we… 

Little Douglas Whooly (Alexander Brickel) is obsessed with one thing and one thing only: Satan. This fixation that Dougie has with the dark lord stems from his uncontrollable love for a handheld video game, fittingly titled, Satan's Little Helper. In Satan's Little Helper, the player is given the power to control Satan as he walks the streets, killing people for points with his loyal little helper right by his side. Now, while Dougie is totally "insane for Satan," he is also excited that his sister Jenna (Katheryn Winnick) is coming home from college to take him trick or treating later on in the evening. Unfortunately, however, things get a little ugly when Jenna shows up with her new boyfriend Alex (Stephen Graham), something that Dougie doesn't take all too well. In response, the clearly distraught Dougie takes to the streets in search of his idol, Satan, hoping he might be able to help Dougie get rid of his sister's new meatsicle.

As luck would have it, Dougie comes across someone who he believes is the dark lord Satan himself, and seeing as Dougie's already dressed up as Satan's Little Helper for Halloween, the two naturally become fast friends. However, what Dougie doesn't know is that this so-called Satan (played by Joshua Annex) is actually just a serial killer using Halloween and his mischievous Satanic guise to "decorate" the town with the people he is killing. Regardless, Satan and Dougie embark on an epic killing spree together, with the abnormally gullible Dougie believing it's all just pretend, just like in the Satan's Little Helper video game, where there are no consequences, just a high score. Unfortunately, what Dougie doesn't realize is that the final level in this game of death will be played in the sanctity of his home, with his own family's lives at stake.

Graphics: 6

The actual Satan's Little Helper handheld game is essentially nothing more than a cartoon being sold as a video game. So, outside of it being sort of charming in its low-budgetness, there's really nothing that impressive on that front. On the other hand, what keeps the score above water is the actual game itself, which is purposefully over-the-top in the most entertaining of ways. I mean, this is a game where you not only control Satan, but if you get enough points, you can rip someone's guts out (which brings incredible joy to Dougie)! And to top it off, boss battles consist of fights against angles and even the big man himself, God.

Sound: 5

To be honest, I didn't really notice the sound too much, so I can't really recall whether or not the score was any good, though I assume it's probably your standard low-budget horror film fare. Either way, if I didn't notice the music, then it mustn't have been either bad or good, so I'll give it a middle of the road score.

Terrortainment: 8.5

While there are moments when it comes close to being almost ridiculous, the overall tone is charmingly tongue in cheek, and the film is self-aware enough to where it never goes over-the-top and into a territory where the cynical humor feels cheapened in any way. It's not an easy task to pull off horror and comedy, and while the horror in Satan's Little Helper is far from actually being horrific, it does come correct with a deliciously black sense of humor that's difficult not to enjoy.

Replay Value: 9

I'll lay it straight out on the table here and say that Satan's Little Helper is a superbly entertaining little black-comedy that fans of horror, humor and Halloween should truly love. And I have to admit that I am a tad disappointed in myself for not having watched it sooner than I did; however, I am certain that I'll be revisiting this one a few more times, as Satan's Little Helper will definitely being going into the Halloween season rotation.

The 32-bit Rating: 7.125

Sorry, but the only trailer I can find is in Spanish, but it's sort of cool that way.

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