The folks out at Troma sent over a copy of the 20th anniversary edition of There’s Nothing Out There for us to review, and if you’ve ever seen a Troma movie before, you probably know what you’re in for: bizarre, sometimes baffling, sometimes disgusting, but always thoroughly unique horror and science fiction on shockingly low budgets. Troma’s been at this game for 35 years now, and There’s Nothing Out There will prove to be a fine example of the particular brand of hash Troma’s been slinging for years.
There’s Nothing Out There sends a bunch of horny kids along with one extra odd man out type who have gone plunging into the woods for a wild weekend of booze, sex, and everything else that’s sure to get you killed in a horror movie. And of course, one of our group is well aware that, hey, this is exactly how horror movies get started…which just sounds like a horror buff’s whining until they discover that there’s an alien creature out in the woods. It’s out to lunch up the guys…and do much more unspeakable things with the women. In other words, it’s par for the horror course.
I grew up with Troma film. Troma was putting out low-budget direct to video horror before even Full Moon got started at it, and frankly, I’d sooner watch a whole lot of Troma films LONG before sitting through another one of Charles Band’s stylized eighty minute toy commercials. And of course, I’ve seen a couple pieces from writer / director Rolfe Kanefsky, and he does pretty nice job of putting on a show. This is his earlier work, of course, but it shows through well–the Kanefsky work I’ve seen does a wonderful job of blending horror and comedy, making him perfect for Troma, whose entire oeuvre is pretty much “blended horror and comedy”.
Horror blended with comedy is an excellent cross-genre mix because the laughs cut the scares, and make the scares sharper by breaking up the tension between scares. Surprise goes a long way toward making a scare–atmosphere to build tension and a surprise to break it, standard horror formula–and when you throw jokes into the mix, you destabilize the whole thing and make it much more random. Surprises come with more regularity.
It’s funny, it’s got some good scares…it’s most anything you can want in a horror film, and it’s well worth your time to catch this one if you’ve got any kind of love for the horror genre at all.
The Screenhead Ten Scale hands There’s Nothing Out There, a compelling and hilarious blend of horror and comedy a nine out of ten for doing a terrific job of mixing things up and keeping its audience quite thoroughly on edge.