Third time’s a charm, yeah?
About this time 10 years ago, we were young and and free (sans kids) — consuming any and all Halloween-themed movies/TV episodes we could get our hands on — for better or worse. This was when we unearthed Satan’s Little Helper, the 2004 Halloween night romp about an annoying little kid with an obsession for a video game-based Lucifer. Because the horror scene (also known as the Fangoria message boards) really appeared to dig this movie, we were obviously amped to see it.
In short, we HATED it.
But time has passed, and other folks maintain their inexplicable fandom for the film; so, we watched Satan’s Little Helper again last Halloween — and then again this year. With each viewing, our expectations lower a little, and guess what? We’re warming up to the stupid little flick.
Now, it’s a weird, mean-spirited movie, directed by Jeff Lieberman (Squirm, Blue Sunshine). And it has many, many flaws. But instead of thinking of them as just that — flaws — I’ve grown to find them charming, or at the very least, intentional.
Let’s break it down by character. (10+ year-old spoilers ahead)
“Satan.” At the center of this tale is Satan — first appearing in the dumbest-looking video game (on a handheld device and desktop computer–fancy tech) and then appearing in the flesh, at least according to Dougie (see below). Now, “Satan” is really a serial killer in a costume.
My main beef with this dude is his look. When you think of Halloween-style Satan, you think red guy with devil horns, right? Well, this dude is wearing a suit, a mask, and some monster gloves. Sure, the mask is demonic, but he’s just gray and smiling. He looks like something cheap ripped from a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode. But little Dougie instantly links him to Satan. Okay, this kid is a tool (again, see below), but everyone else, at parties or on the street, identifies him as the big bad devil and ogle over his super-cool (lame) costume. Come on people, he’s just wearing a mask. And it’s not even clever.
Dougie. Oh, Dougie. After he finds “Satan” disposing of a body, Dougie joins up with the monster for an evening killing spree. Now, Dougie thinks he’s just playing a game — right? You know, based on his video game. And Dougie is either REALLY stupid, or he has something wrong with him. Case in point: some kids around Dougie’s age also witness “Satan” doing real-life bad things, and they recognize them as actual bad things. So, what’s up, Dougie? You’re insufferable, delusional, and, oh, you’re also in love with your sister.
Mom & Sis. Anyone who has seen this movie knows the central family is weird. Like, kind of incestuous weird. Mom (Amanda Plummer) and Jenna (Katheryn Winnick) flirt, semi-hump, pat asses, and speak way too close. Seriously, there were moments where they should have just kissed and gotten it over with. No one would have been surprised. BTW, the seemingly-normal dad does show up briefly, only to be killed moments later.
So, while I’m sitting here fully criticizing this movie and its characters, I still thoroughly enjoyed it — and will watch again. With three viewings in 10 years. I would say my taste has matured, but that logic doesn’t really apply to a film like Satan’s Little Helper. So, maybe I’ve just relaxed my brain enough to enjoy it for its silliness and Halloween vibe. Besides, it’s great to watch with someone — or a crowd. Creating your own personal fan commentary for such a movie is a must.
But make no mistake, I will always hate Dougie.
As you may have read, we also did another holiday redemption viewing this year for Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (read here). And to get the full scoop on our redemption viewings, be sure to listen to our latest podcast episode!