Despite what some might have you believe, comedy is a fairly personal experience. I’ve said it before: what one person finds funny isn’t necessarily what another person finds funny. As a result, it’s an increasingly difficult narrative to tap … that is unless you’re willing to go backward in time to go with what’s been tried and true for years. Shtick. Some folks will call it slapstick. Others will call it bloated wordplay or puns. Whatever it is, it works, and that’s what’s at the heart of CAESAR & OTTO’S DEADLY XMAS. Yes, some of its bloody. Sure, some of it’s a bit gruesome. But it’s all done in the spirit of “getting a laugh.” On that front, the film works just fine.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
From the slipcase: “Caesar and his half-brother Otto take on duties at Xmas Enterprises as Santa and his elf. However, the bodies begin to pile up when a fellow store Santa (CKY’s Deron Miller) develops a vendetta against them, and he soon turns Caesar’s list of cancelled Thanksgiving Dinner guests into a list of Xmas-inspired victims! A cross between Scary Movie and Silent Night Deadly Night, C&O’s Deadly Xmas takes the Christmas slasher into all new gruesome and hilarious territory.”
There’s really no reason to spend all that much time dissecting DEADLY XMAS. This is cinema shtick meant for folks who enjoy cinema shtick. While I’ll be the first to admit it may not be what I find all that funny, I certainly would never begrudge anyone who enjoys it. There’s plenty in here to smile about; and, if it’s laughs you’re looking for, then I’ve no doubt you’ll find ‘em. Much of it is fairly traditional vaudeville style humor – some of the jokes you can see coming a mile away not because of the script predictability, per se, but because it’s a natural part and parcel of characters like this. Odds are, if you’ve fond antics funny before, then you’ll find them funny again.
The characters of Caesar & Otto are the creation of Dave Campfield and Joe Randazzo. Campfield is one of the film’s stars (Caesar himself), so there’s no one who knows his misadventures better.
And don’t miss scream queen Linnea Quigley in a clever bit for laughs … just in time for the holidays!
CAESAR & OTTO’S DEADLY XMAS (2012) is produced by Wild Eye Releasing and Fourth Horizon Cinema. DVD distribution is being handled by MVD Visual, A Division of MVD Entertainment Group. As for the technical specifications? Well, this is an independent feature, so it looks and sounds about as well as the next indie feature you’ll likely see today – audio was a bit muffled at times, probably due to production restraints, but it wasn’t all that distracting. As for special features? Dave Campfield and his band of lunatics have ponied up a veritable bonanza for fans: there are three separate commentary tracks; a behind-the-scenes documentary; some alternate scenes; and three (count ‘em!) short films that’ll likely bring you equal laughs and smiles. Seriously, it’s a nice collection, clearly put together by folks who love what they do.
RECOMMENDED. Look, if slapstick is your thing, then you’re likely to love CAESAR & OTTO’S DEADLY XMAS. If you even just like fairly broad comic shtick, then you’ll probably like it. To be honest, it just isn’t my thing – never has been. I tend to like humor a bit different than the average THREE STOOGES’ short, but I don’t begrudge anyone his or her particular chuckles. Writer/director/star Dave Campfield has a particular eye and ear for this particular comedy, and it probably plays well to most in the audiences; his script is always smart – though perhaps a bit predictable – but, as indie fare goes, there’s nothing wrong with it. Turn off your brain and enjoy the holidays, folks … even if it’s a bit bloodier than the one you had last year!
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at MVD Visual provided me with a DVD copy of CAESAR & OTTO’S DEADLY XMAS by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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