This week on Trash or Treasure, I sat down with my friend Ally to take a look at the second Troma Film to grace Trash or Treasure: Feartown U.S.A. The 2014 film, easily found on YouTube, centers around a party celebrating the fictional St. Blevins Day, and some supernatural and murderous occurrences that happen around the party. The film was once featured on Achievement Hunter’s Theater Mode Movie Club, and based on our last experience with that type of film, my expectations going into this film were set as high as Decampitated would let me. This is also a good time to mention that the film deals heavily on the topic of suicide, so if that is a trigger to you, please stop reading, and enjoy one of the other Trash or Treasure films at your disposal.
The film opens with a recreation of the 1950s horror trope: two teens at makeout point who hear a foreboding radio broadcast, and elect to ignore it. The film swiftly steps away from that when the guy begins pulling out guns to prove that they’re safe (and that he’s a man). The killer shows up and kills neither of the two teens, as they’re both killed by the man attempting to use his firearms. There’s some over the top killing, and some jabs at the silliness of horror films – and to be honest, there’s a lot of poking fun at tropes in this movie and, quite frankly, they do a pretty good job at it.
Troma, learnin’ me something good.
We then meet our four primary groups in this film: a group of four nerds, relentlessly bullied for not having lost their virginity; a group of three ladies whom are haunted by a spectre and are having guy problems; a girl who’s going to the party to meet her online paramour; and a group of friends who are required by law to stay 500 yards away from the St. Blevins Day festivities at Lake Blood. There’s a lot to unpack in this film, and I probably won’t get to all of it without writing much past my limit, so I’m going to mention right here that watching this movie is not a waste of time.
Wait, shit, now you won’t read the rest of the article.
There’s a lot of good sequences in this film, and they start when you’re introduced to the nerds. One of the nerd’s brother taunts them while they play Dungeons and Dragons about how they’re virgins. On the surface, their storyline seems very American Pie-esque, but the further you go, the more you realize that it’s just a trope parody. We learn this when the four get in the vehicle and recite their best friend oath, that I’ve helpfully transcribed here for you: “We are best friends forever, and nothing can change that. We shall stop at nothing to pursue our dreams and make no compromises, unless, one of us is responsible for creating a child, then we shall make some compromises, because being a bad dad would be awful. We had bad dads, and, although the pain has inspired our life outlook, it was not worth it to have a traumatic childhood. Courage! Honor! Wisdom! Andrew!”
And that’s just the beginning of the shenanigans.
There’s a series of comical and expositional sequences that often leave you saying to yourself “what am I watching?” including the online girl (Dana) hitchhiking in what appears to be a stranger-danger van, a one-eyed hick regaling the party about why Blood Lake is named Blood Lake, and the haunted trio talking about what they hope to get out of their St. Blevins Day fun. It’s a very good time to note that the phrase “crush some pussy” is used frequently, to the point of absurdity, in this film, and at this point in our Trash or Treasure viewing has already shown up in one way or another three times.
We’re only 15 minutes in.
We continue onwards as the plot develops around one character peeing his pants, and we find ourselves at the in-party entertainment: a psychic. As the psychic makes some simple mind-reads, one non-believer pushes him and this leads down a spiraling hole that leads us to one of the funniest characters in the film: The Devil. Literally, there is a man dressed in red with a cape, horns, and pitchfork. The best part is: he convinces everyone that the non-believer is the devil instead of him, and it becomes a running gag throughout the film.
Shame on you for thinking I was joking.
There’s another hilarious scene soon after this that Ally and myself found ourselves laughing ridiculously hard at when the nerdy foursome get pulled over by a cop. The cop begins roughing up one of the boys and we learn that this cop believes that the classic “Don’t Drink and Drive” law is actually “Don’t Drink OR Drive”. We further learn that this cop has put away hundreds of people, bribed some judges, planted false evidence on pedestrians, and even shot drivers who he thought were breaking the law. It’s honestly the most hilarious moment in this surprisingly hilarious movie, and is punctuated by the nerds leaving the cop in the dust as he monologues about how what he did might’ve been okay. I’ve been singing a lot of praise (Smash Mouth joke below not withstanding) for this movie, so maybe let’s take some time to question some of its decisions.
Something, something, and the jokes don’t stop coming.
Just kidding, this movie continues having some solid comedy brilliance. The four nerds get roped into going to a party called “Carnival of Dark Desires” which turns out to be lame and held by a desperate edge lord looking for friends. It’s the edge lord’s attempt to make simple things like “5 beers”, “playing cards”, and “cheese puffs” into edgy things that really sells the humor. At this time the killer has begun to take out a bunch of the group of seven, and we get some really funny death scenes, including one where a guy tells his girlfriend she can “finally perform oral sex” on him. Honestly, almost every moment in this film makes you say “what the fuck” followed by much laughter and if that’s not your style, this movie is probably not for you.
Exhibit A: this is the killer.
Things take a serious turn as we learn that the three haunted girls are haunted by the spectre of a college sorority bully who constantly whispers to them that they’re fat. This is where the black humor of the film shows up, and one of the characters kills herself using “Toxic Bleach: 90% more toxic than other brands”. The sequence is humorous if you take it as a sequence in a low budget Troma film, but I do understand that it can make many people uncomfortable. And, while we’re on the subject, something to criticize about the film is that in such a silly piece, there are far too many villains. How do I keep track of the murderer, the ghost, the toxic bleach, The Devil, the cult, the police officer, and the escaped mental asylum person they only mention once at the beginning of the movie and never mention again?
There’s a lot of silliness that continues to ensue, including an intense musical number to a painfully relatable song called “Fuck My Life” as well as some more throwing around the “pussy crushing” and the final haunted girl speaking to a talking painting of an incredibly racist St. Blevins. There’s also a sequence where the nerds getting kidnapped by a cult. The cult attempts to sacrifice one of them to become the vessel that their demon savior will walk the Earth with, but turns out their internet-found ritual doesn’t work and they decide to start a bowling league, letting the nerds go. There’s so many goddamn WTF moments in this film, that if you drank every time you were thinking “WTF” you wouldn’t stop drinking.
Feartown USA or leaked CIA footage? You decide!
Eventually, the spectre convinces everyone at the party to drink bleach, except for the final haunted girl who defeats the specter just in time to get decapitated by the killer. The killer then chases internet girl all the way to a creepy busted up cabin and is revealed to be the piss pants guy you kind of forgot about somewhere in the first act of the film because everything else in the film is so much more hilarious than pants pissing. The killer is then beaten to death with a shovel by the escaped mental asylum patient who also happens to be the man that internet girl has been talking to on the internet. Escapee ex machina, I suppose.
The film ends with a stupidly long silhouetted blowjob,
Which is not pictured here because I want to keep this “job”.
At this point, you should already know that I have high praise for this film. I’ve seen many Troma Films, many of which will appear in this series down the line, and Feartown USA is easily the best I’ve seen. It packs a lot of humorous confusing punches, and even has some progressive moments in it, despite the padding of dark humor. Well shit, at this point we’re almost even on Trash vs. Treasure. I need some time to decide what movie to watch next, maybe at a St. Blevins Day party.
I leave you with this actual flier from the film.