Maybe you walk past one on your way to work. Maybe you see one standing next to an on-ramp by the highway. You probably never really pay them any attention at all. Most of us choose to ignore the homeless and pretend they simply aren’t there. They are society’s forgotten victims of an all too cruel world and can hardly fend for themselves. Well, all except for one: Homeless Joe, the deranged and very pissed off homeless killer in Bruce Fordyce’s unbelievably entertaining low budget slasher extravaganza.
“Homeless Joe’s” Sean Goodman (Eric Stayberg) has a confidence problem. He can never get the girl; he’s overshadowed by his horny and obnoxious friends; and he’s simply looking for a reason to keep on going. After being coaxed into a night of drunken debauchery, Sean’s journey begins as his friends harass the wrong homeless guy and end up in the clutches of Homeless Joe, the genetically engineered, metal toothed, axe-wielding psychopath who gets his rocks off by killing helpless teenagers. It’s now up to Sean to face his fears and save the day or fall fate to brutal murder himself…
To be honest, this movie is way better than it probably should be. While it does have some cheesy moments and some less than Shakespearean performances at times, this was a seriously fun trip. The shining star is our hero Stayberg, who gives, hands down, the best performance and plays the loser redemption card masterfully. He is believable and likeable; his character truly goes through a journey and the worse things get for him, the stronger he becomes. His supporting cast does their job well and the cheese ultimately makes the movie stronger. There are a couple of unbelievably funny moments and one-liners, as well as plenty of horror stereotypes nailed to a tee: the far-out stoner, the horny guy, the pissed off jock and, naturally, plenty of beautiful (and busty) babes. It’s the perfect cast for a movie like “Homeless Joe.”
The real credit to the picture however should go to writer, Mike Merickel, and writer/director/editor, Bruce Fordyce. In terms of a story about a psychopathic homeless killer, I don’t think there could be a better script. There are plenty of legitimate twists and surprises and the story really grows into something larger than life. And while this is obviously a low budget film, Fordyce’s direction was intelligent and entertaining. There were many camera tricks and shocking reveals that really helped drive the story and keep it interesting. In particular, there is a rather impressive scene in a parking structure that consisted of two, maybe three long, well-choreographed and suspenseful shots. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat when I wasn’t leaning back due to giddy laughter.
And that’s the last thing. This movie is funny—very funny actually. A couple of accidental gunshots (“You shot her you slut!”), heaping amounts of over the top gore, several well-timed uses of the “Howie scream” and even a severed penis (that was very realistic, by the way), this movie had me rolling throughout. It’s funny, gory as hell and full of nasty little surprises. What else can you ask for in a horror movie?!
“Homeless Joe” is not yet available on DVD, but when it is, it will no doubt become a favorite for fans of obscure and over-the-top horror. It certainly has replay value and a heart that most other low budget horror flicks can only dream of having. Keep your eyes peeled. “Homeless Joe” is a serious killer!
“Homeless Joe” was produced by Patty Sharkey and Mike Merickel, the team behind another one of LAHorror.com’s favorites, “Bloody Wedding.”
Very good article! Thank you for all the compliments:)