As the staff of Good Friends Church Camp prepares for a spring break filled with un Under the Son,a demon logger rises from his sap boiler to wreak his vengeance and feast on flapjacks soaked in the blood of his victims.
Taking place in the fictitious town of Big Timber Texas, the story of LUMBERJACK MAN takes place at Good Friends Church Camp, as they embark on a spring break retreat. For the Counselors, the ideal retreat means the word of God, the good book, and of course dinner for breakfast(especially if it includes pancakes). However, the rebellious campers have different things on their minds. And it is things such as sex, drugs and booze that get them into deep trouble. Because soon, a town urban legend, in the form of a demon logger makes his presence felt among the camp. As he cuts and mutilates his way through a number of campers, it's clear that the Lumberjack, also known as Neimiah Easterday is out for revenge. In the middle of the logger's reign of Terror, a man by the name of Dr. Shirtcliff arrives on the scene and eventually clues everyone in on the legend, and how everything cam to be. It is with certain reason that Easterday routinely returns to Big Timber, every 30 years, on a certain Tuesday, to exact his revenge for a tragedy which occurred back in 1892. As it turns out, Easterday is quite the pancake enthusiast, however his favorite toping these days, just happens to be fresh blood. Now, with the camp's population declining, it's up to the Doctor, and those who remain to possibly save the day, as it is Shirtcliff who might hold the key to defeating the vengeful demon.
Now, here's a wildly odd slasher flick. LUMBERJACK MAN, is one that bares the marks of many successful and popular Slashers, while at the same time infusing the setup with a brand of black comedy that is mockingly outrageous to say the least. Well for starters the story takes place in a fictitious town in Texas, called Big Timber. Well, in Big Timber, for some reason, everyone is obsessed with the fluffy delights known as pancakes. They love the JT Jepson's brand of pancake mix, to be exact. And as such, the brand makes many appearances throughout the film. However, there is a deeper reason, as the pancake mix founder, Jepson, as it is revealed, played a big hand in the legend of the film's killer, the demon Lumberjack Neimiah Easterday. As the legend states, sometime in the year 1892, the reclusive logger, Easterday was at home in his log cabin, cooking him up some breakfast one day. Yes, pancakes. Well, coincidently, Jepson was in the nearby woods, when he caught a wiff of Neimiah's great pancakes. This led up to Jepson going up to the logger's cabin to ask for a sample of the cakes. The deliciousness of said pancakes, blew JT's mind, which in turn caused visions of money signs to flood his mind. He then tried to convince Easterday to sell him the recipe. However, for Easterday, it was a no go. Because of this, JT ended up killing the logger, by drowning him in his own syrup. JT eventually found the recipe, and so of course, in the years that followed, Jepson turned a big profit, and now in the present, Jepson's mix has become the favorite that it is today. The legend also goes on to state, that every 3 decades, Neimiah returns, carrying with him a large stack of his pancakes, that are in need of syrup. But of course, he doesn't use the traditional maple. No, he prefers the warm taste of blood on his pancakes. Yes, it's true, the killer in LUMBERJACK MAN, not only slice and dices his victims, he also wheels around his giant stack of pancakes, hoping to collect the perfect topping for them. Of course it's freaking ridiculous, and unnecessary, but it's here, and it is an element that just so happens to make the film unique. It will definitely be something people will remember from it. If they don't remember a single thing else about LUMBERJACK MAN, they will definitely remember that the film's killer carried his breakfast with him. It's something, I surely never imagined in a million years that i'd see in a Horror film. But with that said, the outlandishness of the idea sort of goes hand in hand with the rest of the film's off beat comedy. It's a film that has varying character archetypes. Of course, since the film deals with a church camp, the is the die hard Christian type, but as the film openly mocks the whole idea of church camp, there are also characters such as the stoners, the token black cook, as well as the sex starved teens. The comedy is often off the wall, as it resembles a few 80s sex comedies, as well as maybe some from the 90s and a little beyond(there is at one point a slow motion strip scene involving Counselor Andy San Dimas that closely reminded me of that Phoebe Cates scene in FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH), and in keeping with that spirit, some of the film's events, as well as kills are really funny and bizarre. But while I view LUMBERJACK MAN has being mostly rooted in comedy, that's not to say that the film doesn't also recall many of the greats from the Horror genre as well. In fact, the beginning of the film, which we see Easterday "gear up" for battle is, in fact reminiscent of the iconic opening montage seen in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, in which we see Freddy Krueger building his glove. And in the film, when Dr. Shirtcliff mentions that Easterday happens to only appear once every 30 years, for some reason, I immediately thought about JEEPERS CREEPERS. While that film may have not served as any inspiration at all, it is of course similar. And then there is Dr. Shirtcliff himself. We are told he's a Doctor. A Doctor of what? We never know. I guess it's supposed to be a gag which riffs on the whole HALLOWEEN and Dr. Loomis thing, but who knows? And then lastly, the film's action happens in and around a camp ground, so the film will indeed draw comparison to that other camp Slasher film we all know, called FRIDAY THE 13TH. However, all of LUMBERJACK MAN'S similarities come off as simple homages rather being product of a film hoping to just mimic the classics. All together, the end result is a silly, and tongue in cheek good time.
As for the acting, I felt that for the most part, it all worked well, as the comedy lent a hand to the performances. The film's biggest name is of course Michael Madsen, as he portrays "Dr. Shirtcliff". While it isn't the best role he's ever had, I thought he was funny enough. Elsewhere, I also really liked Adam Sessler as the awkward goof-ball head Counselor, "Doug", as well as Ciara Flynn, as "Faith", the new girl at camp. I also loved seeing former Pornstar, Andy San Dimas in this mainstream role, as one of the camp's Counselors named "Theresa". From what I have got from her online, Andy seems cool, and she's a big fan of Horror. Here's to hoping that this leads to more roles within the genre, and beyond. But with that said, I have to say that basically the cast as an ensemble, make LUMBERJACK MAN as fun and enjoyable as it is.
No, LUMBERJACK MAN isn't some groundbreaking Slasher film, but at least in delivers something unique. Silly, but unique. It is a film that wears its comedy of its sleeve. From the beginning, we know that we are in for something a little less serious, but we just don't know how less serious - until it hits us like a perfectly cooked flapjack to the face. It all leads to an idea that is truly out there, but once you are able to except the silliness, it's actually a pretty fun time.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
While i'm not blown away, or anything by this film, I am surprised at just how much fun this film is. Silly, yes. Stupid? Maybe. But it's stupid fun. I went into a film called LUMBERJACK MAN expecting just as its name implies, a generic, uncreative, by the numbers Slasher film. But what LUMBERJACK MAN is, is something more. It's definitely something that is a little different. I mean, who ever thought that Horror and pancakes would ever go together? That's insane. But, somehow, dare I say it....LUMBERJACK MAN makes the whole silly idea work in its favor. It's funny, and I believe that it should be seen as a comedy first, and a Horror film second. However, I do think that they should have titled the film something else. LUMBERJACK Man is just too generic, and has nothing to it that relates to the film's overall vibe. See it, but don't take it too seriously. Because, after all, the film itself doesn't take itself seriously.