The line between tongue-in-cheek satire and torture-porn sadism is messily smudged in "Trailer Park of Terror," an exuberantly white-trashy horror opus that pays wink-wink tribute to Southern-fried exploitation fare of the sort that haunted drive-ins and grindhouses during the 1970s.

The line between tongue-in-cheek satire and torture-porn sadism is messily smudged in “Trailer Park of Terror,” an exuberantly white-trashy horror opus that pays wink-wink tribute to Southern-fried exploitation fare of the sort that haunted drive-ins and grindhouses during the 1970s. Theatrical prospects are modest, but pic could scare up respectable returns on homevid.

Based on the Imperium Comics series, “Trailer Park” proudly acknowledges its cinematic bloodline in the opening minutes, raucously referencing Herschell Gordon Lewis’ notorious 1964 gorefest “Two Thousand Maniacs!” before launching scripter Timothy Dolan’s not-dissimilar scenario about wrong-turned travelers trapped in a heart-of-Dixie hell on earth.

Nichole Hiltz is well cast as Norma, a smokin’-hot sexpot who becomes an undead demon after claiming bloody revenge on fellow trailer-park residents who made her life not worth living. Years after her original killing spree, she’s still in control of her zombie-fied victims when some troubled teens and a youth pastor stumble onto the scene of her crime. Nothing good comes of this.

Pic works reasonably well as long as the over-the-top mayhem is played mostly for dark comedy. After a certain point, however, helmer Steven Goldmann (“Broken Bridges”) focuses too intently on rendering really vicious stuff. The lower depths are plumbed during a mercilessly protracted sequence involving the transformation of a barely-alive teen into beef jerky.

On the plus side, some of the young actors (most notably Jeanette Brox as a resourceful goth chick) are impressive in their industrious efforts to flesh out their thin roles. Standout tech values include aptly grisly makeup effects — the zombies appear to have stepped out of the pages of ’50s EC Comics — and composer Alan Brewer’s down-and-dirty mix of Southern rock and country music.

Speaking of country music, chart-topping singer Trace Adkins appears briefly, and effectively, as a stranger who probably is — well, could it be Satan?

Trailer Park of Terror

Production

A Bogner Entertainment presentation of a Trailer Park Partners production. Produced by Jonathan Bogner. Executive producers, Ralph Singleton, James Dracoules, Christopher March, Jerry Katell, David Tischman, Mike Nami, Majeed Nami. Co-producers, Todd Tucker, Harvey Lowry, Patricia Gillum, Michael Hennessy, Larry Grose, Bill Silva, Larry Cohen. Directed by Steven Goldmann. Screenplay, Timothy Dolan, based on the Imperium Comics series "Trailer Park of Terror."

Crew

Camera (color), Jeff Venditti; editor, Jarred Buck; music, Alan Brewer; production designer, Ann Champion; costume designer, Kathryn Langston Orindgreff; sound (Dolby Digital), Mark Mancino; special makeup effects, Todd Tucker, Harvey Lowry (Drac Studios); casting, Lauren Bass. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Jan. 20, 2008. (In Slamdance Film Festival -- Twilight Screenings.) Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Nichole Hiltz, Lew Temple, Matthew Del Negro, Jeanette Brox, Myk Watford, Ryan Carnes, Hayley Marie Norman, Michelle Lee, Trace Adkins, Priscilla Barnes.

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more