Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Shane Beasley, Leya Taylor
Cast: Jason Crowe, Dan Nye, Jessica Schroeder
If you can dig cheap 80s slasher fare, The Legend of Wasco is probably going to feel like a dream journey of unforgiving nostalgia. The budget is miniscule, some of the performers are rough around the edges, there are a few priceless t-shirts on display and just about every cliché in the book is thoroughly explored. But, there’s still something magnetic about the film, and all I can really say is, that magnetism feels a lot like the magnetism I feel when watching throwback flicks nearly as old as I am. Hence the opening sentence.
I love the fact that every actor in the film (when it comes to movies like this, you’re typically looking at a group of friends who got together to have some fun and maybe strike a gold mine) look like average, everyday people. They don’t all look like plastic, size zero “super models” and they don’t all leave you wondering why God didn’t see fit to make you look like a picture. In that sense, the movie really works, and again, calls back to a time when horror releases arrived rampantly, and whether a filmmaker had a $10,000 or a $10,000,000 budget, they gave it their all, and through hard work and ingenuity, they found a way to make those movies work, regardless of how flawed they were, or weren’t.
The story isn’t exactly intricate or thought provoking, but that’s alright. The movie succeeds in being what it’s supposed to be. Two oddball guys, a failed jock/military reject and a guy headed nowhere who works as a clown are introduced, as our clown – Tyler – is going to marry our failed jock/military reject – Byron’s – sister, Christy. These two unlikely buddies do indeed spark up a strange friendship, and before we know it Tyler’s dressing up as local legend “The Wasco Clown” and Byron’s snapping photos. Photos that go viral, and inadvertently summon the legendary serial killer, The Wasco Clown and his two sidekick killers.
The talent behind the camera works every bit as hard as the talent in front of the camera. Like the film’s performers, the technical crew isn’t perfect. But they give it a very valiant attempt, and most of their attempts pay off. The vintage vibe and the frequent nods to film and television of the 80s is awfully lovable, and that’s one of the pic’s greatest strengths and most endearing qualities.
Everything about The Legend of Wasco is limited. Everything. From performances to special effects to editing, everything is handled with promising but admittedly limited hands, minds and wallets. The limitations of the cast and crew doesn’t bother me much, as I’m able to easily look beyond the picture’s flaws. They’re not undetectable, but I enjoy a lot of cheesy slasher flicks the 80s produced, so I find a certain degree of entertainment in the pic. If you just so happen to hate old school horror, you might see this as nothing but a tired and cheap B-flick. What you’re into, personally, is pretty much going to dictate your response to this flick.