Heckle (2020)

Stand-up Joe Johnson (Guy Combes, Kill Ben Lyk) has just been hired for the role of his life, playing his hero comedian Ray Kelly (Steve Guttenberg) in a film about the dead funnyman’s life. Except. that the last hack up for the starring role is dead and a heckler (Clark Gable III) is bound and determined to ruin his life and not only from the darkness of the audience.

Directed by Martyn Pick and written by Airell Anthony Hayles (who wrote and directed They’re Outside), the film shows Johnson’s Halloween party evening as he’s haunted by the heckler with a flashback to just how horrible of a human being Ray Kelly was. Guttenberg is really great in this, just filled with venom and menace.

I would have loved to have seen more of how Kelly’s character and how his darkness both shaped and inspired Johnson and less of the slasher scenes, which feel kind of grafted on. It’s more of a gamble to make that type of dark film instead of a slice and dice which is easy to sell, one imagines.

At 81 minutes, for once I wish this movie was longer and had more room to breathe. Or maybe better structure and editing. It’s frustrating because there’s a great out of character performance by Guttenberg and a really good idea for a film buried under so much dross.

Heckle is now available from Uncork’d Entertainment.

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