EDITOR’S NOTE: You know when you’ve seen too many slashers? When you review one twice. Here’s the original take on Lovers Lane.
Based on the urban legend of The Hook, Lovers Lane was directed by Jon Steven Ward and written by Geof Miller and Rory Veal. It starts thirteen years ago with the origin of the hook hand killer, as Dee-Dee (Diedre Kilgore) and Jimmy (Carter Roy) are steaming up their windows when they’re attacked and barely escape, only to find another couple bleeding out in their own backseat. When the cops arrive, led by Sheriff Tom Anderson (Matt Riedy) and psychiatrist Jack Grefe (Richard Sanders), the hook — known as Ray Hennessey (Ed Bailey) — is arrested and one of the victims ends up being Tom’s wife. Even worse, Hennessey was Jack’s patient and had a fixation on Harriet.
Fast forward: Jack’s daughter Chloe (Sarah Lancaster) just tried to down her boyfriend Michael (Riley Smith) for breaking up with her. She gets suspended and Michael’s mother — the principal and, as coincidences abound, the wife of the man Harriet was cheating with — grounds him. If that doesn’t seem like enough drama, The Hook has escaped and taken his weapon back.
How do the kids react to all of this? They go bowling. Yes, Chloe and Michael are still making each other jealous as they hang out with their friends Mandy (who is Jack’s daughter and played by Sarah Lancaster), Bradley (Ben Indra), Janelle (Anna Faris), Doug (Billy O’Sullivan), Cathy (Megan Hunt) and Tim (Collin F. Peacock). Don’t get too used to anyone, like the young cop Deputy David Schwick (Michael Shapiro) protecting them, because The Hook is ready to slice, dice, slash and I guess whatever verb goes with hooks. Poke? Prod? Stick?
If you’re wondering why they all go to Lovers Lane after all that — and what has happened before — you may have never seen a slasher before.
Shot in Seattle, Lovers Lane was originally going to be filmed at Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie, WA. Yet after several real life student deaths — including a triple murder — the school probably correctly said that that would be a bad idea.
Hey, this has 15 deaths, so it gets part of the slasher thing right. It’s just quite late in the game by 1999 — and in a post-Scream world — to be making by the numbers slashers. Bonus points, however, for using Anna Faris — she met first husband Ben Indra on this movie — a year before she’d make fun of movies exactly like this in Scary Movie. And wow, this has the wackiest jazz soundtrack. It’s certainly something.
Arrow Video’s blu ray release of Lovers Lane has a brand new 2K restoration from a 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative. There are two versions of the film: the widescreen 1.85:1 version and the full-frame 1.33:1 version, along with brand new audio commentary with writer-producers Geof Miller and Rory Veal, a featurette on the movie, trailers, image gallery, a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ilan Sheady and an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Lindsay Hallam and double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ilan Sheady. You can get it from MVD.