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Scary Movie 3 (2003)

Scary Movie 3: Episode 1 - Lord of the Brooms

Youll die to see these rings.

Rating: 2/10

Running Time: 84 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Let’s start with a brief history. ‘Scary Movie’ was originally the working title of a clever postmodern dissection of 1970s horror which was eventually released under a different title, ‘Scream’, and became a huge success at the box office, revitalising the long-dead horror genre with a knowing smile. Shortly afterwards, the Wayans brothers made a spoof on ‘Scream’ (and ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’) and called it Scary Movie – which, unlike the more subtle horror parodies in ‘Scream’ itself, resorted almost entirely to jokes about bodily functions to raise its bargain basement laughs. Hollywood horror next turned for inspiration to a much older generation of classics like ‘The Haunting’ and ‘The House on Haunted Hill’ to produce a raft of inferior remakes, and these were then spoofed by the Wayans in their equally inferior sequel ‘Scary Movie 2’, whose toilet-bowl humour tapped into even deeper veins of shit than its predecessor.

Since then, horror has moved on, grown up, and rediscovered the very roots of what frightens people – but you would never know it to watch ‘Scary Movie 3’. Sure, the film’s plot is a pastiche of recognisable scenes from semi-recent frighteners like The Ring, Signs and The Others (as well as non-horror flicks like 8 Mile and The Matrix Reloaded), but far from offering any kind of parodic critique of these films, ‘Scary Movie 3’ merely inserts at regular intervals a tired assortment of fart gags, tit jokes and slapstick pratfalls. If you want an intelligent (and funny) satire of the inner mechanics of horror, then watch any one of ‘The Treehouse of Horror’ Halloween specials on ‘The Simpsons’. ‘Scary Movie 3’, however, is more like ‘Beavis and Butthead’ – occasionally funny just for its sheer, repetitive brainlessness (farts ARE funny), but with absolutely no comic insights into the material it is targeting.

‘Scary Movie 3’ is distinguished from the previous two instalments insofar as the Wayans brothers have been replaced by David Zucker, the king of Hollywood spoof movies (‘Airplane!’, ‘Top Secret!’, ‘The Naked Gun’, ‘BASEketball’). This has drawn some of Zucker’s regulars to the project (Charlie Sheen and Leslie Nielsen) and also some biggish-name cameos (Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Queen Latifah, Denise Richards, the Wu-tang clan, and a hilarious appearance by Simon Cowell) – but it also ensures that the humour involving race relations, which was about the only thing in the previous films that qualified as cutting edge, now seems as uncomfortable as Jewish jokes being told by non-Jews.

About the most I can say for this film is that it is slightly better than ‘Scary Movie 2’…

It's Got: Recognisable scene from The Ring - joke about Pamela Andersons boob jobs and home videos - bit from Signs - Charlie Sheen trips over and gets hit repeatedly in the testicles - quote from The Matrix Reloaded - farts - well, you get the picture. The joke about Michael Jackson and paedophilia seems even more relevant now than it would have when the script was written.

It Needs: To engage more with the films it is parodying, to have a broader range of jokes.


Leave your brain in the foyer, and your taste in the toilets. 'Scary Movie 3' is comedy at its least sophisticated, with zero subtlety and no critical insights into the horror it parodies.