Johnny Gruesome (2018) Poster

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4/10
Seriously Lacking In Quality
Foutainoflife17 April 2019
Johnny is a teenage revenant back from the dead and seeking revenge on those who did him wrong and betrayed him.

Just finished this up. This film is based on a book of the same name written by Gregory Lamberson. I've never read it but after watching this film, I can say that the STORY isn't bad. However, that's the only thing going for this movie.

Let's start with the acting. Yeah. Um..it's pretty rough. I can't say that even one actor played their part with any skill. Every actor in this was off. You could really see that the acting was being forced and that takes away from the viewer's ability to invest into what is happening. Sorry but it really was rough.

Let's move on with the sound design and cinematography. Maybe the boom operators are new to the film industry but the audio seemed to sound hollow from time to time and the actors just didn't seem to be picked up with any consistency. The songs for the soundtrack seemed amateurish too. There were some ok moments with the cinematography but it had some weird moments too.

Makeup and special effects. I guess the makeup was passible. There was some CGI stuff and although you can clearly see that it is low budget, it may have been one of the better aspects of the film.

The good things about this are that I found out what a revenant is and Johnny was a character I could get into. I'm not too crazy about zombie flicks. I know that I'm in the minority here but they just seem so played out and they come in so many variations that I am just over them. Johnny is a bit different.

A revenant is a being that has reanimated their soul into their former body with the goal of revenge. A zombie is mindless. They do not remember their former lives. A ghost can remember their former lives. So, a revenant is a blending of a zombie like body with a soul similar to a ghost. I'd never heard of a revenant but I like it.

Bottom line. This is a great story made with a low budget and unseasoned professionals. If you can get past the acting, watch it for the story alone. I'm really glad I made it to the end. Hopefully someone else will come along with a better budget and a bit more finesse and do right by the story.
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2/10
Painfully slow
coflorida17 April 2019
One of those flicks you sit thru thinking it's gonna get better and never does..... Trying to wrap my head around a budget of $240,000 when it seems like something could've been done for $100 bucks
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1/10
Gruesome?? When?
adski6665 May 2019
I didnt expect a great deal from this before watching it and that's exactly what I got nothing.. It was laughable to the extent of diresome...If you are thinking of watching this I wouldn't bother. Nobody in it can act and the effects for this generation are really bad. If this was made in the early 90s it would of been passable.
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3/10
Really bad.
timothycrugnale24 October 2018
Just don't waste your time. No budget and boring, plot is bad too. Weak acting also. Avoid unless a die hard zombie fan like me. Still feel cheated though.
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1/10
Horrible. Made by middle school children ?
Nomad00715 March 2020
I can't give it a zero ?

Actors seem like first year acting students who had never acted before.

Serious plot wholes and inconsistent dialogue. One sentence to other would be in contrast to each other. It's like the actors wrote their own dialogue without any interaction with each other and then just put the script together.

The music was an OBVIOUS rip off of songs from bands like The Ramones.

Special efforts were bad. Let me clarify by bad I mean horrible, and not in a campy funny way either.

It wasn't scary, funny, campy, creative, original or anything that provides anything worth-wild in watching.
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6/10
Hilariously awful
lukehasahead9 July 2020
If you're wanting something to watch with friends or just burst into laughter this is the movie, a lot of the comedy is unintentional but I highly recommend when you want to enjoy a movie that's all camp and nothing else.
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4/10
Passable
thedarkestshadow-327855 October 2020
The acting is very weak but the movie isn't bad. The makeup/effects etc are decent. I may have given it 5 stars but I'm tired of the no nudity shower trope. If you are going to show a woman showering and no show any nudity there is no point in having the shower scene to begin with.
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8/10
Just an excellent indie horror zombedy with a great vibe
Short and sweet...no spoilers.

Most of the reviews for Johnny Gruesome are spot on - THIS MOVIE KICKS A$$!!! To the one knucklehead who said it sucked and that the acting was horrible, you missed the point! This movie thrives on the irony present in what was called "bad acting," and lives on the precipice of over-the-top and underspoken, hence the characters who play Johnny's best friends - one "over-the-top" and one softspoken.

I should correct my review title implication. This isn't really a zombedy, per se. It just so happens, as the synopses states, that Johnny comes back from the dead. He's not really a zombie, but a revenant. But as with all my reviews, no spoilers here, so mum's the word.

So let's talk about content and context. First, the writing is absolutely brilliant! The tongue in cheek quips and one-liners are stellar, and the story is excellent. Initially it seems that Johnny going after those who wronged him will be a short story but the writing is done in a way that makes this really work. It should be noted that the soundtrack is equally as brilliant. While some might not care for the few synth parts, the minimal intervalic writing, utilizing dissonance (especially the tritone, for those musically inclined) as a tool for both thematic elements as well as mood, are very well done. Add to that the metal (sounding) parts and some ironic lyrics and the music is a winner. Pay close attention to the lyrics when the music plays behind dialog...there's a ton of irony here, and contributes to the comedy aspect of the entire film, but could be missed easily. Then again, and referring back to the whole "bad acting" thing, the irony is what totally makes it.

So...the writing...excellent. Personally, I felt the acting was exactly as it was meant to be. Cheesy, over-the-top, or subdued, and fit the movie perfectly. Nearly every character plays a role in the schtick, but in different ways. If someone merely watches this without understanding the history of the whole Johnny Gruesome thing, then yes...it could very likely be interpreted as bad acting, but since you're (obviously) reading this review, now you know better, so pay attention to how each character and his/her quirks fit in to both the story and what the writer wants to achieve.

As for other facets, the editing is well done and allows for a very cohesive piece. Cinematography and sound are all professionally done (unlike so many indie horror-ish flicks) and follow the paths of given expressions in the film. The special fx are "okay," and while I wish they had been better, they certainly weren't bad, and I believe they were done in a way that would celebrate the irony of the film while also not investing thousands in full-blown realistic gore. Don't get me wrong...these aren't the awful, super cheesy CGI things you see in SyFy Channel movies...just different. You'll see what I mean.

Post-production and the final remaining elements of the film are well done. No complaints.

All in all, this is just a fun, goofy flick that doesn't take itself too seriously. With a 25 year process from inception to wrapping production, Lamberson got what he wanted...a really good representation of who Johnny "Gruesome" Grissom really is. It is less horror/comedy and more an ironic comedy of errors with horror as the thematic storyteller.

This is NOT for viewers who take their films too seriously and don't understand irony. Nor is it for folks who are overly critical on every single facet of film making and production. This IS for viewers who enjoy metal, horror without boundaries, and irony. I will totally watch this film again. I might even buy it!

Notes on parental content:
  • There is a fair amount of profanity, though not gratuitous or overbearing.
  • I would not call ANYTHING about this movie scary or intense, but due to the thematic material being of a comical, horror nature, some viewers might find some parts a bit disturbing.
  • Gore is such a subjective thing. Some would say this is a gory film, but I wouldn't necessarily say that is so. There are a few kill scenes that go beyond just blood, including organs and other such things, but they are presented in ways that aren't as "gnarly" as they could be. That said, while the "gore" and violence isn't consistent throughout the film, once the second half of the movie arrives, there are indeed some bloody scenes that some may consider gory. It is NOT a gorefest, nor will it satisfy those of us who are gorehounds, but the violence does rise to a level above "just blood." There are also a few fist fights, but they are tame.
  • With regards to sex and nudity, there is one sex scene (in its ironic glory) that shows both a male and female topless. Otherwise, the film has only a couple scenes of kissing (one that is deadly comical, and not sexual).
  • There are multiple scenes that involve alcohol or drugs, including cocaine. This is a thread that runs the entire movie, though not glorified in any way.


Watch this movie!!! Just understand the intent that Greg Lamberson has. It's a total blast
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10/10
Campy horror fun
mcewen8816 January 2019
Not to be taken seriously, folks! Johnny Gruesome will crack you up in this campy teen horror romp. With a tongue in cheek nod to "scary" acting, special film effects, and props, you'll fall in love with this homage to B-movie teenage angst horror genre. Based on a the novel of the same title by Gregory Lamberson, Johnny Gruesome reminds us of cheesy high school faculty, friends, and affairs that need to die -- with humor and popcorn.
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7/10
Entertaining
trebilco-0224324 February 2019
A fun revenge story with some really memorable moments and great original music.
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9/10
High school has never been so cool
cgbusa20 January 2019
I love this film. Lamberson gets back to basic low budget horror, but adds some modern filming and effects. Lots of fun. Read the books!
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8/10
Fun campy movie
finalcut-9342019 January 2019
I enjoyed this movie. It was a funny campy movie with a great sound track. I thought the storyline was good. Enjoyed the actors and loved that it was filmed on WNY. Really liked the that Robby from the Goo Goo Dolls even lent his talent to the theme song. I bought the movie for my collection. It is a good old high-school slasher movie. I hope others enjoy the movie for what it is. FUN!!!!!
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8/10
You can't keep JOHNNY GRUESOME down!
cattlewriter29 January 2019
Writer/director Greg Lamberson (SLIME CITY, SLIME CITY MASSACRE, DRY BONES) originally wrote the screenplay JOHNNY GRUESOME in 1984 when he was 19. When he began his career as a filmmaker, he didn't have enough money to properly make GRUESOME. Almost 25 years later, he finally adapted the screenplay into a book. But 10 years after that, Lamberson finally secured the funds to realize his first screenplay. JOHNNY GRUESOME is a simple but effective tale of vengeance come back from the grave. The ensemble cast is solid from the leads to the smaller roles. For instance, Michael DeLorenzo plays Johnny's alcoholic dad and is only in a few brief scenes, but his intensity is immediately felt. The production values of the film show in the make-up for the undead title character, which is great. Also, there are neat production details like Johnny Grissom's (Johnny's actual last name) awesome looking car. The soundtrack also rocks and the title song features vocals by Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls. In the book, Grissom's character was more wise-cracking, but as Lamberson explains in the making-of supplement on the DVD, he originally wrote the character before A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET was released. When Lamberson updated the script he wisely took out Johnny's wisecracks to avoid the comparisons to Freddy, but still there's enjoyable moments of unexpected humor to be found, like Johnny awkwardly trying to walk the first time out of the grave. What's refreshing is that this is not a zombie tale, but actually a ghost story of a sort. And, as usual in a Greg Lamberson film, it has a strong finish.
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10/10
Some Gruesome Fun for US Horror Seeking FANatics !
timodo5 October 2020
It's an Engaging & Fascinating 80's ThrowBack Film with a Fabulous 50's Feel to It ! It Stars Anthony De La Torre as the Youthful Miscreant 'Johnny Grissom' , who Dies under Misterios Circumstances & Returns to Life as a Vengeful 'Revenant' . Byron Brown II is his Best Friend 'Eric' , who's at his wit's end over the whole situation . Drop-Dead Gorgeous Aprilann is Perfect as Johnny's Grieving Girlfriend who's trying to get on with her life ... "Karen' ; & the instigator behind the whole fiasco is Chris Modrzynski as 'Gary' ; & Lovely Madison Amey Shines as 'Rhonda' , a Love Interest of Eric's ! The Surrounding Cast is every bit as Brilliant . Consisting of Indie All-Star John Renna as the School's Principal 'Mr, Milton' , Michael DeLorenzo as Johnny's Father 'Charlie' , Comely Kaelin Lamberson as 'Tammy' , Bob Bozek as the Faint-Hearted 'Coach Wrangler' & Ravishing Leora Owens as the School Teacher 'Mrs. Carter' & Her PoliceMan Hubby manned by Richard Satterwhite . Other Cops are Sam Qualiana , Paul MsGinnis , & Sensational Jessica Zwolak , who stands out in each & every Role that She Portrays ! A Special Salute to Big Tim O'Hearn as "Bobby' & Alexander S. McBryde as 'Ross' , two Grave-Diggers who would rather Imbibe & Chew-The-Fat , providing some need comic relief & some form of Normalcy in this Wild Blood-Soaked Terror-Feast ! It's especially smashing to see Tim O'Hearn , who is equally impressive playing Monsters & Villains as he is as a Comic &/Or Laid-Back Ordinary Joe . Apparently it has taken Film-Maker Gregory Lamberson many a Year to put this whole Project together ; & I must Say that the Final Product was Well-Worth the Time & Effort put in ! Great Acting , a Fabulous Fright-Filled Story , & Powerful Direction make " Johnny Gruesome " quite a Welcome Movie for All Shock-Seeking Film Watchers & Children of All Ages !
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