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Monsters Wanted

D: Brian Cunningham, Joe Laughrey / 89m

With: Richard Teachout, Janel Nash, Kenneth Schell, Dusty June

Engaging documentary about a scare theme park in Louisville, Kentucky that is put together every September/October and runs for a week at the end of October. Headed up by Teachout, Nash and Schell, the park in 2011 when this was filmed, is trying to add two new scare experiences to the two they have established already. Doubling the size of the park proves to be a logistical nightmare, from organising auditions for potential staff who’ll dress as zombies or other creatures, to building the new attractions – often by themselves which is sometimes the scariest thing of all – to dealing with bust ups between the crew, and all with the realisation that they’ve overspent on their budget.

Monsters Wanted - scene

What Monsters Wanted does really well is show the determination to get the show(s) up and running, and the hard work the “management” team themselves put in: even on opening night they’re all still rushing about setting things up and/or dealing with problems. And yet there’s a wonderful sense of brotherhood that infuses the movie. Everyone, whether tired or frustrated or facing the following year with little or no money, pulls together and shows clearly how much fun they’re having, from Chainsaw Pete (who always manages to inflict at least one minor injury on a co-worker with his chainsaw each year) to Shawna the Dead (who bangs nails into his nasal cavities), to the head trio. The love involved in the project is infectious. The attractions aren’t shown in that much detail, which is a shame as it would have been nice to have seen if all the trouble and effort had really been worth it, but it’s the only mis-step in an otherwise enjoyable movie.

Rating: 7/10 – giving a niche attraction an effective spotlight, Monsters Wanted has charm to spare, and is completely involving; a minor gem.