Caesar and Otto’s Paranormal Halloween: A Treat Full of Spirits

The slapstick comedic duo of campy horror is back in their third horror parody, Caesar and Otto’s Paranormal Halloween. Dave Campfield returns to the director’s chair to bring his script to life while reprising his role as the self-centered, aspiring actor and screenwriter, Caesar. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Caesar and Otto film without Paul Chomicki’s portrayal of the lovable dimwit, Otto, and Scott Aguilar’s return as the brother’s conman father, Fred. Joining them is a cast featuring several new and returning veterans of B-horror, giving a plethora of nods to the paranormal subgenre.

Paranormal Halloween opens with a not-so-subtle, hilarious nod to John Carpenter’s Halloween. Following the events from Caesar and Otto’s Deadly Xmas, the brothers are left homeless and financially broke. Desperate for the money, Caesar has procured a job as a babysitter. Always striving to work towards an acting career, Caesar dresses in drag, taking on the character of the stereotypical bimbo babysitter traditionally killed first in slasher films.

Because Caesar promised the parents who hired him that he would not have any guys over, Otto throws on some makeup, a wig and women’s clothes to join his brother. As expected, things take a turn for the worse with breaking news of an escaped mental patient named Michael Miles (Evan Seidlitz), who had been convicted and committed years ago for the Haddensborough murders of ’78.

Dave Campfield, Paul Chomicki, Caesar and Otto
Dave Campfield as Caesar dressed in drag and Paul Chomicki as Otto

While fleeing from the police, their father, Fred, arrives and inadvertently runs over Michael Miles, turning the trio into instant heroes, earning them the key to the city. In addition to their reward, Caesar, Otto and Fred are offered jobs as seasonal caretakers of California Governor Jerry Greyson’s (Ken MacFarlane) second home during the fall and winter months. Despite the house’s deadly history of possession and murder, the three men gladly accept this responsibility, as it solves their current financial and housing crisis.

Upon moving into the house, strange paranormal happenings begin to fester, eventually erupting into a bloodbath of epic proportions. Due to the increasingly violent nature of the events, Caesar and Otto enlist the help of husband and wife paranormal investigators Lakota (Felissa Rose: Sleepaway Camp, Victor Crowley) and Elija Warwick (Maximo Gianfranco Sorrentino: Sleepaway Camp)… who are almost immediately scared off the premises. Escalating into a case of possession, the situation forces the desperate Caesar and Otto to recruit the help of Father Jason Steiger (Deron Miller: Caesar and Otto’s Deadly Xmas), a priest whom the church disbanded for his unorthodox practices and rockstar lifestyle.

Brinke Stevens, Caesar and Otto
Brinke Stevens in a parody scene of The Shining

While Paranormal Halloween does retain more focus than its predecessor, some scenes could have been left out and more attention could have been paid to Father Jason Steiger and the priesthood. Shifting between the Catholicism side story and Caesar and Otto’s experience in the haunted house could have sharpened the story and plot, thereby helping transition the tale into its climactic reveal.

Regardless of this small complaint, Campfield, Chomicki and Aguilar bring back great chemistry, continuing on as though their characters had never left the screen. Horror fans who love to laugh will be thrilled to know that the comedy is turned up a notch in this Caesar and Otto parody, earning it the Outstanding Horror Comedy award at the 2015 Zed Fest Film Festival. With hilarious appearances from Rose, Sorrentino and Miller, it isn’t hard to see why.

Newcomer to the series is horror veteran Sean Whalen (The People Under the Stairs, Hatchet 3), who adding even more laugher as a traditional priest that finds Father Jason Steiger’s practices outrageous and distasteful. Brinke Stevens (Stirring, The Slumber Party Massacre) returns as Otto’s thieving friend without benefits in one of my personal favorite scenes that perfectly pokes fun of The Shining. Other notable cameos also include Vernon Wells (Edgar Allen Poe’s Lighthouse Keeper, Commando), Andre Gower (The Monster Squad) and Beverly Randolph (Return of the Living Dead).

Scott Aguilar, Caesar and Otto
Scott Aguilar as Fred possessed and eating a cross

Filled with intentional puns and clichés, Paranormal Halloween, overall, is everything you can expect from a cult B movie horror comedy and more. Referencing every paranormal classic from Poltergeist to The Amityville Horror to The Exorcist to The Shining, this installment to the Caesar and Otto series holds up just as well as Summer Camp Massacre.

If the previous Caesar and Otto films haven’t signified a respect and admiration for cult horror films, Campfield’s mention of dedication in the credits to the late Robert Z’Dar (Maniac Cop, Maniac Cop 2, Deadly Xmas) solidifies it. Featuring jokes and direct nods to franchises such as The Conjuring and Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Halloween is a great haunted adventure for well-rounded fans of the paranormal subgenre that also have a love for over-the-top, B horror films.

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