Serial killer Stanley Elk is not the next Michael Myers, but he tries his best in the 2022 slasher He Comes to Kill. Wearing coveralls and donning a creepy mask, Stanley certainly dresses the part. He even demonstrates The Shape’s signature head tilt and wears his hair down over his face like Rob Zombie’s asylum version of Myers. What Stanley lacks is the imposing presence of Myers, but he’s still menacing enough to carry the villainous load on the low-budget film.
August Aguilar and Strange Films
Written and directed by August Aguilar, He Comes to Kill is a Strange Films production in association with Cinemassacre Studios. Aguilar has cut his teeth on horror shorts like Raven (2021), The Lion’s Den (2020), Pandora (2020), and Cindy’s Birthday Party (2018). As an interesting note, Strange Films intends to create a shared universe concept around their films. It should be interesting to see this horror-verse evolve. The film is available to watch free on YouTube at the following link: “HE COMES TO KILL” Feature Film – YouTube.
In He Comes to Kill, the director delivers a straight-up slasher. The plot follows Stanley Elk’s return to his hometown after an asylum guard named Blake sets the maniac free. Shot like you’re walking through a haunted house, the movie’s opening scene begins with an eerie siren and shows a rogues’ gallery of mental patients on the loose.
The life and times of Stanley Elk
The guard Blake is Stanley’s biggest fan and considers the killer’s work “art.” Blake offers Stanley a gift – a helpless woman tied up. The guard hands Stanley a knife and watches in ecstasy as the female victim is dispatched. When Blake kneels before Stanley and willingly lets the psychopath murder him, you realize there’s more happening here than just a one-man killing spree. Stanley has developed a devoted cult following.
The film then introduces us to the town’s cocaine-abusing police chief who has a touch of hero syndrome before switching to a bar where two women, Gina and Lucille, talk about attending a costume party deejayed by White Lavender Jones (who plays himself).
A breaking news spot on the bar’s TV reports Stanley’s escape and advises everyone to go home and lock your doors. The bartender then shares the history of Stanley with the two women. About ten years ago, law enforcement caught Stanley at his family’s barn. Apparently, Stanley’s father taught his son how to murder and sacrifice animals, which escalated to people.
“God only knows what he was trying to summon up there,” the bartender says.
Good slashers start with bad decisions
Gina is the only one with the common sense to call it a night, while Lucille decides to attend the party alone. However, one of the bar’s patrons named Mark is watching the girls from his table. When Lucille leaves, Mark’s attempt to flirt with Gina in the bar ends awkwardly. So, Mark follows Gina to her car and kidnaps her.
The next scene is at a bookstore, where the clerk there also bombs when asking out a woman. Unfortunately for him, Stanley has arrived in town, and he’s not interested in books. However, Stanley does find his creepy mask there on a bookshelf before he goes into full killer-stalking mode.
Remember the costume party? Well, Stanley is on his way. After we see some interesting dance moves by the partygoers, Stanley joins the fun. The highlight is his face-off with White Lavender Jones, who transforms into a lightweight version of Steven Seagal. Of course, Jones had to say “You crashed the wrong party” as he kicks the holy hell out of Stanley.
However, the movie’s titled He Comes to Kill not Lavender Comes to Kill, but Jones gives as good as he gets until Stanley ends his days of deejaying. My favorite kill of the film is at the costume party when Stanley attacks a man sporting a chicken head. Stanley snaps his neck, and I distinctly heard the clucking of an actual chicken as the victim died. The party scene with White Lavender Jones was fun to watch and my favorite part of He Comes to Kill.
The final confrontation
Meanwhile, the coked-up police chief is interviewing a Stanley cult member at the station, and Gina is a captive of Mark, who is – you guessed it – a cult member. Brittney Saylor plays Gina and is the best actor in the film. Granted, she gets to play the meatiest role, a kidnapped final girl who fights for freedom against her male attacker, but she nails it.
In the climactic scene, the cokehead police chief faces off against Stanley at the family barn, while Gina battles Mark. Neither is as good as Stanley’s fight with DJ Jones, but as Jones says, “The three most electrifying names in entertainment today is White Lavender Jones.” Subject-verb agreement aside, how can you compete with a man who uses dance floor lights to distract his serial killer opponent?
The postscript scene at the end introduces a horror TV show host named Hack, who’s as arrogant as White Lavender Jones. Ignorant of the night’s events, Hack hitches a ride with Stanley, and just like that He Comes to Kill is set up for a sequel.
Summing it up
According to writer/director August Aguilar, He Comes to Kill cost $2,000 to make. Color me impressed considering that is a paltry sum to create a film of this caliber. I like that Aguilar didn’t take the material too seriously. Making the police chief an incompetent cokehead and letting White Lavender Jones steal the show added to my enjoyment of the movie.
Brittney Saylor’s performance as Gina gave the film its most serious stakes since she’s the one sympathetic character we get to know just enough to care about her fate.
The movie’s runtime at 50 minutes is a huge plus. I like that Aguilar didn’t try to pad the material to make it a feature-length film, which is the downfall of many low-budget horror movies. For me, horror hits hardest in shorter bursts.
While watching, I felt that Aguilar respected the horror genre with the way he tipped his hat to Halloween and Michael Myers. I thought Stanley Elk, played by Virgil McKee, was a reliably unnerving character. He never spoke, and his mask is effectively nightmarish.
Would I watch more Stanley Elk? Yes, I’d like to see where Stanley goes next, or where he comes from. He Comes to Kill does include a brief backstory for Stanley, and his father sounds like a man made for a horror movie.