DNA Banner 03
horror dna logo header right
End Zone Main

The Once and Future Smash / End Zone 2 Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by Launch Over

article-cover once and future smash poster large

Directed by Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein
Written by Sophia Cacciola, Michael J. Epstein, Brian W. Smith
2022, 145 minutes, Not Yet Rated
UK FrightFest Premiere on 29th August 2022

Starring:
Michael St. Michaels as Mikey Smash
Bill Weeden as William Mouth
A.J. Cutler as A.J.
Mark Patton as Self

Review:

A fake documentary celebrating a fake exploitation movie, The Once and Future Smash follows the stars of slasher sequel End Zone 2 as they battle to be cast in its modern-era reboot. Fighting for the same role, Mikey Smash (Michael St. Michaels) and William Mouth (Bill Weeden) once starred as slasher villain Smash-Mouth in the horror sequel End Zone 2. Years later, as the reboot is about to be announced, Smash and Mouth fight it out over the role. This mockumentary follows their rivalry, while also serving as a potted history of the End Zone franchise.

end zone 2 01 end zone 2 02

Directors Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein have perfectly skewered the horror documentary with The Once and Future Smash, with its host of all-star talking heads (including A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2 star Mark Patton and Lloyd Kaufman), manufactured franchise trivia, and convention footage. End Zone 2 may not be 'real', but this mockumentary is as authentic as they come. The joke becomes stretched eventually, but the first half is virtually identical to the real thing.

St. Michaels (The Greasy Strangler) and Weeden are brilliantly cast as the showbiz enemies, the pair mining a sense of pathos from their pathetic plight. As the pair compete to play Smash-Mouth again, Cacciola and Epstein throw in plenty of clips from End Zone 2, painting a vivid picture of an early slasher franchise (apparently released in 1970, this sequel beat even Friday the 13th to the punch).

end zone 2 03 end zone 2 04

Horrendously deformed by bullies, Smash-Mouth (Mikey Smash; William Mouth goes uncredited) takes out his rage on the surviving cheerleaders who killed his mother in the first picture. As described by the talking heads in The Once and Future Smash, this lost exploitation film sounds like a lot of fun. Like the best documentaries on film, it leaves viewers eager to visit - or revisit - its subject, in this case uncovering the story of End Zone 2 first-hand.

once and future smash 01 once and future smash 02

As The Once and Future does a tremendous job of spoofing the horror documentary, so End Zone 2 also replicates its subject perfectly. The problem with too many modern Grindhouse features and pastiches? They're simply too good. Well-shot and soundtracked opening aside, End Zone 2 is an utter slog, cluttered with lengthy dialogue sequences, stiff acting, and lengthy stretches of nothing much happening at all. No horror pastiche has ever captured the sheer tedium of a 1970s video nasty as effectively and accurately as End Zone 2. Smash-Mouth doesn't even arrive until near the end which, one suspects, is the joke. That a whole documentary was built on this not-very-good-slasher-sequel is another layer to the bit.

once and future smash 03 once and future smash 04

Intentional or not, it's a downer after the laughs of The Once and Future Smash, and a slight sense of disappointment is inevitable. The sense of fun returns once Smash-Mouth does appear, but it's not quite the touchdown one might have hoped for, following the preceding mockumentary's brilliance. One is essential, the other, vastly less so. The full Smash-Mouth experience may overshoot the mark occasionally, but this is a clever and ambitious undertaking. This all-star doesn't so much break the mould as adhere to it with stunning precision.

Grades:

The Once and Future Smash:

End Zone 2:

4 Star Rating

2.5 Star Rating

Cover
Buy Amazon Uk
Cover
Buy Amazon Uk

This page includes affiliate links where Horror DNA may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

 

About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer - UK
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
Recent Articles

­

Join Us!

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...