The Horror Honeys: Idle Hands: The touching story of a boy and his right hand.

Idle Hands: The touching story of a boy and his right hand.

A Slasher Honey Crossover Review by Chassity

Idle Hands (1999)

You never forget your first horror comedy. At least, I know I’ll never forget mine.

In my case, it was Idle Hands, and for me this will always be my favorite horror comedy. Idle Hands is one of those classic films from my childhood that stands out as one of the reasons why I fell in love with the horror genre in the first place. 

There are so many things I love about this movie, starting with the fact that, as far as casting goes, it is a dream come true for every prepubescent girl of the 90s, like me. Devon Sawa, its star, was a 90s teen heartthrob, and I would have seen anything that he was in at the time. I recall not being allowed to see this movie, but begging my parents, until they eventually relented, to let me watch it because of my love for Devon Sawa (which survived past my Leo Dicaprio/Nick Carter/all blond boys with that super 90s hair cut phase and still remains today). Add to that two of my favorite 90s fixtures (Elden Ryan Ratliff/Henson and Seth Green) and you’ve hit a 90s girl’s trifecta. There was no way I wasn’t going to fall in love with this movie before even seeing it. 

"It got into my hand and it went bad..."
Wait... wrong movie! 
The Plot: Teen slacker/stoner Anton Tobias is a kid who literally does nothing with his life. He is someone for whom even showering requires way too much effort. His dream life is to sit around watching tv all day (this is not an exaggeration), smoking pot while some woman serves him food. This sounds like a typical teenager’s attitude, yes, but Anton is an extremist in this. 
Clearly, he must be punished.

If you’ve ever been to any church or are even slightly familiar with the Bible or know someone who is, you’ve definitely heard this “Idle hands are the devil’s playground.” And there are no hands in the world more useless than Anton’s. So you know what happens next. One of Anton’s hands becomes possessed by the devil… or at least some spirit that works for the devil, and sends Anton on a killing spree, beginning with his own parents. The main target? The woman Anton is crazy about. The possessed hand has major plans for her. 

The Good: Today the term “horror comedy” really means bad “spoof” (that usually isn’t actually funny and just comes off as a bitter attack of genre success) of popular horror films and horror tropes. But this movie was actually quite funny, in a more subtle way. It is mostly a slasher with a basis in the supernatural. Everyone in this movie seemed to be in on the joke, and hammed it up without being over the top ridiculous.

One of the great things about this movie is that it showed how horror comedies can be humorous without being disrespectful to the things it’s parodying. Idle Hands doesn’t attack the horror genre, it loves it. And it also plays on a biblical saying without being disrespectful to religion. 

Best Halloween costumes EVER
Seth Green and Elden Henson are show stealers. I’ll always loved them both, but never more than in this. Every scene they’re in makes me giggle, and the one where they talk about choosing not to follow the voices leading them into the afterlife because it’s “too far” was absolute gold. 
But that could be said for everyone and everything in this movie. Not a beat is missed, the murders are super 90s and deliciously slasher-y with just the right amount of gore to hold it all together, and everybody is given their moment to shine—from the stars to the minor characters like the cops who are just bitter because the slackers (not the cool, popular kids) wouldn’t hang out with them in high school.

The Bad: Call it the nostalgia factor, but I don’t think I could ever have anything bad to say about this movie. To me, it was an instant classic, and it should be required for anyone who thinks they have the right to make a horror comedy. If I have to say something negative, maybe the only bad thing is that it gets a little unwieldy at its climax? I don’t know, even that’s not completely true. 

The Ugly: The scene of Anton trying to destroy his hand were completely disturbing. But not in a bad way. Made even more disturbing yet hilarious by how nonchalant he and his friends are about the whole thing. 
Stand back, just attempting to mutilate myself... 
The only other weird moment came from a cameo. Kelly Monaco, well known now for playing a badass, take charge, tough chick on the soaps, appears as a slutty teenage nitwit. It was just more than I wanted to see, as were her body parts. So other soaps fans who watch this movie might want to mentally brace themselves for that. 

I could rave about Idle Hands forever. It will always be dear to me. But not just because of its quality; because it is the movie that turned Devon Sawa into what I like to call a minor league, B-movie Final Boy. I will always be grateful to this movie for that.