End Zone 2 – FrightFest 2022

End Zone 2 – FrightFest 2022

The remaining two acts of End Zone 2 are presented to audiences after the terrific The Once and Future Smash, a brutally authentic 70s trash horror that will leave you wondering just how good that missing 3rd act really was.

Fifteen years after the events of End Zone, Smash-Mouth is back to finish off the cheerleaders who killed his mother.

End Zone 2 gets so much right for a trashy film of its time. The fact that next to nothing happens for the majority of the hour links perfectly back to The Once and Future Smash. Those all-important final 30 minutes were mysteriously removed from the 200 prints. So we are left with a film that only brings in its monster in the last minutes of the hour. The film just about has an ending due to the missing reel. The film finally looks like it is about to get interesting, and then, cut to black, that’s it. 

No more characters hiding behind the smallest and leafless bushes to ever exist. No wooden acting to drag itself around (Christ, what a horrible joy that séance scene was). There is no more disfigured man wearing a big old rubber mask randomly chasing about these unfortunate women. You can clearly see that this is the end of the second act, and the fact that there has been no attempt to hide that fact is what brings a smile to your face. 

Make no mistake, End Zone 2 is a terrible, terrible film, yet it has been done purposely so. I read elsewhere that nailed it right on the head; other modern films that try to ape this style for the laughs make the mistake of making their films too clean and too good. As a result, they are not the fantastic slog that End Zone 2 is. If you have watched enough 70s horror films, you will know how many of even the good films have gaps of absolutely nothing happening, momentum grinding to the slowest of stops. This happens here, showcasing how much homework Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein have carried out to ensure that their film is as authentic in tone to those trash films as possible.

As we learn in the mockumentary, Smash-Mouth is a character who is a cannibal but has a shattered lower jaw and, as such, cannot bite, chew or even have a cheeky nibble on his victim, so his sidekick, AJ, has to blend everyone so he can eat them. A baffling and hones to God brilliant choice.

No matter how intentionally bad End Zone 2 is, it remains a bit of a slog, and after seeing The Once and Future Smash, it does cause a come-down feeling to come over you as you carry on watching for the hour. Regardless as a duo, there is a lot to love here, and you would almost need the film’s order to be switched if there was a double-bill. Instead, have the audience go through an hour of nonsense to surprise everyone with a terrific mockumentary that hints at the stolen last 30 minutes. Certainly, if I were to recommend an order to watch these two in, it would be that. Leave the unsuspecting audience mystified at what they just saw to then leave them with their jaws on the ground at what follows it.

Combined, the two films are worth a watch, but if you are limited in what you can see, End Zone 2 can be placed to the side for a while. However, it feels as if that is the point and the joke, as there is just too much that is spot on with End Zone 2 and The Once and Future Smash for us to think otherwise. An extra treat is that there is an entirely fake IMDB page to the film for those who love a bit of a deep dive. So much attention has been put into this project that you can’t help but love Cacciola and Epstein for it. Even though we know it is all fake, damn it, I want to see that final act.

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