Filling an old psychiatric hospital with scary clowns who frighten tourists might seem like a strange way to spend your days, but then you haven’t met this family.
The perfect backdrop for a theme park replete with zombie brides, buzzing chainsaws and oh so many screaming tourists, the lives of Spookers’ decked-out fright-machines and the close-knit group who keep it all together are on full display here in Florian Habicht’s new documentary.
Filmed outside of Auckland in the most successful scare park in the southern hemisphere, Spookers” hilarious opening and closing credits, gloriously rivalling Deadpool’s ultra-meta jibes at its own cast and crew, go a long way to recommending the film all on their own. From there jumping between the history of the park, the experiences and personal lives of the current residents and some of the none-too-glamorous aspects of Spookers’ upkeep, in spite of the revelry and fanfare it’s some of the more affecting tales of the long-term contributors that really shine through.
With Habicht maintaining a varied focus on so many of the dedicated frighteners, the loving care and affection of the park’s employees and managers renders itself apparent even through the layers of guts and decaying skin. Thereafter proceeding to detail at length innumerable facets of the project and its history, alternating between interviews, more visceral observations of the park’s goings-on and the historic record, the documentary at times struggles to maintain its initial levels of engagement and distinct novelty, frequently reverting to the likes of content that, if appealing, has come before.
In its later stages relying more heavily on stray observations of the performers’ more colourful antics and even reproducing bizarre and duly engrossing visuals of the park’s most enthusiastic fixtures, these sections alone do justice to the fantastical attraction that so many will have to Spookers, in and of themselves enough of a reason, for those not too faint of heart, to let the park, and the documentary, take you for a ride.
Spookers had its Australian premiere and is screening at the Sydney Film Festival