The Gore Spotlight

Blood Brothers or Brothers in Blood:
The Caesar and Otto Saga

I love horror movies in the same way the Cookie Monster loves chocolate chip. When I was a kid, my second home was the local video store which I had to be practically torn away from; especially the cult and horror sections. I've seen an infinite amount of horror films of varying quality; a lot have been great and a lot have been really bad. Some have been masterpieces and others fall somewhere between “Littering” and “War Crime” when it comes to atrocities. I've seen tons of movies from about every subgenre; zombie, found footage, body horror, etc. But the most common one nowadays seems to be horror/comedy and I've seen a ton of those.

None of this means that my opinion of what's good and bad is more valid than anyone else's, but it does mean that I've had a lot of experience with the subject of horror and, by proxy, horror comedies. Horror and Comedy are two of the most difficult genres to pull off well, let alone the mixture of both. But they’re also the two genres that everyone seems to think they can do with ease. This is unfortunate, because you have to swim around in a high tide of terrible until you can uncover the little pearls of awesome. Luckily for me, I learned of an independent filmmaker who has a real flair for combining comedy with horror themes. That man is Dave Campfield. He created/stars in a series that I've brought up several times in the past, and for good reason. There is more that needs to be explained, however. After all, his brilliant concept has spawned multiple feature films, shorts, and spinoffs; the impressive résumé of an ambitious talent. The characters played by Dave Campfield and Paul Chomicki respectively, have the capability of seeing endless scenarios, which I’m extremely happy about.

The hilarious duo's first feature is simply titled “Caesar and Otto.” Here we first get to meet the flamboyant and borderline psychotic Caesar and his slob-with-a-good-heart brother Otto. The first film focuses on the brothers’ journey to become reality show stars. It primarily serves as a solid introduction to these ridiculous yet somehow loveable guys.

The series found its footing by aligning itself with the wonderful world of horror in Caesar and Otto's next adventure. “Caesar and Otto's Summer Camp Massacre” kept the slapstick humor but gained even more points by associating itself with a slasher-driven plot. This film concerns Caesar, never one to take an insult lightly, assaulting the mentally-challenged brother of the police chief. Along with Otto, Caesar must flee town which leads to the duo's employment as camp counselors. One by one, the other employees begin to get converted into entrails with the two brothers stuck in the middle of it all.

Unsatisfied with being a mere homage, the film's cast actually includes Felissa Rose, the star of the original “Sleepaway Camp”, as a mysterious photographer. Even her real-life husband Deron Miller (of the CKY and World Under Blood fame) gets in on the action; along with B-movie favorites Joe Estevez and Brinke Stevens. Dave Campfield manages to use the cameos in such interesting ways; none of them come across as mere constellation prizes. While Felissa Rose has aspects to her character that purposely mirror her famous role of “Angela” in “Sleepaway Camp,” her new character is all her own and really goes a lot of interesting places. Deron Miller manages to make his role as one of the new counselors memorable and adds a refreshing touch to the film. It's impressive given that his forte is music, but metal music and horror go in the same aisle in this big supermarket we call life. And you'd be hard pressed to find a single metal fan who didn't like their movies dripping with the red stuff. (Or a horror fan who didn't like to get their ears blasted with the good hard stuff for that matter.)

Since “Summer Camp”, each feature is followed by a short. “Summer Camp” is followed by “Caesar and Otto's House of Dracula” and it's always fun to see the characters get into a diverse set of circumstances. The next feature film “Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas” is one that I've reviewed in full for Horror Metal Sounds. You can read that review here, so I won't go too much into detail in this article. But it's a laugh riot with even more slasher references/cameos to tickle any lifelong horror fan's fancy.

The comical siblings have gotten into many other situations by way of shorts including meeting Dracula's lawyer, getting a new job, and even being attacked by a giant mutated guinea pig named “Piggyzilla” (it's the cutest creature that will ever try to bite off your head.) But even with all this, there is more steam to go, which I am very excited to explore.

Horror comedies have been around for decades now, but recently, thanks to the availability of relatively inexpensive video cameras, the flood gates have opened. Tons of movies in the vein have poured out and the problem is that many of them aren't very good. The “Caesar and Otto” series stands tall among the rest by doing something actually unique and skilled. To my genuine delight, Dave Campfield is hard at work with the comedy team's next feature entitled “Caesar and Otto's Paranormal Halloween.” It will be a blast to see these characters get caught up with ghosts and hauntings especially since the one core thing I've noticed about these films is that they keep getting better. Not to mention the fact that, as with most horror fanatics, I love Halloween and can't wait to see how such a setting plays out for our heroes. Previous affiliates of the past films will be returning, so if you're a fan of anyone I've already mentioned, you'll definitely want to tune in.


"The “Caesar and Otto” series stands tall among the rest by doing something actually unique and skilled."

Dave Campfield has recently begun a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to make this next film the best it can possibly be. As someone who started off as a fan and only got the honor to interview Campfield personally through pre-existing fandom, I can honestly say that this is exactly the kind of project that such services should be used for. With all the ridiculous inventions being shopped around, not to mention well-known filmmakers who have already overstayed their welcome (I'm looking at you, Spike Lee) taking a crack at crowdfunding, it's easy to forget that there is a genuine need for this kind of thing. Given the previous installments, “Paranormal Halloween” is sure to be an absolute blast, made with all the love and passion required for a great project.

This isn't just about handing over money to support a great indie flick, which would be fine in its own right. It's also an opportunity to be a part of some specifically great things. A lot of perks are being offered based on certain monetary amounts. For smaller donations, you qualify for personal phone conversations with Caesar himself. If you are familiar with the series already, you'll see how this is amazing. You can also buy space at the end of the latest film for whatever message your greedy little heart desires to be displayed to the world. For bigger contributions you can get everything from signed copies of the new flick, as well as the previous ones, to a spot in the new film or even your own commentary.

The campaign isn't just for “Paranormal Halloween”; Campfield is also working on the first ever short film completely developed through crowdfunding. The film will be starring Caesar and Otto, along with Deron Miller, Felissa Rose and Brinke Stevens. Donations to this project (set up through the same page) will yield some other exciting results. Offers on the table include: a line of dialogue of your choice by none other than horror icon Felissa Rose, getting eaten by Piggyzilla, or getting your own bloody on-screen death. I can't imagine there is a single dedicated horror fan out there that wouldn't love any of that. There is much more to look into, just check out Dave Campfield’s IndieGogo page for more information. No matter what, Caesar and Otto have quite the future in front of them, but as with any independent film, help from the community is always a great asset.

I think of independent cinema as being similar to children. They're often more honest, open with love, but need more care, help and attention to grow and flourish. Help the child that is indie film get big and strong. That child you care for will never resent you, nor will it grow up with mommy/daddy issues that it will then take out on society. We all know what happened with Damien.

I cannot stress enough that a few months ago, I was merely a fan laughing my head off at the Caesar and Otto films and wishing I was somehow involved. Now, through a series of unforeseen events, I've been able to cover the films and even talk with Dave Campfield himself. You'd be hard pressed to find a more honest, enthusiastic, or passionate filmmaker and I find that very encouraging. If there's one thing that needs to be recognized about independent films and their respective companies that love them or hate them, they care about what they are doing. In this case, I love the product and want to extend my own care for what happens in its future. With filmmakers such as Dave Campfield, the ultimate concern is the quality of the movie and the satisfaction of the fans. I wish that I could say that about more people in the game today. Now I have the opportunity to offer the chance to take part of art in the making. How many times have you found yourself wishing you weren't just watching your favorite movies, but were a part of them? Don't be one of those football fans who says “we made it to the Superbowl” when you know damn well that you never stepped foot on the field. Join me and allow yourself the opportunity to be a link in a chain that becomes something great.

P.J. Griffin, HMS

The Gore Spotlight Menu