The Weird Kidz conjures a bit of both King of the Hill and Scooby-Doo in an animated creature feature filled with horror, humor and heart.
Zach Passero wrote and “single-handedly animated” what he describes as “a horror-inflected creature feature and an ode to ’80s coming-of-age films and favorite late-night cinema tales.”
It very much evokes some horror tropes from a bygone era of horror movies. Which, for those of us who grew up on the films of that time, is fun.
Yet, even amidst the nostalgic familiarity, The Weird Kidz also manages to feel fresh and modern.
It’s currently making the rounds at horror film fests. Most recently it premiered at the Annecy International Film Festival. Earlier this year it was awarded the Best Film Feature at the Nevermore Film Festival.
The movie’s website lists other film fests it’s been in and upcoming ones it’ll be at. No word yet if it’ll be available on demand or to stream anywhere, though.
Let’s first get acquainted with the plot, then look at why it reminded me of a combo of King of the Hill and Scooby-Doo…and did it result in a good horror movie?
The Weird Kidz synopsis
Here’s the movie’s official description:
"When three pre-teen boys and an older brother and his girlfriend take off for aweekend campout, none of them could imagine the horrors (and laughs) awaitingthem in a remote desert inhabited by a legendary night creature and crazedtownfolk.Puberty and adventure await…along with terror, amputations and midnight cultrituals!"
How The Weird Kidz is like King of the Hill
Plot-wise, The Weird Kidz really shares nothing in common with King of the Hill. But the animation style made me think of it a little. And so did all the references to beer.
How The Weird Kidz is like Scooby-Doo
As far as similarities with the Scooby-Doo cartoons, the biggest is the dog, Grumbles. He’s not a Great Dane like Scooby, but he is a big dog. (I’m not sure which type, though. Maybe an English Mastiff or maybe a Bullmastiff?)
Grumbles is also intelligent like Scoob. He doesn’t talk, but he understands and communicates back in his own way.
But there’s a big difference too. Where Scooby is inclined to run from danger, Grumbles isn’t it. He’s a fierce protector through and through.
Another similarity between the Scooby-Doo cartoons and The Weird Kidz is the characters. Both have kids as the main characters, and both find themselves thrust into mysteries.
Except even though the Mystery Inc. gang sometimes finds themselves reluctantly drawn into solving a mystery, they also purposely set out to help solve them.
All The Weird Kidz wanted was to go camping in Jerusalem National Park. Instead, they find themselves contending with some creature called the Night Child, who the locals intend to sacrifice them to.
One other similarity was automotive in nature. The Mystery Machine is almost a character unto itself in the Scooby-Doo universe. I’m not sure what the vehicle is in The Weird Kidz, but I want to say a Scout. Whatever it is, it’s a distinctive and recognizable ride too.
Animated but R-rated
Even though The Weird Kidz made me think of mainstream cartoons, it’s meant for an adult-viewing audience. There’s strong language, adult themes, nudity and mature content in general.
While the storyline didn’t hold any massive surprises or twists, it’s definitely solid. And the characters are endearing.
I’ll be curious to see if Passero has a The Weird Kidz 2 in the works along the lines of Return of the Night Child or something. Or any other adventures in store for Wyatt, Dug, Mary, Mel, Fatt and of course Grumbles.