Bodycount 1987 Review
aka The Eleventh Commandment aka Camping Del Terrore aka Paraiso Sangriento
Directed by: Ruggero Deodato
Starring: Charles Nappier, David Hess, Mimsy Farmer
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
I once met Ruggero Deodato you know. I was at a Cinema festival in Málaga and there were quite a few filmmakers of different statures, but me being me, I was only interested in those that had made horror films. I also spoke to José Ramon Larraz, who was a gentleman and gave me his autograph and liked the fact I had loved Al Filo Del Hacha. Maybe it was a countryman thing though, because Deodato was nowhere near as interested in speaking to me. I remember clearly that he was wearing more jewellery than a gypsy and a white Armani jumper. It was easy to make out because it had the words ARMANI blazed across it in bold capitals, probably in an attempt to make sure no one mistook it for PRIMARK. At the time, I thought that was pretty cool, I mean I was fourteen-years old; but now I look back and wonder why an adult would want to broadcast the fact that this was a DESIGNER top? Anyway, I digress…
Camping Del Terrore or Bodycount as it’s known in these parts is a cheese extravaganza. It’s a shameless dupe of the Friday the 13th series, but has enough in its suitcase to offer an enjoyable contribution to the cycle. Deodato’s prior works include exploitation classic Cannibal Holocaust and the tense revenge flick, The House on the Edge of the Park. Despite some criticisms of his style, he has proved to be a director that understands timing and can handle suspense and plot development. This was his belated attempt to dip his leg in the slasher genre’s profit pool, but interestingly enough, this entry never secured distribution in the US, which is something very tough to understand. That should have been the market that Bodycount tried hardest to target, because films like Bloody Pom Poms, Doom Asylum and Beserker were still doing well with audiences. Us Europeans love our horror, but there’s nowhere near as much chance of seeing massive revenue from Euro markets as there is in the States.
A group of youngsters who are touring Colorado in a RV, pick up a hitchhiker called Ben who lets them stay at his parent’s campsite. They are unaware of local superstition, which states that ancient Indians sent a Shaman to guard the area because it was built upon their burial ground. The teenager’s antics bring the Shaman back to stalk the location and the blood begins to flow…
Deodato hired an interesting ensemble of B-movie stars here, including his old buddy David Hess – who had worked with him previously on House on the edge of the park, Mimsy Farmer, Bruce Penhall and tough as nails Southerner, Charles Napier. Alongside those, there’s a typical cliché-laden group of young-adults, which consists of boys who are all jocks (except the usual lard-ass joker, played here by comedy writer Andrew Lederer) and some attractive girls who must be really dirrrty (not like that), because they seem to spend most of their screen time gratuitously scrubbing in the bathhouse. If they’re not soaking in the suds, then you can be sure that they’re doing little else than finding another reason to get naked somewhere else. When they’re not showering in their skin suits or throwing buckets of water over each other whilst smiling profusely, they’re being nastily murdered one by one by the old Indian shaman. This psycho-killer has hit jackpot with his intended prey here, because they don’t seem to notice when their numbers start to dwindle and even when they do come across mysterious occurrences, like skulls and that kind of thing, they usually wander off to check them out on their lonesome.
There’s one part where a cheery bimbo discovers her boyfriend in a bloody mess on the floor of a dilapidated house. Instead of immediately fleeing the scene whilst screaming frantically, she proceeds to go and lie down on the nearest bed and wait for the maniac to pop-up and ram a steak knife through her chest. One guy gets his comeuppance, after climbing up a mountain only to bump into the Shaman, who at the time, seemed to be doing little more than admiring the view. Nevertheless, the climber falls backward off the cliff, but must have visited a barber in-between losing his grip and hitting the floor, because the body we see plunging has completely different coloured hair from the one that we watched loosing his grip. (Was it that hard to find a blonde wig for the stunt ‘double’?) His girlfriend, whom was waiting below, witnesses the incident but not what caused it. Does she go and check if her beau survived or run off to get him some help? Of course not, instead she heads to the nearest bathhouse and begins taking off her clothes! Just what was it about that bathhouse and stripping?
To be fair, the teens never stood a chance against the most prepared killer in the history of slasher movies. When he slaughters one curly-haired blonde at the beginning, he manages to materialise a wig from out of nowhere that exactly matches his now defunct victim’s bubble-perm style. He then climbs inside a handy tree-trunk in record breaking time in order to convince her partner to walk over so that he can give him a violent tracheotomy. Shame he couldn’t have conjured a hairpiece as quickly for the stuntman which I told you about above.
In fairness, I liked the part when one character had his fingers chopped off with an axe and most of the murders are pretty cool and never without a splash of goo. I have a feeling that I have made Bodycount seem somewhat dumb, but to be honest it’s actually fairly engaging. Some of the flowing photography was brilliant as victims ran through the woods from the killer’s pursuit and there’s a fairly outlandish nightmare sequence that’s impressive and eerie. Deodato proves his talent with some great planning and credit to DP Emilio Loffredo for some breath-taking cinematography. At times, Deodato also builds a fair slice of suspense and the twist at the end was actually unexpected. Let’s just say that it works well to lead you to believe one thing throughout the movie and then it takes a U-turn in the final scene that I didn’t see coming first time around. In the beginning, each victim found a teddy bear somewhere before they were murdered, a neat and macabre touch (I love killer calling cards) that mysteriously evaded the rest of the movie. The attractive females and obnoxious males managed to whisk up a few giggles with their joint cheesiness and eighties talk is always fun to hear – (they were raving about Iron Maiden here!) To top it all off there’s a fantastic score from Claudio Simonetti that creates the excitement by itself in some parts.
This is a lot better than most of the Friday rip-offs that were made circa 1986. It’s nicely paced, never becomes boring and it offers cheese and slasher trash by the bucket load. I recommend Bodycount as an entertaining alternative to fans that have seen Friday the 13th many times. It doesn’t break new ground or even make anything outstanding from the old, but it’s a whole heap of fun. If you fancy a weekend of Italian slashers, get this, Nightmare Beach
Final Girl √√
Posted on October 26, 2011, in Slasher and tagged 1987, Bodycount, boobies, camping del terrore, cheesy wotsit, Hot Chicas, Italy, killer in the woods, masked killer, Native American connection, Whodunit?. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.