Monthly Archives: October 2021
aka Broken Skull
Directed by: Ricardo Islas
Starring: Stephanie Beaton, Johnny Areola, Dominic Capone
Review by Luisjo González
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! Can you believe it? A Slash above has been online for 10 years! This is our tenth birthday. I agree, there’s been some problems. The fact that I was in hospital a lot of that time, doesn’t help matters and whilst I’m the first to admit that el tiempo usually flies by, I’ve really felt this recent decade. A lot has been lost for me and I’ve definitely changed. No one ever told us that life was going to be easy.
Anyway, the major difference between the slasher cycle of today and the boom years of the early eighties is that it’s much easier to make a movie now. If you had the budget to produce a small feature then there’s not a genre less complicated than the traditional stalk and slash flick. Many of the hundreds of direct to video turkeys that have been released post-Scream haven’t even attempted to revitalise the age old formula, which makes it enticing that a fair majority of them still make a tidy profit. Being a self-confessed avid fan of the category, it’s great to find a poorly financed effort that actually looks to have been made with the inspiration to try something different. Headcrusher certainly carries a great deal of intrigue that warrants it to be seen by aficionados like myself. Despite being one of the few Hispanic-American or Latino cycle-entries, it also boasts a gore-filled reputation and a cameo from a blood-descendant of Al Capone playing a psychotic mobster.
After the credits have rolled, we see prolific scream queen (and all round nudity guarantee)) Stephanie Beaton straddling a soldier named John Ramsey (George Orsini) in a dimly lighted room. Adultery is a bad idea if the wife that you’re playing around with is ‘married to the mob’. Unfortunately for this randy couple, her husband just happens to be a sadistic gangster – and he’s just caught them in an inescapable situation. Before the Lothario has even had the chance to zip up his flies, the mob boss has strung up his flirtatious mistress, snapped a few of her fingers and strangled the last gasp of air from her lungs. It takes two to tango of course, so lover boy gets his head squished in a vice and gives us the explanation for the choice for the movie’s title. (Great brief gore shot!)
Twenty years later, a group of builders are renovating that same room, which has now become an abandoned basement. As the rest of the workers go to lunch, Manolo Santana (Kris Haines) continues digging until he discovers a broken skull lodged behind some re-laid brickwork. As he examines his bizarre find he suddenly begins smashing his head against the wall as if a mad spirit has possessed him. His friend Miguel – who was eating his lunch nearby – rushes to help his workmate, but by the time he arrives Manolo’s head has been crushed to a bloody pulp. Sometime later, whilst being prepared for an autopsy, Manolo’s body re-animates and goes on a bloody rampage. Dressed from head to toe in army surplus garb and sporting a gore-splashed gas mask, the maniac begins killing off the gangsters that were involved with the soldier’s slaughter from the prologue. Manolo’s daughter Sol (Paola Valdes), his friend Miguel (John Arreola) and an inquisitive doctor (Nancy Adams) all begin an investigation to try and discover what strange occurrence has lead to this gruesome massacre…
Headcrusher is possibly the most gratuitous exploitation effort that I’ve seen in 2021. Perhaps you could say that it vaguely resembles the works of filmmakers like Tim Ritter and the Polonias. Richard Islas does look to have a sprinkling of talent and he seems to enjoy pushing the boundaries of what he can display. He worked prolifically after this debut, but since 2018, he’s been quiet. If I had to make a critcism of his style, I’d say that he frames shots poorly and this copy is badly lighted in a large majority of sequences. Make no mistake about it though, this is one gore filled excursion into exploitation that is literally overflowing with blood and extreme scenarios. One guy gets his ‘little friend’ bitten of whilst being ‘pleasured’ by his girlfriend in a scene that’s both painstakingly gruesome and made me cringe at the thought of it happening to me. Another fellow is kneecapped and then squished by a train, a couple of others get their heads crushed and the torture scenes in the pre-credits are fairly hard hitting in how they set a grim tone. Islas manages to get away with the cheap gore effects as they’re only on screen for an extremely brief time. He provides just enough splatter to allow your mind’s eye to grab the full extremity of his intention.
The major problem with Headcrusher is that a lot of things were thrown in wholly unnecessarily, when the feature would have probably played better without the attempts at a ‘shock factor’. There’s a gay sex scene, which seems only to have been included to incorporate homosexual antics. I must mention the Cambodian torture-vixen, who is a female character so inexplicably bizarre that she makes Elvira look like the spectacled church girl that lives next door. There’s also a brief sub plot concerning a government ‘Jacobs Ladder-type’ conspiracy that was immensely intriguing, but was left simmering on the back burner, which is a shame as it deserved a decent conclusion. I really was engrossed in that idea, but it just disappears as the runtime grew.
Although Headcrusher does feel somewhat like a petrol sports car that has been filled with diesel and never manages to hit top speed, the good points just about outweigh the bad. Watching Dominique Capone play a mob boss, when his relative was the most famous gangster in the history of the mafia was a neat touch – even more so when you see how similar Dominique looks to Big Al. Although the dramatics will never be mind blowing in a film of this level, these guys certainly tried their hardest and they deserve credit just for that. Having a Hispanic final girl, even though she wasn’t Meryl Streep, certainly made me happy. I can think of worse ways to waste eighty minutes and it’s certainly better than Don’t Look In The Cellar. I’m not sure about recommending it, because it’s the Adam Sandler of slashers. What I mean by that is, you’ll either love it or hate it. I actually like Adam Sandler, he’s a libertarian like me and knowing that made me start liking his movies, when previously, I didn’t. One last thing I must mention, Stephanie Beaton would get it if I ever met her. She disappeared for sixteen years, (probably being a mum), but I was told she’s got a few projects in the pipeline by a director friend of mine.
Pool Party Massacre 2015
Directed by: Drew Marvick
Starring: LeeAnna Vamp, Alexis Adams, Destiny Faith Nelson
Review by Luisjo González
You know what? I think too much. ‘Think too much you’re asking?’ Well, my brain is always running at 260km per hour, all the f**ing time. If I wake up in the night at 1am somehow, there’s zero chance of me returning to sleep. I’m up until morning, thinking bullsh*t. My job is mentally challenging, so my mind doesn’t wander during the working day, but outside of those hours, I’m always pondering. Stupid stuff like, what started the Avalon and Cambrian explosions? Has Jupiter’s moon Europa got life? Why did evolution create a perfect apex predator in Gorgonopsid and then go backward on itself? Why do people with an IQ above .5 still believe in god, even though there’s a whopping ZERO proof? Why doesn’t every woman I see strip naked and sexually assault me? How did Joe Bidden get elected? Why do people still support Tottenham? Why aren’t I a multimillionaire? It’s pretty draining to have a brain like that, I can tell you. There’s a new conundrum that’s haunted my brain just recently and that is, why is it that only slasher flicks have so many horrendous actors? No other genre of cinema makes movies with hideous dramatics as often.
PPM is one of those slashers that I picked up a few years back on Amazon, put on my shelf and then never bothered watching or paying attention to. Very recently, I was looking for a copy of Bikini Party Massacre online, because I have slasher movies stored in four different locations and they’re in three countries, so I never can be sure of what exactly is where. I typed BP massacre in Google to find a downloadable version and this popped up, available for free on YouTube. I watched about five minutes, loved what I saw and headed to my shed quicker than WOKE people get offended. (I put all my slashers there when I wasn’t updating a Slash above)
Blair’s pool party rapidly becomes a nightmare when a violent killer begins stalking and murdering the bunnies one by one.
I have to admit that PPM started incredibly well. Stupendously so. The first thing on the screen is a busty hottie (LeeAnn Vamp) and she’s saying sexual things that all men adore (unless they’re gay) to a pool cleaner. An unseen someone creeps up behind her in heavy breath POV shots and slices her throat (fantastic gore shot) in gruesome fashion. I loved what I was watching so far and was excited to see more. Sadly, I had to turn off the TV, because I wake up at 5:10am everyday and I’m generally out for the count by 21:00 during the week.
The next evening I put the film on again and I was eminently hopeful. Only problem was, when we get to meet the rest of the characters, the amazing impetus that the film started with totally vanishes and pathetic performances begin to take control. I don’t want to continually say the same things in my reviews, but sometimes I have to, unfortunately. The Scream generation or maybe it’s just the modern era of slasher victims are all eminently unlikeable as Homo sapiens. Once again the cast is filled with conceited, shallow, plastic (and apparently rich) idiots that become painful to watch. You don’t have to be Einstein to work out that films work much better if viewers like the cast and want them to survive. I’m guessing you guys/gals are all slasher or horror movie fans. I ask, what type of heroine do you prefer? Laurie Stroud played by Jamie Leigh Curtis or I can’t remember her name… stuck up girl… hmmm… oh yeah – Nancy (Margaux Némé) from Pool Party Massacre? I admit it seemed the script was deliberately trying to make the cast members people we wouldn’t root for, but the logic of such an approach was lost on me. What’s the sense in deliberately making the people filling your runtime unappealing? Director/screenwriter Drew Marvick attempted to try and make the aforementioned Nancy a virginal type of final girl like the old days, but somehow he doesn’t script it correctly. We witness her drinking alcohol a lot, talking like she’s sexually experienced and I don’t think I’ve seen that previously in the movies from the period that PPM is obviously trying hard to reference.
I must take my hat off to Marvick though, because he chose actresses with decent racks (including porn star Alexis Adams) and as I’ve said here many times, that’s certainly my type. Unfortunately, the slim one becomes the final girl and she has the magic ability to go swimming and emerge from the pool in the next scene with perfect, bone dry and blow dried hair 😂 I honestly can’t say that I wanted her to survive and I didn’t particularly like her either. I won’t ruin what happens to her, suffice to say, the only character that I didn’t hate was the guy that they were all mocking and making fun of (Clay – Nicky Byer). At least he was trying to get laid and it seemed like he had a target that he was working to achieve. The rest were just ladies that I’d do my best to avoid in reality.
Ppm is a low budget movie, but it does a superb job of making itself look higher funded. The way I worked out that it was cheap was that the awesome gore shot in the opening was followed with a lot of basic blood splashing and effects that you or I could create. The entire picture takes place in only one location and whilst that’s not a major problem (entries like Slumber Party Massacre did it to good effect), the same backdrops become tedious after a while. Catching screen scaps for this review was tough because it was always the same group of skets doing the same things until they get killed. There’s a part where we see a pizza guy get gutted and after the slaughter, we see his intestines. Whilst the killing was ok, his bowels looked like the frankfurters that I buy from the Polish shop. Despite the bargain-bucket special fx, I still enjoyed what I watched and it totally did not ruin PPM. The killer uses a number of tools to murder the teens and interestingly enough, we get to view his tool shed/armoury. He returns each appliance after he takes out someone to grab another and we learn what weapon will be next. I thought that was a neat touch, and Drew Marvick has a bundle of superb ideas. He’s not an awful director either and some shots were well planned and slick. I totally didn’t guess the twist, and it plays like a whodunit, with the antagonist’s face off screen. Unfortunately, it turns out to be somewhat unfair and I felt a tiny bit cheated. I can’t tell you more as it may ruin the surprise, but if you manage to guess it, you’re a better person than I am.
I watched this a day after my six-year-old daughter’s junior play at her school and I’m sure that I saw far more credible dramatics there than I watched on display in Pool Party Massacre. Either Marvick has zero idea how to direct actors or this is the most talentless group put together in the whole history of moving pictures. As a slasher fan, I’m obviously used to crap acting, but this stuff was so bad that it ruined the movie in places. Time spent alone with the cast is heinous and it’s not surprising that many of them quit cinema after this one effort. Either that or they got zero role offers, which seems more likely.
I think, to be honest, it may sound like I hated PPM, but that’s not true. It’s got two decent boob shots, attractive females and a lot of blood. There are some great moments that I enjoyed, I would ‘drill’ all the busty chicas and I was never bored. The main issue for me was that I saw most of the things that I hate about modern slashers: conceited and unlikeable cast members, horrendous performances and a flat chested heroine (joke 😂). If you haven’t seen Drew Marvick’s praise peace to eighties slashers, by all means check it out. It’s fun, gory and certainly worth a look. I won’t ever watch it again though, because age has destroyed my tolerance of abhorrent dramatics and I just can’t suffer them anymore.
The Tallaght Chainsaw Massacre 2005
Directed by: Ken Johnson
Starring: Ken Johnson, Julio Mandeas, Frank Sinister
Review by Luisjo González
When it comes to rare slasher movies, I AM THE DADDY! If you disagree and think I’m a loser in terms of rarity in the slasher genre, I want you to write me a letter explaining how and post it to: I don’t give a s**t, lick my ballsack, goofy hijo de puta cabrón, Jupiter’s moon Europa. 666 Satan.
Are we ready to get started now? Ok. This movie is not to be confused with Texas chainsaw massacre, even though they’re both as famous as each other😂. In honesty, this one is in fact so rare, it barely even exists. Try typing it in Google or IMDB. With one of the biggest and most popular blogs in slasher cyberspace, I speak to a lot of directors and many genre gurus. I told one of the slasher ‘names’ that I’m positive you peeps know, about Tallaght Massacre and he said it didn’t exist. In fact, he accused me of making it all up. I can’t tell you more about him, because you’d know who he is.(He will know) I can say, many of you associate with him, whether it be interacting via his Facebook page or contacting him another way. Well, I know that he checks a Slash above, so I ask him, how do you feel now muthaf**ker? You’ve been tangoed! Haters gonna hate and all that.
Two youths are pursued through the forest by a masked, chainsaw-brandishing killer. They’re desperate to escape, but the maniac seems as smart as they are
When my mum and dad split up when I was a nipper and before I moved to London, we lived for a little while in sunny Ireland. It’s a country that I love very much and it’s one of the greatest nations on planet earth. Spain and Ireland have a long history in conjunction and during the days of the Armada, Españoles we’re looking for people who understood the weather of the British isles and hated the English to join them in an invasion. Ireland stepped up and many Spaniards settled in the country in the following years. The term ‘black Irish’ refers to dark haired Irishmen that hail from Hispanic heritage.
Are you aware that 62.3% of Hollywood actors have Irish heritage? Robert Dinero, Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Clint Eastwood, Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, practically every famous actor has the gene. I had a DNA test myself, thinking it’d come back 100% latin, but I’ve actually got a tiny bit of Irish somewhere in my bloodline too. Why do I tell you all that? Well, Tallaght is a city near Dublin and this is in fact, the first Irish slasher flick ever made.
To cut directly to the chase, this is not even low budget filmmaking. This is no budget filmmaking and it’s truly a back garden project. At 35 minutes, it certainly doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, but what was truly shocking was that it actually looked somewhat professional. I was indeed flabbergasted by some of the camera placement and the scoring is really effective, sounding a lot like The 1997 PlayStation 1 game, Resident Evil. It could of course mean that they stole it from that soundtrack, but either way, it worked well.
There’s not much plot involved in the synopsis and I recall about seven lines of dialogue, but the movie is pretty fun and it packs a few surprises. There’s no gore of course, but that’s likely because the budget for this entire production was about €10. Interestingly enough, I watched this after Don’t Look In The Cellar and whilst the people in this short are indeed absolute rank amateurs, I wasn’t getting frustrated watching them as I was during the aforementioned flick.
I can’t really say much else, because it is far too short and there’s a twist that I don’t want to ruin. I understand that this might upset you because you think you’ll never be able to find it, but I did, and I recommend to keep an eye on YouTube and rare movie sites. Not a great movie, but I was entertained all the same. If I had to chose a negative, I’d say I prefer watching buxom women getting stalked, but that’s a minor and I think the whole thing worked in a very fun way. The Mrs liked it too. Why only one star you ask? Well to give it more would be criminal, but it’s not sh**t and it works for what it is.
Lucker The Necrophagus 1986
Directed by: Johan Vandewoestijne
Starring: Nick Van Suyt, Martine Scherre, Carry Van Middel
Review by Luisjo González
Whilst Spain (Atrapados en el Miedo), the UK (Don’t Open ‘Til Christmas), Hong Kong (He Lives By Night), Italy (Madhouse), Canada (My Bloody Valentine), Australia, (Stagefright) and a couple of other countries jumped on the initial Halloween bandwagon, the phase didn’t last long. The release of A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984 changed horror completely and in the following years, antagonists were more supernatural and had wisecracks after each kill. Classic Friday the 13th style stalk and slash films that we know and love, became less popular and only a small handful of entries crept out each year until 1988. I went into more detail in my review of Maniac Cop, about the large amount of great titles that we received in 88, so I won’t write it again, but it’s probably my favourite year in the genre’s timeline.
The one country that wasn’t ready to give up on the old school slasher template just yet was Belgium. They waited right up until 1986 to give us their offering and they certainly had more ambition than to just duplicate everybody else. Lucker the Necrophagus boasts something of a reputation in cult circles and it’s known as an X rated and somewhat extreme movie. I’ve owned it on VHS for a long while, but I also picked up the DVD a few year’s ago, but it’s in my shed under loads of boxes, somewhere.
John Lucker is a serial murderer with a necrophilia fetish. Eight years ago, he went on a killing spree that took eight victims, until he was finally caught and institutionalised. Now he’s been put in a private clinic after attempting suicide during an asylum transfer. Despite being heavily drugged, Lucker escapes the clinic and heads to finish the girl that survived his last massacre, Cathy Jordan…
I’m aware that you readers probably consider me as something of a strange individual. I’d have to be to work so hard to locate and review so many s**t slasher movies. One thing I’m not too keen on though is sexual perversion. In fact, I’m not a fan of any perversion at all. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against porn. In fact, watching adult material on a date is amazing and I thoroughly recommend it. Necrophilia though is not something I’m interested in knowing about. On that subject, I remember at my 2016 Christmas party, when I worked at Hays, we all had to drive up to Bristol, which was the head office of our region. I pulled a sexy little redhead on the high street after the disco and took her back to my hotel to get high. When we were pretty f**ked, I said to her, what’s the dirtiest sexual thing you’ve always wanted to do and not done? She replied, I’ve always been excited by incest. I went to the toilet, texted my Greek buddy and said, call me and say there’s an emergency. Looking back, it’s lucky I didn’t throw her out of my room stark naked. She wants to f**k her father? Drop me out.
That story I told you proves that there’s some strange people inhabiting our planet and I likely will meet the majority of them in my lifetime, knowing my luck. Anyway, on to Lucker the Necrophagus. So this is a slasher movie in the vein of Maniac, Bits and Pieces, Skinner and Blood Splash or in other words the bogeyman as protagonist style. These can work well sometimes and I enjoyed those I mentioned, but I much prefer the Halloween or whodunnit technique of stalk and slash. As I hinted earlier, this particular flick has become known in the horror community as a blood-filled extravaganza that take things to excess. I have to say that’s not quite the truth and whilst it touches on some extreme stuff, it’s reputation is somewhat overblown. The most gore you get is fake blood on a shirt or pouring from the mouths of victims. There is a scene where one woman is filmed holding something that looks like her intestines outside her shirt, but there’s nothing here that would rival the level of Nightmare at Shadow Woods, Intruder or even Pieces. One bit I guess I should mention is towards the end, we see the killer f**k a corpse. Whilst the makeup is ok, would a corpse rot that much in a week? Also wouldn’t he be vomiting from the smell? I’m not sure if it’s this scene that started the standing that this movie is explicit, but whilst it’s not a nice thing to watch, it’s far from extreme.
I mentioned Bits and Pieces and Maniac earlier as films that this could be considered somewhat similar too, but the main difference between them and Lucker is that they actually had something of a plot. B&P had the daft love story between the cop and Rosie our heroine, whilst Maniac had Frank Zito’s hinted obsession with Anna D’Antoni. Lucker had nothing at all similar and the entire runtime involves the killer stalking the final girl and murdering anyone else he bumps into. In a more traditional slasher movie like, I don’t know, Don’t Look in the Cellar for example, there’s actually a bit of story to break up the kill scenes and so we are excited for when the maniac returns. Hold on, I’m using Don’t Look in the Cellar as a positive example? Well that’s because Lucker doesn’t have anything aside from watching Lucker kill an infinite number of people that we know zero about. Director Johan Vandewoestijne never told the producers, who paid to fund the movie, exactly what he had in mind for the picture, including the necrophilia. When they finally found out what he had filmed, they reportedly destroyed the negatives and all that was left is what’s available today. Johan Vandewoestijne has said that he initially had a journalist in the synopsis that was investigating John Lucker and it was the reporter that sent the antagonist crazy and started the whole kill frenzy. I own the director’s cut and it doesn’t jump quickly like it’s missing footage, so it’s impossible to say if that’s true. There’s a chance Vandewoestijne said it to excuse the fact that the movie literally doesn’t have any setup at all. I guess the real truth is lost to time.
Whilst there are three male victims, it this were to be released today in this WOKE environment, there would likely be worldwide protests. The females are all incredibly dumb or hookers and none of them get a good time during the feature. If you considered some of the later Friday the 13th sequels to roll out victims with minimal exposition; during Lucker, some of them literally walk on the screen to die, sometimes with the bare minimum of dialogue. Whilst no one watches slasher movies for intense dramatic verve, the best features of the category have characters that we care about. One of the most basic rules of filmmaking is develop well the good guys, because the drama comes from wanting them to survive. Lucker is more like a collection of murders bolted together and whilst I never got bored, I had the same amount of emotional involvement as if I was watching a football (soccer) match between two teams I don’t care about in the French league. I did think a couple of the chicas were hot, especially one blonde victim, but that’s not the kind of emotion horror flicks should aim for solely. One positive I’ll mention is that the final chase sequence is excellent. Placed in a great environment and well filmed, I have to take my hat off to the director for his work there.
Necrophilia is not new to the slasher genre, check 555, Splatter Farm and Corpse Mania for more examples. Lucker is the movie that pushes it the hardest, but I don’t believe it would make the feature any worse if they didn’t bother with it at all. For a group of unknowns, the performances aren’t hideously bad. They’re not good in any way, but not as awful as say Don’t Look in the Cellar. I must say that the languages spoken naturally in Belgium are Dutch, German and French, but the English accents here are top class and we must praise that. The film is shot quite well, but I guess the main issue is the bogeyman doesn’t seem scary, despite playing off his rocker well. He’s a balding, short guy and I don’t know, maybe they needed a big masked Robert Z’Dar type actor. Don’t misunderstand me, I already said, he performed insane effectively, but he didn’t ‘look’ the part and it hurt the story. A creepy mask would’ve been another better option to make him more frightening. The net result is I don’t want to seem like a party pooper, because I know this film has it’s fans, but I personally think it’s overrated.