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Stripped To Kill 1987 Review

Stripped To Kill 1987

Directed by: Katt Shea Ruben

Starring: Kay Lens, Greg Evigen, Norman Fell

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Review by Luisjo González

John Carpenter’s Halloween is certainly one of the most imitated movies ever released. It could, in fact, be THE most 2021-10-14 (2)copied in motion picture history. Believe it or not, it wasn’t the only slasher movie to create a string of wannabes. Friday the 13th started all the killer in the woods flicks and it even got a straight up duplicate with 2000’s Scream Bloody Murder. 1982’s Slumber Party Massacre also had a landslide of impersonators, including Fatal Pulse, Sorority House Massacre and Cheerleader Massacre. There was another eighties slasher that inspired production teams to become magpies again and that was this Roger Corman beauty. In fairness, this itself is an echo of Murder-Rock from 1984, but it’s overwhelming success created a raft of similar themed cinematics that continued until the early nineties.2021-10-14 (3)

I’ve told you guys previously that as a born and bred womaniser, slashers in strip bars are possibly my favourite kind. I’m a successful businessman, but all my bosses will tell you, I put the ladies before everything else, always; – even work. Will this mindset make Stripped to Kill my all time favourite genre entry? Let’s see…

When Detective Cody Sheehan discovers the body of a stripper from the Rock Bottom dance club, she begins an investigation. Her partner, Detective Heineman, is equally involved, but the only way Cody can get the assignment from her superiors is to go undercover as a stripper at the club…

Here we have a movie that truly is 95% strip, 5% slash. With only a couple of murders until the final five minutes, calling this a stalk and slash flick is more than a bit misleading. I’m actually surprised STK was so popular because it’s2021-10-14 (29) true most men like watching girls strip, but most women don’t; – and it’s literally non-stop dance sequences for the majority of the runtime. The laydees featured are better than the ones we usually see in films of this ilk, because they do flips and cartwheels on stage. It can get monotonous viewing them after a while, when you’d prefer to see more slasher action and we get kind of disappointed to be stuck with the same old sh*t. We see none of the stalking sequences that made Halloween so enjoyable, the hooded killer just turns up briefly once or twice. The slaughters are creative in their MO, with a strangulation and setting someone on fire, but the director shows us no build up, so there’s no excitement or tension at all. We don’t even get heavy breath POVs or slow-mo stalking. Alfred Hitchcock said, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it”, but Katt Shea Ruben must not be a fan of the legendary filmmaker, because she gives us a disappointing ZERO. Whilst I was disenchanted by the lack of key genre trappings, I liked most of the characters and Lenz actually has ok-ish chemistry with Evigen. They were a couple that genuinely looked like they could be together.

The crux of the synopsis is the police investigation into the murders and we get a couple of attractive young cops that 2021-10-14 (20)are hot on the case. Unfortunately the script doesn’t even get this right, because it’s impossible for anyone with an IQ bigger than an ant to believe any ‘constabulary of the law’ would let one of their detectives work undercover as a stripper. They do attempt to explain this later in the runtime, but once things fall into the realms of make believe, we struggle to take the feature seriously again. I guess, the best thing, was that STK certainly seemed more ‘eighties’ than usual and the spandex, big hair and mullets really took me back to the decade I grew up in. Surprisingly enough, whilst many slasher pictures from this time were undeniably cheesy, this one steers clear of being too camp, which is a shock. Whilst I was disenchanted by by the lack of slasher action, I didn’t hate the characters and Lenz gives us a final girl that we want to succeed. Director Shea used real strippers in her cast, but none of the girls here have a decent rack at all. As I said in my review of Strip Club Slasher, I’ve dated a couple of strippers and they and all their work buddies were well endowed with huge breasts. A couple of them were silicone laden, but busty all the same. I guess, because my personal taste is not the slim, sporty Keira Knightly type, I am being selfish by criticising the girls featured in this flick. If you like laydees with cero curves, you’ll be happy with the chicas featured. I suppose you could say I am a true Latin guy that likes the Latin, coca cola bottle shaped figure. I just prefer voluptuous curves to slim stick insects. In Spain we say, eres tanta curva y yo sin frenos!

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Obviously I saw this many years ago and revisiting it the day before yesterday reminded me that I’ve never particularly liked STK. It’s an ok thriller with a twist that I didn’t guess, but it’s often poorly acted and as I alluded to, almost fantasy with its screenplay. Roger Corman regularly used female directors to cover up accusations of misogyny, but Katt Shea Ruben is not one of the better ones. It’s a disappointment that a film with such a huge budget couldn’t have been better, but it did lead to a number of great imitations including the wonderful almost remake, Dance with Death. I guess you can add it to your collection if you love slashers, but it’s not one I’d recommend to convince non believers. For a Strip & Slasher it falls far too short.

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√

Gore:

Final Girl:√√

RATING: securedownload-1 - Copy (2)

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Splatter Farm 1987 Review

Splatter Farm 1987

Directed by: P.Alan

Starring: Todd Michael Smith, John Polonia, Mark Polonia

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Review by Luis Joaquín González

One of the strangest rules of film collecting is that extremely rare and impossible to locate movies immediately become cult classics. People seem to forget that the reason that most of these flicks have 7645764764873873983983vanished is because they were so rubbish that they didn’t shift first time around. It would take a pretty stupid distributor to recall and stop producing any feature that was flying off the shelves, wouldn’t it? Titles like Savage Water, Night Ripper and Don’t go in the woods (especially Don’t go in the Woods) are without a doubt ‘challenging’ pictures to sit through. Original copies still sell on ebay for prices that range from $50 – to as much as a staggering $120 a pop. Judging by the posts and wanted lists that I’ve noticed scattered around on websites, Splatter Farm in its original format is among that number of missing obscurities that has inexplicably gained a similar undeserved following. I already own a copy of 6476476387387383983this on VHS and even if it can be picked up fairly cheaply nowadays on budget DVD, I wanted to post an honest opinion in case it ever disappears again.

The story concerns two nameless and identically goofy-looking brothers who head out to the sticks for a vacation at their Auntie’s secluded farm. Mrs. Lacy is an old coot who keeps telling herself that’s she’s incredibly lonely since her old man was the victim of an unfortunate ‘accident’ (an axe to the head!). Her only company on the green grass of home is Jeremy, the handyman who lives in a barn. Unbeknownst to pinkie and perky (the two numbskull siblings), Jeremy is a raving cannibalistic maniac with a taste for necrophilia too. In the first scene alone he’s shown dismembering a patently unrealistic corpse, which looks to be made from paper mache. Before long the two nerds are stranded on the farm and have to fight off their auntie’s sexual advances and Jeremy’s murderous habits…

Wow. The fact that this one can even be considered a ‘cult classic’ is a mystery that rivals the identity of 5465437637632873873983the assassin on the Grassy Knoll. Ollie Kendall’s Houseboat Horror achieved a similar feat when that too took a one-way vacation into obscurity, but on the subject of the Grassy Knoll, Kendall’s flick looks comparable to Oliver Stone’s JFK in comparison with this.  I know it’s nothing to boast about, but as you can see from my A-Z review list I know more than most about cruddy slasher movies. I’ve seen them all, from the obscure (Cards of Death/Early Frost) to the ridiculous (New York Centre Fold Massacre/Fever Lake). Well P.Alan’s addition ticks both of those boxes, – but in honesty, it’s ugly to boot.4545657676879898

The first thing that potential viewers should understand is that it was not even shot on a reasonable format. It’s an average camcorder recording, which makes the poorest SOV flick look like an IMAX print. There’s no boom mike available, so the tinny microphone picks up everything other than what you want it to properly and Ray Charles must have edited the whole thing whilst counting sheep. Yes there is a fair bit of el cheapo gore and ‘sexual’ scenes that could get the movie banned even in Amsterdam, but it’s so damn fake and poorly handled that it makes Violent Shit look like Tom Savini’s finest hour in 76476476487387389833comparison. I won’t mention the performances, because there are none; and I’m running out of witty ways to describe rancid dramatics on a SLASH above.

I want to say that I’m not trying to slander P. Alan for the effort he took to make his first movie. I think it’s great that anyone with a camcorder can grab a few mates and try to do something creative with their spare time. In fact, the film is quite funny in an ‘oh deary me’ type way. Perhaps Splatter Farm caught me in an unfortunate mood, but all I’m trying to do is stop the numerous fans paying rip-off prices for a film that just won’t deliver what you expect it to. It’s certainly a twisted beast with hilarious necrophilia sex scenes that you won’t see anywhere else. But like I said, chances are that 100% you could pick up an iPhone and make a movie of similar quality with just a couple of your mates and a gallon of corn syrup. I decided to post this review after seeing the video for sale on eBay for $200 and the seller stating it was a, ‘gross-out classic that every true horror fan must see’. You can feed a family for a whole week on that budget…

As I said, there are some laughs to be had here and it despite being amongst the most poorly put-together films that I have ever seen, it does have moments of a disturbing atmosphere. Still though, I reckon that the most fun to be had is hunting down a copy. In a way, Splatter Farm could have been one of a number of similar entries that you will get milked for on auction websites. The moral of the story is, times are tough; – be wise with what you spend your money on 🙂

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:

Gore √√√

Final Girl: 

RATING:a-slash-above-logo11

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Blood Harvest 1987 Review

Blood Harvest 1987

aka The Marvelous Mervo aka Nightmare

Directed by: Bill Rebane

Starring: Tiny Tim, Itonia Salchek, Dean West

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

Blood Harvest is yet further evidence how the slasher genre was a good cash cow for ambitious B-Movie producers during the eighties. So much so that even celebrated low budget titans like Bill Rebane were keen to get in on the 8738736736736736733action and have a stab at creating their own Halloween.

Rebane himself is a bit if a movie enigma who preferred the comfort zone of budget sci-fi/Horror than a golden ticket to Hollywood. An educated film-maker whose creativity and flair for 873673673562672872adventure saw him innovate cinema with his 360 degrees wrap-around motion picture process, he could have used his skill for technology and his cultural intelligence (He was Latvian born and fluent in five languages) to join a major studio. Instead he stuck to releasing his own self-financed productions that were each fairly successful in their own right.

In the mid-eighties he hosted a 50s nostalgia event at his Wisconsin based studio, The Shooting Ranch. There, a chance meeting with Tiny Tim, another oddball celebrity who had found fortune with his falsetto voice and quirky character – led to the production of this curious slasher.

There are three versions of the feature in circulation and each is slightly different. The American VHS release 783763673673673includes all the nudity and gore, whilst the UK tape is missing three-minutes of footage, which was considered too gruesome by the BBFC. There’s also a director’s cut on DVD, which is itself rather strange because it also removes most of the blood and bare skin. That must be the first time that a director’s version subtracts from the existing print and offers a more lenient alternative. It’s rumoured that this may have been either due to Rebane’s political ambitions at the time or the fact that the gore was not in his initial vision for the flick and rather it was added at the insistence of his production partners (most of his previous work was PG13 rated) to make the film more marketable to the splatter audiences.

Jill returns home to her city from University to find that her parents are missing and the local bank (which they own)87373673673 has forced most of the farmers to sell their properties. They are not the most popular people in the neighborhood, so Jill is rightly concerned about their disappearance. Things go where you expect them to, when a killer with a stocking on his head turns up and begins stalking the youngster and murdering anyone who has contact with her.

I can only say that a slasher film starring Tiny Tim is as jaw droopingly bizarre as you would expect it to be. To be fair to him, his performance is one of the few highlights in an otherwise dull offering and he manages to deliver a troubled-childlike creepiness with depths to his character. Dressing him in a clown costume was a masterstroke from the scriptwriters and adds to the overall desperation of his deluded persona.

The rest of the cast are nowhere near as credible and he carries the torch in terms of capable dramatics. I have to mention Itonia Salchek, the final girl, who can’t act for toffee but seems to enjoy nothing more than getting her kit off at every available opportunity, which makes her a hit with T&A fans and most likely the highlight of a single guy’s night out in any bar that she frequents. Anyway, she is lost here carrying most of the plot development on her (usually naked) shoulders and comes across as unapproachable.

I mentioned about Bill Rebane being an enigma earlier, but he is nowhere near as mysterious as his lead actress. I couldn’t uncover any information about her anywhere. Now her surname looks Eastern European (I speak Russian and Polish and it’s not from those countries) but her first name Itonia is an epithet from Greek mythology for the Goddess Athena. Interesting stuff. Anyway, she vanished in to obscurity after this, but if you know something, then please give me a shout. Here’s a rare screenshot of her in clothing, which is something that we don’t see very often.

It seems like Rebane was aware of the slasher genre but hadn’t researched its trappings and unlike many entries of 87673673653653673the same year, the movie steers clear of feeling like a total rip off. There are no POV shots, the final girl doesn’t come across as shy and withdrawn and the killer seems more like what you would expect to find in a Giallo than a slasher flick. This is most evident in the heavy sexual undertones and his motive, which is at least well-handled and believable.

The film would suffer in later years, disappearing due to legal tangles, not just once, but for a second time after its outing on DVD. This gives it a somewhat alluring sheen, especially as it’s impossible to find now in its uncut form. The only version worth watching is the unrated cut, because despite of some uninspired and pedestrian direction from Rebane (I expected better) there are snippets of a really foreboding atmosphere. The killer is exceptionally merciless and brutal and the actor does well playing off-his-rocker insanity at the climax. There’s the mystery of guessing his identity, but there are not many choices and you’ll work it out pretty quick if you watch closely enough. Some more killings would have been nice (only two on screen) but the gooey throat-slashing is really well done (by soon to be big shot Dieter Sturm no less)

There’s a nice synth score that I liked and the killer looks creepy with a stocking over his head, but there’s too much missing in terms of continuity to make this a hidden-gem. Some of the plot points were bordering on stupidity and what the hell was with the incredibly inept sheriff? There are long periods of dull rubbish acting where your attention will turn away from the screen and it definitely hasn’t aged well.

Worthy only because it’s rare and a great performance from Tiny Tim, but otherwise not really recommended as a competitor.

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√

Gore √

Final Girl √√√

RATING:securedownload (1)securedownload (1)

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Moon in Scorpio 1987 Review

Moon In Scorpio 1987

Directed by: Gary Graver

Starring: Britt Eckland, John Phillip Law, William Smith

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Review by Luisito Joaquín González

If you judged every director on only the one title, then your DVD shelf would be a very lonely place. Coppola, Spielberg, Stone, hell even Scorsese – they have all made slight ‘miscalculations’ 873673673673throughout their respective careers. Keeping that in mind though, the last film that I saw from Gary Graver was the abysmal ‘slasher’ Trick or Treats, which in all honesty made Carnage Road look almost as good as Halloween, so I didn’t expect much from Moon in Scorpio. With junk movie titan Fred Olen Ray on board, there’s no way of ever knowing what you could be in for though, and a cast of Britt Eckland, William Smith, John Phillip Law AND Don Scribner surely meant cheesiness by the bucket load. I was just scratching my head as to why they didn’t get Charles Nappier too?

Making sure that there is absolutely no attempt to break new ground, we begin with the oldest of all slasher clichés. Yep you guessed it; an unseen nut-nut makes a break from the least secure mental hospital imaginable, killing an unfortunate orderly on the way. Once outside the complex, the psycho makes short work of a cheery pharmaceutical salesman and then flees the scene in the dead guy’s car. For some inexplicable reason, the head psychiatrist doesn’t bother informing the Police that they have a murderous maniac on the loose. Instead he calls in Private Detective Richard 983873873873983Vargas who is described by one shrink as being, “Almost crazy enough to be a patient here himself.”

Next we fast-forward two weeks and Vargas is seen boarding an abandoned-looking boat that is adrift in the middle of the sea. Once on board, he finds Linda (Britt Eckland) sprawled across the floor in a heap. Whilst attempting to wake her up, she stabs him in the stomach with a bizarre spear like device. The (unconvincingly) hysterical Linda is then dragged off of the boat by two orderlies who don’t seem at all concerned by the fact that Vargas has just been fatally impaled on the huge spike. They even push him out of the way whilst he is dying. It was a pretty cold act by his colleagues and leads you to believe that he couldn’t have been much liked.

A few days later, Linda is fit to be interviewed by the head psychiatrist and he asks her what exactly happened out in the middle of the sea. We soon learn that she had been on a honeymoon with her husband, two of his war buddies 878948746748743and their girlfriends. The plan was to sail to Acapulco and spend a couple of weeks lapping up the sun on the beaches. Unfortunately, along with the suitcases and sangria, the gang had inadvertently brought along a maniacal killer who had his own reasons to want to be stranded in the ocean with the holidaymakers. For the rest of the runtime, we see through flashbacks exactly what happened aboard the cursed death ship. Just who was responsible for these viscous murders?

According to many reports that I’ve read over the web, this feature was continually re-edited by third-parties post-completion and was eventually released without any of the supernatural elements that had originally featured in Olen Ray’s script. Gary Graver had set out to make a unique movie that 9838736737823982982incorporated everything from ghosts to vampires, but rumour has it that his financiers got cold feet and chopped his work to oblivion once he’d handed in the finished footage. Graver was no stranger to such events though, as in 1979 he had competed a drama called ‘The Boys’ that was reputedly powerful enough for Cameron Mitchell (!) to call it a masterpiece in an interview at the time. For reasons that have been lost to time, the producer tried turning in into a comedy at the last minute and it is that average as you like version that you can pick up under the title, ‘Texas Lightening’. In the case of Moon in Scorpio, the print that we have been left with, plays like a traditional hack and slasher, albeit a diluted one with an elder group of victims as the body count material.

98373673873983Even if we could blame the snip-happy post-production team for ruining the initial concept, this is still something of a lackadaisical entry, which lacks suspense, creativity and effort from any of the big name cast members. Eckland was laughable as she struggled to look even slightly motivated, whilst hard man character actor William Smith was totally wasted in an undemanding role. These faults could not have been improved upon by simply adding the extra footage, so I am not sure if its fair to completely blame everything on outside intervention. Film distribution is a competitive market and one that you either sink or swim within. I just couldn’t see why a company would ruin a perfectly good feature without a plausible reason for doing so. By what I see here, I would assume that the net result was deemed to be poorer than the set expectations, so they they decided to just unleash it as a straight up slasher and get at least a small chance of making a profit on VHS. Keep in mind that in 1987, slasher films will still turning a few bucks on the video rental market.

The story is conveyed through flashback narration, but it seems to run illogically beside what we are seeing on the screen, which must be due to the stuff that was deleted. We are never offered a credible reason for the killer’s motive and it is impossible not to recognise that some pages were missing from the script. At a guess, I’d say that the 873873673673873maniac became a vampire post-death in the scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor. At one point in the runtime, there’s a slight hint, as a character drinks her partner’s blood after he accidentally cuts his finger whilst dicing carrots. There’s also a sub-plot involving a link between the three male cast members, who fought in Vietnam together. But these few scenes, which amusingly look more like they were filmed in a park down the road from Gary Graver’s house 83873873873984than anywhere near ‘Nam, never amount to anything either. If you don’t manage to work out the unseen killer’s identity by the half hour mark then you shouldn’t be watching anything that’s not PG-13 rated. It all results in an anaemic showdown between the survivor and the film’s antagonist that couldn’t have been any less entertaining if it were filmed in slow motion.

Perhaps one day we will be able to see what Graver really intended with Moon in Scorpio. As it stands, I’m afraid that there is very little to recommend. Don’t bother hunting this one down.

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:

Gore √√

Final Girl √√

RATING: securedownload (1)

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City in Panic 1986 Review

City In Panic 1986

Directed by: Robert Bouveir

Starring: David Adamson, Lee Ann Nestegard, Derrick Emery

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Review by Luisjo Joaquín González

Dependent on the product, there can be sometimes no better marketing tool than controversy. For their time, The Sex 8748748748743Pistols were controversial and made a great career out of it. The Rolling Stones, Elvis, hell even Sir Cliff Richard caused uproar in his day. As Max Clifford once famously said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” This little-known Canadian slasher must’ve been aiming for some of the same media coverage when it attempted to make an admittedly ham-fisted social comment on one of the eighties’ biggest discussion points – the HIV virus. Any severe medical condition should be handled with care and consideration by a filmmaker that is attempting to broach2983298387487484 such delicate topics, but Bouvier’s feature is the cinematic equivalent of telling a friend that they looked better last year when they could still fit in those jeans.

In the first few minutes, the director attempts a role reversal on Hitchcock’s notorious shower scene. A hulking killer sporting a fedora, dark glasses and typical giallo-like psycho-garb bursts into a bathroom and hacks an unfortunate guy to death with a kitchen knife. Before leaving, the maniac carves the letter ‘M’ into his back with the aforementioned blade. This becomes the macabre calling card of the maniacal assassin and also the name that he becomes known by in media. Next up we meet Dave Miller (David Adamson) a radio talk show host that immediately takes an interest in the madman’s motives. As the bodies continue to pile up around the city, Dave decides to set a trap using his popular broadcast as the bait. Eventually, the killer himself phones the show and begins to slaughter people that are close to the presenter. Is Miller next on the death list?

City in Panic starts with a protagonist narrative that is vaguely reminiscent of the maverick cop thrillers of the 874874764674874seventies. The depiction of a sleazy town in peril led me to believe that Bouvier was as much a fan of Dirty Harry and the like as he was of Halloween. To be fair there are times when the atmosphere gets credibly morbid and some of the gruesome murders are brutal if not graphically audacious enough to rival gore marathons. We are treated to occasional flashes of innovative photography that are excitingly spontaneous and provide the odd glimpse of suspense that helps to strengthen the few moments of macabre mayhem. Perhaps the most memorable of those is the repugnant castration of a toilet loitering sex pest. After having his ‘Johnson’ chopped off by the masked killer, the guy is left to die in agony and spray blood on the walls like the final spurts of a wayward sprinkler system. It’s a grim sight indeed; but unfortunately, aside from those few examples of flair from Bouvier, the majority of the film struggles to pull itself from the realms of amateur night.

I remember a Glam metal band that were unsigned in the late eighties and recorded two demos that were popular 87438747848748amongst collectors. Indian Angel’s set list included catchy tracks like Playing Hard To Get, Loneliness Motel and Just Pretending, but after a few years on the club circuit they disbanded. When they finally did call it quits, it was clear that they had not improved on their musicianship and were still playing those same songs that I mentioned above. They failed to build upon their initial strengths and in the end were doomed to remain rock and roll apprentices. This film is a similar case in point, because it perhaps needed Bouvier to step back, analyse his work and then try a bit harder. The spluttering dramatics fail to convince on even the lowest level, which immediately destroys any sense of 73673673673realism being created. An idea with such a strong topical standpoint needed to be solid with its scripting, in order to deliver what it intended. Andreas Blackwell’s confused screenplay is sketchy and it leaves characters contradicting themselves. The glossy veneer of intellectual dialogue soon becomes transparent as nonsensical chit chat and the fact that City in Panic seems to have been written with minimal effort means that viewers won’t make the effort to appreciate it. At one point the investigator says, “Now I began to accept that the city had on its hands a killer”. That line came after we had already seen a couple of mutilated corpses with the same MO. Go figure.

The soundtrack plays like an example of what a chimp can get out of a Bontempi keyboard and it does *absolutely nothing * to add to 8487578587549854the mood of the feature. I have also read that some viewers felt that the plot was deliberately homophobic. Making the majority of the victims homosexual guys and then torturing them sadistically was a dumb move and although a female (and a heterosexual male) also got splattered, it ends up with a tone that I can understand that some could find offensive.874874674674674 Over the years, the slasher genre has developed a large gay following and movies such as HellBent have been accepted warmly. Due to City in Panic’s lack of self-analysis, it has failed to register as an entry that pays the same amount of respect. Personally, I found it to be too mindlessly written to be offensive and too weakly structured to be controversial. We can’t ignore the fact though that director Robert Bouvier has clumsily, although surely unintentionally, exploited one of the most tragic diseases that mankind has ever known.

Despite the awful attempt at a social commentary, taken as a slasher movie, this never gets boring and the viscous murders are spaced quite frequently all the way through. For a cheap piece of junk hokum it could’ve been a passable entry to the cycle. It’s just a shame that the filmmakers took the wrong approach…

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√

Gore √√

Final Girl

RATING:a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo11

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Twisted Nightmare 1987 Review

Twisted Nightmare 1987

Directed by: Paul Hunt

Starring: Rhonda Gray, Cleve Hall, Robert Padilla

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

So you like clichés eh? Well, I’ll give you clichés alright. I’ll give you so many clichés that you’ll loose count before the ten-minute mark!

Twisted Nightmare is not a movie. It may have a cast and a crew and all the ingredients that you would associate with a feature film, but in fact it’s just a check-list of slasher stereotypes rapped up into ninety-minutes of cheap videotape and cunningly disguised as a motion picture. What, you don’t believe me? Then why don’t you check out this fabulous synopsis:896875765

A group of ‘ahem’ teenagers head off to a summer camp (Friday the 13th) where a few years earlier, the brother of one of their number was burned beyond recognition by an unseen menace. (The Burning). Before the accident, he had been the victim of malicious bullying by the rest of the group, who tormented his inability to attract the opposite sex (Terror Train). This particular camp site is not the best place for a summer vacation as it had been cursed by Native Americans many years ago and it’s rumoured that the curse lives on (Ghost Dance). Before long a disfigured lunatic turns up and begins killing off the cast members one by one. (Just about every slasher movie ever produced).

Now do you catch my drift?

In all seriousness, Twisted Nightmare is an uncomfortably tough film to review. That’s simply because it’s a tricky task to explain exactly what went wrong with the feature. It’s not hard to write a mocking review of a bad movie, but it is harder to try and define the reasons why an offering so full of possibilities just didn’t make the grade. It would be easy to blame the rancid dramatics or the inane scripting, but the cast of Friday the 13th were hardly method actors and that was still an infinitely better effort than this. Slasher flicks are different from almost every other genre, because they can still make a profit or at least grab an audience without most of the ingredients that other categories of cinema take for granted. For example, could you imagine a poorly acted drama being successful? Or perhaps an awfully scripted comedy? Stalk and slash features consistently commit gross cinema crimes and still the production line of titles has only recently showed signs of slowing down. Keeping that in mind, I have tried to find out why a project from such an interesting team of low-budget titans ended up being such a flop.

Rumours abound that this was completed in eighty-two, but shelved for five years due to a total lack of confidence from the entire production team. Now aside from the IMDB, which is hardly the most reliable pillar of info, I haven’t uncovered proof of this anywhere else. For a start, the budget here was obviously fairly low, so keeping that in mind, why does it boast a better quality of picture than the much heavier financed Friday the 13th Part III, which was shot in ’82. It’s just not logical, which must mean that the speculation that the two movies were filmed on the same location at the same time must be either false or there’s a mix up with the dates. Another thing I noticed is that most of the cast had more than one acting credit in 1987, but none in 1982, which I think pretty much ends the argument. In my opinion, Twisted Nightmare was not shelved for five-years at all. And if it truly was, only very very little had been shot back then. If I had to guess, I would say that ’85 or ’86 is a more realistic possibility, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the IMDB have got muddled up with that info

If anything, Twisted Nightmare tries too hard, and due to the director’s insistence of ticking every single box on the slasher trappings clipboard, the movie breaks that age-old ‘less is more’ ground rule. Alfred Hitchcock once said that the key ingredient to the production of suspense is isolation, but that’s where Paul Hunt’s opus comes unstuck. His feature boasts an unusually high body count and there’s also some impressive gore sequences. Unfortunately, with so many characters getting butchered in such a small space of time, things get very boring very quickly and the deaths rapidly loose their impact.

Another negative is the film’s one-tone pacing, which never seems to change throughout the runtime. Characters get killed, characters get naked. Characters make-out and characters argue. But it all happens at such a snail-like momentum that that any attempts at a ‘money-shot’ just pass by without recognition. The plodding direction adds no bite to the suspense scenarios and an infuriating lack of lighting takes the credit away from the decent make-up effects. The script doesn’t help matters and the plot is littered with more holes than a hash smoker’s mattress. Cast members are slaughtered and none of their colleagues question their disappearances and some of the gaps in continuity are so obviously dumb that it’s almost unbelievable that this was the effort of a man with as much cinematic experience as Paul Hunt. One girl’s haircut changes literally from scene to scene.

Now part of these problems may well have something to do with the fact that the story’s writer Charles Philip Moore hated director Paul Hunt with a passion. They did work together again on Demon Wind in 1990, but the animosity was high enough for them to deliver unflattering comments to the press. After the release of the movie and the negative reception and lack of success took its effect, Moore struck the cruellest of blows in defence of his involvement many years later, by stating, “Twisted Nightmare is the sorriest piece of drek ever put on film. When Hunt wasn’t bombed on coke he was coming down with hash. He hired inexperienced wannabes just so he could screw them out of their pay”. Even if Hunt did not get the chance to respond, he did once write that, “I personally hate horror films and did Twisted Nightmare as a favor for Ed DePriest.” So there you go.

If you take an experienced director, a good budget, an excellent location, some great gore effects, a group of ambitious cast members and still end up with a feature as jumbled as this, then something is very, very wrong. The above proves comments prove things weren’t going swimmingly in the production camp.

On the plus side, as I mentioned earlier there’s some decent gore, including a deer antler impalement and one guy gets his head pushed off, which is hokey, but fun all the same. Nightmare also seems to generate an eighties feel much better than many of its counterparts from the period. There are mullets, bubble perms, bad metal tracks, boobies, elastic belts, bright tops and muscles by the bucket load. Let’s not beat about the bush, this feature is absolute tosh. But I know you dear reader. I know you better than you think. You like cheese. You like bad acting and blood. You like disfigured killers that growl like bears and stare through windows whilst breathing like they’re having asthma attacks. As you know that I know this, then I am going to recommend that you give Twisted Nightmare a shot. It’s bad, but bad in the way that we all love…

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise: √√

Gore: √√

Final Girl:√

RATING:

12423544567658

Return to Horror High 1987 Review

Return to Horror High 1987

Directed by: Bill Froehlich

Starring: Richard Brestoff, George Clooney, Vince Edwards

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

I bought Return to Horror High many years ago on a budget VHS and it was one of those that I watched, didn’t think much of, put back in its box and left in the bottom of my wardrobe. Recently I began thinking about it again after seeing a program about George Clooney and felt that I should dig it out for a second viewing. I can’t explain why, but I had the feeling that it may have been something of a hidden gem that didn’t get rightful praise first time around. Lately, I’ve found things in movies that I brushed off years ago that I didn’t notice when I saw them initially.

So this is another of the multitude of slasher movies that has a ‘soon-to-be’ star amongst its cast. In fact, there are many fairly good performers here and it’s quite well produced for its time of release. I 874674783873893983remember reading a review of the Playstation Survival Horror classic, Resident Evil, where the writer said something along the lines of, “The voice-overs are so wooden, they make me think that George Clooney is convincing.” That seems like an incredible statement aimed at an Oscar-winning (and twice nominated) actor. Back in those days though, when he first appeared on the screen, the general consensus amongst everybody was that he was a pretty boy with zero talent. Nowadays, I can’t think of many better character actors.

A film crew are looking to shoot a slasher movie on the set of a notorious massacre. Crippen High School has been closed ever since the aforementioned killings and the maniac was never caught. As members of the production begin disappearing, it seems that the nut job may well have returned.

What is interesting is that this is most definitely produced with the mission statement of parodying the stalk and slash cycle. Alongside the likes of April Fool’s Day and Evil Laugh, it is clearly a tongue in cheek tribute to the style that 8736736738723872982982had dominated horror throughout the early eighties and it emphatically underlines its self awareness. The film crew are working on a low budget feature and they highlight every possible stereotype from the guide book list. The producer doesn’t care about plot as long as there’s enough blood and boobs, whilst the director is trying to be recognised for the opportunity of a more respectable project and paycheque. Within the first ten minutes, their lead actor quits to take up a role on TV and scenes are rewritten on demand if a performer disappears or they want something a tad more explicit.

Wes Craven’s Scream was rejected by the MPAA as an R rating nine times initially until Bob Weinstein stepped in and told the board to, ‘Think about it as a comedy’. This completely altered their viewpoint and it was given the go 73673673673673287282ahead for wider consumption. Return to Horror High is also aiming for laughs, but the problem is that whereas Kevin Williamson’s script was clever and subtle, Bill Froehlich’s goes for an unappealing Troma-esque style of slapstick that just doesn’t work. The goofy vibe fails to combine with the horror and the tone is completely ruined by wasted efforts at inane quips. For example, if you find the thought of someone peeing on their own shoe to be funny then this will 89767886rock your world. Me, I am looking for a little more from a screenplay than that.

It also suffers from milking the same idea until it has run bone dry and then doing it again all over. The plot works with a few different timelines and attempts to blur them in order to pull a trick on the audience. We skip between scenes of the aftermath of the current massacre, flashbacks to the way the victims were killed and also snippets from the original murders from five-years earlier. Usually, the parts that are from the first wave of slaughters end with the on-screen director shouting ‘cut!’ We then learn that this was actually just a film within a film, so this means that the people that are about to be killed are playing the people that were killed all those years ago…? Even if the first time we see this, it could be considered a smart gimmick, after it has been repeated to the point of confusion, all that credibility 874674673487387387222disappears. We build a level of rapport with personalities that turn out to be false and it leaves us without someone to really root for. It doesn’t help that the most interesting characters on display are those from the ‘film within a film’. The ones that carry the majority of the runtime for us are as shallow as a rain puddle in the desert and incredibly hard to care about.

Perhaps because of the lack of clarity and the minimal attempts at suspense, Horror High’s good points are not able to achieve their deserved recognition. Some of the cinematography is really neat, like the wide-framed shots of a dark corridor that are accompanied by the constant squeaks on the soundtrack that represent the fact that the maniac is nearby. There are also a few twists that I certainly wasn’t expecting in the final ten minutes that will catch you unawares, but make little sense when you think about them after. Because we have already 8726736736728728723288-15907witnessed too many false dawns and wrong-footed scenarios, we are never sure if what we are seeing is real or not. There’s a great surreal artist from Cataluña called Joan Miró whose pictures are so complex that you only figure out the true meaning upon a second look or reflection. Whilst the ability to successfully mangle the lines between fantasy and reality is a strength in itself, Bill Froehlich’s ideas are poorly structured and therefore write ambitious cheques that their delivery can’t cash.

Despite an incoherent spine, the film rarely bores and it’s fairly well acted in a campy way. There’s one really gruesome murder that involves a guy being nailed to a desk and dissected (Vince Edwards no less) and you have to 873673373872329292appreciate the irony of a Biology teacher getting cut open that way. The loon has a great mask/cape disguise and there’s a decent score here too. Also if you ever wondered what an icon of fashion like George Clooney would look like in a hilarious mullet, then check out his five-minute walk-on. Now that really is the funniest thing about this supposed ‘comedy’.

The most annoying fact about Horror High is that it is purely and simply a waste of a good budget. As it stands, it’s little more than an interesting time-capsule for fans of one handsome Hollywood superstar. Really though, it should be regarded as an early example of the Scream methodology, but in all honesty, it’s simply not good enough for that.

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√√

Gore:√

Final Girl: √√

RATING:

874674674367387387382322

Blood Frenzy 1987 Review

Blood Frenzy 1987

Directed by:Hal Freeman

Starring: Wendy MacDonald, Tony Montero, Lisa Loring

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

It still amazes me to this day the effect that Halloween had on cinema. Over thirty years after its initial release, the impersonations may have slowed up a tad, but they still keep coming and no 636546536677627627272other movie in the history of film-making has achieved the feat of being imitated over 500 times. During the eighties directors that were looking to make a mark in the movies found an easy path through the slasher genre, due to the fact that production costs are relatively small and the films almost always make a considerable return on their budget. Although it’s understandable that a young director would want to follow in the footsteps of the much celebrated John Carpenter, Hal Freeman’s choice to create a category entry is slightly more interesting.4784784874874873833

Freeman had been a relatively successful porn director that had shot to fame in America for single-handedly beating the regulation that quashed the production of erotic films. ‘The people vs. Freeman’ was an interesting case in the history of US law and its conclusion changed the adult entertainment market forever. Up until that point, it had been a crime to film persons performing sex acts, even if the filmmakers could produce hand-written documents of consent from the participating models and conviction carried a three-year prison sentence without the possibility of parole.

Most movies before then had been shot in secret locations to avoid prosecution under the ‘pandering’ laws of the state. However when caught and charged, Freeman’s team of attorneys argued that the First Amendment prohibited the application of pandering laws to the creation of adult materials and ultimately he won the case. The victory opened a whole new avenue of possibilities for the industry and it has since become a high-grossing entertainment medium.

The fact that Freeman now had the freedom to indulge in his chosen market and make a considerable profit without the added worries of Police intervention made his decision to swap genres and direct a slasher movie profoundly intriguing.

An eccentric psychiatrist decides to take six of her patients away to the Mohave Desert for confrontational therapy. The pick of the gang of emotionally delicate travellers includes Rick (Tony Montero), a Vietnam vet who is suffering from that age-old Hollywood chestnut of stereotypical post-war flashback syndrome. Also worth mentioning is Dory (Lisa Loring), a highly-charged lesbian with a deep-rooted hatred for masculinity and a desire to seek an argument in almost every situation.

Almost soon as the group arrive, their RV is ransacked by an unseen someone and they find themselves stranded with dwindling supplies of food and water. Their rations of luck diminish even further when a gloved and unseen maniac begins slaughtering the group one by one. Every character has a motive for murder, but who is the real assassin?

Despite containing all the correct ingredients that made most eighties slashers popular with enthusiasts, Blood Frenzy has become notoriously rare and at the time of writing there is no plan for a 893874367467467474DVD release. Freeman’s slasher is somewhat undeserving of its obscure status and boasts some extreme gore and a fairly ambitious plot. The film starts in traditional territory with a pre-teen murder sequence that is extremely similar to the opening of Juan Piquer’s ‘Mil Gritos Tiene la Noche’.The throat slicing effect here is satisfyingly gruesome and the mood is set early on for the gore-filled plot line to follow.

For a first time horror director, Freeman does a good enough job and he attempts adequately to give the film a creepy aura of the macabre. In the opening, the homicidal adolescent is seen playing with a blood-soaked musical box after committing a violent act of slaughter, which acts along the common horror thread of mixing the serenity of childhood innocence with the depravity of cold-blooded murder. Attempts at suspense are continual, albeit rarely successful, but the director does well to create at least one credible jump-scare. Despite Freeman’s well-documented links to pornography, Blood Frenzy isn’t the fornication marathon that you’d expect and there’s no extreme nudity on display. Although 87467738738738733sexual references are strong, the film concentrates mainly on horror and the plot rarely seeks gratuitous shock tactics in any other avenue. The script is brilliantly hilarious in places, with some comical profanity and technically the film looks a treat.

Each character has enough of a motive to be the maniacal assassin and the plot offers significant development to allow the viewer to pick his choice for the nut job. To be fair, the revelation of the killer’s identity is quite a surprise and the mystery is handled quite well, but it lacks enough competent tension to be a truly intriguing revelation.

7367367387287282982The biggest problems with Blood Frenzy are the horrendous performances from the haggardly cobbled-together ensemble. Despite being by far the most experienced cast-member, Lisa Loring is laughable as the obnoxious Dory and a creative synopsis was ruined by poor dramatisation. It looks as if the cast and crew had an excellent time on set and the actors seem to have bonded extremely well. Unfortunately, this is evident in the finished print and you can’t help but feel that many scenes were shot purely for laughs, which is unforgivable for a film of this genre.

Blood Frenzy is an extremely gory (the opening murder is a prime example), competently handled slasher that suffers from a lack of professionalism. But with that said, it’s a damn site better than many of the more recognised entries from this period. Hal Freeman never returned to the horror genre and instead continued his career in porn. Fans of slasher movies however will be pleased that he had the ambition to try, because Blood Frenzy is well worth a look.

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:

Gore √√√

Final Girl √√

RATING:

87476487487383983983983983

Hack-O-Lantern 1988 Review

Hack-O-Lantern 1988

aka The Damning aka Halloween Night

Directed by: Jag Mundhra

Starring: Hy Pyke, Gregory Scott Cummins, Carla Baron

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

Despite boasting the largest film industry in the world in terms of ticket sales, India was one of the last nations to give us an inclusion to the slasher cycle. When you consider the fact that Ssshhh 874764748748748744and Kucch To Hai provided such an enjoyable slant on the traditional format, it has to be said that it’s a disappointment that they didn’t start sooner. But whilst the country itself may have been somewhat belated in offering an entry to the ever-growing legion of titles, Indian born director Jag Mundhra certainly was not. After relocating to America during the early eighties, Mundhra became the first of his countrymen to grace the genre with not just one, but two consecutive titles. His first, Open House, was a labored tale, which pitched a radio talk-show host against a maniacal psychopath that was killing off Estate873467467338738738738733 Agents. Its poor reception meant that the film sank without trace, but a few months later he was in the hot-seat again for the wonderfully titled Hack-O-Lantern…

In the opening, we are introduced to a red-neck family in Southern America, whose chirpy exterior conceals some shocking secrets. It seems old grandpa is a part-time Satanist and this Halloween will be a special day for him and his cult, because his nephew Tommy (who is arguably his illegitimate son) will be initiated in to the psychopathic group. Tommy’s kindly mother is aware of her father’s evil plans and pleads with Tommy to avoid the malevolent worshippers. Meanwhile a devil masked maniac is butchering the townsfolk with a trident and leaving corpses scattered around the area. Are the two events related? The family will uncover the truth on this dark Halloween Night.

Hack-O-Lantern boasts a unique plot that mixes the in vogue slasher clichés with the satanic sheen of titles such as Rosemary’s Baby, Allison’s Birthday and Invitation to Hell. Admittedly on paper this looked to be an intriguing combination, because category crossbreeds are surprisingly rare and when we do get one, they’re usually quite bad. 7467473873873899833The synopsis is indeed far-fetched, but workable; and Mundhra’s previous experience on Open House meant that he should’ve been aware of the downfalls that could befall the project. With a group of ambitious hopefuls amongst the cast and a big enough budget to invest in some decent effects, surely the ingredients were all in place for a decent slasher hit?

Unfortunately however, Mundhra’s second attempt at slasher recognition proved to be as outrageously daft as his first. I do say that with a smirk on my face. The main problem lies in the director’s inability to 84674673873873873873define a mood from scene to scene. Hack-O-Lantern is a feature that reminds me of one of those lazy Friday afternoons at work. You know the ones: – you’ve already hit your monthly targets and your boss has gone for a meeting in the city, so you and your colleagues converse about weekend plans and relax in the knowledge that the beauty of a longer morning in bed is in sight. Instead of updating those annoying spreadsheets, you check how many pokes you’ve had on Facebook and cunningly call your friend who’s on holiday in the Bahamas on the company’s phone bill. Mundhra’s effort seems content to remain in first gear throughout the feature and in terms of generating enthusiasm, it falls astronomically short. Not only does this lacklustre approach conceal any signs of credibility that could have been evident, but it also leaves us on the borders of falling to sleep.

Hy Pyke is star-billed here like Al Pacino, with his name gloriously placed above the title as if its inclusion would bring audiences flocking from the furthest of fields. His biggest acting achievement prior to Hack-O-Lantern had been a brief and unmemorable turn in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Here he delivers a cringe-worthy portrayal, which lacks even the 67467467438738738739833slightest acknowledgement of dramatic awareness. It’s perhaps unfair to blame  the cast for their failures though, because Mundhra doesn’t look to have offered them any dramatic guidance at all. This is indeed strange, because he got a great performance from Adrienne Barbeau and a couple of others in his last stalk and slash effort. Here however, scenes that are included to provide pathos or tension are staged so poorly that they give the film an almost comedic edge. Also, whilst I can admit that the masked killer’s identity is smartly concealed, the motive makes little sense and leaves huge question marks over the psycho’s choice of victims. 73673653

On the plus side, the movie is probably one of the campiest entries of the cycle and has literally mounds of unintentional comedy. There’s also the space for a few slasher trademarks that were essential upon the genre’s launch, but had generally been overlooked as late in the cycle as 1988. For example there’s a fancy dress scene and an awful rock group that struggle through a couple of cheesy tracks. You can also have some real fun with the awful performances, especially Hy Pyke’s ghastly ‘HA-HA-HA’ cackle, which he probably practiced in front of a mirror and thought was terrifying, but it actually made him look like a complete tool. Oh and watch out for the girl who strips for the maniac thinking he was someone else and then lays on the sofa and 17326735636536536533says something like, ‘Surprise me Tommy!’. She must have had the surprise of her soon to be terminated life when he rammed a pitchfork 8746747487487484984983straight through her.

Hack-O-Lantern is immensely daft, good fun and fairly interesting in a low brow kind of way. I think the main problem with the feature is that it didn’t take the Killer Party route and go for the party vibe. The film seems to be for aiming for a serious stab at a satanic, dark slasher flick, but it’s so cheesy and Hy Pyke is so hilarious in his hammy attempts at serious acting that it totally fails in its intention to play it even slightly straight. Mundhra moved to US in the early eighties, but you’d never tell. You’d think he was born there, because this movie has practically everything that was popular at the time, including a heavy metal band, nudity, gore, mullets and a masked killer. If you like them cheesy, give it a spin. 

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√√

Gore √√

Final Girl √

RATING: a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo11

 

Bodycount 1987 Review

Bodycount 1987

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 9838748748738939839833of 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 73636738738738733Holocaust 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.

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A group of youngsters who are touring Colorado in a RV, pick up a hitchhiker called Ben who lets them stay at his 8738738739839839839833parent’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 678657858occurrences, 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, 873673873873983983983933instead 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, 838738734874984983093093but 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 733873873982392020202cheesiness 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

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√√

Gore √√√

Final Girl √√

RATING: a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo11

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