Bikini Swamp Girl Massacre 2014
aka Hell Glades
Directed by:Aiden Dillard
Starring: Ted Vernon, Nicole Soden, Jenny Scordamaglia
Review by Luisjo González
Unfortunately, I’ve been working a lot and I’ve not been able to continue covering the Strip & Slashers for this Saturday. There’s a couple left to watch and review, but I don’t know where they’re located, so so maybe I’ll continue next year. I went for a stalk and slasher that still includes a gang of girls. Two of my favourite slashers from the peak period were Scalps and The Ghost Dance. Fred Olen Ray’s Scalps was extremely mean spirited and gory, whilst Peter Buffa’s The Ghost Dance was astoundingly brutal in places. The link between the two is that their antagonists were Native Americans. As a Libertarian, I’m definitely not WOKE, but I wonder, would the WOKE brigade allow such a film – a Native American maniac, to be released today? Interestingly, mitochondrial DNA tests show that Native Americans aren’t actually native to that land. They’re originally from regions of Siberia. What can’t be denied though, is that they were definitely in the US before us Europeans. I wonder how they got there initially? Walked? By horses? By boats? We know the Neanderthals, our ancient cousins, were mariners 100,000+ years ago, so why not tribes from Russia? Anyway, when I found out that BSGM had a Seminole assassin, I couldn’t wait to watch it. The working week really dragged with anticipation, knowing that this was going to be my Friday evening movie. I gave the Mrs some money to go out, so the coast was clear and I put the DVD on to my plasma.
This film, believe it or not, was released twice under two titles. It was completed in 2011 and then came out in 2013 as Hell Glades. The following year, it hit shelves again as BSGM. Why they unleashed it a second time I can’t say, but it’s unusual to be released two times so soon. It’s studio was Troma, and I’ve already told you how much I dislike them. Despite their flair for toilet humour and crapola, they’ve given us a large amount of slasher trash and I have to give a thumbs up for that.
On Friday October 5th 2007, during the Columbus Day weekend celebration in the USA, a group of young chicas go camping in the Florida Everglades. There they come across the spirit of a Seminole warrior named Coowahchobe. They must fight to survive against the fierce assailant.
Wow man. I mentioned Scalps and The Ghost Dance above, but in the slasher genre there’s also Camping Del Terrore , Demon Warrior and Ghostkeeper, which can be listed as Native American genre entries. That’s four titles that are pretty damn good, all things considered, so I was eminently excited about Bikini Swamp Girl Massacre. Seven attractive women, including a sexy Latina, a killer armed with a tomahawk and a huge forest to slaughter the septuple within; you’d have to be retarded not to make a great motion picture out of those ingredients. I haven’t met director Aiden Dillard, but this was his last shot at direction and looking at what he put together, ‘retarded’ is me being overtly kind to him. When the final credits rolled, I sat there in silence and shock. I was dumbfounded. Tumbleweed flew across the living-room floor. I was thinking to myself, what happened? How could someone get so much so wrong? Critics often state that they were in pain whilst watching a certain motion picture as an insulting slur, but with BSGM, I truly was in agony.
Firstly, the movie started incredibly well for like 30 milliseconds. We get a great boob shot immediately, two murders straight after and the cinematography looks bright and clear. Being that I’m a slasher fan since the eighties, I dislike maniacs that converse whilst killing and things started getting silly when the assassin here kidnaps one girl and puts her in a cage whilst stating that he wants her to be his wife. If you’re going to give your antagonist extensive dialogue, then there are filmmaking rules that can never be ignored in the horror genre. A good example is the original Black Christmas and the psycho from that piece. The calls from the 1974 thriller were effective, because the guy on the phone sounded eminently deranged. Coowahchobe in this picture looks and talks like a f**ling buffoon and if we ignore the fact that a white guy shouldn’t play a Seminole warrior, it gets worse when he even starts cracking jokes. The runtime is eighty-three minutes, but the dialogue is so tedious that it felt like I was viewing an entire mini-series in one sitting and I’m not talking about The Sopranos. If you can imagine watching a conversation between a group of people that you don’t know discussing their laundry basket, then you’ll get a good idea of the pace of BSGM. The performances were as bad as you can imagine, but one or two of the actors were at least trying; and the gore effects were bottom of the barrel at best. I guess, if I had to give a plus, then I can say that there is a mahoosive body count and a lot of blood. There were also a couple of hot chicas played by Nicole Soden and Latina Jenny Scordamaglia, who both gave up on the acting dream after this catastrophe. Can you blame them? I actually thought Scordamaglia played being in agony (she was caught in a bear trap) quite well, but she wasn’t given the chance to flex her ‘acting chops’. On top of all the negativity I’ve listed above, the feature is also cack-handily edited and the nutjob has that often seen ability to teleport to whatever location the script requires with no explanation. The package description describes the killer as a ‘spirit’, yet he bleeds and dies like a normal human being, with no ghostly abilities. We get a final girl, but it could’ve been any of the female cast members. She wasn’t exceptional in the story and wasn’t given expositional scenes as would a Jamie Leigh Curtis/Neve Campbell. It all ends as stupidly as it started with the most weird, bizarre and pathetic ‘defeat the antagonist’ gimmick in the whole history of moving pictures. F**k it, I’ll give away a spoiler, it won’t ruin anything because most of you would’ve f**king turned it off by that point. The aggressor, the main reason to watch a f**king horror flick, actually kills himself!!! You read correctly, the antagonist commits suicide for no real reason…??????
Another year goes by, another sh*t Troma movie. I don’t know why that studio hasn’t gone bust already, but they’re still here as large as ever. The track record of American Indian slashers is so good, this one should be sued for destroying the reputation. F**k Aiden Dillard and F**k Bikini Swamp Girl Massacre. Take care peeps, see you next week… ¡Viva la revolución y viva Cuba!
Stripped To Kill 1987
Directed by: Katt Shea Ruben
Starring: Kay Lens, Greg Evigen, Norman Fell
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 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.
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’s 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 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!
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.
Strip Club Slasher 2010
Directed by: Jason Stephenson
Starring: Sarah French, Rachel Grubb, Elske McCain
Review by Luisjo González
I’ve told you guys & gals before that I’m twice divorced. My older brother met the love of his life 20 however many years ago and they’re still married today. My younger sibling likewise is living with his mrs, leading a settled existence. All my cousins (I have 22) are in the same boat too. Me, Luisjo González, I’m a f**king nightmare. I bounce around from girl to girl, engaged to be married on nine occasions and EVERY SINGLE TIME, I say this IS the one. Within a year, I’m bored of her and already dating someone new. You must understand, this is not how I want to be, it’s just my DNA. I was born like this and I hate it, but you can’t change what you are.
Anyway, I mention this, because Strip Club Slasher caused a riff between wife number 2 and I. I was in Vegas for our first anniversary in 2011 and we went for a meal at a restaurant on the strip. My ex, bless her cotton socks, could argue with someone if she was alone in a padded cell and so she fell out with the waitresses (it’s likely because I was flirting, but I don’t recall). It all kicked off in a major way and we were forced to leave (without paying 😜). Anyway, outside, in a closed shop window, I saw the cover of Strip Club Slasher. The next day, my wife swore she would not go to that segment again, but I had other ideas. I WANTED Strip Club Slasher! It wasn’t even listed on the IMDB yet, so I rented a car and drove, you guessed it, straight back to that restaurant and went to buy myself SCS. Now you’re beginning to understand why I’m a two time divorcee.
After the murder of a stripper, the cops close a local strip bar, whilst they investigate, because they think that the motivation could be the topless women. The remaining girls decide to spend the weekend together to reflect on the loss of their friend and try to keep safe. A maniacal masked assassin however is in hot pursuit.
So I told you motherf**kers in my review of Dance With Death that I was going to cover all the strip & slash movies and I’m a man of my word baby! If you pick up a film called Strip Club Slasher and there’s a busty blonde on the cover, your mind (or my mind) automatically envisions a bunch of voluptuous beauties being stalked by a masked maniac. What we ended up with is a group of average looking, vulgar tongued babes getting taken out whenever they step outside for whatever reason. In my review of Pool Party Massacre, I criticised the level of the vomit inducing dramatics. The guys and lassies in SCS aren’t much better, but the changer here is, you can see these peeps are really trying their hardest and that makes all the difference. There’s a moment late on, where the fat sherif (an eighties slasher trademark and he’s played by Joel D Wynkoop from all three Truth or Dares) gives a speech about the murder of his stripper sister. The credibility of the ‘performance’ is minimal, but the effort, the passion and the feeling portrayed is top class. Thumbs up for giving it your all!
Screenwriter Joe Knetter (who also plays the killer) had obviously seen his share of eighties slashers and the visual tributes are numerous. The final girl, played by Sarah Jensen, really includes all the classic heroine cliches, which was nice to see. In this feature however, instead of coming across as moral and brave, her attempts to be the most righteous, make her seem like a whiny bitch. I couldn’t make out whether it was poor scripting or bad acting that gave me that impression, but I didn’t particularity like Sarah, the girl left to face the assassin. I didn’t hate her though and I wanted her to survive, so she was doing something right. Just like in Dance with Death, the only babe with a fantastic rack gets killed first, which was eminently disappointing. Check out Eske McCain to see a huge and beautiful pair of bad boys. Director Jason Stephenson had the good sense to leave the best looking sket to be the one that fights the antagonist in the final scene, which I won’t ruin. I can tell you though that the ending is really quite ingenious and simply unbelievably cool. I don’t remember if I’ve seen a masked killer flick that terminates that way in my 30+ años of watching this sub-genre. It was a really grim and credible idea that deserves respect. Ten out of ten for the creativity. The gang here chose to do drugs, which I thought was a more realistic idea than just getting drunk. Growing up in London, drugs were key to everybody’s youth and it’s bizarre that it’s rarely seen in the stalk and slash category. The script uses acid in a really clever way, when an intended victim believes it’s just the LSD that is making him see a hulking killer carrying a body. They smoke ganja and take trips, but I was screaming at the screen, where’s the cocaine? This ain’t no party 😂 I am sure that my readers consider me like the guy from Wolf of Wall Street by the things I have said over the past decade.
In my review of Pool Party Massacre, I called the film cheap. SCS has about 15% of that budget, so you know the level of what to expect. The filmmaking ability here is really amateur. I am not just talking about the acting, but the photography and direction too. I’m pretty sure that they used a handheld camera and there’s a number of shots of someone opening a door and we see the door, not the character in conversation outside, which was obviously apprentice level. The sound is really bad too and you can tell there’s no boom mic and it’s literally just the audio they picked up from the camera whilst filming. On the plus side, the videography or disc-ography is steady and not shaky throughout. Most of the killings are off screen and the effects amount to little more than fake blood, but the mask is pretty cool and the assassin stalks in typical slow-mo Michael Myers style. Interestingly enough, the bogeyman gets a blow job off of the first victim before he kills her. I’ve never seen that before and I thought it was pretty slick. Maniacal killers have to get their ‘tingz’ too, you know 😂! The cops found the victim with his seamen in her mouth, but they didn’t think to do a DNA test to learn his identity??? Why aren’t cops in my area that dumb?
SCS just about works in a cheap jack way. I didn’t hate the characters, a few fun slaughters, there’s some giggles to be had and it manages to reference old skool slashers without bragging about it continually. It’s certainly not fine art, but I could do nothing but smile at it. One day I would love to see a slasher movie in a strip club where the girls truly are beautiful and endowed with huge boobs. Maybe I have to make it myself in the future. Until then, this will have to do. When I was younger, I dated a Polish girl that worked in a strip club. Check the picture to the left. I got to meet some of the other dancers and they all had bras in the plus sizes. Watching slasher movies where the chicas removing their tops have nothing to show literally removes the point in going to such a place? I mean, why? I guess it all depends on taste. Different people are attracted to different things. The net result is that this was one of those cinematics that I knew I shouldn’t have liked, I cringed a few times, but I totally didn’t hate myself for watching it. Check it out. It’s surprisingly entertaining and fun.
Killer Guise: √√√
Final Girl √√
Bailando Con La Muerte 1992
aka Dance With Death
Directed by: Charles Philip Moore
Starring: Jill Pierce, Maxwell Caulfield, Barbara Alyn Woods
Review by Luisjo González
I’m not going to repeat the same stories I’ve told you all before about watching Halloween when I was six-year’s-old and then becoming a slasher addict. However I can tell you an amusing story that relates to this picture. I was obviously hunting through my video rental emporiums for more slasher trash and I came across the cover of Stripped to Kill way back when. The back blurb seemed pretty slasher, but the problem was, my madre wouldn’t let me rent it because of the suggested nudity on the package description. Eventually, I was able to go to Stoke Newington high street with an older kid from my street, and I was able to pay a homeless guy to rent the forbidden movie for me.
Obviously I love the ladies and the eight-year old me was enamoured with what I saw during that runtime. It’s sad to think that we grew up so quick in crime ridden London and sometimes I regret not having a childhood. What does information about Stripped to Kill have to do with Dance with Death you rightly ask? Well, this motion picture is a jazzed-up remake of STK, they even use the same dialogue and it’s from the same author. DWD was one of a number of dance/strip related slasher movies that were released following the success of the 1987 Roger Corman thriller, Stripped To Kill. Some others include: Slash Dance, Deadly Dancer, Last Dance, Strip Club Slasher and The Rain Killer. Whist we’re on that subject, it must be stated that STK was not an authentic movie and was itself a rip off of Lucio Fulci’s Murder-rock from 1984.
A number of killings at a local strip joint give a reporter the chance to go undercover and begin an investigation. Kelly gets a job as a stripper and begins to question the resident dancers. As she gets closer to the truth, more and more people end up dead and she looks to be next on the killer’s list…
I understand that certain people may believe that a slasher movie in a strip bar is going to have zero class and be extremely exploitive. Whilst I admit the setup is tacky, the characterisations are not. The females in the cast are all written as strong women and the heroine is a fiery reporter with a forceful will. This is a slasher movie of course, with a masked killer and all the trimmings, but at times, it’s possible to forget you’re watching a horror film. A couple of the dancers have issues that are covered, we have the journalist backstory due to the final girl’s employment and finally the owner of the club, which is called Bottoms up, is having regular issues with his employees. There are a few slaughters, but they’re not spaced close together, which makes you wonder what tone the production team was aiming for. We go from a strip scene, to a brutal murder, then attempts at humour, something of a romance between the leads and it’s all thrown at us in about five minutes. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel? Was I meant to be scared? In a comic mood? Or involved in the liaison?
The key element of the story of course is the mystery of who’s killing everybody. There’s a number of suspects, but I worked it out by the dialogue. It took me a while and I admit it’s not an easy one to solve, but listen to what they say closely. What’s interesting is that Bottoms Up the bar is always full, but the car park outside is consistently empty. Do they walk home at 2am? Rather them than me, I tell you. I’ve never been to a strip bar in reality, because I am not interested in looking if I can’t touch. Being a handsome guy gives me that luxury (wink wink – joke, I’m handsome but not arrogant!!)). Anyway, If I were to venture to Bottoms Up by chance, I’d demand my money back. The only girl with a decent rack, the stunning Lola (hottie Jill Pierce), is the first killed and the rest of the laydees are flatter than a pancake on my ironing board. If these guy customers are paying to watch these strumpets, they must be desperate. Go to a disco and get yourself a girl you can take home with you after.
One of the striptastic boogie queens is reported to have a drug problem and we see her laughing and then falling in to the crowd. She gets sacked for being a junkie and then if that’s not bad enough, she gets killed (brutal murder btw). It’d be nice if the screenwriters did some research when writing the dire-logue for a movie that’s going to be shown in cinemas. The only drug that makes you laugh is marijuana and it’s not so bad that you’d burst into hysterics on stage whilst working. Cocaine, crack, heroin, PCP are not giggling drugs and she wasn’t on LSD, because no one mentioned hallucinations. Whilst we talking about the script, I bust out laughing when the cop was telling some criminal sales guy that he was interrogating to go away. He said, in Spanish ‘vamos amigo’ and walks off?? Vamos means we go, not go away. What he meant to say was, vete or vaya (go away or you go). I wonder how much these authors got paid for this crapola??? Why use Español and get it wrong. My head was in my hands. 😂
I always disliked Prom Night’s balaclava, because I thought it was lazy from Peter Simpson to go for something so basic. The assassin here also sports a similar black mask, but I thought it worked much better in DWD. I guess it could be because of his height/build. Drew Snyder from Terror Eyes plays the editor, but thankfully they had more sense than casting him as a womaniser as he was in the 1981 slasher classic. I mentioned in my original review, how unrealistic that looked having the balding Snyder as a lady killer. Maxwell Caulfield is the detective and whilst he’s not a horrible actor, the way his career fell apart is a real shame. To go from a huge film like Grease 2 to Dance with Death is really disappointing. He stayed busy, but for a handsome guy, it was a big fall from the top. None of the performances featured stink the place out and all in all it’s an enjoyable runtime.
A slasher movie that allows me to see topless women is always going to be my favourite kind, so expect me to review of the rest of this type before the end of 2022. I had fun with Dance with Death. One or two brutal murders, an interesting plot, a good mystery and the chance to see topless women. If that ticks your boxes, check it out. One last question I’ll answer for the ladies… Is this a motion picture for slasherettes? I still say, yes. They won’t enjoy the female nudity (unless they’re gay), but as I said, the puzzle is good and it’s not tedious. Perhaps the biggest plus of all is the beautiful and breathtakingly stunning Jill Pierce plays the first victim, Lola. I first saw her in Darkroom, but it seems she had a boob job, because since then, she’s gone from a 32A (it looked about that) to a 34DD. That’s some enlargement in three years. She’s up there with Traci Lords, Natti Natasha, Abbie Shapiro, Christine Hendricks and Ariel Winter in the gorgeous stakes. Married and madly in love, I still 1000% would🤣. I wish my Mum moved to USA instead of England all those años ago. I guarantee that if I was working close to that set when they were shooting Dance With Death, I would’ve asked out and dated Jill Pierce. Maybe I’d have another kid with her by now haha. Peace
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.
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.
Miner’s Massacre 2012
aka Curse Of The Forty-Niner’
Directed by: John Carl Buechler
Starring: Alexandra Ford, Karen Black, Richard Lynch
Review by Luisjo González
What with Штольня and XP3D a few years back, I’d been coincidentally ‘digging’ through the mine-based slashers with a pick-axe at an impressive rate. Here we have one that I’ve wanted to add for some time, but there’s always been a title in front of it… until now. Curse of the Forty Niner or Miner Massacre as it’s known round these parts, was the second slasher film from John Carl Buechler after he directed arguably the most ‘gutted’ of the Friday the 13th sequels (part 7). He also provided special make-up effects for a number of eighties stalk and slash films including The Prey and Demonwarp. Known for his visceral gore scenarios, Buechler was something of a cult hero throughout horror’s most cheesetastic decade. Although his directorial efforts never really put him on a level with Carpenter or Craven, he still played an important part in the production of numerous entries. After the Scream-inspired slasher rebirth, he returned to the cycle that he had heavily contributed to with this overlooked inclusion.
A group of young adults head off to a remote Southern location where it’s rumoured that a murderous outlaw named Jeremiah Stone stashed a pile of gold. The area is surrounded by the legend of the ‘Curse of the Forty-Niner’, which dictates that if anyone searches for the treasure, the spirit of Stone will return from beyond the grave and murder those responsible. Guess what happens next…
Is sticking consistently to your stereotype always a bad thing? To be honest I’m not so sure. If we erase the past twenty years, I’m a massive Robert Deniro fan. I loathe his politics, but I honestly believe that his Vito Corleone in Godfather 2 and his Leonard Lowe in Awakenings are (along with Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking) amongst the greatest performances ever captured on celluloid. His critics will say that he can only play a gangster or a villain, but I disagree, because the best of his work from the past two decades is Silver Linings Playbook and Everybody’s Fine, which are everything but dark characters. It’s a shame that the roles that he’s most renowned for are violent or aggressive, because he has more strings to his bow than he is given credit for. Despite accusations of churning out anything for the paycheque of late, his quality has been mainly evident when he’s played against type.
In the case of John Buechler though, Miner’s Massacre has the opposite effect. If you’ve got a slasher film from a guy that’s known for making ‘the goriest continuation to Friday the 13th, I guess you build a certain level of pre-view anticipation. Then when said movie has about as much blood as I Know What You Did Last Summer, you kind of feel, well, a bit disappointed. It certainly looked as if, stung by the censorship issues that plagued his entry to the Voorhees saga, Buechler had re-invented himself as a filmmaker more focused on suspense. In honesty, I much prefer the Carpenter methodology and value style over substance, so was keen to see how he’d get on with such a stark change of approach.
On first glance, Miner’s Massacre starts fairly limply, with pancake personalities and plot branches that have minimal exposition. Our antagonist is brought back from the grave rapidly with no real explanation and the gang know exactly where they’re going to seek treasure after receiving only half a map and a chunk of gold(???). It could have been a prank by a friend or a marketing gimmick from Walmart, but they merrily pack their stuff and off they go without a second look. Thankfully, when they reach the secluded location, the film drastically improves, due to a tighter pace and an aura that’s subtlety reminiscent of inclusions from the late entries of the eighties. Buechler outshines many of his contemporaries by capturing the charm and wit of the genre heavyweights without over-emphasising the fact in neon lights. He fills his film with archetypal slasher personalities, but I did like a couple of them, which made a real difference to the egotistical tosh that fills other modern slashers. I think that my favorite was the ‘moan-a-lot-bitch-girlfriend-from-hell’ that became the first victim of the zombie assassin. Her OTT Brooklyn ‘My Cousin Vinny’-lite accent really gave her some spark and I was fairly disappointed when she checked out prematurely. She may not have escaped her stereotype, but because she was played with fire, I really thought that she stood out.
Looking like a cross between Freddy Kruegar and Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, the killer stalks and slashes his way through the group with impressive menace and the murders build up to a tense conclusion in an underground mine. Its fair to say that Buechler directs with endeavor, but there’s nothing outstanding that genuinely transcends the norm. The decision to shoot the night scenes with a tint of blue was a poor one and the lack of visual clarity is surprising considering the budget. That’s not to say that the production had extensive funds to play with, but there were a handful of explosions and OTT effects, which could have been substituted for a better lighting rig. One of my readers, a cool dude from the Philippines posted a comment on Death Valley. He correctly mentioned that it was one of the only slashers that had a Western slant, but I guess that you could say that Miner’s Massacre also counts as a genre entry that owes something to outlaws and gunslingers from America’s Wild West.
The movie eventually goes where you expect it to, with most of the cast getting killed off, aside from the final girl and her beau, who end up facing off with the maniac. The main issue I had with Massacre is that it felt incredibly tame. I would’ve never expected subdued and harmless horror from señor Buechler. I guess you can compare him to an elderly rocker like Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler. They were all 24/7 drugs and alcohol in the swinging sixties/seventies, but now that they’ve got their eyes on their health at their ages, it’s shandy, healthy food and cocoa before bed.
I guess that you could call Miner’s Massacre the slasher equivalent of a film like Con Air. It’s an entertaining stroll that takes the expected route, but doesn’t attempt to uncover an adventurous shortcut. There’s a cute, but flat chested chica (Eve), some exciting stalking scenarios and an authentic antagonist, but I couldn’t help but think that this director is capable of delivering so much more.
I was saying to my mum recently that it’s amusing how so many heavy metal groups from the eighties have ‘reunions’ when the bank balance is looking a bit on the light side. I suppose that in the case of Buechler, he just accepted the odd director’s gig for the exact same reason. Sadly Mr Buechler caught cancer in 2017 and despite valiantly battling with it, he died in March 2019. A real disappointment. Not many of the maestros from the original slasher boom are left alive… it’s a huge shame…
Slasher In The House 1981
aka Home Sweet Home
Directed by: Nettie Peña
Starring: Jake Steinfeld, Don Edmunds, Vinessa Shaw
Review by Luisjo González
Oh mama! Woooh, I need to take a deep breath…. Ok… am I still alive? Where am I? What the f**k did I just watch?
When I was in hospital all that time (check Paranoid review), I put on 7kg of weight. 36 months in a bed, 3 meals a day, you can imagine. However when I was released, because I lost all my muscle mass, I went up to 130kg. Everything I ate, no matter how healthy, turned to fat. When you consider I used to be 81kg, that’s obese. I’m too vain to be overweight, so I soon joined a gym, but quickly noticed that cardio wasn’t working for me. 800 calories on the cross-trainer changed nada. What did start to work however was weightlifting. Soon, I was bench pressing 80kg and watching the flab drop off my body. I’m no longer 81kg, granted, I’m 99kg, but with only 11% fat, I’m now a hench muscle man. I’ve fallen madly in love with bodybuilding.
I tell you this, because the antagonist of this picture is Jewish personal trainer and overall cool dude, Jake Steinfeld. Now bodybuilding, much like supporting a particular soccer/baseball team or meeting a fellow angler, is a hobby that men and women can bond over. ‘What muscles you working on today, buddy?’ It’s a link that connects people in social circles. Will my love of the gym make me adore Slasher In The House due to its famous fitness trainer bogeyman?
I can’t tell you that I wasn’t warned. On another películas del terror website, there’s a pretty bad review and the general consensus everywhere online is that it’s not great. The write-up on the other horror page is in fact so disrespectful that I almost felt like it was bullying. I promised myself, I’d be a lot more just and fair with my analysis of this peak period Halloween clone. I’ve owned SITH (SITH = Slasher In The House) on VHS since 1987, but the first time I watched it was yesterday. So what can I say? Well, not much of originality (like the movie) but is it as bad as its hideous reputation would have you believe?
Well, it’s going to take me a little while to explain, because the answer involves every single thing in the movie. In fairness though, things start extremely positively with a killing within about thirty seconds of screen time. A guy is parked up on the freeway, drinking a larger, before driving. (Don’t you love the eighties, when you could see cigarillos and drinking and driving in the movies). Out of the corner of the parked dude’s eye, he catches our killer approaching the vehicle and offers him a beer. His kindness doesn’t get him anywhere, as the muscle-bound jock drags him out of the car, murders him via a method I couldn’t make out and steals his wheels. Next up, the assassin, who has a habit of cackling madly when he’s killing people, runs down an old lady, who looks like a thirty-year-old woman in a grey wig. We hear via the radio in the automobile, that our nutjob is a guy called Jay Jones, who (of course) has just escaped from an insane asylum after being sentenced for murdering his parents as a child. So far, so by the book…
After lots of shots of our bogeyman driving, more driving, erm, holding a steering wheel, changing gears and even more views of him, you know, driving; he ends up pulling up near a secluded house. The abode belongs to the Bradleys, a family that look to have invited over a number of guests for a thanksgiving dinner. Amongst the revellers is is a Hispanic chick named Maria (Lisa Rodriguez) and a guy who has his face painted white like the glam metal band Kiss. If it’s your group’s identity to paint your faces blanco how Kiss used to, it looks pretty cool. If you’re just doing it on your lonesome however, it comes across as, well, a bit weird, freakish and also worrying. Anyway, the white-face guy is called Scott (David Mielke) and he very quickly becomes extremely annoying. He carries a guitar around with him, winding everybody up by disrupting them when they’re trying to make out and other such boring palaver.
If you haven’t already guessed, people start leaving the house to get some wine, or find those that haven’t yet returned (murdered) etcetera. Well, of course Jay Jones is watching in cheesier than a dairy heavy breath POV shots. It goes exactly where you expected it to and we’re left trying to guess who will survive…
I’ve told you all before on a Slash above, I got into the slasher genre after staying up to watch Halloween in 1986. I am obviously a Latino-born dude that grew up in London, as my mother was working there. I clearly recall reading a criticising article by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert about stalk and slashers and they hinted that they were racist and said, where are all the black people in these flicks? Well, something about SITH surprised me. They may not have a black character included, but they sure as hell-fire have a Latina, who has a lot of screen time. I was secretly hoping that all the gringos would get killed (wink wink) and the Spanish chica would defeat the maniac. Yay!! The problem with this though, is that I found the character actually more of an offence to our race than a thumbs up.
Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m not one of those guys that considers everything offensive. However Maria, the Hispana girl in this story, says stupid things in Spanish like Bésame (kiss me) or voy al baño (go to bathroom) all the time and she never converses in English, but she’s with a group of people that do not understand el Español. It’s even hinted her BF is American. How did they converse? Also, were the filmmakers trying to hint that Hispanic people don’t learn languages? To make matters worse, the director could herself be a one of us. Her name is Nettie Peña, but it just seemed a strange thing to have in a movie. Or I personally found it that way. Why would a Hispanic person publically mock her own race?
Anyway, a major problem with the feature, aside from the fact that it’s not very good, is that it moves far too S-L-O-W-L-Y. A fine example of this is when two of the girls go out to get the wine, or go to the power company, I can’t remember exactly why they left. Anyway, they get pulled over by a couple of cops in a pointless scene (except that one of the chicas has a fantastic rack). Anyway, we don’t just get that nonsensical sequence, the director follows it up with an equally inept conversation between the two Police officers. We watch these movies to see the slashings cabrón!! The performances across the board aren’t heinous, but they’re not good either. I noted a whole heap of unconvincing fear and crud line delivery. At one point, white-face dude begs for his life, whilst offering to sing for the maniac. I’ll let you guess how well that goes. Also worth mentioning, is that this bogeyman talks to victims and at one point, he says that women are worthless. The problem with this dialogue is it seems like something a guy who’s been divorced twice (like me) might say. Isn’t it true that Jay Jones has been in an insane asylum after murdering his padres as a 12 year old? How much experience could he have with women? Was he married at 18 months old? Man, either my flatmate put LSD in my wine or this is the worst screenwriting since Star Wars The Phantom Menace???
Also before I forget, in the beginning we see the killer injecting angel dust under his tongue. That’s unusual, you may think and I agree. However the main problem with the concept is, where the hell did he get the PCP from? It’s been illegal in the United States long before this film was made and the story says he just escaped an asylum. Did he visit and murder a drug dealer? How did he find the dope peddler? Did he ask around in the ghetto? He must’ve murdered said narcotics man, because he slaughters everyone else. So if that happened, why didn’t we get to see it? I mean going to the ghetto to buy drugs and then taking out the dealer is a unique and exciting sub plot. From what we see here that must have happened, so why didn’t we view this action? My head is hurting, I need to have a lie down…
So what’s left to be said? Well, I can say that the antagonist consistently cackling destroys his aura of menace and he’s about as scary as a teddy bear. Mr Steinfeld didn’t do anything bad with the part and he has the right build, but the laughing looks silly, not scary. Also, slashers look much better in a mask. Another thing of note is that SITH is a total career killer. Practically every cast member featured never acted again except Don Edmunds the producer. Mr Edmunds is a name you may recognise, because he directed the exceptionally bland Terror On Tour in 1980. The only person to go on to a successful period was the child, played by Vinessa Shaw. The director totally vanished for 28 years and was substituted to one barely seen documentary in 2009😂.There’s no gore of note and only one of the killings is effectively brutal. It involves a guy trying to steal a battery from an abandoned automobile and our muscle-bound psycho jumps on the hood, crushing his skull.(See it above). Also when the cops turn up towards the end, they seem to know that multiple people have been killed even though they found only one corpse. Did they find and read the script before they came across the first body? That must’ve happened.
I guess we can say that Slasher in the house was made tongue in cheek, to be consumed the same way. It’s main problems are its momentum and the idea to make the killer laugh/converse instead of keeping silent like Mr Michael Myers etc. Going back to the review on the other website, I’d say this flick’s not THAT bad. Not great, granted, but an ok eighties slasher throwaway with cast members we don’t hate (unlike modern post-Scream entries). Lastly, I’ll tell you, throughout this review I called the film SITH for short. Well if you rearrange those letters you get the word SHI… Most accurate line in this review. Peace…
Bikini Spring Break Massacre 2008
aka Girls Gone Dead
Directed by: Michael Hoffman Jr, Aaron T Wells
Starring: Katie Peterson, Shea Stewart, Brandy Whitford
Review by Luisjo González
I often wonder if exploitation cinema may be reaching its date of expiration. For decades, a host of low-budget titles would provide horror, shocks, nudity and gore that would fulfil both morbid curiosities and rebellious desires. Having grown up during the tail-end of the exploitation boom, I experienced first hand the excitement of hunting out hand-drawn VHS covers and guessing what forbidden treasures might be included within. Nowadays of course, the most explicit content imaginable can be found quite easily with a Google search, which is why I wonder whether the market might be drying up for the exploitation genre.
Released in 2012, Girls Gone Dead was marketed as a T&A slasher; – a style that we saw in abundance during the noughties. Generally, T&A slashers lack technical quality in their attempts at delivering terror, so they up the ante with nudity and silicone enhanced ‘babes’. Good examples of the phenomenon are, Strip Club Slasher, Porn Shoot Massacre, Blood and Sex Nightmare, Fatal Delusion, Sandy Hook Lingerie Party Massacre, Fatal Pulse and Massacre at Rocky Ridge. As I alluded to in my opening paragraph, I can’t help but assume that the growth of free-access online porn has stolen a percentage of the audience for titles that sell themselves on having a couple of extra nudity shots.
A group of girlfriends head off to the remote mansion of one of the troupe’s fathers for a weekend of crazy partying. Missy, the daughter of an over-zealous church member, promises that she will let her hair down and finally break the shackles that have been imposed on her by her incredibly strict mother. Excitement leads to disappointment when they learn that their ‘house of fun’ is actually located in a retirement community. The bad news gets worse when a hulking masked killer turns up with a large axe…
Whilst T&A slashers are my least favourite sub-category of our favourite sub-genre, I will never complete my mission of reviewing the entire pool of these flicks if I don’t go against my preferences from time to time. I’m reminded of something a girl I met in Kraków once told me, “Be more intelligent than the rest, without making it obvious”. Another suitable quote might be, “The smartest disguise is that of the clueless clown”. I mention these because, GGD is an interesting addition to the slasher collection and it’s one that may have a hidden layer.
I watched it straight after Most Likely To Die and whilst they are both modern slasher movies with slick productions, they are totally different beasts cinematically. MLTD spent a while expanding the complex identities of its unique personalities, whilst GGD rolls out the clichés without a second look. Directors Michael Hoffman and Aaron T. Wells have a ball with their cast of attractive bunnies and said bunnies carry the lengthy exposition parts comfortably. At 102 minutes, I was expecting the momentum to stagnate whilst watching the girls getting drunk and pulling off the predicted shenanigans, but the script has enough wit and endeavour to keep things moving. There’s a sub-plot about an adult porno/big-brother type website, which I initially thought was an unnecessary diversion. It leads to a house party sequence that includes a humorous (if misplaced) cameo from Ron Jeremy, tonnes of bikini-clad bimbos and an abusive wannabe Hugh Hefner with a face that you’d love to punch. With a crowbar. Thankfully, the killer turns up and puts an abrupt end to the decadence with his trusty hatchet. Due to the cameras that were capturing the boogieing hotties, some footage of the murders is posted online and we get to see our key players watch it, in jest, a short while later. The irony didn’t escape me that they were mocking the earlier massacre, whilst blissfully unaware that they’re next on the maniac’s list.
Eventually the killer turns up to take care of Missy and her pals, and begins picking them off one by one as they wander off to get up to mischief. Hoffman and Wells go all guns blazing and deliver some brutal murders and gratuitous gore. We get an antagonist dressed in a robe and cherub mask (nod to Valentine?) and there’s a few interesting set-ups, including the death of a valiant chica that I really felt deserved to escape the maniac’s clutches. It’s fair to say that 90% of the runtime sustains an ‘entertaining’ (but non threatening) tone, although the final twenty-minutes did deliver some really neat tension and a couple of scares. I mentioned earlier that these types of pictures are generally pretty shabby from a technical perspective, but that’s not the case with this one and the directors pull off some interesting stuff. Some other reviews that I have read criticised the mystery saying that it was too easy to guess who it was under the mask. In honesty though, I didn’t notice it to be worse (or better) than any other slasher/whodunit I’ve seen of late. One thing I will say is that I often complain about unlikeable characters in modern entries, but GGD managed to even make me root for the spoiled brat. That’s a real achievement.
Going back to the comparison with Most Likely to Die, for the best part of GGD, I was thinking that it lacked the intelligence in scripting and preferred ticking boxes over attempting MLTD’s more ambitious style of storytelling. Later though, I noticed the aforementioned ‘hidden layer’ and that GGD possibly included a subtle comment on modern voyeurism and the easy access to society’s ills via social media, which in effect makes them dangerously acceptable. Perhaps there was also a nod to parental relations and how there comes a time when padres need to accept generational differences. I also noticed a view on religious fanaticism and how certain ideologies have become outdated with the technologies and desires of modern society. Then again, maybe it’s just a silly slasher and I was overreaching when i noticed those depths…?
What I can be sure of is that Girl’s Gone Dead is an entertaining and fun entry that is as close as it gets to an eighties cheese flick without being an eighties cheese flick. It’s overlong; for sure. Actually, if they removed all the cuts away to Ron Jeremy and his chums, the film would work a damn site better. Still, I managed to remain hooked and I couldn’t ask for more than that. In reference to my comment on the fading appeal of exploitation pictures, it’s fair to say, if they’re this fun, there’s still a market for them. Oh and one last thing, I’ve proved many times on a SLASH above that the IMDB is an awful guide to slasher movies. Well this one has a rating of 3.5 on there! Stop the world, I want to get off…
Most Likely to Die 2015
Directed by: Anthony DiBlasi
Starring: Heather Morris, Jason Tobias, Tatum Miranda
Review by Luis Joaquín González
For me, the biggest mystery surrounding the slasher genre is how such a basic and straight forward formula has resulted in so few genuinely credible motion pictures. Of the 800 or so entries that have been produced, you can count the truly outstanding ones on your fingers. For movie watchers that aren’t slasherholics, there seems to be a thin middle ground and these flicks are either superb or trash-can worthy. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reasons why the category hosts so few exquisite inclusions, but I think a big part of it is that filmmakers often try to expand on the traditional template when there’s really no need to.
Most Likely to Die is refreshing because it’s a big(ger) budgeted effort that proves that you can still make a sharp and thoroughly entertaining movie by sticking to the guidelines. Instead of flamboyant recalibration of the nuts and bolts, Anthony DiBlasi has decided to polish the old ones and paint them in chrome – and it works
A group of youngsters arrange a get-together at the remote mansion of one of their friends to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of their graduation. As they begin to arrive, they notice that Ray – the house owner and a professional hockey player – is mysteriously absent. Still, they begin to catch-up on their achievements and celebrate their reunion. Little do they know that a brutal masked killer is watching them and before long they’re fighting for their lives…
When I first learned that DiBlasi was making a slasher movie I was extremely keen to see the net result because he’s a director that I have a lot of respect for. His previous features have shown a unique flair for mixing horror with strongly developed characters and I wondered how he’d get on with the more basic trappings of a stalk and slash flick. If there were any lingering doubts about his potential as a competent up and comer, he washes them away with MLTD, by staying true to the category’s principles without betraying his own vision. The film offers a wealth of intriguing set-ups that allow its players to transcend the usual stereotypes and this is most-evident in the choice of final girl; – a professional poker player with a self-destructive lack of trust. At first I wrote a note that the friendships looked unconvincing, but as the film progresses, we are given more insight on the complex relationships that exist between the former classmates and why some of them may have the motive to kill. Whilst I wouldn’t say that the mystery is outstanding or that the conclusion was a shock (it is in fact fairly underwhelming), it does add an extra layer to the tension of the marauding killer.
DiBlasi is wise to pay tribute to the slashers of old without making it obvious that he’s doing so. The film can be described as a mix of Terror Train, Pranks and Slaughter High, but it doesn’t attempt to hide the fact that it’s been filmed in 2015. We get a host of gimmicks that we’ll recognise from the classics including the killer putting a red X over the yearbook pictures of his victims and a subtle sub-plot of a prank that backfired. In time-honoured tradition, the opening scene includes a chase sequence and a (surprisingly) bloodless slaughter, but we don’t get to witness the antagonist for quite a while after. The in-between parts are spent unraveling the personalities of the school friends and there’s some interesting tweaks that bring them to life. What I liked about MLTD is that it breaks away from the ‘one by one they wander off to die’ chestnut, because the entire group are made aware fairly early that there’s an uninvited guest on site. This means that the script needs to be more creative in the way it strands its victims and puts them at the peril of their pursuer.
Our antagonist has a unique guise and he strikes with a ferocious brutality. There’s a really well set-up scene in an alleyway that provides suspense as the maniacal menace closes in on a trapped victim, smashing lightbulbs along the way, like we saw in both My Bloody Valentine and Terror Train. It would be an extreme exaggeration to call this a gore film, but there are some gruesome moments and an audacious kill with a hockey stick that’ll satisfy blood hounds. DiBlasi directs with confidence and draws pitch-perfect performances from an inexperienced cast. His choice of lighting for the second half of the picture is perfect and he delivers a vibrant combination of audio that hits more often than misses. Using the English National anthem for a kill scene was a masterstroke that I’m surprised didn’t come with an explanation of kind.
The lengthy attempts at dramatising the key players may be off-putting to those looking for a fast-paced slasher flick. It could also be said that the killings aren’t graphic enough for hardcore hounds, but you’d have to be hyper-critical to truly find much more fault with Most Likely To Die. Here we have a movie from a production team that made the right decisions: don’t waste budget on non-essential ingredients when all you really need is competent actors, a cool killer guise, some blood and a director with the ambition to succeed. Sometimes doing the basics to the best of your ability outshines an overload of creativity. This may not be a genre-defining movie, but it’s a worthy inclusion that should be a lesson to filmmakers looking to continue the legacy.