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!
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
aka Broken Skull
Directed by: Ricardo Islas
Starring: Stephanie Beaton, Johnny Areola, Dominic Capone
Review by Luisjo González
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! Can you believe it? A Slash above has been online for 10 years! This is our tenth birthday. I agree, there’s been some problems. The fact that I was in hospital a lot of that time, doesn’t help matters and whilst I’m the first to admit that el tiempo usually flies by, I’ve really felt this recent decade. A lot has been lost for me and I’ve definitely changed. No one ever told us that life was going to be easy.
Anyway, the major difference between the slasher cycle of today and the boom years of the early eighties is that it’s much easier to make a movie now. If you had the budget to produce a small feature then there’s not a genre less complicated than the traditional stalk and slash flick. Many of the hundreds of direct to video turkeys that have been released post-Scream haven’t even attempted to revitalise the age old formula, which makes it enticing that a fair majority of them still make a tidy profit. Being a self-confessed avid fan of the category, it’s great to find a poorly financed effort that actually looks to have been made with the inspiration to try something different. Headcrusher certainly carries a great deal of intrigue that warrants it to be seen by aficionados like myself. Despite being one of the few Hispanic-American or Latino cycle-entries, it also boasts a gore-filled reputation and a cameo from a blood-descendant of Al Capone playing a psychotic mobster.
After the credits have rolled, we see prolific scream queen (and all round nudity guarantee)) Stephanie Beaton straddling a soldier named John Ramsey (George Orsini) in a dimly lighted room. Adultery is a bad idea if the wife that you’re playing around with is ‘married to the mob’. Unfortunately for this randy couple, her husband just happens to be a sadistic gangster – and he’s just caught them in an inescapable situation. Before the Lothario has even had the chance to zip up his flies, the mob boss has strung up his flirtatious mistress, snapped a few of her fingers and strangled the last gasp of air from her lungs. It takes two to tango of course, so lover boy gets his head squished in a vice and gives us the explanation for the choice for the movie’s title. (Great brief gore shot!)
Twenty years later, a group of builders are renovating that same room, which has now become an abandoned basement. As the rest of the workers go to lunch, Manolo Santana (Kris Haines) continues digging until he discovers a broken skull lodged behind some re-laid brickwork. As he examines his bizarre find he suddenly begins smashing his head against the wall as if a mad spirit has possessed him. His friend Miguel – who was eating his lunch nearby – rushes to help his workmate, but by the time he arrives Manolo’s head has been crushed to a bloody pulp. Sometime later, whilst being prepared for an autopsy, Manolo’s body re-animates and goes on a bloody rampage. Dressed from head to toe in army surplus garb and sporting a gore-splashed gas mask, the maniac begins killing off the gangsters that were involved with the soldier’s slaughter from the prologue. Manolo’s daughter Sol (Paola Valdes), his friend Miguel (John Arreola) and an inquisitive doctor (Nancy Adams) all begin an investigation to try and discover what strange occurrence has lead to this gruesome massacre…
Headcrusher is possibly the most gratuitous exploitation effort that I’ve seen in 2021. Perhaps you could say that it vaguely resembles the works of filmmakers like Tim Ritter and the Polonias. Richard Islas does look to have a sprinkling of talent and he seems to enjoy pushing the boundaries of what he can display. He worked prolifically after this debut, but since 2018, he’s been quiet. If I had to make a critcism of his style, I’d say that he frames shots poorly and this copy is badly lighted in a large majority of sequences. Make no mistake about it though, this is one gore filled excursion into exploitation that is literally overflowing with blood and extreme scenarios. One guy gets his ‘little friend’ bitten of whilst being ‘pleasured’ by his girlfriend in a scene that’s both painstakingly gruesome and made me cringe at the thought of it happening to me. Another fellow is kneecapped and then squished by a train, a couple of others get their heads crushed and the torture scenes in the pre-credits are fairly hard hitting in how they set a grim tone. Islas manages to get away with the cheap gore effects as they’re only on screen for an extremely brief time. He provides just enough splatter to allow your mind’s eye to grab the full extremity of his intention.
The major problem with Headcrusher is that a lot of things were thrown in wholly unnecessarily, when the feature would have probably played better without the attempts at a ‘shock factor’. There’s a gay sex scene, which seems only to have been included to incorporate homosexual antics. I must mention the Cambodian torture-vixen, who is a female character so inexplicably bizarre that she makes Elvira look like the spectacled church girl that lives next door. There’s also a brief sub plot concerning a government ‘Jacobs Ladder-type’ conspiracy that was immensely intriguing, but was left simmering on the back burner, which is a shame as it deserved a decent conclusion. I really was engrossed in that idea, but it just disappears as the runtime grew.
Although Headcrusher does feel somewhat like a petrol sports car that has been filled with diesel and never manages to hit top speed, the good points just about outweigh the bad. Watching Dominique Capone play a mob boss, when his relative was the most famous gangster in the history of the mafia was a neat touch – even more so when you see how similar Dominique looks to Big Al. Although the dramatics will never be mind blowing in a film of this level, these guys certainly tried their hardest and they deserve credit just for that. Having a Hispanic final girl, even though she wasn’t Meryl Streep, certainly made me happy. I can think of worse ways to waste eighty minutes and it’s certainly better than Don’t Look In The Cellar. I’m not sure about recommending it, because it’s the Adam Sandler of slashers. What I mean by that is, you’ll either love it or hate it. I actually like Adam Sandler, he’s a libertarian like me and knowing that made me start liking his movies, when previously, I didn’t. One last thing I must mention, Stephanie Beaton would get it if I ever met her. She disappeared for sixteen years, (probably being a mum), but I was told she’s got a few projects in the pipeline by a director friend of mine.
The Tallaght Chainsaw Massacre 2005
Directed by: Ken Johnson
Starring: Ken Johnson, Julio Mandeas, Frank Sinister
Review by Luisjo González
When it comes to rare slasher movies, I AM THE DADDY! If you disagree and think I’m a loser in terms of rarity in the slasher genre, I want you to write me a letter explaining how and post it to: I don’t give a s**t, lick my ballsack, goofy hijo de puta cabrón, Jupiter’s moon Europa. 666 Satan.
Are we ready to get started now? Ok. This movie is not to be confused with Texas chainsaw massacre, even though they’re both as famous as each other😂. In honesty, this one is in fact so rare, it barely even exists. Try typing it in Google or IMDB. With one of the biggest and most popular blogs in slasher cyberspace, I speak to a lot of directors and many genre gurus. I told one of the slasher ‘names’ that I’m positive you peeps know, about Tallaght Massacre and he said it didn’t exist. In fact, he accused me of making it all up. I can’t tell you more about him, because you’d know who he is.(He will know) I can say, many of you associate with him, whether it be interacting via his Facebook page or contacting him another way. Well, I know that he checks a Slash above, so I ask him, how do you feel now muthaf**ker? You’ve been tangoed! Haters gonna hate and all that.
Two youths are pursued through the forest by a masked, chainsaw-brandishing killer. They’re desperate to escape, but the maniac seems as smart as they are
When my mum and dad split up when I was a nipper and before I moved to London, we lived for a little while in sunny Ireland. It’s a country that I love very much and it’s one of the greatest nations on planet earth. Spain and Ireland have a long history in conjunction and during the days of the Armada, Españoles we’re looking for people who understood the weather of the British isles and hated the English to join them in an invasion. Ireland stepped up and many Spaniards settled in the country in the following years. The term ‘black Irish’ refers to dark haired Irishmen that hail from Hispanic heritage.
Are you aware that 62.3% of Hollywood actors have Irish heritage? Robert Dinero, Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Clint Eastwood, Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, practically every famous actor has the gene. I had a DNA test myself, thinking it’d come back 100% latin, but I’ve actually got a tiny bit of Irish somewhere in my bloodline too. Why do I tell you all that? Well, Tallaght is a city near Dublin and this is in fact, the first Irish slasher flick ever made.
To cut directly to the chase, this is not even low budget filmmaking. This is no budget filmmaking and it’s truly a back garden project. At 35 minutes, it certainly doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, but what was truly shocking was that it actually looked somewhat professional. I was indeed flabbergasted by some of the camera placement and the scoring is really effective, sounding a lot like The 1997 PlayStation 1 game, Resident Evil. It could of course mean that they stole it from that soundtrack, but either way, it worked well.
There’s not much plot involved in the synopsis and I recall about seven lines of dialogue, but the movie is pretty fun and it packs a few surprises. There’s no gore of course, but that’s likely because the budget for this entire production was about €10. Interestingly enough, I watched this after Don’t Look In The Cellar and whilst the people in this short are indeed absolute rank amateurs, I wasn’t getting frustrated watching them as I was during the aforementioned flick.
I can’t really say much else, because it is far too short and there’s a twist that I don’t want to ruin. I understand that this might upset you because you think you’ll never be able to find it, but I did, and I recommend to keep an eye on YouTube and rare movie sites. Not a great movie, but I was entertained all the same. If I had to chose a negative, I’d say I prefer watching buxom women getting stalked, but that’s a minor and I think the whole thing worked in a very fun way. The Mrs liked it too. Why only one star you ask? Well to give it more would be criminal, but it’s not sh**t and it works for what it is.
Don’t Look In The Cellar 2008
Directed by: Dennis Devine
Starring: Laura Artolachipi, Shevaun Kasti, Tara Shayne
Review by Luisjo González
You know, being a critic especially a slasher movie critic is a f**king tough job. I don’t get paid, I’m not making money from adverts and I have to watch some f**king s**t to make sure you guys and dolls don’t ruin your evenings. I never usually complain, but this weekend saw me sit down in front of Don’t Look In the Cellar and it was worse than getting arrested. When you break the law and get caught, they put you in a cell by yourself for as long as 24 hours. You have nothing to read, only one phone call and time moves slower than a disabled tortoise.
Dennis Devine directed this one and if you recognise that name, it’s likely because I’ve previously written about him. He was in the hot-seat for a couple of pictures that I’ve already covered. His debut was the haunted-camera slasher, Fatal Images. He finished the eighties with the decent heavy metal-flick, Dead Girls. He also made the ambitious and thus far unreleased, Bloodstream. Interestingly enough, I used to speak with his filmmaking partner, fellow-owner of his former studio, Cinematrix cinema. Of course, I’m talking about slasher fan, author/director and all-round cool guy, Steven Jarvis. We chatted for a few years and became friends. He sent me some slashers to review, but because of work, it took me a while to get through them. When I emailed him three times for his address to send them back in late 2017 and early 2018, he never replied. It’s now 2021 and I’ve heard nada. I’m disappointed, because I liked him and wasn’t sure what I did to make him ignore me. I may have upset him in one of my comments on his work, but I’m never trying to be personal when I explain how I felt from a movie experience. It’s just my honest opinion on whether I enjoyed what they put together. Some of you peeps might not like what I write, but that’s your decision. I try to describe how the average viewer may feel whilst watching a production. If I’m critical, it’s not a direct cuss on their intelligence/personality or life as a member of the homo species. I suppose, you readers can see that I pull no punches in my mission statement to give you a legitimate opinion on what I view.
Anyway, Mr Devine’s downward career trajectory needs to be discussed. He went from making some exciting slasher movies in a back-garden Argento type way, to becoming just another David Sterling hack. He was a talented and energetic filmmaker, but he began knocking out dime-store flicks with minimal quality that received no end of negative publicity. David Sterling, of course, is the guy that refused to fund $20 for a prop that was key to one of his stories. He’s produced almost 150 movies, including Camp Blood, Dead 7 and Maniacal. Interestingly enough, he wasn’t involved with Boris Pavlovsky’s Granny from 1999.
A group of college students sneak into an old asylum on Halloween. One by one they encounter Smiley, a hooded killer who was once a patient there…
So basically, we’re back in the galaxy where abandoned places still have running electricity, zero cobwebs and fresh food. I would love to meet the billionaire that pays the bills for important story locations from this film, Doom Asylum and Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming. In the dimension where this story takes place though, an asylum is identical to a normal house in suburbia. Don’t expect to see wards, sterilisers, medical tables, hospital beds, tablets, stethoscopes, medicines, doctors, surgeons and the like. Here we get ordinary kitchens, cupboards and bedrooms just like the place you live within. I didn’t see any nurses or psychiatrists, but I saw a cat toy next to the front door in the living room. In fact, I was unaware mental institutions even had living rooms. I was in a brain injury place for fifteen months after my accident, and they’re like asylums. I can report that it didn’t have cats, salons, a small family-size kitchen and bedrooms. It makes me ask, how do they treat mental health in this galaxy? You just get placed in some random house for a while? How is that meant to solve your issues?
Allegedly this particular sanctuary for the psychologically sick was closed down 10 years ago after two murders. We get to see these killings in the pre-credits. One girl is stabbed three times in the gut and we view her lifeless body splattered in blood. Her buddy is presumably dispatched off screen, because she was warned not to go in the basement, which she ignores, and then we see Smiley (the antagonist) splash her crimson all over the wall. What’s the problem with that, you ask? Well, in the first scene after the titles, both characters, same names and everything, are the main players in the plot once again, even though we just saw them get splatted(?). We’re even later told they left the house alive, but that’s not what we witnessed. If it was an urban legend and they’re not dead, why was the asylum closed down? Also, if this psychiatric refuge is no longer open, why are there still two patients there? Why isn’t it surrounded with a 6ft fence? Why is there no demolition team knocking it down? If the pre-credits stuff that I mentioned earlier never happened, why did one of the asylum members recognise the same girls that we saw hacked up in the opening? Answers on a postcard please…??? I’ve got two degrees, including a master’s in evolution, but maybe I’m not smart enough for this crap. I’m just too stupid to handle a killer who’s mask is covered in blood when he chops someone’s hand off, but in he next scene, it’s totally spotless. The whole premise of the story is that the kids are trapped in this place and can’t get out. No escape! Well, we can clearly see handles on the windows and doors, but they only try one of them.
Aside from the fact that my six (nearly seven) year-old, daughter could write a more logical screenplay, the script is only the beginning of the problems here. Only one member of the cast can actually perform a bit and the girls are all unattractive and flat chested. The blonde lead is a train-wreck of a human being and the most horrendous ‘actress’ in the 4.5 billion years of planet earth’s history. You could beat the speed of light, go back 300,000 años, grab a Neanderthal, f**k that; you can go further in the past,1.5 million years and grab a Homo Erectus, put him in front of the camera and I bet he’d give a more convincing performance than that blonde, blue-eyed hag. Also, I spent the entire runtime trying to work out if the other mental patient that wasn’t the killer, was a girl or a guy? It had a female voice, but was bigger built than Mariusz Pudzianski and had a bizarre man’s mullet for a hairstyle. I noticed that one of the chicas (the only good looking one who can actually act) had an accent, so I searched on IMDB and found out she’s an Andaluza like me. I wrote to her on Instagram, but she hasn’t seen it yet. I’ll update the blog when she does.
IMDB says this feature had a budget of $1,200,000 – WHAT??? What the f**k did they spend that cash on, cocaine? Did they have a huge session in the basement and call 50 prostitutes? Let’s break this down to the sum of its parts. Let’s predict that they rented two cameras for a three week shoot, you’re looking at €60,000. The cast are mainly amateurs and they’re working for David Sterling, so let’s say they got $25,000 each. That’s £400,000 for all of them. The whole thing was 100% shot in some kind of house in Los Angeles, so let’s say they rented said abode for 504 hours, (although it likely belonged to Dennis Devine), $100,000. So we’re missing about half a million dollars for f**k’s sake. On the plus side, there’s a twist that I didn’t guess and a huge number of slaughters. Fans of bad movie giggles will like the part where one guy gets his hand chopped off and it kills him stone dead! You can clearly see his fist hidden in his sleeve😂.
I have zero idea why Dennis Devine still makes this tosh; it’s hardly going to lead him to Hollywood. You can mock me, by saying, wouldn’t I do the same thing if I was given the opportunity, and I’ll answer like this. Give me a budget of $1,200,000 and I would not hire one of these flat chested,
talentless strumpets. I’d also retake each scene multiple times until I got something that looked at least part realistic. My script would have concrete logic and a fearsome killer. If David Sterling is reading and thinks I’m all talk, well you know where my email address is located, try me… I really didn’t enjoy this rubbish. It’s basically a load of average looking, flat chested crap actors, one better looking Andaluza girl and they’re all quoting horrendous dialogue in David Sterling’s house. This film is really the lowest of the low and Dennis Devine, a director that’s usually full of energy, shoots like he’s overdosed on 800mg tablets of tamazipan or smoked grade A heroin. Don’t pick up this one, brothers and sisters. Skip it. I’m off to the mental hospital to have a check up. I posted a picture of it above on the right. 😂😂😂
Directed by: Ash Smith
Starring: Shanda Lee Munson, Summer Sloan LePann, Brandon O’Dell
Review by Luis Joaquín González
Morning A Slash abovers…. Like Jason Voorhees… I’M BACK!!
I owe all of you, each and every one, a sincere apology. I had a huge number – 177,000 regular readers and other visitors – at my peak and I conversed with a lot of you peeps. My blog was so popular, some motherfucker stole my web address www. aslahabove .com, puta! If I find him, I’ll chain him to a chair and make him watch Curse Of Halloween for 24 hours on repeat with tooth picks holding his eye lids open. Anyway, basically, what happened was, I work in IT sales and I’m a pretty successful-ish guy in my industry. Anyway, August 2016, I was promoted to sales manager and I also got into a new romantic relationship around the time (I have two divorces and four kids from four different women) and my new Mrs wasn’t a horror movie fan. So, whilst in the old days I would watch a movie in the evening and write a review on the train to work or at lunch, it became an incredibly busy period for me and there was no ‘slasher time’. During the evening, I was watching normal cinema, such as mafia movies, romantic comedies and dramas et al with my Bulgarian new girl. (I learned Bulgarian too and one of my kids is hers. That means I now speak 7 languages).
Then, to make matters worse, in November 2018, I was a passenger in a tragic car crash that saw two of my friends instantly killed and one died the next day. Due to the shock, I went into a diabetic coma (I’m type 1 with insulin) and the doctors told my mum and brother (in England) that IF I recover (and that was a BIG if), I’d be a total vegetable. I wouldn’t be able to move, think or speak. There was an idea to turn off the life support, but my mum knew I’d fight. I recovered with a brain injury and I had to learn to walk/speak again. If you check the photo to the right, that’s me with Oliverio from my family, when I was recovering in 2020, looking pale and rough. I’m slightly different after the crash; but I’m coping well and getting back to my best. By degree I’m an evolutionary biologist and much like Richard Dawkins, I’m completely agonistic and don’t believe in things with zero proof. That means religion, luck, ghosts, aliens, karma etc. I realised however, that life can be incredibly short and I want to leave this world with an impact on our favourite slasher sub-genre. A Slash above of course, is the perfect way for me to achieve that.
After 36 months I was released and I came home to Spain. I have some amnesia, but I am ready to rock and roll once more! I’m back working again and feeling and looking good. The Bulgarian is in her country with my son and I’m with a Romanian beauty and she likes horror movies, so these lifestyle changes mean I’m back for A SLASH ABOVE PART II: The return of Luisjo 😂 . I’m also thinking of a YouTube channel so you can see my handsome chiselled features, but that’s in the future. We’ll see how the website goes first. I doubt I’ll be able to go back to posting reviews once a week, but we’ll see how things go, before we think too far into the future. Are there still slasher fans breathing or will I post reviews to nobody????? Let’s see…
I was actually a bit excited about re-visiting Paranoid. Whilst it’s not a film that I can really remember (last watch was 21 years ago), I’ve always held a subtle fondness for it, because it reminds me of a unique time. I was a slasher fan before the release of Scream and even though I was only a teenager, I knew that during the early nineties, this genre had become obscure and unpopular.
This was the general theme, up until 1996 when Craven’s blockbuster (the aforementioned Scream) became the mystical ritual that awoke slasher flicks from their slumber like the living dead from Andrea Bianchi’s Burial Ground. Video stores were once again full of hand-drawn covers with cheesy titles and almost every week I’d come across a different slasher to take home with me. It makes me sad that the MPEG generation will never experience the joys of hunting through shelves for cinematic trash, the way we did back then. I spoke to an a SLASH abover recently that had downloaded his entire collection of 400 slasher films from portals in a few days. I’m conscious of sounding like an elderly bore, but for me, finding them so easily, removes the most enjoyable part of being a genre enthusiast.
Titles like Final Scream, Camp Blood, Cherry Falls and Christina’s House were amongst the last of the slashers that could be discovered by rummaging through rental stores, so I’ll always have a soft spot for them, no matter their credibility. Whilst I didn’t recall much about Paranoid, I am quite sure that I wasn’t over impressed with it all those years ago.
A vicious serial killer has been stalking cities of America and ruthlessly butchering students. The media have dubbed the maniac, ‘The Conscience Killer’, due to the haunting letters he leaves at the scene of each crime. Whilst a group of teenagers are preparing to graduate college, it seems that the fearsome psychopath has chosen their remote town…
Most of the entries from the early noughties are so similar to Scream that they lose some allure due to their lack of innovation. In that respect, Paranoid is no different, but where it does distinguish itself is that it’s a true amalgamation of qualities. If you were to take something hideous like rotten milk and mix it with something mind blowing like Tovaritch Russian Vodka, then and only then would you achieve a combination that might be considered similar to how hard Paranoid is to give an accurate review. It’s a jumble of elements that combine to leave a runtime that plays like a date with a beautiful bipolar schizophrenic.
It’s clear to see that first and last time director Ash Smith was keen to fill his debut movie with ‘va-va-voom’ and alongside cinematographer Keith Holland, they unleash some energetic and audacious shooting styles. Whilst there are viewers that find more credibility in subtle lens placement, I’m a sucker for visual exuberance and I appreciated the vibrancy. The killer looks suspiciously identical to the antagonist from Cherry Falls, but it looks to be coincidental as they were both released the same year. If I am going to chose one director here to accuse of imitation, it certainly not Falls’ Geoffrey Wright. We get a couple of ominous sequences of the psycho watching news reports of his murders in a candle-lit room, and they reminded me of the deeply ominous tone from Goodnight Godbless because there was an extremely similar scene in that film too. Robert Albertson’s scoring for these parts is unique and threatening and even though I’m not sure how much of it was strategically planned, the use of audio (and the lack of during the kill scenes) is surprisingly adept. In fact there’s a lot of stuff here that really adds a layer of creepiness to proceedings and Smith displayed a flair for the macabre in various places. He even manages to pull off suspense with two terrific set-pieces that excel with some superb antagonist placement and blocking.
Shanda Lee Munson deserves kudos for the range she showed as our final girl, even if she fades on some of the meatier ‘acting’ parts. Also, I’m not sure if it was deliberate, but wardrobe suitably dressed her down when she was depressed and dolled her up when her attitude was more positive, which certainly (at least subconsciously) improved our interpretation of the plot. Sadly the rest of the cast were far less impressive and assisted in demonstrating the aforementioned lack of cinematic balance. The script has some neat ideas to generate momentum (the whole ‘conscious killer’ back story was intriguing), but it loses impact with it’s ropey continuity. There are quite a few examples of lackadaisical screenwriting, but the ones that stood out, were the police brushing off a credible report of the maniac’s whereabouts (he had just openly chased our key players with a chainsaw!). Then we get a late plot development about the protagonist’s sibling that makes little sense with what went before it. It’s like they expected viewers not to remember anything we’d seen previously for longer than five minutes. Look, slasher movies don’t need to be intellectual philosophy, but they should, at least, remain logical.
I mentioned the creative photography above because it really made an impression, but the same couldn’t be said about the editing, which was the worst thing about the picture. I was reminded of the saying, “Don’t run before you can walk”, because there was a lot of flashy chop cuts that came at the expense of a linear flow that would’ve best benefited the story. It’s a shame because I really thought Paranoid deserved better, but it became stagnated and cluttered in the editing suite. The overall limpness also had an effect on the conclusion to the mystery, which could have hit us like ‘wow – really!!!’, but instead it just feels like, ‘ohhhhhh…really…. ho hum…’
Paranoid reminded me of my first car, which was an Mk1 Ford Fiesta 1100. I put an XR2 engine in it, slapped on a body kit, performance suspension, a roll-cage, tinted windows and a cherry bomb exhaust. I only had it on the road six-weeks and then the gearbox and clutch totally failed. I took it to the garage, he took a good look and noticed that rust was eating away the wheel-arches and the floor under the driver’s seat. As a slasher movie, Paranoid is exactly the same as that Fiesta. Looks good, but it’s rusty and rotten…
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…
School’s Out 1999
aka Schrei Denn Ich Werde Dich Toten
Directed by: Robert Sigl
Starring: Katharina Wackernagel, Niels-Bruno Schmidt, Nils Nelleßen
Review by Luis Joaquín González
In my review of Amerikill, I made an unforgivable error. I said that it was strange that there are so many killer clowns and hardly any psycho jesters in the slasher genre. Slaughter High got a well-deserved mention, but I failed to acknowledge School’s Out, which includes arguably the most slasheristic jester disguise of them all. I hope that you find it in your hearts to forgive me…?
I picked this one up back in the early 2000s on an Amazon multi-buy with Party Crasher, The Catcher and Carnage Road. There’s another German slasher called School’s Out Forever that I will likely review soon, but to the best of my knowledge, it has nothing else in common with this. Whilst researching, I found out that this was originally a TV production, which I’d never have guessed, because aside from a lack of gore, it looks plush enough to have been a cinematic release. I’m quite surprised by its lack of popularity amongst slasher completists and that it has picked up only a few mixed reviews. With this in mind, I thought it was about time that I set the record straight with a gloves-off autopsy here on a SLASH above…
We begin with a young girl heading along a dark road and listening to music, which immediately brought to mind the opening of Urban Legend. She even comes across a creepy looking stranger whose car has broken down just to confirm the homage. Jessica slows down to offer assistance to the incapacitated driver, but comes to her senses and speeds off when he tries opening her door. As she heads along the road, her cellular phone rings and the voice quickly identifies himself as the man she just left in a layby. He admits that he has her number because it’s painted on the side (she’s driving her father’s taxi) and pleads again for a ride into town. The mystery caller gives his best Scream ‘creepy mutter’ impression, but it doesn’t prevent the foolish youngster from turning around and returning to the scene…
Next up we meet a group of students that are going to stay over at their campus to celebrate graduation. Nina has recently broken up with her boyfriend and that’s just one of a number of delicate complexities that surround the relationships of the troupe. As they begin to party through the night, it soon becomes apparent that a maniac that was responsible for a massacre on the site a decade earlier has broken out of a local asylum. Their worst fears are realised when a masked killer begins slicing through the revellers with the same weapon that the escapee used all those years ago – a large pair of scissors…
School’s Out is a film that’s split into three distinct acts and the best way that I can review it for you is by describing how each one delivered varying moods. For the first thirty minutes or so, I was struggling to adapt to the tone, which was mainly due to the most unconvincing dubbing since The Blazing Ninja and some peculiar lines that had been awkwardly translated from the German script. There were a host of conversations that sounded unusual and noticeably peculiar, so I would have preferred to have viewed a subtitled copy. On top of that, the fact that it had started with the aforementioned elements that were clearly lifted from Urban Legend and Scream meant that my initial impression was that this was an extremely poor European rendition of its American brethren. We were given a few scenarios that attempted to bring the key players to life, but the staggered flow of the klutzy dialogue meant that I couldn’t buy into what I was seeing. With so little to keep me engaged, I began to fidget and lose interest whilst waiting for the action to commence.
When the killer gets to work though, the pace begins to tighten, which is mainly due to a couple of splendid decisions from director, Robert Sigl. Never has the inside of a school looked so gothic and he traps his characters amongst terrific backdrops, including an ominous spiral staircase and a room that’s filled with mannequins and tarpaulin maps. Without any gore, the crew rely on sharp editing and frantic movement to bring the kill scenes to life and there’s a tense moment when a fleeing bunny tries to grab the assailant’s weapon whilst he’s temporarily immobilised. Another notable sequence sees a victim slaughtered whilst her friend looks on through an air vent and there’s a fairly tight mystery that will keep you unsure of your choice of cast member that’s under the mask. I mentioned above that this is the most ‘slasheristic’ jester guise of those I’ve featured on a SLASH above and with a red mask and period costume it’s hard to disagree with that statement. Sadly, I also think it’s the weakest of the three; – because the plastic look of the visor is at odds with the rest of the attire. Amerikill and Slaughter High did it better for me.
The third and final part of School’s Out is my favourite and its authenticity allows the film to overcome allegations of being a complete Scream clone. Our heroine Nina and one of her friends survive the school massacre but they do not believe that the Police have pinned it on the correct suspect. We get some effective dialogue scenes that open-up new layers to the puzzle and they all lead to a final confrontation back on the campus that’s staged well enough to build drama. It’s unusual for a slasher to go for an aftermath plot-branch and I liked the way that the script didn’t push itself into corners or run up blind alleys. Nina makes for a subtlety appealing heroine, if again, let down by the scripting; whilst the motive, when revealed, is totally ‘out there’ but that’s pretty much par for the course.
Even if it may be a bit long-winded in places, School’s Out is a satisfying slasher film that has some slick embellishments. If I could track down a subtitled copy, I’d give it an extra half-star, but as it is, it’s still worth the effort of checking out. It was followed by an equally enjoyable sequel that has, strangely, become almost impossible to track down. On another note,I just noticed I’ve posted this on the weekend after Brexit. As a Spanish/Irishman that lives in the UK, perhaps reviewing a German slasher could be considered a political statement of kind…? Then again, perhaps not…