Blog Archives

Savage Lust 1989 Review

Savage Lust 1989

aka Deadly Manor

Directed by: José Ramón Larraz

Starring: Liz Hitchler, Claudia Franjul, Jerry Kernion

125436536673

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

This total obscurity came from the hands of Jose Ramón Larraz, a Spanish filmmaker most famous for his exploitation work during the seventies. Amongst his back-catalogue is Vampyres, a gothic rarity that to this day 74747838738389984983remains a cult classic. He also made a very good stalk and slash mystery called, Edge of the Axe in 1987. Unlike Axe, which was mostly an European production, Lust saw him accept directorial duties on US soil during the cycle’s dying days.7474874894849494

Opinions that I’ve seen and heard on this are split, with some generally positive tributes being mixed with harsh negativity. Larraz’s previous achievements have allowed him to build something of a hero status amongst underground film fans and I wasn’t sure whether that had contributed to the praise that I had seen posted about on the web. Keeping that in mind, I decided to push my Spanish patriotic loyalties to one side and focus on the film as I would any other…

Six youngsters head out on a camping trip deep into the wilderness where one of them knows of a beautiful lake. On the drive through the long winding roads, the group lose their way and pick up a mysterious hitchhiker that says he knows how to get to the area that they’re seeking. As the warm summer day gives way to a stormy night 8747847843843989844sky, the gang decides that they better find some shelter for the night. As they search the woodland for a place to settle, they come across an eerie derelict mansion shrouded by the darkness of the surrounding trees. Curiosities arise when they discover a car-wreck statue in the front garden that looks like some kind of bizarre shrine. On closer exploration of the premises they discover coffins in the basement and an array of photos of a beautiful woman. Although they feel uneasy, the weather has become unbearable outside and they realise that the only option is to stay for the night. Before long a masked psycho begins to brutally murder the kids one by one. But what is the reason for these ruthless unprovoked murders?7478478489438393

I remember when Andrij Shevchenko signed for Chelsea FC for a massive fee and fans of rival teams like myself were quaking in our boots at the thought of the former European Footballer of the year being added to their ranks. Upon his arrival though, it soon became apparent that his days of glory were long behind him and it was almost painful to watch a former legend struggling to adapt to the quick pace of UK football. I mention this because I had trouble believing that Savage Lust was the work of a filmmaker that had previously been touted as one of the most creative in exploitation cinema. For the first twenty minutes we cut from one flat and boring long-range shot to the next and the camera literally doesn’t move at all. It got so bad that you could hear characters speaking before they walked past the lens and then they would just simply stroll out of shot before the obligatory cut. I mean, they didn’t even zoom in on anyone! By 1989, when this began production, even shot on video flicks were using a dolly track or steadicam; but here it felt like Larraz just couldn’t be bothered to do anything other than point the camera at the 7487487487484894actors. He even seemed to perform that menial task from as far away as humanly possible and with the flair of a road sweeper with a hangover.

If there’s a total lack of energy in the photography, then hiring a cast that are so wooden that they could camouflage in a timber yard certainly wasn’t going to help. One girl yelps, “I saw a woman’s face in a white mask at the window” like she’s asking for more milk in her coffee. Did they even bother giving these guys auditions? They stroll around the dilapidated house spouting lines so ignorant that you want to flinch away from the screen in disgust and at one point, I caught myself reading the small print on a crisp packet, because I was so intensely bored by the antics going on in front of me. In the time that it took to order, wait for delivery and then demolish a large pizza with two cans of Tyskie, no one got killed and whilst I appreciate that a good amount of mystery was built around the contents of the spooky 7848748734874387487484984hacienda, it was done at the pace of a queue at a funeral.

The killer eventually gets to work and begins slashing his way through the youngsters, but any suspense is ruined by the fact that on the copy that I had, I could barely see anything. If you’ve ever been in a pitch black room and tried to locate a darkly coloured object, you will have probably had more success than trying to see what’s going on during the kill scenes here. Lighting rigs are expensive and it’s understandable that pictures like this that are made on tiny budgets may struggle to afford perfect illumination. The likes of Sledgehammer and City in Panic have 674674783783873989833managed to overcome this with a touch of creative thinking though, so I wonder why they couldn’t have done so here..?

I’m disappointed by Savage Lust because it had the chance to be a lot more. The killer’s motive is superb and there’s a really dark, gothic and mysterious tone running rampant throughout the picture. Chuck on top of that a couple of voluptuous chicas, some slick art-direction, a creepy killer guise and this should easily be a four-star picture. The lack of motivation from the filmmakers is too evident though and you’re left asking yourself why they even bothered. A job worth doing and all that, right?77437837838838893

There’s not too much left to say, except that I wondered if this had been jinxed by a troubled production? It felt like there were two screenwriters that had never met, because how else can you explain that in one moment we get awesome dialogue about houses being haunted by evil energy and then in the next we are given lines that would embarrass a ten year old? I’d be interested in hearing if anyone has any information on this. Oh and I just realised that I 7474874389389393haven’t even mentioned the score, which seemed to have been put together freestyle on a Casio keyboard in thirty seconds flat.

Savage Lust does at least include a deep-rooted moral to its story. If ever you’re out in the woods and you discover an ‘abandoned’ house that has coffins in the basement, strange occult signatures garnishing the walls and human’s scalps lying around freely on the mantelpiece, then it’s a good idea NOT to just ignore these signs and think that they’re ‘inspired’ décor. Instead you should realise someone with a severe mental impediment must be nearby and it’s a good idea to get in your car and head for somewhere else… on the double!

I am afraid that I just can’t see where all that positivity on the WWW stems from. I gave up about forty-minutes in to this and slept uninterrupted for nine-hours. When I woke up fully refreshed in the morning, I put it on again and had to fight against nodding off for a second time. I recommend that you stick with Edge of the Axe…

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√√

Gore√

Final Girl √

RATING:securedownload (1)a-slash-above-logo-211

787587548748484984

.

The Collector 2009 Review

The Collector 2009

Directed by: Marcus Dunstan

Starring: Josh Stewart, Andrea Roth, Juan Fernández

6367367328727828782

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

When Saw was released almost a decade ago, a lot of horror websites had billed it as a macabre slasher movie, 9848747848748934983983but then after it hit screens sometime later, it turned out not to be a slasher flick at all. Its surprising success, and that of the multitude of copycats that followed, allowed the birth of a new sub genre, which was affectionately named, torture porn. The differences in structure between torture porn and that of our favourite category are small, but obvious enough that director Marcus Dunstan could merge the two together for this nerve-jangling cross-breed 984874984984393093903from 2009.

Whereas Saw and its brothers are big on slash, they are generally low on stalk, but The Collector fixes that by giving us a masked menace that imposes himself on the audience as would a Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. His lack of vocal characterisation and background development is straight out of an old skool classic, but he utilises the tools of murder that we find more generally in modern horror.

An ex-con that is determined to help his wife pay off a debt to some ruthless gangsters, plans a burglary at his new employer’s country home. He is unaware however that a maniacal killer has also targeted the family, and has 8747478483893983893set up deadly traps and devices to fulfil his lust for murder.

I must confess that Marcus Dunstan had not been a name that I had initially recognised until I was informed that he had written the screenplays to parts IV, V and VI of the Saw franchise. The intention here was to set this up as a prequel to that series, however the content owners declined and it proved to be the right decision. The mystery surrounding the identity of the antagonist, much as in Halloween, is perhaps one of the strongest things about this story, and it gives the villain a boosted fear factor. For a hardened horror veteran such as myself, it’s unusual that there is a feature that can both keep my eyes transfixed in tension and force me to recoil at the gore that I’m witnessing on screen. I can truly say that I found this to 874784874398389398393be much scarier than anything that I have witnessed within more recent gore led flicks.

What we have here is an exhilarating motion picture and it’s one that bursts with suspense and energy. Much of that is thanks to the fact that we are guided through the mayhem by an un-archetypal hero; a criminal who redeems his unlawful motives by striving to assist the victims that he comes across throughout the bloody death trap. There’s a point in the runtime where he could escape the minefield of blood-letting, but he returns; not for selfish reasons, but because a young girl that reminds him of his daughter, is still trapped inside the house. The pair then team up against the menace 874784874387438748948943983and work in tandem to survive, which drives our hope that they can conquer the assailant.

Dunstan directs the action impeccably and the camera at times feels like a webcam that is giving us a sneak view inside the production of a snuff video. We see close-ups of colourful spiders in the opening, which turn out to be not just artistic flair, but symbolic of the antagonist’s modus operandi and predatory instinct for trapping and executing his prey. There’s heaps of goo splattered throughout the numerous kill scenes and as a nod to the stalwarts of the genre, they even include the ‘have sex and die’ rule. One youngster loses his fingers, before falling into a floor laden with bear traps, whilst another is catapulted onto a wall of spikes. Perhaps the most gruesome moments are saved for our hero, and he suffers constantly when pitted against the maniac inside the house. Unlike the heroines that we have seen conquer seemingly unstoppable villains time and again, we feel that mano a mano the pair are on an almost equal footing without the deadly appliances, so we are constantly anticipating the moment that they come face to face. 874874873893983983983When that finally happens, it doesn’t disappoint and somehow the fight scenes seem all the more realistic due to this.

The screenplay does suffer from a lack of logic somewhat in places. Whilst our killer is mysterious and ominous, it’s physically, practically and financially impossible that he could rig the house the way that he did in order to achieve his goals. It’s true that cinema is a form of entertainment that should be allowed to push the boundaries of reality, but the story aimed for continuity in so many other places that the key aspect of the horror flies in the face of all that was built up around it. Still this is hardly a big complaint and it is one that is easily forgiven when we are biting our nails and wondering what could come next. I felt that Josh Stewart’s Arkin was outstanding as the lead character and Fernández brought so much to the bogeyman’s role 87467478438743874984984without saying a word. In certain lighting, his eyes shine like crystals and this makes him look almost superhuman. His motives are never really disclosed to us, which helps to maintain the aura of fear that surrounds him.

There was a time when new-age horror movies were called ‘MTV’ by long-time enthusiasts and unworthy to share a stall with the classics of old. The Collector is one of the most frightening pictures that I’ve seen for ages and could never be accused of being diluted for PG-13 audiences. If you’re looking for a film that makes you double check if you have locked the door tonight, you could do a lot worse than this. I loved it..

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√√

Gore√ √√√

Final Girl

RATING:securedownload (1)a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo112a-slash-above-logo11

6e6363673673673


.

Silent Night Bloody Night 2013 Review

Silent Night Bloody Night 2013

Directed by: James Plumb

Starring: Philip Harvey, Victor Ptak, Alan Humphries

892873873783893983

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

Merry Christmas to all my readers!!! So the film featured in my last review, Silent Night, was a VERY loose re-imaging of Silent Night Deadly Night 78474874874383893893983from 1984. It was in fact so loose that if I hadn’t had read the press pack that came with the pre-screener, I would have thought that the two had nothing in common at alll. Silent Night Bloody Night: The Homecoming however didn’t even bother to get creative. It’s an almost word-for-word duplicate of the film was made some forty-years earlier. The original Silent Night Bloody Night had an amazing twist, a uniquely gothic tone and some solid performances. This British back garden rehash is as much of a tribute to that cult classic as would be a One Direction cover of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. In fact, it may even be worse if that’s possible…

Christmas Eve 2012, Jeffrey Butler returns to a small town after finally deciding to sell the house that had been left to him in the will of his Grandfather. William Butler had burned to death in mysterious circumstances twenty-five years ago and it has been vacant ever since. Three key figures from the local community, including the town Mayor, have mixed feelings on letting the property go on the market and want to purchase it for themselves. To make matters worse, a serial killer that has broken out of the local asylum decides to take refuge in the dilapidated 7848747849873893983983abode. Before long, the maniac begins systematically slaughtering the locals, but what could all these events have in common with one another?

I would hate to play group poker with director James Plumb on my team. Here’s a guy who doesn’t hold anything back… even for a second. I knew from the moment that a Mark 4 Ford Transit (in production from the years 2000 – 2006) turned up in a prologue dated 1987 that I 78467474373873873983was in for a gruelling seventy-eight minutes. They even scribbled over the number plate with a white board marker in a pathetic attempt to cover up the fact. Continuity, anyone?

So anyway, the plot gets rolling and they manage to achieve the almost impossible task of making what was a slightly complex but logical story seem like it doesn’t make a lick of sense. Did screenwriter Andrew Jones find an online copy of the original script written in Imperial Aramaic and run it through Google translate before submitting it as his final draft? For the first thirty minutes, I had no idea who was the protagonist, what was going on or why I should care about anything at all. Strangers walk on to the screen and say a few lines before getting killed in sequences that may have been edited by Wallace ‘Wally’ 78467478438738738738793Karue from See No Evil, Hear No Evil. I could write a thousand words about the way that scenes look to have been chopped together on a freeware version of Windows Live Movie Maker, but the filmmakers couldn’t be bothered and so I can’t either. One couple got dispatched with an axe rather bloodily whilst underlining the have sex and die rule for the second time in fifteen-minutes. It was a shocking waste of circus potential though, because the nameless female is the only person in the history of sexual relations that can get down to it whilst keeping all of her clothes on. How cool is that? Maybe it had something to do with the size of his hatchet? 874875487487438398393Boom Boom.

Forty minutes in to the original Silent Night Bloody Night, we had spent that time establishing a group of suspicious, shady characters in a smartly convoluted plot. In this dumb and pointless reboot, I wasn’t interested In anyone or anything that I was seeing, except I was wondering who would be foolish enough to pay the bill for a phone in an abandoned house. 874874784894983983983983Our maniac killer uses said tel to ring and, ahem, ‘terrorise’ his intended prey in the same kind of ways that were so scary the last time that this story was told. The difference back then was that the actor playing the psycho’s voice was stern and terrifying, whilst Adrienne King shows how rusty she is here by sounding like an amateur dramatics group cast her off after the first audition. I am not sure about you, but I don’t enjoy paying a premium price to watch awful dramatics. I’m also not the biggest fan of flat, lazy camera angles, cardboard characters, an awful score and a noughties registration Ford Transit being teleported back to 1987 for the 8748754874984984983093903opening scene. I did however like the security guard at the mental hospital. Anyone that drinks Red Stripe beer and watches Night of the Living Dead whilst working with the criminally insane is a legend in my eyes.

It’s hard to find much positive to say about Silent Night Bloody Night: The Homecoming, but there were a few things that I liked. James Plumb seemed to save all of his minimal directorial ability for the final chase sequence and it went really well up until we saw that dreaded Ford Transit9854874874984398393093 again. (In case you forgot, it’s the one that was used in the prologue from twenty-five years earlier). I guess that you could say that the killer’s guise was decent and there’s a fairly large body count, but it’s not enough to warrant you tracking this down. Yes it’s low budget and yes it’s good that people still want to make slasher films, but I just felt that it was offensive to the classic that it attempts halfheartedly to rehash.

The most talented person in this production was the one that put together the box-art. He/she made it look like a free vodka for eternity gift voucher and that’s just irresistible. If you, like me, are on a mission to see every single slasher movie, then make sure that you borrow your friend’s copy and save yourself a miserable Christmas of regretting wasting your wonga.

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√√√

Gore √

Final Girl √

RATING:a-slash-above-logo-211

74674874873983983893983

.

Silent Night 2012 Review

Silent Night 2012

Directed by: Stephen C. Miller

Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue

87674674873983983983

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

On a SLASH above, I often analyse the stats of my visits and around this time of year, the traffic that I get on 16736353673672872878722certain pages is astronomical. I guess that you’ve already worked out that those are the reviews for Home Sick, Black Christmas, To All a Goodnight, Don’t Open ’till Christmas, Home for the Holidays et al. The logic in making a festive slasher is undeniable. I mean, it’s natural that people think, ‘Hey it’s Christmas, let’s watch a themed horror movie’ and so 7832672387272882982there’s cash to be made for ambitious producers. Santa pickaxing teenagers is the perfect visual present for the advent calendar countdown.

But would such a feature truly offer the same level of entertainment in the middle of spring?

I think about this, because for me, there’s a certain stigma about watching an Xmas themed horror flick at any other time of the year. They lose their charm somewhat. I wanted to have some reviews ready to post earlier for Xmas, but I just couldn’t motivate myself to sit down and put one of them on. As soon as I read my six year-old daughter’s letter to St Nick in early December however, I was ready to rock and roll…

On Christmas Eve in a small Midwestern town, the police search for a killer Santa Claus who is picking off citizens in secluded places. As the bodies begin to pile up, it seems certain that it’s someone who knows the local 74638738739828929822inhabitants…

So I heard that Silent Night is a semi-remake of Silent Night Deadly Night. I also have no idea what semi-remake means, but after watching, I can say that it’s more of a total re-imaging. We’ve got a killer in the guise of St Nick and a few minor references (including a rehash of one of the killings), but aside from that there’s very little else that you’d recognise. The good news is that the film doesn’t need to borrow from anywhere, because as far as Christmas entries go, it’s one of the best by a country mile.7367372387287287298292

Slasher movies were as popular as bell-bottom slacks in 2012, so I was over the moon when I found out that this was being developed on a good budget. What we ended up with was proof that there’s still life in the aging recipe if you do it the right way. Steven C Miller -who had previously given us the underrated TV Movie, Scream of the Banshee – does a wonderful job in the hot seat and delivers us a juggernaut of slasher fun that rips and roars it’s way through a slick runtime of 8734673873873982892982092thrills.

He doesn’t hang around to introduce audacious killings as the film’s vocal point. Our maniac is on screen from the opening minute and he doesn’t stay away for long thereafter. We are treated to goo by the bucket load, including a gruesome scene where a girl is dismembered and then pushed into a timber cutter. Although her screams of pain are disturbing, the film avoids being too mean-spirited by giving us a reason to dislike the victims before their demise. We also get a head split with an axe, lopped off fingers and a couple of frantic chase scenes before the inevitable money shot. Even if the script looks to be set up like a standard slasher, it works so that we never really know what could happen next and there’s a fine blend of tension in the unravelling of the Police investigation.67367373278282892892922

I was impressed by the way that the plot breaks the unwritten slasher code with its revelation of the psychopath’s identity, but it all made sense in the end. Jamie King’s Aubrey Bradimore is a tough, likeable and brave heroine that reminds of the ones of old and she delivers by far the best performance of the pack. McDowell is hammy as hell as the sheriff, but he gets the job done and overall the dramatics are suitable for the content. Screenwriter Jayson Rotwell deserves a thumbs up for some memorable dialogue and if lines such as, ‘Don’t put Avocado on the burger’ can’t grab your attention then you’re surely not in tune with the overall mood. Donal Logue, who plays one of the key suspects, gets a strong scene with King in which he talks about why so many people go crazy around the festive 3673673872382982892822period. He highlights that Christmas has become more of a blue-chip marketing tool than a religious celebration and it’s an interesting point that caught my attention.

The final showdown is set-up in an Argento-esque haze of red lights and sprinklers that creates an impressive tone of isolation. Even if the heroine gets a convenient route to escape (she just happened to land next to a loaded weapon), the suspense that surrounds the outcome means that we can easily forgive a bit of unlikely fortune for the good guys. It climaxes with a chance that we haven’t seen the final chapter in this story and let’s keep our fingers crossed that there is still belief amongst financiers that this is a franchise that has legs.87367387282982982982

I seriously can’t give Silent Night any higher praise than saying that it’s a perfect tribute to the pictures of old. I was left wanting more and I’m hopeful that there will be other projects in the pipeline that can follow this example.

Slasher films of late seem to have forgotten that they ought to be gory, outrageous and fun. Miller’s entry is the perfect example of these three elements and for that it deserves to be seen. There was criticism that it didn’t bring anything new to the table, but with so many failed attempts at updating the template, I for one was just relieved to see things done the right way.

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√√√

Gore √√√√

Final Girl √√√√

RATING:securedownload (1)securedownload (1)a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo11

7367327823872982982982982

.

To All a Goodnight 1980 Review

To All A Goodnight 1980

Directed by: David Hess

Starring: Jennifer Runyon, Forest Swanson, Linda Gentile

2673265367237238732872822

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

So 11 more sleeps to the big day! I am already stocking up on Vodka. My Mrs always nags at me for even having one beer (so I get shouted at all weekend), but she promised that I can have a drink during the festive period… Of 8948948943930930303course, she doesn’t realise that it’s like given a cat the key to the dairy and saying you can have one lick of milk ;) As she is Polish, I am Spanish and we live in UK, we get to celebrate Wigila (the 24th), the big X (25th) and el Día de Reyes on the 6th of Jan. That’s an awful lot of alcohol haha – Anyway, I have set up some slasher action for the period and this entry is intriguing and collectible for two significant reasons. Número uno: It was the first slasher movie to include a Santa-suited psycho, before Silent Night-Deadly Night, Psycho Santa and Christmas Season Massacre et al took it beyond cool and into the realms of ‘please go invent something new’. Número dos: it was the directorial debut of David Hess – 87387489389393903a man who was to the horror genre what Johan Cryuff was to football.

You’d most likely be surprised by Hess’ hugely impressive contributions to show business and the things that he achieved prior to his acting exploits. His professional career began as a singer-songwriter for the small label Shalimar Music in 1957. He penned ‘All Shook Up’ for The King shortly after and the song became a massive hit. In fact, it was just recently voted as one of the top 20 all time rockabilly classics.

Throughout the months that followed, Hess would see Conway Twitty, Andy Williams, Sal Mineo and Pat Boone take his tracks to the top end of the charts, before he settled for a career behind the scenes as head A&R man for Mercury Records. In 1972 his fortunes continued to improve when he was offered the lead role in Wes Craven’s cult classic ‘The Last House on the Left’. He gave such a nasty and memorable performance that would allow him 87387489389393903to continue to play tormented characters in movies such as Autostop, Rosso Sangue and Ruggero Deodato’s Bodycount.

By the time 1980 came around, he was ready to broaden his horizons in the film industry and so he took to the director’s chair for this cheap and cheesy festive shocker.

The opening scene is conveyed so rapidly that it felt like my finger had brushed the FF button and it had remained playing on >>32. It is Christmas vacation at the Calvin Finishing School for girls and the co-eds are celebrating by chasing one female around the dormitory. She heads out onto the balcony, trips over a bizarrely placed plant pot and takes a tumble to the concrete floor below. We can only presume that the girl died, although 87487489398393940944we’re never given an explanation to the scene. We don’t even know who any of these characters are?

Two years later, Xmas; and a large amount of the youngsters are going home. A few eager chicks decide to hang around and prepare for their own on-site celebrations. The gang of fun-loving ladies includes a curvaceous man-eater called Melody (Linda Gentile), who spends her time being swapped among the guys like a football card. There’s a suspiciously accented English girl named Trisha (Angela Bath), and a traditional inadvertent comic relief character, Leia (Judith Bridges). Finally we meet the Jamie Lee Curtis-lite goody-two-shoes sure-to-be heroine by the name of Nancy (Jennifer Runyon). Their house is run by Ruth Jensen (Katherine Herrington) and Trina Ronsoni (Judy Hess), who 7848748748383939309judging by that surname must be related to the director – maybe his wife? She also shows a brilliant knack for comic timing, by quipping at one point, “I’ll stop off on my way back. That is if the grim reaper doesn’t come calling”. Like, really???

Anyway, Christmas alone for the girls wouldn’t be much fun, so they literally fly in a gang of randy would-be bed-sharers including a stereotypical geek, Alex (Forest Swanson). It doesn’t take long for the masked Santa-suited slasher to turn up and begin cutting his way through the revellers. He then buries their bodies in the backyard with the professionalism and speed of a gang of landscape gardeners. So who will survive this Christmas Massacre?747848743983498393

To all a Good Night isn’t as bad as its hideous reputation would lead you to believe. In fact it’s actually fairly watchable in a so bad it’s good kind of way. What makes it perhaps rise above its amateurism in the filmmaking department is the hilarity of some of the dialogue, which seems to have been written on a notepad at a Russian vodka buffet. For example, Trisha bumps in to the maniac in a secluded spot of the garden and goofs in her comical sub-Brit accent, “Oh Tom, take that bloody mask off and take me to bed!” She gets what she rightly deserves. It’s also worth noting that on planet eye test, all the guys here are captivated by the extremely dumb and slightly scary Leia. They then defy logic by completely ignoring the smart and decent Nancy. Leia, the aforementioned flat chested redhead, also provides most of the nudity, while the shapely Melody remains fully clothed throughout? Not being content with constantly ripping off her clothes, Leia also goes nuts towards the conclusion of the movie and spends the final third of the runtime singing and ballet dancing round the corpses of her chums. The killer, obviously 874874894984943939033realising that she’s a slice of cheese, bap and a burger short of a cheeseburger, doesn’t even give her the dignity of putting her out of her misery!

Mark Shostrum’s gore effects may well be the most spectacular ever filmed. We’ll never know if that’s true however, because the picture is just too dark. Day for night filters are used without any other form of lighting, and at times the lack of clear vision ruins the movie. The only good killing that I remember featured the maniac dressed in a suit of armour and it was thankfully filmed inside the house, so the lighting was at least passable.874874894949494933

Despite losing about six of their colleagues in the first thirty minutes, the remaining victims fail to acknowledge that there is a maniac stalking the campus. Instead they continue to mouth inept comments when each morning’s roll-call shows another disappearance, such as, “They must have gone to bed.” Even when the heavily-mutilated body of Ralph the albino gardener is discovered, they still refuse to accept that a maniac might be trying to cut down the guest 84874984843939393093list for their Xmas party. The utter stupidity of the youngsters destroys any sympathy for their eminent demise.

On the plus side, there is a humongous body count and as I said, it’s fairly amusing in an inadvertent kind of way. Whilst an abundance of time makes many slashers seem dated, in many ways, To All a Goodnight is helped by its age. The campy charm makes this one-star movie worthy of the two that I’ve given it below. It’s another fine example of intolerable rubbish-ness being salvaged by 80s ‘did they really’ nostalgia.

Unfortunately, Hess passed away two-years ago, but before he did, he said that filmmaking was something that he’d like to try again, although he admitted that he had neither the time nor the cash flow to apply such focus. It is a shame that he never got round to it, because modern slashers lack the goofy charm of this one.

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√√√

Gore √

Final Girl √

RATING:securedownload (1)securedownload (1)

89734874894398329393093

.

Blood Harvest 1987 Review

Blood Harvest 1987

aka The Marvelous Mervo aka Nightmare

Directed by: Bill Rebane

Starring: Tiny Tim, Itonia Salchek, Dean West

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√

Gore √

Final Girl √√√

RATING:securedownload (1)securedownload (1)

783736746746743873873

.


Friday the 13th: Halloween Night 1994 Review

Friday the 13th: Halloween Night 1994

Directed by: Chris Seaver

Starring: Brad Gough, Zach Allen, Chris Seaver

12893474894389398983

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

So peeps, it’s Halloween, let’s make it a good one! What are y’all up to? I’m taking Oliverio and Kalinka trick-or-treating with two of the scariest women I know (I need to be careful with my words 78476478348939838939839848748938933here – żartuje dziewczyny przysięgam) and then most likely going somewhere Friday in full psycho garb. It’s the only time that slasher fans can get away with dressing like their heroes and fit in with everybody else. I’m not going for my traditional Jason Voorhees outfit this year because I believe that I’d make an excellent vampire. I mean, I have78474783893893983983 the chiseled dark good looks and the unrivalled ability to pull the ladies, right? Are you all in agreement…? Erm… Any of you? Just one? HELLLLLLLOOOOOOO? Oh ok…

Anyway, as it’s our favourite day of the year, I wanted to take this opportunity to post a real rarity from my collection and break the a SLASH above mould somewhat. You see, my A-Z list of slasher movies is a fairly good reference point, but it doesn’t include any of the fabulous ‘shorts’ that can be found all over the globe in multiple formats. I did post a review of Death O’ Lantern recently, but aside from that, I’ve overlooked them more than I ignore my flat mate when she keeps telling me that the coffee table is not the best place to leave half-empty bottles of vodka. But you can teach an old dog new tricks, so here we have a real interesting entry… (Excuse me, I have some bottles in the living room that I need to clear up)

After a horrific massacre on a campsite, a local enthusiast heads to the location to survey the aftermath. He discovers Jason’s notorious hockey mask and feels an unavoidable urge to put it on just the once. Suddenly, he becomes possessed by the spirit of the notorious murderer and heads to a town on Halloween night where Michael Myers is already out on the prowl for teenage victims. 7847647643783783893983What happens however when the pair come face to face?

I mentioned  the cheese treat Death O’ Lantern earlier and interestingly enough, this is an extremely early production from the same director, Chris Seaver. I can’t say for sure whether it was his debut movie, but I did find out that it was most definitely amongst the first that he scraped the funds together for. It’s a fan boy video through and through, shot on a camcorder with Beastie Boys and the like playing in the background just for good measure. In terms of visual quality, my iPhone can create better footage during a fog-laden blackout, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have a giggle whilst watching the events that unfold herein.653563563653763763

At thirty-four minutes, there’s not a great deal that I can write in terms of critical appraisal, but I will say that there’s some really good ideas on display. One moment that i thought demonstrated a fine level of creativity, was when a teen is butchered under a strobe effect, which really does look the business. Taking on board the total amateurism of the setup, I must say that the editing was actually quite slick in places and the guys playing Jason and Michael did a credible job at mimicking the renowned horror icons.

Where the film really stands out is in the high amount of gore. One cut throat is that impressive that it wouldn’t have looked out of place in a much bigger budgeted picture 7478478389389398398393and each kill scene is lively, bloody and fun. Jason and Michael are finally shown on screen together for (arguably) the first time in video history and although the budget restraints restrict a super battle between them, it’s still cool to watch.

There’s no doubt that the cast are just a bunch of mates and funnily enough there’s not one female amongst the characters. You would have thought that they could have convinced the local prom queen to put in an appearance, but instead we get to watch Seaver’s buddies get slashed gorily, which is a subtle up yours to the ‘feminism against 78476476478437839833slashers’ movement. We get some periodic references for eagle-eyed viewers (OJ’s trial is mentioned and we see posters of Jason goes to hell on one guy’s bedroom) and they even pinch the original Halloween score for good measure.

Friday the 13th: Halloween Night is an interesting (and confusingly titled) little obscurity that needs to be seen by slasher fanatics who can forgive shoestring budgeting. Whilst technically it’s at the level that you’d expect for $200 (the POV through eye-hole shots are clearly just a mask placed on top of the camcorder) there’s enough cheesy fun to be had by forgiving fans. If you got through Day of the Reaper without screaming, then you may just be able to survive this.

Good work again from Señor Seaver, a filmmaker who is really just one of us. Enjoy…

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise: √√√√√

Gore: √√√√

Final Girl:

RATING:

674674784378383983983983

Methodic 2007 Review

Methodic 2007

Directed by: Chris Notarlie

Starring: Ted Prior, Sandy Brooke, John Eastman

6467467467373673

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

Ok so I’ll openly admit that I wasn’t clucking with anticipation to see Methodic. I’d been told that it was a tribute to 783673672372872872John Carpenter’s Halloween and the last one of those that I’d watched was Offerings. Yea, exactly, someone pass me the Xylazines. Then, however, I saw that it had been directed by Chris Notarlie and I felt a slight flutter of interest in my brain. Like the last flaps of a dying moth, there was something there. The silver lining in the cloud? The light at the end of the tunnel? The wood between the trees? Well, maybe.8738738739832982922

You see Notarlie has generated a buzz in the world of fan films for his cult shorts that you can find scattered across the Internet. These include tributes to icons of the superhero and slasher genres, which is great because the second of those categories is the one that we discuss every week. Zipp-a-dee-doo-daa! Amongst his lengthy résumé is Friday the 31st, a 22 minute story that pitches Jason Voorhees against Michael Myers in a fairly impressive setup. Whilst not being totally convinced that I was in for a good time, I did feel keener than I had previously. Like the last flaps of a dying moth? No, I’m talking butterflies baby…

After murdering his parents with a hammer, a nine-year old child is sent to an asylum. When his younger sister 38773873982398298393093attempts to connect with him, it stirs his anger and he breaks out to confront her and murder anyone unfortunate enough to get in his way.

If you’re a fan of slasher flicks then you can consider yourself to be a unique individual because to be honest, there’s not very many of us about. There’s nothing quite like the buzz of meeting someone who shares this same passion, because it makes you feel connected in some miraculous way. The fact that Notarlie broadcasts his love for the genre everywhere possible means that I automatically took a shining to him and wanted to like his debut movie so much. You don’t 8734674387398398398230922need to be a genius to work out that there’s a big difference between a thirty-minute short and a full length motion picture, but even so, I wasn’t quite prepared for what I got with Methodic

Ok, so things started positively. There’s a Cloverfield-alike camcorder launch to the proceedings and the characters discuss the likes of Madonna to set the retro eighties vibe. The dialogue and interactions between the people on the screen feels genuine and unforced and I was impressed by the tone that was building. We are introduced to a slightly peculiar child who seems sure to be our bogeyman and we don’t have to wait long to see that this is the case. Within ten minutes, he has taken a 8743748739839830930933claw hammer to both of his parents and the screen fades to black. With the end of that intro not only are we waving goodbye to the period references, but also to the impressive level of filmmaking ability.

I picked up on this fact for sure after the scene twenty-minutes in that involves two cops sitting in a car chatting. Instead of the typical shot reverse shot setup, Notarlie incorporates some strange camera angles and it just feels like the cuts are harsh and in all the wrong places. I was guessing that these were supposed to be hard as nails officers of the law, but their first conversation is about how they found out that their women were cheating on them and with how many men. Are you sure tough guys really talk like that? Can you imagine Dirty Harry; ‘Do you feel lucky punk? Luckier than me because I just caught my wife in bed with the milkman? Well, do ya?’ Or Pulp Fiction, ‘I’ve given a million women a million 874873873983983983983foot massages and they all ran off with the cable guy.’ I mean I’m all for cutting out the clichés, but this just felt weird.

Generally in a slasher movie, it takes, what, ten minutes for the bogeyman to have broken out of the asylum. Here we get to twenty-eight and fifteen of them could have been left on the cutting room floor. One line of dialogue from the psychiatrist would have summed up everything that happens between the kid killing his parents and then escaping the institution. So he’s a silent weirdo that hasn’t responded for fifteen years, ok comprendo, let’s move on. This time may have been spent developing the personality of his younger sister, our obvious final girl, because thus far we know only 8746746734783878733that she swears and has a great ass. Now I love great asses, but I don’t invest emotionally in every chick that’s got one. Physically, maybe; but that’s another story for another day.

The action really starts after the breakout part, which was strangely intercut with another sequence, but was quite exciting and well conveyed all the same. I was impressed that for someone that hasn’t been able to move unaided or respond for fifteen years, the bogeyman knows how to drive and make a scary mask with a sewing machine. My ex-wife couldn’t even turn on a sewing machine or drive a car and she responded all the f**king time. Especially when I didn’t want her to. This nutjob though is blessed with a lucky streak that makes me wonder why he didn’t take a moment’s break from slashing to do the lotto. Inside the first house that he breaks into, he finds not only the aforementioned stitching apparatus, but also a pair of jeans and a t-shirt that a tailor couldn’t fit for him any better.873783983983093093093 It takes me forever to purchase a decent 38″ chest and 32″ waist damn it.

Soon after, he begins cruising the streets and stalking his little sis and her buddies. These include two lesbians that give us an exploitive and totally unnecessary sex scene.To be fair, there are a couple of creepy shots and a bit of ingenuity in the final third and a ‘borrowed’ twist that I really wasn’t expecting. I recommend keeping the sound low though, unless you want your ear drums damaged by some hideous death metal. Why can’t we have a maniac that goes around slaughtering people to something melodic? Pat Boone anyone? Forget melodic peeps, this is 8736736738723982982982Methodic, but exactly what that method was, no one knows. It sure as hell wasn’t the acting.

Now let’s be frank about this whole situation. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Chris Notarlie is a talented filmmaker and most definitely one to watch for the future. Not everyone has a strong debut and I’m sure that he has a good career in front of him. Methodic however is plagued basically by bad pacing, lighting, continuity and editing, but these are elements that can improve with practice. This may not be an entry worth much of your time, but I will most definitely look out for other stuff from the same director

The potential is there. I’ll be the first in the queue when it’s realised

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise: √√√

Gore:

Final Girl: √√

RATING:

8748739873983093093093

Sledgehammer 1983 Review

Sledgehammer 1983

Directed by: David A. Prior

Starring: Ted Prior, Sandy Brooke, John Eastman

12

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

During the eighties, the entertainment industry was rocked by the explosion of Sledgehammer’s unexpected 6743674673783873287487467546754success. Combining styles from the sixties, seventies and its own period to create something unique and fresh, it is still to this day remembered as a trend innovator and receives global recognition. Oh, yeah, and I guess that I should also mention that aside from Peter Gabriel’s classic 1986 hit, there was also a DTV slasher flick released three years earlier under the same name that was barely noticed and sunk without trace. That would be 676747848748738738383the one that I’m reviewing for you today.

People often forget that filmmaker David Prior didn’t only bless the genre one time with that notorious slasher/fitness-vid crossbreed. His first film was also a Halloween knock-off, which is somewhat less renowned. I enjoyed Killer Workout wholeheartedly and felt that it had been a fantastic advertisement for all that was ‘memorable’ about the eighties. Prior should have been eligible for an award of some kind for putting spandex, silicone, sweatbands, cheese-ball pop and a hooded killer all on one VHS cassette. I uncovered his debut a couple of years later and was generally excited to watch it. The only way that a movie can make up for being totally rubbish is by being totally rubbish in a funny way and I was hopeful that this flick had the strengths in that area that its older brother boasted so brazenly

It starts with a mind numbingly long shot of the outside of a country house. We are awoken by the camera 73674673783783873828929822panning inside and we see a mother struggling to silence a young child who doesn’t look too interested by the fact he’s in a movie. The alarm bells in my head were already screaming ‘abusive parent alert’ by that point; and the woman proved that I was right by locking the boy in a closet for the evening. She then returns downstairs to her boyfriend and tells him, “Don’t worry about the kid, I took care of that little b*stard, he won’t be bothering us again tonight.” This means that the couple can start getting jiggy, which leaves them blissfully unaware that the little b*stard has escaped and is creeping up behind them with a sledgehammer, looking all menacing and stuff. Before you can say ‘by the book’, the unsuspecting lover gets cracked on the back of the head with the 6746546546736737872872872873763763aforementioned tool – great gore scene by the way. After the mother is also measured up for a body bag, the screen fades to black…

Fast-forward fifteen years and a van pulls up outside of that same now-abandoned abode. Out pops a gang of outrageously mulleted muscle bound jocks and their scrawny girlfriends, who have presumably turned up only to party-party-PARTY! So they begin doing all the things you attribute with a good fiesta, including throwing food at each-other, jumping around like headless chickens and then having deep discussions about relationships. What a party! If that wasn’t enough, 67467467473873873983they decide that the beer is flowing so of course it is time for a… séance. Eventually, this proves to be a silly ides as the customary killer turns up and a battle for survival begins….

In all honesty, I can think of no finer example of something that when stripped down to its bare components doesn’t look ideal, but taken as a whole is surprisingly efficient. You see, Sledgehammer doesn’t boast many of the core ingredients that you would consider to make up a good movie, but I kind of enjoyed watching it all the same. It all takes place in a large empty house that is exactly that: a large empty house. There’s no set design at all and the backgrounds are pale with a bed here or a cupboard there just so that we don’t mistake the location for a padded cell. They didn’t even bother to decorate the walls with the usual fake cobwebs, candles and clichés, which was likely because the art director quit pre-shoot as he was offered some work in a bar or something. I mean the house was supposed to be derelict for fifteen-years, but looks like it was vacuumed and feather-dusted just that morning. Did Prior and co 67467467763737837838738383book a viewing of an abode that was up for sale and secretly get a key cut so that they could film their picture there on the sly? That could well be the case. You have to love zero budgets!

Anyway the action commences after the usual sloppy dialogue and padding and we eventually get to see some slasher shenanigans. There’s a blessing in disguise, because the dull and misty photography on the print gives the movie a surreal, almost dream-like vibe, which was surely unintentional but worked quite well. To be fair the tone switches effortlessly from inadvertently cheesy to actually pretty creepy and the psychopath’s large and hulking frame compliments the narrow lens to make some claustrophobic scenes. At first glance, a transparent plastic clown mask and lumberjack shirt seem suspiciously cheapskate, but the more that we see of the assailant, the more threatening he becomes. Prior demonstrates some neat flourishes to maintain the tone of apprehension, including a great slowmo door-opening sequence that is unpredictable and genuinely effective. He showed a much stronger flair for horror direction here than he did three-years later when he made Killer Workout. It’s also worth noting that he drew some surprisingly credible performances from a couple of the inexperienced actors. Sandy Brooke, who I I remember mentioning in my review of Terror on Alcatraz, offers another good charecterisation and Ted Prior and Linda McGill overcome their weak parts by being believable when it matters most. It’s a shame that Brooke didn’t do more genre movies, as I feel that she always made the most out of the material and it would have been 64674674367373873873873nice to see her play the ‘final girl’ just once. Chuck on top of all that a couple of decent gore scenes from Robin Beauchesne and we have slasher movie that’s miles better than anyone would have imagined it to be.

Perhaps the only attempt at any originality was allowing the killer to appear and disappear as if he were being beamed up by Scottie every time that he needed a rapid escape from a set piece. This could have worked really well if utilised in the right places, but Prior’s decision making left a lot to be desired and he ended up overdoing it to the point of, ‘enough already!‘. As per my example in the paragraph above, slow-motion at the right time can really make the most of a tense moment, but using it in almost every kill scene is just too much. Also look out for the ‘cardboard’ sex scene, which reminded me of those puppets that used to be seen in the likes of Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and more recently Team America: 64674734783783873893World Police. I mean I’m guessing that was two humans playing the lovers, but I can imagine more enthusiasm from a pair of mannequins. It begs the question, why include it in the first place?

Sledgehammer is as clichéd as an Elvis look-alike contest and makes no attempt to conceal what it wants to be. Nowadays you can find a million films that have exactly the same setup as this, but the fact that it was one of the first gives it a retro feel and sometimes that’s all you need. Whilst It is certainly not good enough to be up there with the classics of the golden years, it could sit quite comfortably with Graduation Day, Embalmed, Scalps and the rest of that second tier.

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise: √√√√

Gore: √√

Final Girl:

RATING:a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo-211

764747834873873873873873

Slumber Party Massacre III 1990 Review

Slumber Party Massacre Part III 1990

Directed by: Sally Mattison

Starring: Keely Christian, Brandi Burkett, Maria Ford

67267267287287298298292902

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

I feel a bit strange posting a review of Slumber Party Massacre III. It’s mainly because I’ve never covered the first 87467387387398398393903chapter, which is one of the biggest and most popular slasher movies of all time. Still I watched this one more recently and I decided that none of you would really care or even notice the chronological order of which I work through the series and so I took them from 7467467r567567478438738938930922behind. (Oooh yeh!)

I’ll go in to this in more detail when I get round to tackling Amy Jones’ cheese and marinara extravaganza that launched the franchise, but I always felt that it was one of those movies that was blessed with a reputation that was built upon the back of a Brontosaurus. What do I mean by that I hear you ask? Well in other words it became successful based on elements or an element that didn’t actually exist in reality. Oh, you didn’t know the truth about those particular dinosaurs? Well every day, you learn something new my friends…

A young girl decides to enjoy the final hours of having her parent’s house to herself by inviting some friends over 73738738738738487474378438389389389for a slumber party. Before long, their boyfriend’s gate crash and the frolics begin to flow. Little do they know that a psychopath is amongst them and he’s brought a large power tool along for the ride…

Let’s be honest with each other here; Part II was as good as a single’s disco in Pripyat town centre and the series really needed to up the quality levels if it wanted to sign off in style. In the end, they did what everyone that’s having a bit of a visionary nightmare should do when the chips are down… went back to basics. By doing so they created not only the strongest entry of the entire 67436734673873873873trilogy, but also one of the best slasher movies of the late eighties/early nineties.

Número tres doesn’t play by the rules of either of its predecessors and instead begins as something of a mystery/whodunit. Not a huge amount of time or effort is spent on disguising the identity of the nut job though and he reveals himself about halfway through, which allows for a pulsating final rout. Instead of him waiting around for victims as they wander off to do something stupid like making out in a deserted place or searching for a missing friend, he just confronts and goes after the remaining five or six as a group and it’s something that we don’t get to see often enough. It also allows the stranded girls to work together in conjunction to save themselves when the maniac finally traps one of them alone. This leads to a gobsmacking moment when sexy semi-scream queen Maria Ford’s 78467487438739839833character, Maria, who had fought valiantly to protect two of her buddies moments earlier, is slowly murdered whilst those same ‘friends’ watch on without doing anything to help. No fair! I’ll come back to that scene in a bit.

For the first slaughter, which happens after only eight-minutes, the maniac remains off screen, but for the next couple he dons an awesome guise that’s exceptionally creepy. One of the things that I thought was weak about part one was the fact that the killer looked like such an ordinary guy. So much had been borrowed already from John Carpenter’s Halloween that I was somewhat disappointed that they settled on a bogeyman in a denim jacket and jeans. Thankfully, this time around 87474784387939839839833we get a full-on masked, power-tool clenching nut job and in effect, the complete slasher package.

Whilst SPM 3 can hardly be classified as a gross out classic, it does have a few extremely brutal murders and the film feels credibly menacing when compared against the two earlier efforts that share its branding. The comedic slant has been lessened to an almost bare minimum and an eerie score from Jamie Sheriff builds some credible tension. Director Sally Mattison does well to enlighten the tone on only the rarest of occasions and the feeling of dread remains consistently strong all the way through. Aside from a couple of flat shots that I felt could have been more creative, she did a solid job on her debut and pulled off some decent stuff. It’s interesting, because the SPM series are famous for having female screenwriters and directors, but you’d never in a million years guess that was the case by what you see on the screen here. Some of these chicks get a pretty horrific time, especially Maria in the scene that I said I’d come back to earlier. After being pinned down, stripped and sexually assaulted (almost raped) whilst 836746748738739873her friends just stand there and look, she’s disemboweled by a power drill after begging for her life. It’s pretty grim to be honest and not what I’d have expected.

We cut away from the action now and then to a bumbling cop who ignores various calls from the girls and thinks that they’re just having a drunken party. This is of course is the most basic and simple screenwriting method of removing the chance of any armed-police attending the scene. Midway through, he introduces a plot-branch about a cop that had committed suicide very recently. Then we learn immediately after, that the father of Jackie, the likely heroine, is a successful lawyer. I was sure from that chain of events that we were going to be given a really good back-story and motive that unraveled more as the flick came to a close. I mean why else put those sequences in that order? Was it an investigation from Jackie’s dad that forced the cop to kill himself? Did he leave behind an orphaned deranged killer that’s seeking revenge on the lawman’s daughter and her friends? It seemed fairly logical by what we had seen to expect something along those lines, but what we got was; well, not quite what we’d been 8746743783783873893893983promised.

It looks as if they rushed the back-story parts and left one too many loose ends. I mean, who was the long-haired guy from the beach? Why did he climb into the basement? What was it exactly about the uncle? Was he an abuser? Was that sexually or psychologically? Is the girl watching this with me really not wearing any knickers? Well at least one of those I can 736738737823872892982092find the answer to, but the rest are ongoing mysteries. Excuse me, ahem…

Still, whining aside, as far as slasher movies go, this is a rip roaring one and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminded me of the reasons that I fell in love with the genre in the first place. Cheesy pop-rock tracks, beautifully dumb women, awful acting, a threatening masked killer,7646746748738738733 some effective scares, oh and Marta Kober! Did I tell you that the busty brunette that got speared in Friday Part II turns up for a cameo and gets a pretty good kill scene? Is that enough? No? Well how about death by vibrator? Does that tickle your fanciful spots? (No pun, honest)

SPM 3 is not a perfect movie, but what it does well, it does really well. I have added it to the 30 greatest all time slashers list. Let me know of you agree. Peace…

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise: √√√

Gore: √√

Final Girl:√√

RATING:a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo-211

874674673873873983893983893

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 136 other followers