Tag Archives: slasher films that aren’t supposed to be funny but are funny

Just another Naomi Campbell tantrum



2 Stars  1991/18/82m

“Sex, sun, and murder…”

Director: Anthony Markes / Writers: Emerson Bixby, Diana Levitt & Anthony Markes / Cast: Holly Floria, Alicia Anne Kowalski, Jackson Robinson, Sherry Jansen, Kelly Pool, Gaston Le Gaf, Cyndi Pass, Shannon Stiles, Cathleen McOsker, Terry Miller.

Body Count: 9

Bikini Island…where the moon is out during the day and the girl on the cover is in a one-piece swimsuit. How can it fail?

‘Based in part on a true story’, five swimsuit models duke it out for cover-star status and a $100,000 prize. Trouble is, somebody is expiring their modelling contacts earlier than expected. The pesky killer likes to do away with victims primarily with a fucking sink plunger to the face or, later on, a bow and arrow.

There’s more nudity and sex than there is horror in this translucent tat, a carbon copy of which was created by near on the same team and cast a year later in the slightly more watchable Last Dance – in which the killer had pretty much the same motive.

Here though, the fiend’s identity is thinly disguised by ‘suspicious’ zooms and the sound of a cello around various supporting characters, including a bitchy assistant and a freaky hotel custodian who appears to be the only member of staff.

It takes a good (read: not good) 40 minutes before the action takes flight, struggles, and ditches into the sea, culminating in the killer’s archery massacre in the last five minutes that ups the body count significantly before a short but amusing chase scene when the bimbo heroine confronts the killer but in the end I felt sorry only for the VW Camper Van which sails over a cliff edge.

Blurbs-of-interest: director Markes and actor Kelly Pool were involved with Last Dance; The director of Psycho Cop Returns had a small role.

Knock, knock, knockin’ on psycho’s door


2 Stars  2005/15/84m

“Rest in pieces.”

Director: Edward Gorsuch / Writer: Ellis Walker / Cast: Catherine Wreford, Tom Nagel, Myiea Coy, Alan Ritchson, Bill Jacobson, Nick Stellate, Ashley Hawkins, Tiffany M. Kristensen, Anne M. Mackay, Leila Garvyier.

Body Count: 8

Dire-logue: “Leave her – she’s dead now, she’ll be dead when we get back.”

When road trips go bad… Don’t they always? Even if you don’t run afoul of hillside cannibals, motels run by transvestite mama’s boys or rusty old tankers hell bent on running you off the road, the people you’re stuck in the car with will inevitably piss you off and make you wish for any of these distractions, as will local radio and the dull scenery that tumbles by.

In this instance, six teenagers on their way to Las Vegas to celebrate their graduation take the short cut from hell and, whilst fooling around, have an accident that kills one of them: they hit a tree while one of the girls is dancing out of the sunroof. Needless to say, they end up calling on the local malformed psycho’s house for aid.

This no-budget second-gen photocopy of Wrong Turn is competently enough put together and has a handful of decent, likeable characters as well as traces of what could have been a nightmarish sequence of events had it been in more professional hands or in possession of more moolah but it ultimately moves too slowly and looks too cheap to leave a lasting impression.

It also has a mean streak with all black or gay characters meeting particularly nasty ends at the hands of the truck-driving loon but this kind of minimalist approach is usually pretty effective, it just leaves very little to say about it.

Blurbs-of-interest: Catherine Wreford was in the similar (and slightly better) Wrestlemaniac; Tom Nagel was in Jolly Roger: Massacre at Cutter’s Cove and directed ClownTown.

Better the devil you don’t

devilspreyDEVIL’S PREY

2 Stars  2000/18/87m

“When you raise hell, make sure you put it back.”

Director: Bradford May / Writers: C. Courtney Joyner & Randall Frakes / Cast: Ashley Jones, Charlie O’Connell, Patrick Bergin, Bryan Kirkwood, Jennifer Lyons, Elena Lyons, Rashaan Nall, Tim Thomerson.

Body Count: 13

Five L.A. teens drive out to the sticks for a rave and, after being ejected over a fight, are run off the road by a van-load of masked Satan worshippers who are after the blood-drenched girl they found on the freeway.

The kids are chased through the woods overnight and eventually wander into a nearby town where it seems everybody is a part of the sect, known as The Shadows, led by Patrick Bergin’s cloaky fiend.

This Children of the Corn-a-like starts on good form with a good cat and mouse setup, with echoes of the yet-to-be made Wrong Turn (ineffective authoritarians included) but after a couple of midpoint twists are revealed – predictable ones at that – things quickly descend into cheddar country thanks to cookie-cutter Satanist rituals and a pointless, irrelevant sex scene between Bergin and his femme fatale muse.

There’s a final grown-worthy twist stapled on to the end in the name of ‘horror’ but most viewers will probably flag when the chase ends and the idiocy takes over.

Blurb-of-interest: Thomerson was in Fade to Black; Charlie O’Connell was later in Mischief Night.

Out of the closet, into a nightmare


3 Stars  1985/18/82m

“The man of your dreams is back.”

Director: Jack Sholder / Writer: David Chaskin / Cast: Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Rusler, Clu Gulager, Hope Lange, Marshall Bell, Sydney Walsh, Robert Englund.

Body Count: 9-ish

Dire-logue: “Lisa, there’s a Jesse on the phone!”

Although often cited as the worst of the Elm Street franchise (a view I shared until a few years ago), Freddy’s Revenge, on a subtextual level to say the least, is actually pretty good viewing. Plus the fact that it’s so superbly 80s, even the metallic shininess that adorns the titles!



Although there’s enough evidence that this sequel was rushed into production without a lot of thought, at least the creators tried to vary the theme rather than provide a retread of the original and things begin magnificently with a creepy dreamscape that could rival some of those in #1 for effectiveness. Fears of kidnap, social inadequacy, and hell are realised almost perfectly in the sequence, which introduces us to our final boy, Jesse…



Jesse and his family have recently moved into 1428 Elm Street and their teenage son is in Nancy’s old room and already having nightmares about a burnt, claw-fingered guy who, it seems, is more interesting in getting Jesse to do his bidding rather than just slashing him to death.

Jesse soon becomes torn between what’s real and what’s in his head and his parents naturally blame it all on drugs but then some murders occur: first his high school’s nasty gym coach in an exceptionally sexual manner (we’ll come on to that later), then his buddy Grady and some poor schmucks invited to love-interest Lisa’s pool party.

Lisa demonstrating what happens if you look like Meryl Streep and dress like Tiffany

Lisa demonstrating what happens if you look like Meryl Streep and dress like Tiffany

There’s no dream-stalking in Freddy’s Revenge, at least none that’s as clear cut as the other films. No, “oh shit, I’m asleep!” Only Jesse needs to stay awake and sometimes that doesn’t appear to work as Freddy cuts his way out to wreak havoc whenever he feels like it.

Elm Street 2 has a reputation as ‘the gay film’ in the series. Why? Well, from electing an effeminate boy as the lead who whines to Lisa that “he’s [Freddy] trying to get inside my body,” is a good start. Then there’s Nancy’s diary that quite literally comes out of the closet with insights. The aforementioned gym teech is into S&M and catches Jesse in a downtown gay bar before escorting him back to school where the coach is then tied to the showers, stripped, whipped and slashed by Freddy before the showers spurt blood in a bizarre ejaculative gesture. It’s worth noting that furiously chewing gum has never succeeded in making ghostly things depart for future reference.

elm4Jesse – it’s in the name! – shrieks in a high-pitched voice much of the time before Freddy literally comes out of him to take over and it eventually takes Lisa’s kiss to save the day. In effect, heterosexuality is what claims victory, re-repressing Freddy into the background and out of harms way.

There are those who criticise the film for being a ‘gay pride parade’ but it couldn’t be more the other way if it tried. 80s America wasn’t really much of a ticker tape parade for homosexuality at the best of times and the film paints quite a marginalised portrait: the thing that lurks inside trying to take over is evil and must be repressed. Quite the celebratory message indeed.



Is it worth pointing out the irony of these people who moan about diverse sexuality being explored in a film series where the central character is a child molester? I’d bet they’re the same ones who whinge when there are no tits on display. It’s OK, look, there’s an undead kiddie-fiddler instead!

Anyway, back in the black and white world of horror cinema, Freddy’s Revenge fails on several levels: there are only two ‘proper’ murders, although both are good, not enough of the skipping-rope chant, the acting is all over the place and Patton doesn’t make much of a sympathetic hero and it’s really Meryl Streep-a-like Myers who does the legwork. Freddy though, looks great and at his scariest with a sort of moist quality to his skin (ew!) and the final shock is amusing.

Why be scared of Freddy when there's a giant poster of Limahl over your bed!?

Why be scared of Freddy when there’s a giant poster of Limahl over your bed!?

Who knows what writer Chaskin was trying to achieve here? Parts of it work and parts don’t, but it all looks well made and it’s certainly different and betters – at least – parts 5 and Freddy’s Dead.

Blurbs-of-interest: Jack Sholder edited The Burning and directed Alone in the Dark; Christie Clark (Jesse’s little sister) was later in Children of the Corn II; Marshall Bell was in Identity; Clu Gulager was in The Initiation; Englund appeared in Behind the Mask, Hatchet, Heartstopper, The Phantom of the Opera and Urban Legend.

The Ghost, the Teenagers, and the Mute Albino Rail-Spike Killer


1.5 Stars 2007/88m

“A ruthless killer… A haunting memory.”

Director: Frank Zagarino / Writers: Richard Preston Jr. & Frank Zagarino / Cast: Frank Zagarino, Giselle Rodriguez, Matt Jared, Josh Folan, Ginger Kroll, Linda Johnson, Adam Shonkwiler, Mike Fedele, Lou Martin Jr., David ‘Shark’ Fralick.

Body Count: 10

Dire-logue: “I’d rather screw a porcupine than touch your spooky ass!”

Adam Brandis, the Spiker serial killer, who murdered 27 Long Island locals with railroad spikes, is being transported from one joint to another when he fakes a seizure and leaps to freedom off the cross-pond ferry, taking out a few local cops as he goes.

The Sheriff thinks he’s dead but with 78 minutes remaining, it’s fairly likely that he isn’t. Oh look, there he is now, emerging from the water to kill some lineless schmuck working by the docks.

Sometime after, three teen couples actually in their cheerleader / football kits rock up to an old house owned by nominal final girl Lisa’s aunt, Elizabeth Shaw, who died the day Lisa was born – killed by the Spiker. They host a seance, dance to crap R&B music and pair off until Lisa sees a face at the window. “Maybe it was a raccoon,” one of them supposes. Again, Spiker is set in an alternate reality where slasher movies never existed.

Brandis, the Spiker, a tall, Scandinavian looking mute Albino, meanders through the woods clanking his trusty weapons together every time he appears for the time being, making it to the house to start trimming the cheer squad. Lisa finds letters from her dead aunt, which indicate she was Spiker’s lover at some point, sees a ghost bride, overdoes the heavy breathing when scared etc.

While it’s an undeniably limp affair, Spiker held my attention effectively enough and there was a halfway decent scene where one mortally wounded victim is slowly crawling towards the others, who are talking in the foreground. But what’s with the other dude who keeps cropping up with cryptic gibberish and is immune to the horror? Why does Brandis have a bottomless supply of rail spikes when he leaves so many sticking in various corpses? Where is he getting them from!?

Blurb-of-interest: David ‘Shark’ Fralick played the titular role in Uncle Sam.

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