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

Celtic Chants, Glowing Scarecrows, Haddonfield…

the curse of halloween jack 2019THE CURSE OF HALLOWEEN JACK

2 Stars  2019/15/78m

“He returns… and this time, no one is safe.”

Director/Writer: Andrew Jones / Cast: Derek Nelson, Patrick O’Donnell, Peter Cosgrove, Tiffany Ceri, Jason Medani, David Link, Alastair Armstrong, Phillip Roy, Jessica Michelle Smith.

Body Count: 18+

I only discovered while writing this up that this is actually a sequel to the previous year’s Legend of Halloween Jack, which I guess addresses some of the question marks floating above some of the lore and dialogue you see in this one.

So it goes, two years after a murder spree in the small British town on Dunwich (neighbouring settlement: Haddonfield), a group of face-painted cult members succeed in resurrecting the murderous scarecrow from where his body was buried by randomly American local detective Earl Rockwell. They’re then all shot dead by some cops.

The town has banned Halloween on the back of the tragedy, so some kids, including the mayor’s daughter Danielle, throw their own rager, which is crashed by the smiling scarecrow, who then hunts Danielle to the police station, kills some people there, before being lured to a house by an eye-patched seer-of-doom. Something about Celtic mythology bloodlines, must be killed by member of his own bloodline with a sacred dagger blah blah blah.

curse of halloween jack 2019

The constraints of the budget clearly affect the end product, from some terrible reaction-to-horror acting, apparent death by having an iPhone pushed about two inches into the mouth, and a killer who looks like a plush Halloween toy, but it’s not so bad. The Fog-pretender score is pretty good and it has an endearing cheapness about it which should be encouraged rather than pulverised.

And Jason Medani is very easy on the eye.

Es la misma pelicula! Otra vez.

grave robbers 1989 ladrones de tumbas


3 Stars  1989/88m

A.k.a. Ladrones de Tumbas

Director/Writer: Ruben Galindo Jr. / Writer: Carlos Valdemar / Cast: Fernando Almada, Edna Bolkan, Erika Buenfil, Ernesto Laguardia, German Bernal, Maria Rebeca, Andrea Lagarreta, Andres Bonfiglio, Tony Bravo.

Body Count: 12

Ruben Galindo strikes again! After the amazing Cemetery of Terror, the not-so amazing Don’t Panic, and Trampa Infernal directed by another member of the fam, here comes Grave Robbers. Dig that everything-tastic VHS cover!

For all intents and purposes, Grave Robbers is just Cemetery of Terror all over again. In 1879, a Satanist is axed in the chest before he can complete a ritual to birth the antichrist through a kidnapped girl. Before he expires, he swears vengeance of the bloodline of his captors.

110 years later, teen Tomb Profaners unknowingly stumble in the crypt, hidden beneath a grave they expected to find gold in (thanks to psychic gold-sensing (!?) Rebeca who explains the rich are buried with gold to buy their way into the afterlife). While the girls compare jewellery finds and talk about all the clothes they’re going to buy, their boyfriends open up the sealed tomb and take a sacred chain and the sacred axe, the removal of which allows the fiend to reanimate as a sort of sub-New Blood Jason critter.

ladrones de tumbas / grave robbers 1989

Unaware of this development, the teens flee to the surface with their booty but are stranded when their truck gets stuck in the mud. Evil creature comes along, retrieves the axe, and begins killing everyone in sight, starting with two poor locals who offered to help move the truck.

Local sheriff Captain Lopez rocks up and finds the teens standing over bodies and arrests them all then goes looking for his daughter, who has gone camping with three gal-pals nearby. And they are ancestors of the cursed bloodline. Of course. The cloaked fiend kills the other girls but cannot be put down by bullet, then tracks down the grave robbers in jail to start getting rid of them until he can find the captain’s daughter for his ritual back in the tomb.

While it functions on a high-cheese level, there are some pretty gnarly kills in this one, with heavy bloodletting as we see axe blade pulled through the neck, a hand coming out of a guy’s stomach to retrieve the talisman thingy that can hurt it, and a creepy concrete-arm that slowly forms out of a wall.

ladrones de tumbas / grave robbers 1989

Not quite up to the bonkers fun level of Cemetery of Terror but it’s virtually a Xerox of that script with a few tweaks, so is still very much worth your while.

Blurbs-of-interest: The three main female cast players – Bolkan, Buenfil, and Rebeca – were all in Cemetery of Terror.

Murder on the Dancefloor

discopath 2013


2.5 Stars  2013/81m

“Disco isn’t dead, but you might be.”

Director/Writer: Renaud Gauthier / Cast: Jeremie Earp Lavergne, Sandrine Bisson, Ivan Freud, Ingrid Falaise, Katherine Cleland, Mathieu Lapage, Francois Aubin, Pierre Lenoir.

Body Count: 11

Laughter Lines: “Calm down miss, YOUR FRIEND IS DEAD!”

There are precisely two awesome scenes in this uneven French Canadian flick, which posits that a guy who saw his dad electrocuted by recording equipment is driven to murder nightclub babes anytime he hears the pulsating rhythms of disco music.

In 1976, our loon-to-be Duane is fired from his diner job in NYC and hooks up with a girl who takes him to Seventh Heaven nightclub where he loses it to what sounds like a Hi-NRG disco mix of Flight of the Bumblebee and attacks his date. As she tries to escape, Duane ends up accosting her beneath the light-up dancefloor, where she shrieks hysterically, pounding her hands against the underside of the platform while people shake n’ shimmy inches above her head.

discopath 2013

It really is a great scenario, executed well, ending with a nice zoom out of her face, barely visible under the floor until it’s eclipsed by spinning and twirling revellers.

Duane flees New York for Montreal and things skip ahead to 1980 where we find him posing as a deaf-mute handyman at an all girl’s Catholic school, attempting to block out the tempting bops of Donna Summer and the Village People with secret ear plugs. When school empties out for the weekend, he hears two loitering girls playing – gasp! – disco music and doing naked lesbian things, slashes them up with a broken 45 and takes their heads.

discopath 2013

He’s also kidnapped a teacher from a discotheque and is holding her captive in a basement somewhere while he dances around her, buck naked, swinging the two decapitated heads about like fire poi.

Cops investigate. The original NYC detective reads about it and travels to Montreal. Duane crashes a televised show called Discomania and strangles a girl, all shown via strobe lights, which is the other awesome scene.

Then, and I don’t know what the fuck this was about, Duane disguises himself as a nun to ram cars from the funeral procession of the murdered girls and a teacher while the Kiss classic I Was Made for Lovin’ You plays from an eight-track. Cops chase, Duane throws himself off a parking garage.

discopath 2013

The film is essentially over after about 73 minutes with no real resolution or explanation, no real main character to speak of, just a bunch of scenes spliced together that either don’t drive the plot at all (the priest yelling during the funeral service?) or occur with no raison d’etre. Why give so much screentime to the other teacher if she dies so randomly by electrocuting herself? Why not kill off the priest who wanted to pull a Mayor Vaughn and re-open the school before the killer was caught?

A weird experience if ever there was, but the two dancefloor murder scenes and some eyebrow raising male nudity save it from being tossed into the Disco Demolition Night bonfire.

Blurb-of-interest: Gauthier also directed the 2019 waterslide slasher pic Aquaslash.


city in panic 1986


2 Stars  1986/85m

A.k.a. The AIDS Murders

“A deadly secret… A psychotic killer… A reign of terror!!!”

Director: Robert Bouvier / Writers: Peter Wilson & Andreas Blackwell / Cast: David Adamson, Leeann Nestegard, Peter Roberts, Edward Chester, Gary Bryant, Bonnie Beck, Derrick Emery, John Tench.

Body Count: 6

Laughter Lines: “Who’s responsible – the makers of slasher films?”

Those of us old enough to remember playground taunts of the 1980s will doubtlessly recall other kids screeching “You’ve got AIDS!” at the top of their shrill little lungs. This film is largely the embodiment of that. And that Team America song Everyone Has AIDS.

A serial killer in a black coat and a fedora is slashing up (mostly) gay men and carving an M into their torsos. Straightforward homophobia? Being the mid-80s, you’d think so, but as City in Panic unfolds, while the gay community is largely without a voice, the only anti-gay character is coded as an idiot detective and shouted down several times.

Radio talk show host Dave Miller is at war with another journalist, whom he accuses of exploiting the situation for readers, and investigates on his own, arguing with his enemy and a radio shrink who says it’s “too soon to say” if the killer has an agenda given the sexuality of most of the victims.

city in panic 1986

Intermittently, men ‘doing gay things’ are stalked and killed. Only a couple of them have any dialogue: A bartender from Dave’s choice tavern who is caught doing inverted sit-ups in a deserted gym, and a security guard sticks his cock through the wrong gloryhole. Refreshingly, the film doesn’t overtly condemn any of them, and Dave educates his dim girlfriend on a couple of points when she compares AIDS to the Plague.

The killer’s identity becomes obvious at the clock runs down, although it wasn’t entirely clear beforehand, although the use of the ‘M’ is pretty random and pointless, but as they wail “They had AIDS!” when confronted by Dave, I couldn’t not fall about laughing. HIV, by the way, doesn’t get a look in. Seems like in this universe you get AIDS, and a short time later you’re gone.

A bad movie, but not necessarily a bad-hearted one. The producers latched on to a hot topic and rode with it, which was a brave choice for this era, politically. It’s just about balanced enough to be neither here nor there, but as a comedy is an absolute riot.

And, honestly, some of the fashion on show is more offensive than anything.

The Chinese Chainsaw Massace

the deadly camp 1999


1 Stars  1999/81m

Director/Writer: Bowie Lau / Cast: Anthony Wong, Benny Lai, Winnie Leung, Samuel Leung, Lam Tsz Sin, Chak Pui Wan, Ling Ling Chui, Cham Nam Wing, Andy Tsang.

Body Count: 13

I spent a fair whack of time asking about the movie when I backpacked around China in 2006-07 and nobody had heard of it – but were practically brimming over with all manner of American straight-to-DVD horror films to distract me with instead. This may well have been the universe looking out for me as, twelve years later, getting through this pretty abysmal flick made the 81 minutes feel like twelve years.

In spite of being made in 1999, if the mentions of cellphones and DV cameras were removed, you might think this was unearthed from 1984, as three teen couples take a boat out to a deserted island for “3 nights of partying!!” but run afoul of a bandage-masked dweller of the jungle who doesn’t take kindly to intruders and rocks a mean chainsaw (where is he getting the gas for it?)

Also on the isle are four smugglers looking for their missing friends (‘sawed up in the prologue), posing as ‘condom salesmen’ (a trade which they even have a song about), who accidentally set fire to the mentally disabled son of bandage-dude, who then hunts them down to take revenge.

deadly camp 1999

Eventually, things turn into a sort of pre-Wrong Turn turn as two of the group are captured. Despite hearing them scream, the others decide to wait on the beach until the boat comes back! When the killer comes to them instead, they flee into the trees for a showdown, until athletic lead Ken goes all MacGuyver with tentpoles, rocks, rope, and a radio playing a slushy ballad to bait the killer in.

The Mandarin to English translations are mostly reliable, albeit with a few cute grammatical slips (“it’s so scaring!”), some surprising nudity, and a really awkward scene where a captured victim attempts to teach the killer’s son to masturbate in preparation for raping the guy’s own girlfriend!

Sadly, the low-end production values, bizarre tangents (the ‘erotic jokes’ scene is just… well, you wait n’ see), and shallow characters do nothing to help an already years out of date plot that sadly wasn’t a reaction to the Scream-smart resurgence.

deadly camp 1999

This was one sentence I actually understood from the Mandarin I learned – and used repeatedly – for my trip.

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