Tag Archives: weird-ass twist



2 Stars  1986/88m

“Ten years ago something terrible happened in this house… This weekend it’s about to happen again!”

Director: Dominick Brascia / Writers: Dominick Brascia & Steven Baio / Cast: Kim McKamy, Steven Baio, Jerold Pearson, Jody Gibson, Myles O’Brien, Tony Griffin, Karen O’Bryan, Howard Weiss, Susan Grant, Gary Hays.

Body Count: 12

Dire-logue: “Don’t kill me! Kill Connie – she’s upstairs!”

Aside from having one of the best covers going, Evil Laugh also has a great backstory: the ‘present day’ teens, led by Scott Baio’s bro Steven, are staying in a condo that was converted from a foster home. A decade earlier, the children in the home falsely accused one of the carers of molesting them. Understandably peeved, he returned once in the clear and cut the throats of the children and set the place on fire. Cooooool.

I used to know Howie Weiss, who played Mr Burns, who didn’t exactly have the fondest of memories making the film. Possibly because he got a machete in the balls! He’s a celeb columnist now. In some ways, the film plays like the proto-Scream, with one dorky film character spouting slasher movie clauses once the killin’ begins.

Med students go to ye olde foster home OF DEATH for a weekend to scope it out as one of them is thinking of buying and restoring it. But they’re stalked n’ slain by the creepy killer, who even manages to do away with one poor fella by microwaving his head – despite the door remaining open! Once revealed, the fiend’s motive pays homage to the film Evil Laugh so clearly wants to be. Unfortunately, its endearingly naff qualities of lame set-ups and sloppy gore effects ensured that never came to be.

At least there’s the sometimes clever one-liners, the VIDEO MONTAGE of the thirties-pretending-to-be-teens group cleaning their house in their super-80s tight shorts, tucked in vests and big, big hair. Despite managing to both suck and blow, this is one any genre fan should try to see.

Blurbs-of-interest: Kim McKamy was also in Dreamaniac; director Brascia played Joey, the kid who got axed up by his ‘friend’, in Friday the 13th Part V and was also in Rush Week.


alone2 Stars  2001/15/89m

“Hear the fear.”

Director: Phil Claydon / Writers: David Ball, Phil Claydon, John Davies, Mark Loughman & Paul Hart Wilden / Cast: John Shrapnel, Isabel Brook, Laurel Holloman, Miriam Margolyes, Caroline Carever, Claudia Harrison.

Body Count: 4

Dire-logue: “So…you’ve got Freddy Krueger as an admirer…”

There’s some real ambition in this arty Brit-flick, which toured European festivals for a full year before it was given a straight-to-video release. Made up largely of point-of-view photography that identifies us to/with the character of Alex: a compulsively clean outpatient who likes to write letters to, and then kill, young women whom Alex perceives to be lonely.

Beginning as a gritty detective drama mixed with the POV work of Alex’s strange existence and visits to caseworker Margolyes, whose advice is to try and romance a girl who is soon after found murdered. However it is her pretty American assistant Charlotte who eventually becomes the heroine when the entire thing morphs into a pedestrian clone of Halloween II as Alex tracks Charlotte down to a local hospital.

The most effective scene is when a girl returns home to find all of her kitchen has been cleaned, her fridge magnets neatly lined up and her spice rack contents faced up. All very Sleeping with the Enemy! We’re never granted a look at our killer, only Alex’s hands make it into the frame.

Alone doesn’t try to be a slasher film, with its miserable, colourless photography and the stupid twist ending that isn’t really a twist at all given the first-person voice used to thread things together. Actually, the ending downright sucks, yanking the rug out so violently that it tears as it goes! Director Claydon later helmed the Horne/Corden “comedy” Lesbian Vampire Killers.


tunonegro3 Stars  2001/103m

“Ignorance kills.”

A.k.a. Tuno Negro (Dark Minstrel)

Directors/Writers: Pedro L. Barbero & Vincente J. Martin / Cast: Silke, Jorge Sanz, Fele Martinez, Patxi Freytez, Enrique Villen, Rebeca Cobos, Eusebio Poncela, Maribel Verdu.

Body Count: 18

Dire-logue: “It was a question of survival: my dick or my life.”

The reverse of the DVD of Black Serenade details the general plot of students and death and then states that the heroine will “have to use her knowledge of Art History” to solve the mystery. Art History? What is this, the Dan Brown slasher flick? Heart sinks like stone.

In the actuality of actualness, this handsome looking Spanish film has more in common with Urban Legend than anything else, which, for me is a good thing. Beginning with ‘The Barrymore Trick’ of killing a pretty girl before the credits, we learn of a Spanish myth (which may or may not have been invented for the sake of the film) about The Dark Minstel (Tuno Negro), a kampus kruising killer who murders the poorest performing students at colleges across the country. And also newlyweds for reasons unclear.


The yarn stems from the Minstels of the 1600s who played music to pay their education fees and, when more privileged students began getting in on the act, the original Minstels struck back and murdered them before being burned by the townspeople. This prompts the present day killer in their quest to rid the world of the failing students at Salamanca University…

Our prissy heroine Alex attracts the killer’s attention (beside being a brainiac) and her less academically gifted friends begin to fall victim to the loon, who dresses as a traditional Minstel, which conveniently fits in with the fratb0y-like students who appear at all manner of campus hootenanny’s to sing and strum banjos, then get drunk and have sex with girls.

A love triangle develops between Alex, a legend-obsessed cop Victor and I’ll-fuck-anyone-to-pass-my-exams Minstel Eduardo. At this point things became slow moving and confusing. The amount of time the film takes place over is not exactly clear and some murders seem to go totally unnoticed. Alex does indeed turn to Art History (zzzzz…) to piece the puzzle together.


I was forced to take a module of Art History during my first semester at college and have retained approximately 0.00% of what I learnt. I’m not sure mixing high-end art theory with “low-end” stalk n’ slash chills is a winner. I’m defensive of slasher flicks so won’t be referring to them as low-end again but for the sake of accurate comparative analysis it’s the best way to make a point. This was a huge obstacle in Black Serenade, something other collegiate slashers managed to avoid: Urban Legend used a topic we’re all interested in; Ripper had the useful backdrop of criminology and most people know enough about biology so that Anatomy‘s med-students in peril didn’t confuse them. But 17th Century Art… Really?

Okay so the primary concern is the killin’. There’s a high enough body count to make the film interesting and the scene where Eduardo guides Alex and another of her admirers (called Trout…!?) around campus as the killer sends real-time video footage of him stalking his next intended victim to a computer is hair raising, but once the fiend is unmasked there are enough loose threads to sew a blanket out of. The killer’s identity is practically an impossible equation that even Alex could not solve. Maybe we’ll get a mathematical-slasher film to aide us next. Perhaps something was lost in translation or the guy or guyette typing the subs just got bored and decided to make it up (though I wish they’d stricken “c**t-struck” from the script when Victor is challenged about his devotion to Alex). I don’t know. I’ve seen the film twice now and was as confused the second time as I was the first.

Not a failure of a film but often vulnerable to the stalkings of a Dark Minstel all the same!


thehillsrunreddvd3 Stars  2009/18/81m

Director: Dave Parker / Writers: John Dombrow, John Carchietta & David J. Schow / Cast: Sophie Monk, Tad Hilgenbrinck, Janet Montgomery, Alex Wyndham, William Sadler, Raicho Vasilev.

Body Count: at least 19

Dire-logue: “The characters always head out to the middle of nowhere, right? Suddenly their cars, their cell phones, their technology can’t save them and nobody ever brings a fucking gun!”

Mucho hype surrounded this film before it was unveiled at various horror festivals, it’s ‘back to basics,’ ‘gives horror fans what they want,’ blah blah best thing since sliced cheerleaders la la la…

It’s a slasher film about a 1982 slasher film, The Hills Run Red, which was withdrawn soon after its release and never seen again, along with the director and most of the cast. Horror geek Tyler is obsessed with finding the original reels and making a documentary about it, so after tracking down bit-parter and director’s daughter Alexa, now a heroin junkie lapdancer, he and his girlfriend Serina and best bud Lalo (who are secretly screwing), drive off in search of the house where the film was originally shot.


No sooner than setting up camp, the killer from the film – Babyface – appears and saves the kids from a trio of rednecks who happened by to torment them and kidnaps Alexa, prompting the others to give chase to try and save her. Here, things twist off in to a place that sees the wings splinter off this flight, which sends it into a long nosedive from an altitude of intense slasherama to indulgent torture-porn-lite with a disatisfying conclusion. This also means that character expectations are switched and those we thought would most certainly survive or die…might not.

Until the twist is made evident, The Hills Run Red flirts with four-star truimphance: it’s slick, well-paced, bloody without being stupidly gory and engaging, a straight-up stalk n’ slasher from the days of yore, precisely what the mission statement appeared to be. It becomes another Texas Chainsaw wannabe with an overabundance of psychos, sleaze, unimpressive motives and a downbeat twist ending. And so it ends up in three-star land, a respectable showing for any B-movie of the stomp-and-kill ilk, perhaps a bit of a disappointment for genre aficionados who were hoping for the mooted next great horror icon…who looks a bit like the loon from Dark Ride to me.


Blurbs-of-interest: bizarrely, the last new slasher flick I watched, Wrong Turn 3, not only starred Janet Montgomery, but was also shot in the same locale of Bulgaria and featured a horde of British actors doing American accents. Alex Wyndham was also in Red Mist.


welcometospringbrak3 Stars  1988/91m

A.k.a. Nightmare Beach

Director: Harry Kirkpatrick / Writers: Umberto Lenzi & Vittorio Rambaldi / Cast: Nicholas De Toth, Sarah Buxton, John Saxon, Rawley Valverde, Lance Le Gault, Michael Parks, Fred Buck, Luis Valderama, Yamilet Hildago.

Body Count: 11

Dire-logue: “Welcome to spring break: the annual migration of the idiot.”

The leader of a biker gang is sent to the electric chair in the same week than 100,000 students descend on Venice Beach for their annual Spring Break knees up, sparking a series of intertwined events that begins with the electrocution of a pretty hitcher by a dark-visored biker…

Best buds Skip and Ronnie, meanwhile, have arrived for the week and start it off by upsetting The Demons, the biker gang to whom the recently departed (?) belonged, while pervert cop John Saxon skulks about threatening to send everyone to prison. Electrocutions continue with the leather-clad killer doing away with young vacationers and the odd local who gets in the way, including a girl who’s using her room to earn some college cash by screwing older men and the slasher movie fixture, the prankster, who pretends he’s dead one too many times…

Ronnie gets himself burnt beyond recognition and Skip teams up with waitress Gail, twin sister of dead biker’s victim, and they discover that the Mayor, Saxon’s ropey cop and a local doctor are covering up the truth and will do whatever they can to prevent the feisty duo from bringing it out into the open.

Lenzi, was actually fired from the movie at the start of production but stuck around as an advisor for his replacement, Kirkpatrick. Sadly, this leaves only a hell of a lot of unanswered questions and should-be victims who simply disappear from the story when, by rights, they should be frazzled to DEATH!!! There is, however, a sense of Nancy Drew fun to it all that doesn’t appear in contemporary mystery-slashers, marred only by the ridiculous outcome of the plot secrets and some cheesy 80’s music to top it off.

Blurbs-of-interest: B-movie fixture John Saxon was also in Elm Streets 1 and 3 and the New Nightmare; Tenebrae, The Baby Doll Murders and Black Christmas; Nicholas De Toth became a film editor who worked on some big Hollywood productions such as X Men Origins: Wolverine, Die Hard 4.0 and Terminator 3; Umberto Lenzi directed giallo gem Eyeball.

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