Every Loser Wins

fatalgames2FATAL GAMES

3.5 Stars  1983/18/81m

“The second prize is death.”

A.k.a. The Killing Touch / Olympic Nightmare

Director: Michael Elliot / Writers: Rafael Bunuel, Christopher Mankiewicz & Michael Eliot / Cast: Sally Kirkland, Lynn Banashek, Michael Elliot, Christopher Mankiewicz, Sean Masterson, Michael O’Leary, Teal Roberts, Marcelyn Ann Williams, Melissa Prophet, Angela Bennett, Nicholas Love, Lauretta Murphy, Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens.

Body Count: 6

Dire-logue: “I’m going to have to disqualify you…now!”

Here’s a javelin-tastic flick that’d be great on a double bill with Graduation Day. At an exclusive athletics training academy, a group of promising young Olympians – known as The Magnificent Seven – are threatened with extinction by a hooded maniac who tosses a mean javelin.

Amongst the array of convenient suspects are their strict coach, their steroid-prescribing doctor and the lesbian swimming coach, who’s involved with one of her proteges. Or it could be an envious ‘friend’? The sprintin’, tossin’, bar-spinnin’ teens are eliminated for good as they find themselves alone, usually working out or relaxing in the steam room afterwards – a fate which befalls one very unlucky young lady, who runs buck naked around the entire school trying to escape from the loon!

Points are lost for shaky editing, horrible incidental music, “uneven” performances and just a total lack of credibility – especially during the killer’s exposition, which is given away in most reviews of the film, robbing it of the actually-okay mystery element it trades on. As it turns out, I love the identity of the killer and how ludicrous the motive is.

Elliot’s direction is pedestrian but adequate, shooting some action from about three miles away from where’s it’s happening. But the killer is so accurate with the stick that he could skewer a teen from the other side of the Atlantic, yet the final girl (Annie) fleeing down a corridor proves more than a match.

Likeable characters, some funny humour and a general feeling of unrewarded effort don’t mean the film is as fatal as it’s largely made out to be. Yeah, it’s crap, but it’s lovable crap. Like a manky dog. Linnea and Brinke only appear in the background briefly.

Blurbs-of-interest: Sally Kirkland was later in Fingerprints and Jack the Reaper; Nicholas Love was in The Boogeyman. Marcelyn Ann Williams, under the name of Spice Williams-Crosby, was in Dead End Road.


  • I agree with Horror Gal that this film wasn’t particularly malerobme. Remember, that in 1988, when the first Maniac Cop movie was released, Alfred Hitchcock Presents was still on television. Special effects weren’t all that sophisticated yet, but the bar was still set pretty high for the horror/thriller genre.I think that some of the trivia surrounding this movie is more interesting than the movie itself. Does anyone remember that director William Lustig was the nephew of famous boxer Jake LaMotta? Or how about Laurene Landon, the actress that Horror Gal loves to hate. She wanted to BE a cop before she turned to acting instead. She actually enrolled in Cal-State’s Police Academy at one point. This is funny to me for some reason.I agree with Horror Guy that this series of films are all revenge movies. They aren’t great revenge movies though. If you want to see a great revenge horror flick, go see Carrie instead.

  • Umm…are you sure you’re commenting on the right film?

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