Tag Archives: hair don’ts

Suggested viewing accompaniment: Hallucinogenics

THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY

0.5 Stars  1988/72m

“Where the girls are DYING for a good time.”

Director/Writer: Stephen Tyler / Cast: Jan Jensen, Nancy Meyer, Joann Whitley, David Whitley, Danny David, Lance Descourez, Paul Amend, Rick Polizzi, Barbara Clairborne, Stephen Tyler.

Body Count: 12

Laughter Lines: “My parents would decapitate me if they ever caught me kissing a boy!”


Time passes by so quickly. Unless you’re the Righteous Brothers or find yourself sat down with The Last Slumber Party, a film so inherently dreadful in every conceivable way that there aren’t enough sublatives in the English language to illustrate just how terrible it is. It genuinely felt like I spent the whole day watching it.

Unhappy with the concept of having a frontal lobotomy, a mental patient escapes, dons a surgeons scrubs, and journeys to the family home of his doctor – who owns the world’s most hideously decorated house – where his boring daughter Linda, is to host a slumber party for her equally crap gal-pals Tracy and Chris, who hope their boyfriends will crash proceedings and repeatedly (and I mean REPEATEDLY) tell Linda that Scott will call her.

Meanwhile, the bug-eyed psycho is taking a scalpel to schmucks who cross his path and soon finds himself at the party. For a short while (although nothing in The Last Slumber Party feels anything close to short) things play out like any cheapjack film: The girls watch TV, snack, and jabber inanely, repeatedly saying “You scared the shit outta me!” to one another, even when absolutely nothing has happened.

Boys come to “scare the piss out of the girls”, which entails climbing up a ladder with a dollar store Halloween mask on. The girls barely blink the prank is so crap. Eventually, the psycho slashes a couple of throats, loitering behind victims in rooms there really is no place to hide in. The girls wonder where their boyfriends are, referring to them with a tirade of homophobic names (queer/faggot/homo, i.e. “He’s such a homo he even took the bedspread!”)

However, someone else comes along and kills one of the boys in the same manner, with virtually the same outfit on. What? He goes to slice one of the girls but is instead fatally attacked by the first killer. Chris has a random dream that people are dead. Said dream includes her standing at the front door staring out of it for like sixty seconds doing nothing. NOTHING. I am watching a girl stood in a doorway doing nothing.

Everyone else dies and when the doctor returns, he’s immediately called back to the hospital by America’s most sarcastic nurse: “He’s escaped”; “Escaped? Have you called the police?” – this is gold – “No doctor, we all thought we should call you first.”

Doc goes back to hospital and is murdered in the elevator, his body magically transported back to the house and tossed in the pool literally seconds later. Chris goes to his aid and is then mercifully slashed by the killer.

THEN SHE FUCKING WAKES UP.

Chris gets a call from Tracy and tells her: “I had a nightmare within the nightmare!” to which Tracey responds: “I’m bored out of my skull.” You and me both, love.

They drive over to Linda’s just as Linda receives a call from the hospital informing her the psycho has escaped and she should shut all the doors. However, she picks up the phone without saying hello or identifying herself, so how the fuck does the person on the other end even know who it is or when to end the call!?

Aggressively bad. Watch for the botched throat slashings; the same shot of the killer wielding the scalpel at the camera used about a dozen times. And Chris fucking sucks as the choice for final girl, not that either of the other “I’m 37-but-can-play-17″ “actresses” would be any better, but she’s by far the worst with her shrill voice and nasty homophobic comments. The horrific thrash metal soundtrack by Firstryke (even used as some sort of plug on that VHS cover!) should’ve clued us in early on as they wail “it’s just a nightmaaaaaare!” Damn shame I didn’t wake up and find The Last Slumber Party wasn’t real either.

Now I know some of you will think “it can’t be that bad” and consider trying it. Don’t. Don’t be the fool I was. Even as a freebie on YouTube, this is 72 minutes you cannot claw back. A very possible candidate for worst horror film ever made. Ever.

The Last Slumber Party is a B & S Production. I think we can all agree what that might stand for.

Let’s get physical

AEROBICIDE

2.5 Stars  1986/18/82m

A.k.a. Killer Workout

“This workout’ll kill you!”

Director/Writer: David A. Prior / Cast: Marcia Karr, David James Campbell, Fritz Matthews, Ted Prior, Teresa Van der Woude, Richard Bravo, Dianne Copeland, Joel Hoffman.

Body Count: 12

Laughter Lines: “It’s cool to get kinky sometimes…”


Olivia Newton-John has a lot to answer for. Back in the 80s when headbands were big, and hair was bigger, Jane Fonda had the world’s first leotard-graph, and day-glo spandex aerobics carried out to high-BPM synths was the soundtrack to life…

Naturally, someone was going to find a way to make a cheesy horror film about it. Gymnasiums and their equipment have featured in a few slasher films over the years, from the weights used to choke a dumbbell jock in Final Exam and the chick on that upside down sit-up bar thingy who receives death by barbell in Silent Madness, right up to head-squish courtesy of a faulty weight machine in Final Destination 3

But in 1986, along came Aerobicide, exclusively set in and around Rhonda’s Workout, a Los Angeles club where a killer wielding a GIANT SAFETY PIN is doing away with various members.

There’s a lot of this…

*

Beginning with a woman fried alive on a tanning bed, things skip forward gleefully ignoring the event (but we know it’ll be relevant later), and find the temperamental gym manager Rhonda unhappy that moody Lt. Morgan is skulking around the joint suspecting everybody of being the safety pin killer.

Lots of Eric Prydz-esque aerobics are punctuated by safety pin murders, always complimented by horrible sub-Knight Rider cop-after-perp chases are a construction site, as well as a couple of over-rehearsed punch-ups between the prime suspect, Jimmy, and new employee Chuck, who has taken it upon himself to solve the case.

…and a bit of this

*

In spite of the cheery aerobics, the film suffers from electing too few likeable characters, populating the cast with unnamed gym members who utter a few inaudible lines before they exit the building of their own accord, or in a bodybag.

A likely contender for cheesiest stalk n’ slasher, watch the final shot, which is held for so long the actor looks like they’re about to keel over with impatience.

Blurb-of-interest: Joel Hoffman was in Slumber Party Massacre II.

Creeque valley

VALLEY OF DEATH

2.5 Stars  1988/15/92m

“A forgotten evil that will never die.”

A.k.a. Valley of Death (UK); Memorial Day

Director/Writer: Robert C. Hughes / Writer: George Frances Snow / Cast: John Kerry, Mark Mears, Lesa Lee, John Caso, Cameron Mitchell, Jimmy Justice, William Smith, Linda Honeyman, Erin O’Leary, Zig Roberts, Michael Inglese, Eddie D., Charles Douglass, Dusty Woods, Christina Sullivan, Livingston Holmes, Dan S. Farbeau.

Body Count: 14

Laughter Lines: “Any invasion of the eco-system by an unrestricted vehicle like this one could destroy that balance…”


Another new campsite opening disrupted by another primeval killer is the main stretch of this meagre-budget outing, that combines ludicrous dialogue with the usual sprinkling of knife fodder.

A slow build of weird occurrences is blamed first on a trio of obnoxious kids and some punk-rocker bikers, then the murder of a tubby rich kid is attributed to a bear before the last few campers team up to hunt down the stalker – who may or may not be the missing son of the gruff ranger who runs the place – before he hunts them!

Alas, the makeup and wig budget was clearly on the low side, as our psycho looks like any other Sunset Strip spandex rocker of the era, fitting nicely with some of the names on the cast roster: Jimmy Justice? Zig Robertson? Linda Honeyman? Perhaps Valley of Death was a metal band before it was ever a film!?

In a film that manages to rip off not only Friday the 13th but also some of its other knock-offs, such as the lamentably dull Final Terror, director Hughes avoids some of the more obvious clichés and makes Valley of Death quite a fun little movie with one or two pleasant diversions thrown into the barrel. Three people squashed by a truck tumbling down a ledge is darkly amusing.

Blurbs-of-interest: William Smith was in Maniac Cop; Cameron Mitchell’s other slasher exploits include The Demon, Jack-O, Silent Scream, and The Toolbox Murders.

Higher education, lower IQ

SPLATTER UNIVERSITY

1.5 Stars  1984/18/78m

“Where the school colors are blood red.”

A.k.a. Campus Killings

Director: Richard W. Haines / Writers: Michael Cunningham, Richard W. Haines, John Michaels & Miljan Peter Ilich / Cast: Francine Forbes, Ric Randig, Dick Biel, Cathy Lacommare, Laura Gold, Joanna Mihalakis, Denise Texera, Don Eaton

Body Count: 8

Laughter Lines: “The killer is obviously a psychopath and cannot be reasoned with.”


With a title like that… Well, what? It’s clearly going to be crap if it has to try so hard, right? Witness the trailer that compares it to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre! A prime example of how much the slasher genre was cheapened after the 1980-82 peak.

Film in general doesn’t come much more difficult to watch than Splatter University, a horrible Troma-associated collegiate stalker in which a maniac with shiny black shoes stabs and slashes a number of female students at St Trinian’s College. Yes, really.

New teacher Julie (Forbes), who replaced the killer’s first victim, attempts to find out who is doing away with her class. Could it be one of a number of creepy of priests who teach there? Or handsome colleague Mark? In truth, it’s unlikely anybody will care as there’s so little to encourage you to give it your full attention. I’d recommend doing a jigsaw, sewing, organising your taxes or something while you watch.

What sucks most about Splatter U is that the script wastes time and energy developing several of the girls’ dickhead boyfriends, none of whom are interested in anything but sex and aren’t the least bit traumatised by the deaths of their girlfriends – and not one of these assholes so much as encounters the killer, let alone gets what they deserve! Instead, girls are done away with at will in punishment for their very being, or so it seems when the killer finally mutters something of a motive.

su3aThings end on a spiteful note with Julie herself becoming the final victim, annoying as she was the only tolerable character and semi-competent actor in the whole production. A suckfest from start to finish, but kinda funny in the way that only the mid-80s could be, with some eye-melting hair-don’ts and regrettable fashion faux pas’.

I can’t really recommend Splatter University without thinking I’ve transgressed some public health order, but it’s strangely well known in the genre, even got namechecked by Randy in Scream 2, so something about it must be right… I just couldn’t possibly tell you what that might be.

Penis envy

PIECES

3 Stars  1983/18/82m

“You don’t have to go to Texas for a chainsaw massacre!”

A.k.a. Chainsaw Devil

Director: J. Piquer Simon / Writers: Dick Randall & Joe D’Amato [as John Shadow] / Cast: Christopher George, Frank Brana, Lynda Day George, Paul Smith, Edmund Purdom, Ian Sera, Jack Taylor, Isabelle Luque.

Body Count: 7

Dire-logue: “The most beautiful thing in the world is smoking pot and fucking on a waterbed.”


A quick run of the plot before we look at the ‘unique viewing experience’ that is Pieces. At a Boston college campus, which looks an awful lot like Madrid, a maniac is chainsawing off various appendages of the female students in accordance with the nudie jigsaw he’s obsessed with. Who is it and why blah blah blah…

Even though I’ve dolled out a generous three stars, Pieces cannot be regarded as a good film by any standards. It’s truly horrendous no matter how you cut it (with chainsaw or not). But nevertheless, it’s a funny-as-fuck 82 minutes. To truly convey the spirit of Pieces, we’re going to need a few pictures.

Beginning in 1942, the killer-to-be is caught by his strict mom playing with the nudie jigsaw. She loses her shit, smashes a mirror and photo of her husband, and tells sonny she’s going to burn the filth. In turn, he whacks her in the head with an axe and saws off her head, pretending to the police that he has merely survived the attack when they force their way in, after nobody answers the push-button phone. Hmm… looks a bit advanced for 1942, don’t it?

Forty years later at the college campus, a girl skateboards into a giant mirror. Then she goes to lie down and study, but along comes a chainsaw-toting loon and cuts off her head.

The cops (cheese favourite, Christopher George and Frank Brana) come along and the college Dean (Purdom) requests that they keep quiet, saying he’s told the staff it was an “unfortunate accident”. Would like you see how he explained that… she tripped and fell on a running chainsaw then her head rolled into a storm drain?

The killings continue in a clunky, idiotic way… The next victim is a cute blonde girl who first introduces us to one of our leading men, ‘Campus Heartthrob’ Kendall.

I know, right?

Anyway, cute blonde girl goes off to the swimming pool for a topless dip and is soon attached by the most frightening predator of all: THE POOL-SKIMMER KILLER!

Echoes of the killer’s garb at the start of The Burning don’t you think? With the lethal pool skimmer, our loon pulls cute blonde girl out of the water and lays her out flat while he fetches his handy chainsaw and comes at her with it. Does she do what the rest of us would and just roll back into the pool and swim away? No. She’s sits there quivering, allowing him to remove all her limbs and head and make off with the torso.

At this point, the finger of suspicion is pointed at beady-eyed custodian Willard. The actor playing him (Paul Smith) was a shoo-in to play Bluto in the 1980 Popeye movie that starred Robin Williams. No question, the guy is Bluto. And he has a big chainsaw that he strokes. And loves. It’s his friend fo’ sure.

The killer tries once and fails to capture his victim of choice – the dancer in the blue ‘tard – but catches up with her later in the first scene that really began to show just how phallic a movie Pieces is. The girl leaves the dance studio alone and, as she closes the door, another one opens and the killer skulks through holding his big, penis-shaped chainsaw. And, because he appears as a shadow, it looks like he’s just walking along with a giant stiff one. Regardé:

See?

Like, really see?

There you go. Big and brutal. What ensues is one of those classic Jason-style chases where the girl flees through an endless maze of corridors but the killers feet mope along slowly, and yet he’s still apparently only just behind her. Eventually, she reaches the safety of the elevator and bumps into the killer – GASP! – she knows and trusts him!

In one of Pieces‘ many ridiculous moments, the killer climbs into the lift behind the girl wielding the fuck off massive ass chainsaw and somehow conceals it!? A few seconds later, out it comes like he’s flashing her with it and he takes her arms off.

Despite being outside and quite far from the building, Kendall hears the commotion from inside a concealed box halfway between floors and, with two cops, breaks in to find the poor girl minus her upper limbs.

Christopher George recruits real life wife Lynda Day George – who is some tennis-pro-cum-detective called Mary – to investigate the college. Posing as a tennis pro. Kendall fancies the pants of her and even cuts short a shag to spy on her. This scene is something to behold and one that compounds the borderline uncomfortable misogynistic taste of the film. While he leaves the bed to gaze upon Mary, his female companion promises she’ll try not to let herself get so carried away and then tells him he can tie her up and gag her if it means they can continue!

Nevertheless, the scene is noteworthy for a little equal opportunity gender objectification. As ‘college heartthrob’ Kendall climbs out of bed, the nude-o-meter pings to the seldom used male end of the spectrum for a quick, profile cock shot!

What a hunk. Ladies and gay fellows watching must have been be so overjoyed to see it.

Randomly, Mary is attacked by an Oriental dude outside and Kendall comes along and saves her, even though she manages to strike him down. He gets up, as introduced as Kendall’s Kung Fu master, says something about eating bad chop suey, and buggers off. IMDb trivia tells us the actor – Bruce Le! – was something of a tribute act to his neo-namesake and a friend of the producers, so they made up this totally random scene to crowbar him in. Gotta love that.

Next on Pieces death-to-PC-values toboggan ride is the killing of the snooping reporter. Naturally, it’s a she, and said lady finds herself accosted by the killer in some random building where there’s a waterbed. Things go into slo-mo for what’s possibly the most overtly sex/death crossover on screen. The killer’s big, shiny, dildo-sized knife keeps coming down at her and the victim grunts as blood spunks over her face and, when the blade pierces the waterbed, it resembles some kind of twisted porno the patrons of Elite Hunting would jack off to.

While the scene is high art in terms of what Pieces is capable of (i.e. very little), it’s got a disturbing edge to it. The slow motion seems to prolong the victim’s suffering in some belief that the audience will enjoy the spectacle.

The killer doesn’t even require a body part from this victim, she was merely the curious one who gets too close. I wonder what the scene might’ve been like had they cast a male actor in the role… Probably a quick, from-behind knifing with none of the waterbed theatrics.

The female victims in Pieces are pathetic idiots, the kind of useless girls that don’t really exist beyond the realms of cheap-ass exploitation movies like this. That they freeze up, fail to even try and save themselves when there are ample opportunities must be riling for the non-stupid female viewer. Hardly any of them are given names let alone any facets of character of motivation; they exist purely to strip off and then die, making Pieces possibly the most aggressive film when it comes to pointing out the ones that feminists are actually right about.

The final kill does nothing different. Kendall and Mary go to play tennis and are put off by loud, annoying big band music blaring from the speakers. In the meantime, some random girl who lost a game to Lynda earlier, is chased around the changing rooms (topless, of course), cornered, wets her pants, and is sliced in two.

Yes, the dildo-saw blade strikes again. There are couple of neat shots in this sequence though, and it’s soon followed by the film’s most hilarious moment. When Kendall, Mary, and the custodian guy find the body, she yells out: “While we were fumbling with that music, the lousy bastard was in there killing her!” then she shrieks; “Bastard!” and then; “Bastard!” and a beat later; “Bastaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard!”

Where did her career go, we must ask ourselves?

Eventually, everyone involved seems to grow bored and they decide to reveal the killer and bring proceedings to a close. Lynda George is sent to talk to the Dean with questions she has about her various suspects, only Kendall and the non-Chris George detective find out that the Dean was the boy who axed mama!!! Too late for Mary though, because Evil Dean has laced her coffee with a paralyzing drug and intends to cut off her feet.

The cops and Kendall show up and shoot him, saving the day for all yaddah yaddah yaddah… As they clear out, the non-Chris George cop leans against a wall that spins around, throwing the stitched-together human doll right on top of Kendall. But here, Pieces does what Pieces does best. Fucks with us.

*

It’s like a totally different girl in two seconds.

Pieces‘ final shock, and possible apology for its kill-the-stupid-girls extravaganza, is that the corpse suddenly animates and rips off campus heartthrob Kendall’s balls! Random shit.

In conclusion, Pieces is funny now, in 2013, but thirty years ago, when the people looked regular and their hair and fashion tastes weren’t repulsive, it would be a worrying sight to behold: countless pretty girls being horrifically cut up, all with their tits out, acting like morons – it’s really not that long ago. That said, it’s more idiotic than spiteful, probably just a box-ticking exercise on behalf of a couple of guys who said: “People like gore and tits.”

I don’t particularly like the film and my third star was added for the sheer laugh-at quality/failing that Pieces is stacked with. It’s a pitiful piece of crap, but viewed in the right mindset, it’s bloody hilarious.

Blurbs-of-interest: Christopher George, who died the same year, was in Graduation Day and, with his surviving wife, in Mortuary; Purdom was in Don’t Open Till Christmas and Absurd; Jack Taylor was in fellow slasher Espanol, Edge of the Axe.

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