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TRICK OR TREATS

1 Stars  1982/92m

“…when Halloween night stopped being fun!”

Director/Writer: Gary Graver / Cast: Jackelyn Giroux, Peter Jason, Chris Graver, Carrie Snodgress, David Carradine, Stave Railsback, Jillian Kesner, Paul Bartel.

Body Count: 3 (!)

Laughter Lines: “These horror movies… they make me scared to drive home alone at night!”


“When Halloween night stopped being fun,” goes the tagline. Darn tootin’. Short of falling ass-first on a running power drill, I can’t think of a less fun way to spend Halloween night, or any other given night, than watching Trick or Treats.

Carrie Snodgress gets her husband carted off to an institution in the opening scene. Why? No clue, ToT doesn’t care about in-filling its plot holes. The scene is slapstick heavy, with two orderlies struggling with the flailing hubby, who tries to climb a tree at one point to escape. They all end up falling in the pool. The only thing missing was a table of cream pies.

‘Several years later’, struggling actress-cum-babysitter Linda (Giroux) accepts a Halloween night job to look after the couple’s horrible, horrible son, while Mom and her new squeeze (Carradine), head off to a party. Meanwhile, Hubby has broken out of the institute disguised as a female nurse, and is heading home to murder his wife and anyone else who gets in his way and nobody else.

Yeah that’s right, this is the slasher movie without any slashing. Hubby punches out a security guard rather than stabs him, threatens a couple of homeless guys (one of whom is horror-fixture Bartel), and eventually mistakenly kills a random blonde chick whom he mistakes for his wife.

This might sound okay, but nothing remotely resembling a threat of violence happens for well over an hour into the 92 minute film. Until then, it’s a never ending cycle of the bratty kid playing a prank on Linda, that she always falls for, and some trick or treaters coming to the door. Again. And again. And again. Until death. Your death. From boredom.

With just 15 minutes remaining, Hubby finally catches up with Linda, thinking her to be Carrie Snodgress, and chases her a bit. Although the film is so darkly turned out you may as well close your eyes and rest for all the good they’ll do you open.

A fittingly annoying twist for a fittingly annoying child in the world’s most disappointing ‘slasher’ film is the shitty icing on this cake. A cake made of the shittiest shit one might dredge up from a shit-filled canal in Shitsville, Tennessee.

Blurbs-of-interest: Carradine was in Children of the Corn V and Detention (2010); Steve Railsback was in Deadly Games and Slash; Paul Bartel was in Killer Party. Graver later directed the equally awful Moon in Scorpio.

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.

C.R.U.D.

GRIM WEEKEND

1 Stars  2003/18/97m

A.k.a. S.I.C.K. Serial Insane Clown Killer

“Five people… One weekend… 12 miles from nowhere… Let the killing begin.”

Director/Writer: Bob Willems / Writer: Ken Hebert / Cast: Ken Hebert, Amanda Watson, Melissa Bale, Hank Fields, Chris Bruck.

Body Count: 5

Laughter Lines: “I guess I’m not used to being trapped in a secluded house with a fucking psychopath!”


Grim is a fitting moniker for this staggeringly bad made for TV slasher, which pits four city yuppies and a nubile hitchhiker (who looks like Rebecca Gayheart) against a clown-masked axeman stalking the woods by the country residence one of them owns.

Formerly repressed memories of Camp Blood flood back thanks to the cheap shot-on-video production values, crappy acting and the fact that absolutely nothing happens for a solid hour after the hazy opening kill. One person vanishes and so the others go looking for her, split up despite the creepy-ass dolls they keep finding amongst the trees, and the husband of said vanishee consents to sex with the horny hitcher instead of looking for his spouse!

It’s hard to believe that films this bad are still made, let alone unleashed on the shelves of video stores. The dialogue consists mainly of ‘shut the fuck up, bitch’, repeated arguments over who might be behind it, as well as name-checking Scream and Friday the 13th during the same-old-same-old campfire story.

The film long outstays its welcome and grinds ever closer to the 100 minute mark before the repugnant conclusion and an equally cruddy ‘twist’ that sets things up for a sequel – if anybody is stupid enough to write to the producers praising them on a job well done. Abysmal in every way a film could be.

Devil in disguise

HACK-O-LANTERN

1.5 Stars  1987/18/84m

A.k.a. Halloween Night; The Damning; Death Mask

Director: Jag Mundhra / Writers: Burford Hauser & Carla Robinson / Cast: Hy Pyke, Katina Garner, Gregory Scott Cummins, Carla Baron, Jeff Brown, Patricia Christie, Larry Coven, Angel Rush.

Body Count: 7

Laughter Lines: “Ever since my dad died on Halloween night, this day seems to really affect [my Mom].”


I diagnose this one with G.E.S. – Genre Embarrassment Syndrome. The production team appear to have done their best to eclipse their assembly-line slashfest with a cheesy Satanic foreground.

Though filmed in The Year That Fashion Forgot (1987), it appears events are set in 1981, thirteen years after local fellow Bill Drindle was murdered by a local group of devil worshippers headed up by the victim’s father-in-law, who is obsessed with grandson, Tommy.

Skipping back to ‘the present’, young Tommy is now a troubled, Satan-worshipping twentysomething. His younger siblings, a deputy and teen party girl respectively, and dear old Mom, a fretful figure who worries the remains of her family are disintegrating, are concerned for him.

As in My Bloody Valentine, the town’s youth folk are readying themselves for a large Halloween party, while gravelly-voiced Grandpa wangs on about ‘Tommy’s Big Night’.

This all equates to a (slowly) rising body count as teenagers affiliated to the Drindle family begin falling victim to cloak-clad loon who wields a giant hooked fork: One guy gets a good spade in the skull, but the other slayings are textbook standard with little in the way of innovation.

Come the dance hall finale, the killer’s identity is blazingly obvious, along with their motive. We’ve all seen enough of these to know the Devil sect is just a ruse and it will have nothing to do with anything, surprising nobody, cast included!

There’s some really strange filler on parade here, with a music video nightmare that goes on forever and a very odd stand-up comedy routine crowbarred in halfway through: The jokes suck and the comedian doesn’t get a rake to the face as hoped.

Little to recommend beyond the awesome title and good outfit for the maniac. Stick with the definitive Halloween slasher.

Blurbs-of-interest: Mundhra directed the equally unexceptional Open House. Gregory Scott Cummins was also in Phantom of the Mall.

Brave the storm

MOUNTAINTOP MOTEL MASSACRE

1 Stars  1983/18/96m

“Please do not disturb Evelyn… she already is.”

Director: Jim McCullough / Writer: Jim McCullough Jr. / Bill Thurman, Anna Chappell, Will Mitchell, Virginia Loridans, Major Brock, James Bradford, Amy Hill, Marian Jones, Greg Brazzel.

Body Count: 7


Ironic that the wooden cabins of the title location show more promise as solid performers than any of the dreadful people gathered together in this annoying B-movie, yet another pants copy of Friday the 13th, with a psychotic woman (who looks about as dangerous as any nan) offing a group of nobodies who happened by her shoddy clutch of cabins, that make the Bates Motel look like the Sheraton.

Amongst the dopey travellers are a couple of redneck newlyweds, a carpenter, and an ad man who’s convinced the two stranded wannabe-starlets he’s picked up that he represents Columbia Records. Not with that hair.

Unfortunately for them (and us forced to sit through the ‘character building’ slab of film) the Motel owner Evelyn has only just been released from an institute and scythed her daughter when she caught her trying to communicate with Daddy.

Evelyn releases snakes, rats, and cockroaches into the cabins using a series of interlinking tunnels beneath the place. When these little surprises fail to drive everyone away she takes to attacking them with her handy sickle in repetitive and routine murders. The travellers become aware of what’s going on and strike back – well actually they completely fail and have to wait for the local sheriff, who doesn’t really save the day either.

The one solitary thing going for it (besides the amusing artwork) is that the budget was obviously so low that it lends a rather nightmarish quality to the goings-on, but other than that it’s no surprise to learn that it was shelved for three years before release.

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