Tag Archives: Nu-di-ty

#NoSloMo

sledgehammer 1983

SLEDGEHAMMER

1 Stars  1983/85m

“Flesh tears. Bones shatter. The nightmare has begun.”

Director/Writer: David A. Prior / Cast: Ted Prior, Linda McGill, John Eastman, Jeanine Scheer, Steve Wright, Tim Aguilar, Sandy Brooke, Doug Matley.

Body Count: 7


The title pertains quite accurately to the implement of destruction you will want to attack the screen with after about ten minutes of Sledgehammer.

Another “I was the first! I was the first!” ranter about the oh-so-impressive feat of being shot-on-video. This film is approximately 88% slow-motion action.

Beginning with a static shot of a farmhouse that remains on screen for about forty seconds, we eventually go inside to find a slutty woman locking her kid in the closet so she can do the nudies with her lover. They’re interrupted by a sledgehammer-toting assailant who donks them into the next realm.

Ten years later – never nine, never eleven – a van load of ‘young’ ‘people’ come to the house to party. They whoop and cheer for everything:

  • “Let’s unload our bags.”
  • “Woooo! Yeah!”
  • “Let’s go inside.”
  • “Woooo! Yeah!”
  • “Let’s partake in some alcoholic refreshment.”
  • “Woooo! Yeah! America!!!”

Their optimism made me want them dead within seconds.

sh4The lead couple are made up of hunky Chuck and his moany girlfriend (Joan? Joni? Jenny?) who wah-wah-wahs on that he asked her to marry him and now can’t decide if it’s the right thing to do. He’s a dick anyway.

They go for a walk in the field. To flutey folk music. In slow-motion. It lasts two minutes and twenty seconds. That’s 140 seconds of nothing but watching two people walk along to flutey folk music.

Later the whole gang have a foodfight (“Woooo!”) then a seance (“Yeah!!!”) where Chuck tells the story of the sledgehammer murders and we are shown it all again. As if it wasn’t painful enough twenty minutes ago.

Telling the story seemingly resurrects the spirit of the kid-in-the-closet, now a twenty-foot giant with a plastic mask, who dons the titular object and sets about killing the ‘young people’. In slow-motion.

sh3

Standard tin-can sound and video-blur add to the pain of observing Sledgehammer. There’s no point commenting on any of the acting, writing, or characterisation. It all means nothing.

The film probably wrapped at about 28 minutes originally, hence the need to slow everything down to force it to feature length. I can’t say I’ve ever seen more use of slo-mo in any production, film or TV, ever.

Blurbs-of-interest: David A. Prior and Ted Prior respectively directed and starred in Aerobicide.

I Snow What You Did Last Summer

iced 1988

ICED

2.5 Stars  1988/87m

“A downhill vacation becomes a nightmare of terror. Get of the hill before you get iced.”

Director: Jeff Kwitny / Writer: Joseph Alan Johnson / Cast: Debra DeLiso, Doug Stevenson, Lisa Loring, Ron Kologie, Joseph Alan Johnson, Elizabeth Gorcey, John C. Cooke, Dan Smith, Michael Picardi.

Body Count: 7

Laughter Lines: “It was one of those flicks where you only watch the film if someone’s naked or getting killed – or both!”


The height of summer! It’s too hot. Let’s cool down.

In 1988, some six years after major studios had lost interest in any slasher film other than franchise sequels for Jason, Freddy or Michael, somebody must have owed scribe/actor Joseph Alan Johnson a big favour when they made his soggy script into a film.

Why? Possibly because nobody had done murder on the slopes (unless you count the unknown tripe that was Satan’s Blade) and this left the door ajar for a new angle on a genre everyone was sick to death of. Be it ever so cliché in every other aspect, Iced isn’t actually that bad a film, just a little frosty around the edges.

Two guys fighting over a girl challenge each other to a late night race down the slopes, which will apparently determine who gets to hang out with her. The pissed off loser gets drunk and ends up skiing himself off a cliff edge onto some rocks and dying. Four years go by and his ex-friends (who don’t seem to like each other much) are invited for a weekend at a new condo for one of those time-share sales things.

Murder and mayhem ensure courtesy of a ‘mystery’ skier who is partial to dispatching his targets with ski poles, bear traps and even icicles. Could it be the not so dearly departed? Or has one of the group gone schizo after years of guilt and decided to redress the balance? With virtually no suspects other than that who is unmasked, it’s a very unexciting revelation and probably one that needn’t have been bothered with in the first place. That said, I can’t remember who the killer was. Impact.

With little in the way of invention outside of the locale, Iced relies on tried and tested methods and gets a good deal of help from its impressive score, one that’s probably too intense for the comparatively anodyne setup, and pads out dull scenes with enough sex to qualify as soft porn, some of which is even visualised as dream sequences!

Shades of both April Fool’s Day and The Big Chill creep in, and this was virtually remade in 2001 as Shredder, which is a lot more fun.

Blurbs-of-interest: Debra DeLiso was one of the doomed girls in The Slumber Party Massacre, which co starred Johnson, who had the lead role in Berserker. Lisa Loring was in Blood Frenzy.

Films for a slow day…

rush week 1989RUSH WEEK

2 Stars  1989/18/92m

“There’s a killer on the campus!”

Director: Bob Bralver / Writers: Russell V. Manzatt & Michael W. Leighton / Cast: Pamela Ludwig, Dean Hamilton, Roy Thinnes, Don Grant, Courtney Gebhart, John Donovan, Todd Eric Andrews, Laura Burkett, Toni Lee, Dominick Brascia, Kathleen Kinmont, Gregg Allman.

Body Count: 5


You won’t be rushing to recommend this relatively bloodless hashing of the slasher and detective genres, made for the teen audience, which features a campus Scream-like killer who brings purification to young ladies who pose for naughty photographs to pay their college costs.

Pamela Ludwig is a student reporter piecing together the mystery, and Kathleen Kinmont has a minimal role as the first victim. Unfortunately, Rush Week takes things too slowly and never really escapes its own pitfalls long enough to build adequate amounts of tension and when the action finally does kick in it’s too little too late. Still, it should keep you guessing for at least a few minutes (despite wasting the opportunity for quite a good twist that would make it even more like Scream) even if the box makes it sound ten times more interesting than it really is.

Blurbs-of-interest: Kathleen Kinmont was in Halloween 4; Dominick Brascia was Joey in Friday the 13th Part V and also directed Evil Laugh.

Social Commentary or Sleaze?

girlhouse 2014GIRLHOUSE

4 Stars  2014/18/101m

“Enjoy the show.”

Directors: Trevor Matthews & John Knautz / Writer: Nick Gordon / Cast: Ali Cobrin, Adam DiMarco, Slaine, Alice Hunter, Alyson Bath, Elysia Rotaru, Chasty Ballesteros, Wesley MacInnes, Erin Agostino, Nicole Fox, James Thomas.

Body Count: 15

Laughter Lines: “I’ve thought this through completely. I really don’t see how anything bad can happen.”


Sexy girls in a house decked out with cameras so guys can log on and crack one out. No! Don’t go! I know it sounds like two dozen other camcorder exploitation flicks with nothing to offer, but GirlHouse is, hugely to my surprise, a pretty solid slasher flick with some of the best production attributes this side of the millennium.

In 1988, two girls tease a tubby preteen and trick him into a one-sided game of show and tell, which ends with them laughing in his face about the size of his cock and sending him running away. A little later, the ringleader is ambushed as she cycles home down a back road and no amount of sorrys can save her from being thrown off the side of a bridge.

Just this five minute opener packs a punch absent in 90% of contemporary slasher films, evident from the effort going into building an atmosphere. Like the films of yore, the shots fragment all around the victim and we know something bad is going to leap out any second, just not from where… This simple approach, used all the time in the 80s, makes a lot of difference.

gh6

Fast forward to the present, hard-up college girl Kylie needs money enough to agree to go and live at GirlHouse, the pornhub of the future, owned by gay Hefner-lite Gary Preston, who puts his girls up in a huge secluded mansion, location under wraps, where they’re filmed around the clock, performing little laptop shows, playing in the pool, the sauna, eating, watching TV… whatever.

One repeat customer is Loverboy, our grown up psychotic, who worships all the girls and is technically able enough to hack through the firewalls to send a photo of himself to Kylie. Her heart, however, is slowly being won over by old schoolmate Ben, who stumbles upon her online and is prompted by his Ed Sheeran-esque roommate to drive to her college and strike up a conversation.

After a girl evicted for her drug habit is permitted to stay in the house again, she finds Loverboy’s photo – not the most flattering – prints it, and sticks it up on a wall, where he eventually spies it in the background and, humiliated, loses his shit and stomps in the direction of GirlHouse.

gh3

Before long, most the tech and security guys have been murdered (largely off-camera and always fully clothed) and Loverboy seizes control of the house functions, stalking the girls one by one while helpless patrons watch, including Ben and his roomie, who embark on Halloween: Resurrection-esque attempts to help remotely.

One girl has her fingers axed off, making it impossible for her to type in the address of the house to summon help; another is choked on a dildo; one locked in the sauna with the thermostat cranked up… What sets GirlHouse apart from the dreck that share its premise (Voyeur.com comes to mind), is the will of (most of) the girls not to just sit there naked and die: The sauna girl manages to bust out and runs straight for the pool; another thought dead waits for the killer to happen by and strikes out at him; and Kylie, when inevitably the last one alive, pulls all the feeds and lures the killer to the basement where she uses nightvision to fight back and then beats the crap out of him with a camera.

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If there’s a comment on the relationship between pornography and objectification, it’s either too vague or forgotten in a tide of blood. A quote from Ted Bundy kicks things off, though it later falls back on on cliches of sad, fat, drooling loners who hate women. That said, the menfolk prove to be the most dispensable, often blindsided and incapable when confronted with the killer. Or do the unwritten rules of voyeurism apply and the perception is that the audience don’t want to see the murders of men on screen and that it’s the girls who are to blame? Would Guyhouse work? It’s one of the oldest dilemmas to plague the genre. But the genders are equally represented when it comes to dead bodies by the end, and it’s Kylie who does all the hard work when push comes to stab.

Even if elements of the story have to cave to genre tropes to work, GirlHouse succeeds through production attributes alone, something most horror producers don’t even seem to consider, largely under the illusion that T&A and corn syrup splashed on a wall tick enough of the boxes.

Overlook the skeezier elements and there’s a solid gem lurking beneath.

Mourn of the dead

bloodwidowBLOOD WIDOW

1.5 Stars  2014/83m

“Die in silence.”

Director/Writer: Jeremiah Buckhalt / Writers: Chad Coup & Ian H. Davis / Cast: Danielle Lilley, Brandon Kyle Peters, Christopher de Padua, Jose Miguel Vasquez, Kelly Kilgore, Emily Cutting, Gabrielle Ann Henry.

Body Count: 11

Laughter Lines: “Come on your crazy biiiii-aaaaa-eeee-tch!” (it’s all in the delivery)


Many a horror film claims to take something or other to the next level, but Blood Widow is, for a change, telling the truth. Sadly though, what it chooses to intensify is bad acting.

Amateur night performances are part and parcel when your hobby is collecting slasher films, but this makes the actors in The Dorm That Dripped Blood look like Streep and Nicholson.

With a story almost identical to (the far superior) Mask Maker, a young couple – named fucking Hugh and Laurie!? – buy an old farmhouse, which is situated next to an abandoned girls’ school where something bad happened in the late 90s. I’m thinking it was Nu-Metal.

Friends come to party and disturb the masked psychette still living there, who uses an assortment of sharp things to gut, behead, and de-limb the newcomers. Behind the admittedly creepy doll-mask, she also has ninja-lite moves and would give many a hulking loon a run for his buck.

scarehouse

After a convenient diary turns up to backfill the questions I didn’t have, the surly heroine asks the couple who sold them the place about the incident next door, they’re like “oh yeah, we should’ve told you but didn’t want to devalue the property…”

Fortunately, everyone dies and the audience exhales at the end of the terrible, terrible acting, which borders on the suspicion that the cast were trying to outdo each other in the suck stakes.

Amusingly, special makeup effects were done by a Michael Gore and, joy of joys, there’s a sequel pending.

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