Tag Archives: obvious identity of killer

Like, Cold Prey, dude

shredder 2001

SHREDDER

3.5 Stars  2001/15/83m

“Icy dead people.”

Director/Writer: Greg Huson / Writer: Craig Carlson / Cast: Scott Weinger, Juleah Weikel, Lindsey McKeon, Billy O’, Brad Hawkins, Holly Towne, Peter Riggs, Candace Moon, Ron Varela, Seth Reston.

Body Count: 13

Laughter Lines: “There’s folks around here don’t want you near that place. It’s dangerous… evil.”


Likeable characters and a scrappy production approach elevate this Idaho-lensed ancestor of Iced over and above most straight-to-video efforts, which throws a group of snowboarding college kids into a condemned ski resort where a mystery-loon in skis has it in for them.

Friend-zoned nice guy Cole thinks he and rich Daddy’s girl Kimberly are going alone to Rocky Summit, but she has invited her cousin and some friends (who say ‘dude’ and ‘whatever’ a lot), and intends on meeting her real object of lust there. Alas, he boarded into a wire trap and lost his head during the credits.

shredder 2001

The locals are quick to warn the outsiders of the ‘restless spirits’ that curse the mountain, and there’s a relevant backstory of a young girl who skied a tree after being chased by a trio of drunk snowboarders some years earlier. The teens play drinking games, flirt, bribe the horny local sheriff into letting them stay, and get picked off one by one by the rule-stickler skier, who axes them, hangs them, and impales-via-icicle.

The film makes the most of its chilly seclusion, with characters huddled in the lodge with only lanterns and sleeping bags; bodies are found in snow-angel formations; a camcorder ejects a tsunami of blood, and there’s a good chase scene, where a severed head becomes stuck on the end of a ski-pole. Shredder also elects a final boy for its third act, shaking things up a bit.

shredder 2001 lindsey mckeon

The identity of the killer is fairly obvious and, once revealed, means the character was able to teleport around the locus like lightning. But this is a teen slasher film, rarely will you find one that stands up to logistic scrutiny. The lean 83 minute runtime has excised all the chaff so it’s certainly not boring and also rocks a pretty fun soundtrack, although some early-CG FX work leaves a lot to be desired. IMDb lists the film was being released in 2003, but I remember picking it up in Blockbuster in 2001, when I was looking to rent The Pool.

Don’t go in expecting another Cold Prey and you should have a good time with this.

Blurb-of-interest: The adorable Billy O’ was previously in Lovers Lane.

Omicidio Ha Scritto

bloodstained shadow 1978

THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW

2.5 Stars  1978/109m

Original Title: Solamente Nero

Director/Writer: Antonio Bido / Writers: Domenico Malan & Marisa Andalo / Cast: Lino Capolicchio, Stefania Casini, Craig Hill, Massimo Serato, Juliette Mayniel, Luigi Casellato, Sergio Mioni.

Body Count: 7

Laughter Lines: “I’m beginning to be frightened again – take me away from here!”


Imagine this as a kind of feature length pilot of Italian Murder, She Wrote, with Capolicchio as a Professor taking time out of his hectic life in Rome to visit his big brother, a priest on one of the small islands off Venice, where a school girl’s murder years earlier remains unsolved.

On his first night there, big-bro witnesses a murder occur outside his window and begins to receive threatening letters from the apparent killer. The victim, a self-professed medium, and her small group of regulars, including a Count who habitually forces himself upon young boys, a nurse providing illegal abortions, and – gasp! – an atheist doctor, are the ones to find themselves hunted down by the black-gloved, face-never-on-screen killer.

bloodstained shadow 1978

Prof. – who looks just like Howard from The Big Bang Theory – joins forces with artist Sandra, who has a painting that ‘speaks to him’ and finds herself caught up in the drama. Together, they go boating, have sex, and talk about paintings a lot. Meanwhile, the Count gets run through with an antique sword, and the threatening notes keep arriving at the church.

Clocking in just shy of two hours, The Bloodstained Shadow grinds on quite relentlessly, but there are some good scenes – the canal murder-by-boat is inventive, and there are some proto-slasher POV stalking sequences to crank the tension, but throw Angela Lansbury into the mix and this could pass for another trip for Jessica Fletcher to visit her nephew’s cousin’s college roommate’s aunt’s dogsitter and become embroiled in a murder. But you’ll probably clock the killer within the first twenty minutes.

Watch out for the world’s only jump scare-by-accordion.

Christmasogyny

all through the house 2016

ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE

2 Stars  2016/89m

“There is a creature stirring.”

Director/Writer: Todd Nunes / Cast: Ashley Mary Nunes, Melynda Kiring, Jason Ray Schumacher, Danica Riner, Natalie Montera, Lito Velasco, Cathy Garrett, Jessica Cameron.

Body Count: 12

Laughter Lines: “Jonathan Curtis ruined my childhood!” / “Strange how you lost your virginity to him…”


Nicely put together but ultimately disappointing chapter in the Killer Santa subgenre, which plays enough like the recent Silent Night remake to make a dog tilt its head in confusion. Spoilers follow.

Non-descript girl Rachel (who is she? what does she do?) drops by to see her potty-mouthed wheelchair-bound grandmother during the holidays, and is cajoled into helping the slightly kooky neighbour Mrs Garrett put up decorations later that night, after some last minute shopping with her gal-pals, who tag along to help out.

Meanwhile, a wackadoo in a Santa outfit and admittedly creepy grey mask is slashing and shearing various locals, chopping the dicks off the male victims, both of whom are ambushed while prepping for sex. Most of the slain are scantily-clad women as usual, including yet another pair of yawn-inducing token lesbians. Seriously, when will this fucking annoying trope end? It’s in everything.

all through the house 2016

Rachel wants to find out the truth about her mother, who she believes abandoned her, and also about Mrs Garrett’s housebound daughter, Jamie, who vanished fifteen years earlier. It’s all related of course, people are keeping secrets, blah blah blah. More women are slashed up until Rachel stumbles into the trap the (obvious) antagonist has set, and the overlong final act/chase/exposition tick-tocks by.

By the end it’s the same old same old domineering mother-raises-genderless-child nonsense. Naturally, this makes the killer angry towards women, but not men. How about an asshole Dad for once who makes his offspring pissed at jackass guys rather than bimbo babes? At the start, it looked as if All Through the Night might elevate itself above the pitfalls that plague low-end slasher films, its better-than-usual production unities aiding to some degree, but the gore FX are overdone and the sexism is uncomfortable.

all through the house 2016Blurb-of-interest: Jessica Cameron was in The Sleeper.

 

La luna de la mierda

bloody moon 1981

BLOODY MOON

1 Stars  1981/18/85m

“Don’t panic, it only happens once in a [Bloody Moon]”

A.k.a. Die Sage Des Todes (The Legend of Death)

Director: Jesus Franco / Writer: Rayo Casablanca / Cast: Olivia Pascal, Christoph Moosbrugger, Nadja Gerganoff, Jasmin Losensky, Corinna Gillwald, Ann-Beate Engelke, Peter Exacoustos, Maria Rubio, Alexander Waechter

Body Count: 8

Laughter Lines: “If we could just get rid of everyone around us… then things could go back to how they were.”


If Bloody Moon was intended to be the Scary Movie of its day, I might be able to see past the fact it has a 5.3 rating on IMDb, but it’s seemingly played straight, rendering it one of the more misogynistic and unarguably awful exports of the early days. I imagine its residency on the Video Nasties list of the 80s has probably afforded it some credibility it’s entirely unworthy of.

A German-Spanish co-production, things begin with a disco at a Spanish language school, where a facially-scarred man procures a Mickey Mouse mask and fools a girl into thinking he’s someone else and then, when sex clearly fails, he settles for stabbing the girl with scissors instead in a scene that really plays into the accusations of woman-hating rhetoric in the genre: She gargles orgasmically as goes at her over and over in a play on sex he’s incapable of performing.

Five years later, the man – Miguel – is released into the custody of his sister, Manuela, who runs the language school, much to the chagrin of her aunt/owner, the wheelchair bound hag, Countess Maria Gonzales. Bro and sis enjoy an incestual relationship they wish to keep quiet – see Laughter Lines.

bloody moon 1981

No sooner does new student Angela rock up, the bouncy look-a-like girls of the school start getting murdered in graphically stupid ways. There’s little character development to show, they gossip about caretaker Antonio being the best lover on campus (there’s a second mentally deficient caretaker as well, of course). He asks Angela why she’s there and she replies she can speak fluent Spanish, and reels off a bunch of ‘my first Spanish lesson’ phrases like ‘Hasta Luego’, ‘Mañana’, and translations akin to: ‘Where can I buy potatoes on a Sunday?’

Also, if she’s fluent – WHY IS SHE EVEN THERE?

Angela is to room in the bungalow where the murder took place five years before. You know, the one where the perpetrator has been allowed back to live in the very same place? First to go is her friend Ava, who asks to borrow a sweater and then gets stabbed through the boob. Angela finds the body, screams, and of course by the time help comes, it’s gone, there’s no blood, and the murder mystery she’s reading is blamed for a nightmare. Her own clothes also change mid-scene from nightgown to floral print sweater.

When Ava doesn’t show for class, Angela worries, and in a pre-I Still Know What You Did Last Summer karaoke-machine moment, her language recording is interrupted with a message saying “I’m going to kill you and chop you up” etc. Of course, when teech comes over, no such voices.

bloody moon 1981

Angela then goes down to the harbour to look for Ava and a falling rock nearly kills her. She flags down two motorcycle cops who direct her to the warning on the sign. Her reply: “What good does a sign do when I can’t understand it?” Strike two against her fluency declaration.

Back at school, other girl Inga pretends to be having sex but isn’t. The other girls laugh at her through the window and she’s all like “I’ll have the best sex ever – you’ll see!!” and in the next scene she’s going past Angela down at the harbour in a car with the killer!? He drives her to some crumbling old mill and she allows him to tie her to a slab, saying “Hey I normally wouldn’t do this, but OK, as it’s you…” and then: “I still don’t know what you look like, why don’t you take off your mask?”

I mean, fucking hell, COME ON? She willingly goes off with a non-speaking masked guy to an abandoned place in the middle of nowhere and allows him to tie her up.

bloody moon 1981

Anyway, the slab thingy moves and a buzz-saw comes along, takes forever getting there, while some spying little kid tries to intervene and save her, the head comes off eventually and it’s anti-climactic and crap FX-wise. But then Franco throws in something a bit taboo: The fleeing child is cruelly run over by the killer.

Aaaaand back to the school again: Angela is convinced the killer is after her and barricades herself in her room and stabs a mannequin. Where the fuck did that come from, you ask? Like many goings-on here, it’s left unexplained. Laura says Angela reads too many scary books and offers to go get some drinks from the ‘Disco Club’ at the school (!??) but is killed with some garden-prong-thingy on her way back.

The killer attacks and Miguel tries to save the day, while Angela flees for help. The revelations that follow seem more at home in a soap opera than a horror film, but suffice to say, there’s more bloodletting, double-crossing, the obvious identity of the killer is revealed, and somebody utters this priceless line: “He came at me, you remember that! And just be damn sure to remember it.”

bloody moon 1981

Took me awhile but I realised the left image isn’t the shears making contact with her face, merely a promo shot cannily reproduced from the actual scene on the right.

Bloody Moon is just stitched together failed scenes; a slasher film based on the most rudimentary understanding of the genre where girls are either naked or stupid and nothing more, shot on the cheap with little care going into a cohesive script and hardly any visual flair ether – look out for the zoom where a chair obscures the subject’s face. The dubbing is also one of the more comically bad efforts out there (“just let yourself melt into my arms!”), and the moon isn’t even shown, let alone bloody in any way.

Undistilled crap from start to finish.

Canadian Horror Story

slasher guilty party 2017

SLASHER: GUILTY PARTY

2 Stars  2017/394m

Director: Felipe Rodriguez / Writer: Aaron Martin / Cast: Leslie Hope, Lovell Adams-Gray, Paula Brancati, Jim Watson, Kaitlyn Leeb, Rebecca Liddiard, Christopher Jacot, Joanne Vannicola, Paulino Nunes, Madison Cheeatow, Sebastian Pigott, Ty Olsson, Melinda Shankar.

Body Count: 18

Laughter Lines: “Why do I always get stuck with the Jason Voorhees types?”


It’s a whole new story for Season 2, although one or two actors return for new roles. Some spoilers follow.

Camp Montega, 2012: Six camp counsellors drive into the woods to party at the end of their summer tenure, but instead of good times, five of them decide to put the sixth on trial for being a manipulative bitch. The girl, Talvinder, is charged with screwing the boyfriend of one, ruining the chances of a summer romance of another, and teasing another into doing her work for her. The situation escalates, an assault occurs, and poor Talvinder ends up with her skull smashed in with a rock.

Five years later – never four, never six – the threat of a development unearthing the hidden skeleton spurns an awkward roadtrip back to the area to move the bones before they’re discovered. The camp, closed down in the wake of Talvinder’s unsolved disappearance, has been transformed into the ‘We Are One’ commune, home to a small group of people with various emotional issues who live outside of society.

slasher guilty party 2017

In the dead of winter, they allow the newcomers to stay in a cabin for the weekend, and it’s not long before a parka ski-jacket and be-goggled lunatic shows up on a skidoo and begins laying waste to everyone in a variety of gruesome ways. Really gruesome: One guy is chainsawed to pieces while naked, another is drilled with an auger, eyes are gouged out, people are immolated, run over with the skidoo… There’s also a fairly graphic male-on-male rape scene.

With victims not limited to the five responsible for Talvinder’s disappearance, the episodes take a sort of sub-Lost tack and go into flashback territory, revealing bits about the lives of various characters before coming to the area, and pretty much informing us that virtually all of them are murderous assholes, one way or another. The commune folk number amongst them an ex-con who killed and took the place of a new resident, a nasty lawyer, and the victim of a gay bashing who fatally turned the tables on his attacker.

slasher guilty party 2017

The main problem in Slasher is that almost none of the characters are likeable. Guilt-racked Peter comes close to becoming our first black final guy, but is overshadowed by the actions of those around him, who are purely selfish and hell-bound.

I also pegged the identity of the killer by the second episode. I mean, the only semi-known in the cast who has lingered virtually in the background for all episodes and excused a flashback scene of their own… The misdirection is feebly handled and things grind uncomfortably into Identity waters, which is almost clever, but having seen that film – and several like it – obvious to the literate viewer.

The first series may have been a bit clunky, but it felt like a series. Guilty Party has the plot of an 87-minute B-movie stretched to its limits over six-and-a-half hours, pumped with more filler than a warehouse full of battery farm chickens. The gory killings are well done and shocking, but that really is all it has going for it. Uneven writing results in characters who act like asshats one episode then switch to being practical and pleasant for the next two and depriving us of any real central hero figure to root for.

slasher guilty party 2017

This was a chore and a half to get through. I’d imagine a shrinking budget from the move to Netflix from the defunct Chiller network threw a spanner in the works to some extent, but what achievements the first series had over its smallscreen rivals has been pummelled to dust. Or rather snow.

Those Friday the 13th-in-the-snow hi-jinks we want are not to be found here.

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