Tag Archives: obvious identity of killer

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.

The Ice Cream Man Liveth!

SOME GUY WHO KILLS PEOPLE

3.5 Stars  2011/15/94m

Director: Jack Perez / Writer: Ryan Levin / Cast: Kevin Corrigan, Barry Bostwick, Karen Black, Lucy Davis, Leo Fitzpatrick, Ariel Gade, Eric Price.

Body Count: 4

Laughter Lines: “She’s looks old enough to me! How old are you, nineteen?” / “Eleven.”


Remember when The Sixth Sense came out and everybody was dying to tell each other the twist but risked ruining the experience for those who hadn’t seen it? If I go into too much detail about Some Guy Who Kills People, I’ll ruin it for you.

Not that there’s a massive revelation at the end of this film that’ll have you going: “Woah! Totally far out, man! Didn’t see that one coming!” But the journey through this film is one that takes you to places not necessarily unexpected, just at odds with what IS expected.

Thus, the film follows one Ken Boyd (Corrigan, who is perfect), ice-cream parlor employee who was released from an institution not that long ago after a suicide attempt. Flashbacks inform us that years before he was kidnapped and beaten up by a quartet of high school jocks who he, as the team mascot, had managed to humiliate.

Life sucks for Ken. His bossy mom (Black) has no problem voicing her disappointment in him in between her romps with the local sheriff (Bostwick), his boss has him dress up as a giant ice cream cone to hand out leaflets on the street or hawk their wares at the party of one of Ken’s bullies of yore… …who is found with an axe in his head the next morning.

At the same time, Ken’s 11-year-old daughter Amy randomly turns up in his life and, alienated by her religious parents, moves in with him and his mom, hoping for the role model she’s always dreamt of. Despite Ken’s social ineptitude, general silence, and jittery manner, he begins to cheer up about life, more so when he starts dating British-totty Stephanie (Davis, from The Office).

Murders continue as each of the grown-up assholes are tracked down by Ken and then hacked to pieces, slashed up in the cab of their truck, or hunted in the dark of an outdoors store. Unbeknownst to him, Amy has followed him and finds him stood over the latest body… Where it goes from here, I’ll leave you to discover on your own.

I found Some Guy Who Kills People in Poundland, so it cost me almost nothing and I expected very little from it; another of those cheap-ass “horror-comedies” that is neither scary, nor amusing. While SGWKP can’t really lay claim to being frightening or LOL-funny, there’s a production and artistic quality on show that has it striding ahead of most other examples.

The laughs are sarcastic and subtle, with Bostwick great as the weary sheriff and Ariel Gade proves she has more acting chops than most kids-what-can-act (plus she’s not annoying), while Corrigan, whose familiarly is down to numerous appearances in various well-known TV series’, carries off his part with considerable believability, weighing calculating serial killer and misunderstood sad guy in equal measure.

Slasher shenanigans play second fiddle to other elements here, but it’s bloody when required, self aware, not pleased with itself, and occasionally tender.

Blurbs-of-interest: The late Karen Black can be found as the mom in Children of the Corn IV, Oliver Twisted, and is also in Out of the Dark and Curse of the Forty-Niner.

The olde “cross out the faces of the victims” clincher… or is it?

You can’t choose your family

MY SUPER PSYCHO SWEET 16 PART 3

2 Stars  2012/83m

“The party ends here.”

Director: Jacob Gentry / Writers: Jed Elinoff & Scott Thomas / Cast: Lauren McKnight, Kirsten Prout, Ryan Sypek, Jillian Rose Reed, Niko Pepaj, Ben Winchell, Onira Tares, Autumn Dial, Chris Zylka.

Body Count: 5

Laughter Lines: “Yeah and one time [he] killed a bunch of camp counsellors with a machete.”


Unavoidable SPOILERS below.

Poor Skye Rotter… Her teen-slashing father first offed various patrons of the the local rollerdome, then crashed the Sweet 16 of spoiled bitch Madison Penrose and killed several guests,then stalked Skye to her mother’s place and killed yet more teenagers at a party hosted by Skye’s half sister Alex.

Two years later, Skye is about to leave for college and catches a ride with kooky art student Sienna, when she is called by Alex, who hasn’t returned any calls in the interim, and agrees to swing by on route, which happens to coincide with Alex’s birthday… How old might she be?

A handful of Alex’s new friends prove to be just as condescending and unpleasant as those at previous parties and though both Skye and Sienna are desperate to hit the road, a loon with a Charlie Rotter fixation soon crashes the event and begins trimming the guest list using garden lights, nail guns, and car hoods.

There are echoes of both Slumber Party Massacre III and that fantabulous scene from the end of Happy Birthday to Me that creep into proceedings plus the sour impression of that awful April Fool’s Day remake, but given the last scene of Part 2, you’d have thought/hoped that the writers would pack the final movie with a decent sucker punch of a twist.

Instead, what’s going on is painfully obvious. The obsessed killer is revealed far too early, sucking a whole garbage bag fulla tension out of what’s left, but then the predictable caveat is plopped on top of the cake, it 100% flatlines there and then, castrated by its own appearance, and rendering the last third of the film a through-the-motions affair.

Some amusing and decent moments are still injected: One not-quite-dead victim staggering back to the house and Skye’s Ripley-channeling kick-assery, plus when one victim successfully contacts the cops, she’s met with a bored operator who doesn’t believe her and threatens to send a squad car to teach her a lesson: “Awesome! Yes – do that! Arrest my ass, but just get someone out here now!”

From Zylka’s two minutes of screen time to McKnight’s slightly tired showing, I imagine any attempt at a Part 4 will require a whole new story and a sushi-cake sized dose of enthusiasm, otherwise this is a damp-squib ending to a fairly enjoyable little teenie-kill series.

Diagnosis terminal

BEYOND REMEDY

2.5 Stars  2008/18/91m

“Don’t worry… You won’t feel a thing.”

Director: Gerhard Hross / Writers: Jorge F. Peterson & Soren Hoffmann / Cast: Marie Zielcke, Daniel Krauss, Edward Piccin, David Gant, Rick Yune, Annalena Duken, Tobias Kasimirowicz, Jacqueline Burgschat.

Body Count: 5


Six young physicians volunteer to participate in a radical form of confronting therapy to rid them of the fears and phobias that obstruct their career paths. Pretty Julia is scared of blades (handy in a slasher film) after failing to give her dying brother a tracheotomy. There’s also the dark, claustrophobia, vertigo, and mirrors.

Professor Gingrich’s (cheapo Christopher Lee clone, Gant) methods are harsh enough but there’s also a scrubs-and-chainmail-clad killer who starts to do away with the youngsters one by one.

This German film has English audio, some decent setups and creepy imagery from time to time – the apples and blood work quite well when they appear – but suffers from characters who choose split up at the most unlikely time and a budget that means gunshots are presented as feeble clicks rather than big bangs.

Better than some of the other experiment-based slashers and the killer is interesting, if not entirely obvious, but too little in the way of scares or tension and some of the murders are damp squibs – despite what the cover says about ‘strong bloody violence’.

You’ve been framed. And skewered. And slashed.

EVIL DEAD TRAP

3 Stars  1988/18/100m

Director: Toshiharu Ikeda / Writer:  Takashi Ishii/ Cast: Miyuki Ono, Aya Katsuragi, Hitomi Kobayashi, Eriko Nakagawa, Masahiko Abe, Yuji Honma.

Body Count: 7


Contrary to the implications of that title, this oddball Japanese film has more in common with Saw than Sam Raimi’s splatstick classic, and was something of a collectible outside of its home territory after release.

Nami is the presenter of one of those late night TV shows that screen weird and wacky videos sent in by the public. One day she receives a tape containing the torture of a young woman, who eventually gets a blade through the eye (its gruesomeness shown in extreme closeup).

Due to the falling ratings, Nami asks if she can take a film crew to the location of the video as she thinks it will make good television. She is denied permission and so goes anyway, taking four colleagues and a still camera.

The film pads comfortably through derivative stalk n’ slash territory, with a pair splitting off from the group for sex before the victims start to wander into traps, which include a multitude of blades skewering one woman, and a rigged crossbow ambush. There’s a also a brilliant flash-strobe attack in the dark, which, along with some ambitious set pieces drew comparisons to Argento’s visual flourishes. With all the slaying done with in the first half, events take a detour down the weird path with one of the most bizarre twists occurring once the (obvious) killer is unmasked.

The film’s leanings towards violence against shrieking young women makes for some uncomfortable moments, while the fewer male victims are either killed all too quickly or entirely off-screen, a motif common in the staple ‘J-horror’ exports of the 90’s and 00’s, which commonly center around young women in distress.

Fundamentally, the photography and inventive demises make the film, which is otherwise your common-or-garden stalker with a particularly surreal what-the-fuck!? final forty minutes in a flick that essentially runs about twenty minutes too long.

The sequel is an entirely different affair, a dreamy, wannabe avant garde horror film that I’m not even sure I made it all the way through.

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