Tag Archives: slasher films that aren’t supposed to be funny but are funny

Rough Crossing


1.5 Stars  1987/18/84m

“There’s a bad moon rising…”

Director: Gary Graver / Writer: Robert S. Aiken / Cast: Britt Ekland, John Phillip Law, William Smith, Louis Van Bergen, April Wayne, Jillian Kesner.

Body Count: 15

Dire-logue: “They were at each other like two roosters all the time.”

As if Blood Voyage wasn’t excruciating enough, how about a film that seems to want to replicate it? Britt Ekland takes the lead and does her career no favours by playing the sole survivor of a murderous rampage aboard a yacht, when three Vietnam vets reunite with their gals for a pleasure cruise.

Someone in the group has recently escaped from the psyche ward and is now killing off the group with a knife and a weird spear-gun thing after setting them adrift (although land is clearly visible in the background about forty yards away). Along with the three traumatised soldiers provoking suspicion, one of their girlfriends is a sexy oddball who keeps telling everybody that the moon is in Scorpio and, when asked what the hell that means, replies that it’s a time for revenge and retribution. Woooo… This, plus looped footage of the moon, are the only links to the otherwise insignificant title. I personally think Big Ass Yacht Massacre would’ve been better.

When the killer is finally revealed, it has absolutely sod all to do with the set up, the Vietnam flashbacks or half the things Ekland covers in her laughable narration, which includes such remarkable insights to the situation – and indeed the slasher subgenre – as: “Who was behind it?” and “When was it going to end?” Best of all is the mis-timed add-lib when one of the men topples on deck. Once he’s regained his composure, Britt says: “suddenly, John (?) fell over!” This yak-track alone awards an extra half star but this is a film only fit for self-harmers who’ve blunted their favourite razor blade.

Blurbs-of-interest: director Graver also helmed Trick or Treats and was the a cinematographer on Twisted Nightmare and Mortuary. Co-producer Fred Olen Ray has “contributed” to several genre films and directed Scalps.

“You’re bad! You’re all bad!”

twistednightmare-japanTWISTED NIGHTMARE

1.5 Stars  1982/18/91m

“Before the world existed, there was a power…an evil power.”

A.k.a. Ancient Evil

Director/Writer: Paul Hunt / Cast: Rhonda Gray, Cleve Hall, Robert Padilla, Brad Bartrum, Natalie Main, Darryl Tong, Noble ‘Kid’ Chissell, Scott King, Devon Jenkins, Heather Sullivan, Kenneth Roper Jr., Juliet Martin, Marc Copage, Christin Dante, Jim Gosling, Phillip Bardowell, Donna Correa.

Body Count: 16

Dire-logue: “Hey, let’s go and explore the barn.”

Must apologise for the cover being Japanese, it’s not easy to find much about this immensely strange film, but my UK VHS copy had the same artwork many moons ago when I still had a copy. What wouldn’t I do to get it back… Actually, nothing, it sucked.

Originally shot in 1982 at the same ranch where Friday the 13th Part III was filmed (if you believe IMDb trivia sections, but as I recall it looked similar), Twisted Nightmare was withheld until 1987. Why? Well, read on and see if you can guess…

The plot is as follows: a group of “teens” at a lakeside camp – Camp Paradise (wait till you see it) –  tease Matthew, who’s retarded (movie retarded, this is, which means he can barely walk without flopping everywhere). He tells them they’re “all bad” and runs away to the barn, only to reappear as a ball of fire and dies…but the body is never found. Hmmm. Two years later, the teens are invited back to camp where, ding ding!, a disfigured character begins murdering them one after the other.

The camp caretaker tells some of the “teens” that the camp is built atop an ancient Indian burial ground. I shit you not. This gives it power, power gives Matthew death-dodging power, Matthew-kill-everyone.

However pathetic things sound, Twisted Nightmare is a bad movie addict’s wet dream: one guy says he’s leaving in a shot where he’s wearing that trademark 80’s sweater-over-the-shoulders, only for it to completely gone in the very next shot! With way too many characters to keep track of, an aged Sheriff who’s head is literally pushed off his shoulders, a final girl who only achieves said status by being stuck in a toolshed for half the film before driving away having contributed nothing to her own survival, this is a film best left to masochists and de-taste-ified collectors.

Blurb-of-interest: Devon Jenkins was in Slumber Party Massacre III.


silentrage1.5 Stars  1982/18/95m

“Science created him. Now Chuck Norris must destroy him.”

Director: Michael Miller / Writer: Joseph Fraley / Cast: Chuck Norris, Ron Silver, Stephen Keats, Toni Kalem, Stephen Furst, Brian Libby, William Finley.

Body Count: 10

Even with a body count that reaches double figures, this attempt to fuse martial arts with a slasher opus flatlines through boredom and is desperately predictable for its running length. A man wakes up in his rented room, calls his doctor and says he can’t take it anymore before donning an axe and chopping up his landlady and some other poor schmuck. After a scuffle, he’s subdued and shot dead – or is he?


Meddling doctors feed him a formula they’ve been working on, which rapidly speeds up the regeneration of damaged cells blah, blah, blah. In short, dead guy goes Mighty Mouse and decides to go on a killing spree until the inevitable showdown with Chuck. Considering the film spends a spare reel on Chuck whipping some biker gang ass, it would’ve been nice for said bikers to have provided extra victims for the psycho, but they leave forgotten as soon as their bar brawl scene wraps.

Meanwhile, things shift from aping Halloween to a Halloween II deserted hospital killfest, which sees Kalem’s hysterical heroine chased along empty corridors for an eternity and Stephen Furst as a comic bumbling deputy who is heartlessly killed off in the only unexpected twist on offer. The final smackdown is good for laughs but the horror audience will feel short-changed by everything else, except maybe the cheese that oozes from the poster!

Blurbs-of-interest: Michael Miller also directed National Lampoon’s Class Reunion, which co-starred Furst, who was also in The Unseen. Ron Silver was later in The Wisher.

Wait. What?

skeletonmanSKELETON MAN

1.5 Stars  2004/18/86m

“Some myths are real.”

Driector: Johnny Martin / Writer: Frederick Bailey / Cast: Michael Rooker, Casper Van Dien, Sarah Ann Schultz, Nils Allen Stewart, Jackie Debatin, Lisa Oliva, Jerry Trimble Jr., Noa Tishby, Eric Etabari.

Body Count: 39 – yes, thirty-nine!

First-rate Fatality: boom-boom-boom like a hammer to the (explodey) head…

When somebody tells you that something has to be seen to be believed, they’re normally telling you about their trip to the Great Wall of China or some circus sideshow they saw… However, when somebody says this to you in reference to Skeleton Man, they’re not lying.

From Nu-Image, who normally make creature-features about spiders, octopods and crocodiles with imaginative titles like Spiders, Octopus and Crocodile - all of which had sequels, can you guess what they were called? Anyway, this knowledge on board, Skeleton Man is a bit of a departure for them. It’s a slasher flick, make no mistake about it, with some unexplained supernatural elements thrown in for good measure no real reason.

Some archaeologists dig up a skull and then a cloaked figure appears and murders them (plus a couple of more schmucks who get in the way). ‘Tis the skeleton man of course, and he manages to kill one guy by lifting him in the air… From there, some other guys are killed, army dudes, and a few weeks later a group of eight soldiers is sent to the region (which I thought was supposed to be South America but gradually looks more and more like a Californian national park). The group is led by Michael Rooker as the Cap and Casper Van Dien is also there but only says about eight words. He has a scar, ‘cos he’s like, y’know, “seasoned”. Four of the men are Delta Force and they’re joined by four women, all of whom we’re asked to believe are in the military but look like catalogue models and cry when they find dead bodies.

skelmanThrough the medium of flashback part I, we learn what happened to the previous team, they met the Skeleton Man, and the body count reaches double figures within fifteen minutes. The group then stumble upon a blind Indian who uses flashback part II to explain that the killer once killed loads of tribal folk and is called ‘Cotton Mouth Joe’ – almost like the song. Almost. The skeleton man appears, usually on horseback, through weird little CG vortexes (that everybody sees but nobody mentions) and begins chopping and skewering the soldier dudes and dudettes, brings down a chopper with a bow and arrow and appears impervious to bullets, which doesn’t put any of the team off wasting their rounds.

Eventually, skeleton man goes to a chemical plant to kill more people, sending the body count soaring to nearly forty by the time Rooker explodifies the joint. But who is skeleton man? Where did he come from? Why does Casper Van Dien commandeer that truck? Why does it explode for no reason? How come it stops for him to leap out but is still rolling along in the next shot, huh? Well, you’ll never find out, never! It’s like cheap wine, it gets you drunk and you giggle, but you never want to see or hear from it ever again.

Blurb-of-interest: Casper appeared in Tim Burton’s sort-of slasher Sleepy Hollow.



1 Stars  1988/88m

“Who is the killer behind the sadistic and horrific murders of beautiful young coeds…and when will this madness end?”

Director: Anthony J. Christopher / Writer: James Hundhausen / Cast: Michelle McCormick, Ken Roberts, Joe Phelan, Alex Courtney, Cindra Hodgdon, Steven Henry, Blair Karsch, Sky Nicholas, Maureen O’Hanlon, Kitty.

Body Count: 6

Dire-logue: “Don’t worry, almost nothing can go wrong.”

Trouble with the lexicon of late-80s made for video slasher films, even those that felt the need to remind you they were ‘full length feature films’ on the box, was that the introduction of made-for-video pictures opened the floodgates to a tidal wave of crap. Almost literal crap.

Fatal Pulse - not to be confused with the cheesy, but far superior Fatal Games - is a rubbish arse-wipe of a film in which the dimwitted residents of the Alpha Omega Kappa sorority house are being strangled, electrocuted, drowned and slashed by vinyl records (!) by an anonymous black-gloved killer, who could be the lead girl’s on-off boyfriend, his dumbass buddy, or her nasty ex. But we know it isn’t really. The real killer’s identity is so obvious the character may as well have been holding a decapitated head when he first appears.

It’s one of those scripts where the author hasn’t even tried. If someone was murdered in the room next door to me, I’d move out. These girls, they stick around, told nothing will happen to them (see Dire-logue) and are all presented as witless morons and nasty bitches who are utterly defenceless, cowering pathetically when the maniac leans in for the kill, slashing their bras open first of course! One girl encounters the psycho on a suburban street during daylight hours. Instead of running to a house, she decides an abandoned warehouse is the best means of escape!

If you want to see the film that makes Sorority House Massacre look like Black Christmas then Fatal Pulse is for you! Everyone else is advised to substitute the tape for a doorstop or toilet roll.

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