Tag Archives: spoilers



2 Stars  1991/85m

“When fantasy becomes a deadly reality.”

Director/Writer: W. Douglas Robertson / Writer: Kurt Andrew Swauger / Cast: Brien Blakely, Blake Pickett, Ethan Adler, Brad Hanks, Leslee Lacey, Bently Tittle, Tim Hubbard.

Body Count: 6

Laughter Lyrics: “In a haunted house on a Hauntedween, is the biggest party there’s ever been, it’s time for rocking heads to roll, we’re just dying to start the show.”

There are some things you should know before approaching HauntedWeen in any way, shape, or form. Firstly, it was shot as something of a student project in a Kentucky college town. Secondly, many of the actors and extras were students and/or locals. Thirdly, the budget was clearly not high.

These things being so, I still had an awesome time watching HauntedWeen and, sadly, to convey said awesomeness, SPOILERS are necessary.

What’s the story then? A Halloween walk-through house of horror thing attracts folks. Ticket-collector Eddie is told he’s “too young to work the house” by the MC, who then goes home even though he’s just that second let some people in. Eddie sneaks into the house and finds a lost young girl he then torments until she impales herself. He caps it off by decapitating her and flees the scene. His Mom soon finds him and tells him they’ve got to go.

Behind you!

Behind you!

Beside you!

Beside you!

Twenty years later – never nineteen, never twenty-one – Old Mom keels over from a heart attack and Big Eddie decides to return to town.

Meanwhile, local Frat house Sigma Phi has learned that it’s about to be kicked out of the Greek system thingy for paying too little into the membership. Or something. They need money fast. Hmm…

Bizarrely, instead of HauntedWeen unfolding how we expect, given that Frat President Kurt and his suspect-robot girlfriend Mel stumbled upon The Old Burber House. Instead, Eddie goes to the Frat house and gives them the fucking keys, telling them it’d be a great idea! A goal-oriented psycho.

With a poster this awesome, why would anyone miss it?

With a poster this awesome, why would anyone miss it?

Kids of various dreadful fashion woes fix up the place and camp out. After dark, one of them tells the story of the Eddie-vs-Little-Girl incident, while two others go skinny dipping. Randomly, HauntedWeen tosses out a pretty good camera move, with the dude’s body pinned to a tree, it pans across nicely and adjusts focus to his girlfriend entering the lake. Very Friday the 13th.

tree-guyThe next night – assumed to be Halloween, though nobody ever mentions it – the kids put on their show. Locals come, scream unconvincingly, and Eddie grabs a few laggers for a special live edition. While teens scream “Don’t you people understand!? It’s not fake! He’s really killing us! Help us!” the audience bays for blood and their wishes are granted accordingly.

Eventually, Kurt and Mel, who’ve been having relationship problems (“you don’t pay enough attention to me!”) are in jeopardy, it takes one random patron to shriek “oh my God – it’s real!” for a stampede of people to flee the house, all to the poppy beats of an 80s aerobic workout bop.

HauntedWeen fails on almost every level in terms of horror: It’s neither scary, nor suspenseful; The gore is sloppy and tame; The title alludes to a supernatural element that does not exist; Most of the main cast survive, including the super annoying comic relief guy:

hanksSo it’s bad in almost every conceivable way, why haven’t I rated it one star? The short answer is hair.

Most people credit the 1980s for being the decade of bad clothes and hair, but it was still around in 1991, especially in Bowling Green, Kentucky, it would seem. I loved the early 90s, a shitfest for slasher films though they may have been, it was a great era.

Here’s a few of the delights I found in HauntedWeen:

bangles-wannabePost-Bangles super coif and pastel to match. I hope she played bass in a high school garage band. The guy behind her had a mullet but moved too fast to capture.

mullet-1…but here’s another mullet a couple of minutes later. Eeeeshk.

earrings-ladyThe lesser remembered coral reef look of the early 90s.

mullet-specsThis guy yells “Hang ‘em! Yaaaah!” during the fake-not-fake killings. Then about ninety-seconds later the same piece of footage is shown again, so we get double the mullet n’ mustache treatment. Yay us.

badhatandbracefaceMy favourites, Bad Hat and Braceface: These two kids spur on the killer in maniacal glee. She with her Wilson Phillips bowler, he with a penchant for massively overacting. I’d guess they’re approximately my age now, gotta get on Facebook and befriend.

In conclusion – see this film.

Reel to reel

220px-BloodhookBLOOD HOOK

3 Stars  1986/18/92m

“Live bait… but not for long.”

A.k.a. Muskie Madness

Director/Writer: James Mallon / Writers: Gail Anderson, David Herbert, Douglas Read, Larry Edgerton & John Galligan / Cast: Mark Jacobs, Lisa Todd, Patrick Danz, Sara Hauser, Christopher Whiting, Bill Lowrie, Paul Drake, Don Winters, Sandy Meuwissen, Paul Heckman, Don Cosgrove, Bonnie Lee.

Body Count: 7

Laughter Lines: “I will now proceed to blow the motherfucker away.”

Beware thy spoilers!

This weird endearing Troma pic begins with a young boy witnessing the strange death of his grandfather at their Wisconsin lake house. Seventeen years later (finally not a multiple of five!), the grown up kid and four friends return to the house for the annual Muskie Madness fishing competition.

While some locals cheat and bicker about events from the past, a mystery maniac is reeling in human catch with a large treble-hook. As victims are picked seemingly randomly, nobody’s sure who it is or why… Plus there are no bodies so the local sheriff has to ignore the pleas for help from the teens: “My friend has just been killed and you’re filling out a form!”

bloodhook1Suspects include cranky old fishermen, paranoid ex-military Tucker & Dale type Evelyn, and possibly even one of the teens, who has a habit of acting strangely. Hmmm… If Scooby Doo has taught us anything, it’s not to go for the obvious red herring. Or red muskie.

Blood Hook is an odd experience in terms of slasher films, entrenched in local custom, much of it is played for comedy, with some funny lines (“if you feel comfortable killing me, that’s fine, I’m an adult, I understand!”) and amusingly eccentric characters, not to mention some of the worst of 80s fashion.

Acting ranges quite spectacularly from genre-common awful to surprisingly good, and the eventual motive behind the murders reaches new (entertaining) levels of desperate: Sound. The killer has a metal plate in his skull that causes him great pain when certain frequencies make it vibrate, thus driving him to kill.

Some of the many fashion crimes committed in Blood Hook

Some of the many fashion crimes committed in Blood Hook

So, the teens and their new wave rock music, a fisherman with a klaxon, the temperamental cicada population all serve to drive him mad. Luckily, grown-up-hero-kid knows a lot about chords n’ shit so can figure it out!

Despite low production values, little in the way of grue, and its eccentricities, caught in the right mood, Blood Hook is a fun little time waster.

Blurb-of-interest: Lisa Todd was (much) later in Playback.

In the event of an emergency, run to the nearest carousel


2.5 Stars 1981/18/89m

“He wants their bodies …in pieces.”

A.k.a. Death Screams

Director: David Nelson / Writer: Paul C. Elliott / Cast:  Susan Kiger, Martin Tucker, William T. Hicks, Jennifer Chase, Jody Kay, John Kohler, Andria Savio, Kurt Rector, Josh Gamble, Helene Tryon, Mary Fran Lyman, Hans Manship, Monica Boston, Mike Brown, Sharon Alley.

Body Count: 11

Laughter Lines: “If his brains were TNT he couldn’t muster a good fart!”

Beware thy spoilers

This junky, but okay Friday the 13th copy starts as all good slasher films should, with a young couple’s lovemaking interrupted by murder. In this instance, they’re somehow doing it on a motorcycle (!?) when some fiend comes along and, it seems in the dim lighting that plagues this production, strangles both with the same noose, before disposing of their bodies in the river.

The plunge of their corpses into water – in flicky slo-mo – is accompanied with an overwrought score that looks like a cheap attempt at a Bond movie credit sequence. Unlike most scratchy-string slasher scores (try saying that five times), it sounds like a whole orchestra was drafted in to provide music for House of Death.

Cut to Anywheresville, USA, where the locals are enjoying the carnival at the end of summer: Highschool coach Neil is sad to see two of his favourite students about to leave for college, shop girl Lilly is… well, not much really; dumpy Sheriff Avery is keeping law, and the usual gaggle of over-aged actors pretend to be the local teen contingent.

Coach Neil takes a shine to Lilly and asks her on a date, much to the chagrin of some random girl (I called her Headband Girl), who jealously covers his car in shaving foam and then wanders away from the crowds, only to be shot in the back with an arrow. She flees, seemingly running away from the carnival, to a disused carousel. Now, I know the first thing I’d do if wounded in such a way would be to seek out the nearest merry-go-round, so she’s clearly a smart girl. Or not, as once in the ‘safety’ of the carousel, it starts turning and someone is able to asphyxiate her with a plastic bag. She dies in about three seconds. See this former Ridiculous Scene O’ the Month here.

For what seems like weeks, we watch the over-aged teens on rides, on the bouncy castle, ferris wheel, in the funhouse… Eventually they decide tonight is right for an end-of-summer party near the lake. Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s slow son Casey flits about, adhering to Robert Downey Jr’s speech about ‘going full retard’ in Tropic Thunder. Naturally, he is a major suspect. Lilly is cajoled into attending the camp-out, hoping that Neil will also go. What kind of pot-smokin’, pre-marital-sex-having teens invite their teacher?

A touch of equal opportunity objectification: House of Death has it all!

After an hour, one of the group goes skinny dipping and the bodies of the two pre-credits victims (seen throughout the film floating downstream) collide with her, the killing can finally begin. The others, thinking she’s just left, go to the cemetery to tell ghost stories but get rained out, seeking shelter in an abandoned house. THE house. The one from the title. It finally debuts 73 minutes into the 89 minute film.

There are 16 minutes remaining to kill eight characters, subdue the loon, and roll the credits. Get a move on.

Unlike, say, The Final Terror, the killer does at least shift his ass into gear and swiftly does away with most of them, but it becomes a meta slasher flick, what should’ve been spread over at least 45 minutes is crammed into 14: There’s a beheading, a throat slashing, and one guy dies from both hands being chopped off. Last to go is the town slut, Ramona, who falls through a rotten staircase: As the others try to heave her free, she’s cut in half at the waist.

But wait… Wasn’t the killer outside the front door, literally ten seconds earlier? Yes, but House of Death isn’t bothered about such liberties… Hell, the fucking house only just bothered to show up.

With the good kids and Lilly left, the killer bursts forth and we get maybe ten seconds to work out who it is and why they did it. Lots has been made of the bad edit in this scene, and one earlier, which had us believe said character was dead, but on this viewing, I just about heard the name called out before the guy is taken down with a cut throat, tumble through a second storey glass window, and then an exploded head, courtesy of the just-in-time sheriff.

What gives, House of Death? Don’t ask me, and don’t look for answers in either of the available UK DVD releases, both are cut, despite what the boxes say, and both have been placed on the DVD out of order: For instance, rather than the reels going 1, 2, 3, 4, it goes 1, 2, 4, 3. If you’re a smart cookie, you could re-author it on to a new disc, otherwie just buy American.

“…And nobody had a fucking clue what had just happened.”

So it’s under-lit, badly chopped, and the slasher part of it only lasts a few minutes, but House of Death is similar in tone to Final Exam or The Slumber Party Massacre: it’s just pure stalk n’ slash silliness. Had the mystery element been amped up and the editor been a little harsher in the early scenes, it could be a minor cult classic.

What joy?


1.5 Stars  2000/18/72m

“He’s not clowning around!”

Director: Craig Ross / Writer: Carl Washington / Cast: Angel Vargas, Vera Yell, Lee Marks, D Austin, Jamal Grimes, William L. Johnson, Corey Hampton, Rano Goulant.

Body Count: 4

Laughter Lines: “That is why I’m here – to tell you all that you are in grave danger from the evil that calls itself…Killjoy!”

With a score of 2.4 on IMDb, this should really suck. In a lot of ways, it does, but I can at least say I wasn’t suicidally bored watching Killjoy – something that can’t be said for several other films I’ve endured recently.

Archetypal dork Michael (Grimes) loves Jada (Yell), but gets beaten up by her violent ex-boyfriend Lorenzo (Johnson) at every available opportunity. He tries to summon Killjoy, a sub-Beetlejuice murderous clown, to exact revenge, but is kidnapped and shot dead by Lorenzo and his homeys beforehand.

Soon after, each member of the gang is coerced by Killjoy in his ice-cream van, which serves as a portal to a nether realm where he imprisons them. Think Freddy in the Hood.

The ghost of a random homeless guy appears to Jada’s friend Monique and tells her that only Jada can defeat Killjoy by breaking Michael’s heart and destroying the doll. But Killjoy won’t go that easily.

Highlights include:

  • (without validation) “We should split up.” / “What?” / “It’s the only way!”
  • A booming off-camera voice from the sky to remind Jada about the doll (but sounds like the actor is stood beside the cameraman).
  • Monique, upon realising that Killjoy is undefeated and has minions to do his bidding, says “oh no” as if she’s broken a nail.
  • Watch the eyebrows of ‘the girlfriend’ in the scene at the club near the end.

Dreadful in almost every way, but kinda funny at times, and at least Vargas really throws his all into the title role.

Out with the old


2.5 Stars  1996/15/80m

“Working here can be murder.”

Director: Cindy Sherman / Writers: Elise MacAdam & Tom Kalin / Cast: Carol Kane, Molly Ringwald, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Barbara Sukowa, Michael Imperioli, David Thornton, Mike Hodge, Alice Drummond.

Body Count: 8

Laughter Lines: “Kim! Go home… Go to unemployment… Just leave!”

1996 was the year Scream came out, the film that redefined, like, everything. Peering over the fence at that party like a sad, uninvited, neighbour kid, was Office Killer, an obscure little flick still sporting last season’s fashions and casting last decade’s names. Spoilers ensue!

Carol Kane is perfect as meek, measly copy editor (my job!!) Dorine who, when learning that the staff in her office will be downsized, decides to do some downsizing of her own, bumping off colleagues and storing them in her basement, where she plays ‘happy office’. Life’s frustrations are punctuated by her Mrs Bates-esque mother (Drummond).

Slickly made, but too slow-moving for such a short film: Dorine is interesting enough as the repressed psycho, and who doesn’t just LOVE the idea of Molly Ringwald as the bitchy, foul-mouthed co-worker who ends up being the only survivor? Jeanne Tripplehorn (game subject of a Whatever Happened To…?) is the ‘nice’ one who learns too much about her object of sympathy…

Oddest moment surely has to be Dorine murdering two cookie-selling girl scouts!

Blurbs-of-interest: Kane was the final girl in Pandemonium; Molly Ringwald appeared in Cut.

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