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TRICK OR TREATS

1 Stars  1982/92m

“…when Halloween night stopped being fun!”

Director/Writer: Gary Graver / Cast: Jackelyn Giroux, Peter Jason, Chris Graver, Carrie Snodgress, David Carradine, Stave Railsback, Jillian Kesner, Paul Bartel.

Body Count: 3 (!)

Laughter Lines: “These horror movies… they make me scared to drive home alone at night!”


“When Halloween night stopped being fun,” goes the tagline. Darn tootin’. Short of falling ass-first on a running power drill, I can’t think of a less fun way to spend Halloween night, or any other given night, than watching Trick or Treats.

Carrie Snodgress gets her husband carted off to an institution in the opening scene. Why? No clue, ToT doesn’t care about in-filling its plot holes. The scene is slapstick heavy, with two orderlies struggling with the flailing hubby, who tries to climb a tree at one point to escape. They all end up falling in the pool. The only thing missing was a table of cream pies.

‘Several years later’, struggling actress-cum-babysitter Linda (Giroux) accepts a Halloween night job to look after the couple’s horrible, horrible son, while Mom and her new squeeze (Carradine), head off to a party. Meanwhile, Hubby has broken out of the institute disguised as a female nurse, and is heading home to murder his wife and anyone else who gets in his way and nobody else.

Yeah that’s right, this is the slasher movie without any slashing. Hubby punches out a security guard rather than stabs him, threatens a couple of homeless guys (one of whom is horror-fixture Bartel), and eventually mistakenly kills a random blonde chick whom he mistakes for his wife.

This might sound okay, but nothing remotely resembling a threat of violence happens for well over an hour into the 92 minute film. Until then, it’s a never ending cycle of the bratty kid playing a prank on Linda, that she always falls for, and some trick or treaters coming to the door. Again. And again. And again. Until death. Your death. From boredom.

With just 15 minutes remaining, Hubby finally catches up with Linda, thinking her to be Carrie Snodgress, and chases her a bit. Although the film is so darkly turned out you may as well close your eyes and rest for all the good they’ll do you open.

A fittingly annoying twist for a fittingly annoying child in the world’s most disappointing ‘slasher’ film is the shitty icing on this cake. A cake made of the shittiest shit one might dredge up from a shit-filled canal in Shitsville, Tennessee.

Blurbs-of-interest: Carradine was in Children of the Corn V and Detention (2010); Steve Railsback was in Deadly Games and Slash; Paul Bartel was in Killer Party. Graver later directed the equally awful Moon in Scorpio.

Suggested viewing accompaniment: Hallucinogenics

THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY

0.5 Stars  1988/72m

“Where the girls are DYING for a good time.”

Director/Writer: Stephen Tyler / Cast: Jan Jensen, Nancy Meyer, Joann Whitley, David Whitley, Danny David, Lance Descourez, Paul Amend, Rick Polizzi, Barbara Clairborne, Stephen Tyler.

Body Count: 12

Laughter Lines: “My parents would decapitate me if they ever caught me kissing a boy!”


Time passes by so quickly. Unless you’re the Righteous Brothers or find yourself sat down with The Last Slumber Party, a film so inherently dreadful in every conceivable way that there aren’t enough sublatives in the English language to illustrate just how terrible it is. It genuinely felt like I spent the whole day watching it.

Unhappy with the concept of having a frontal lobotomy, a mental patient escapes, dons a surgeons scrubs, and journeys to the family home of his doctor – who owns the world’s most hideously decorated house – where his boring daughter Linda, is to host a slumber party for her equally crap gal-pals Tracy and Chris, who hope their boyfriends will crash proceedings and repeatedly (and I mean REPEATEDLY) tell Linda that Scott will call her.

Meanwhile, the bug-eyed psycho is taking a scalpel to schmucks who cross his path and soon finds himself at the party. For a short while (although nothing in The Last Slumber Party feels anything close to short) things play out like any cheapjack film: The girls watch TV, snack, and jabber inanely, repeatedly saying “You scared the shit outta me!” to one another, even when absolutely nothing has happened.

Boys come to “scare the piss out of the girls”, which entails climbing up a ladder with a dollar store Halloween mask on. The girls barely blink the prank is so crap. Eventually, the psycho slashes a couple of throats, loitering behind victims in rooms there really is no place to hide in. The girls wonder where their boyfriends are, referring to them with a tirade of homophobic names (queer/faggot/homo, i.e. “He’s such a homo he even took the bedspread!”)

However, someone else comes along and kills one of the boys in the same manner, with virtually the same outfit on. What? He goes to slice one of the girls but is instead fatally attacked by the first killer. Chris has a random dream that people are dead. Said dream includes her standing at the front door staring out of it for like sixty seconds doing nothing. NOTHING. I am watching a girl stood in a doorway doing nothing.

Everyone else dies and when the doctor returns, he’s immediately called back to the hospital by America’s most sarcastic nurse: “He’s escaped”; “Escaped? Have you called the police?” – this is gold – “No doctor, we all thought we should call you first.”

Doc goes back to hospital and is murdered in the elevator, his body magically transported back to the house and tossed in the pool literally seconds later. Chris goes to his aid and is then mercifully slashed by the killer.

THEN SHE FUCKING WAKES UP.

Chris gets a call from Tracy and tells her: “I had a nightmare within the nightmare!” to which Tracey responds: “I’m bored out of my skull.” You and me both, love.

They drive over to Linda’s just as Linda receives a call from the hospital informing her the psycho has escaped and she should shut all the doors. However, she picks up the phone without saying hello or identifying herself, so how the fuck does the person on the other end even know who it is or when to end the call!?

Aggressively bad. Watch for the botched throat slashings; the same shot of the killer wielding the scalpel at the camera used about a dozen times. And Chris fucking sucks as the choice for final girl, not that either of the other “I’m 37-but-can-play-17″ “actresses” would be any better, but she’s by far the worst with her shrill voice and nasty homophobic comments. The horrific thrash metal soundtrack by Firstryke (even used as some sort of plug on that VHS cover!) should’ve clued us in early on as they wail “it’s just a nightmaaaaaare!” Damn shame I didn’t wake up and find The Last Slumber Party wasn’t real either.

Now I know some of you will think “it can’t be that bad” and consider trying it. Don’t. Don’t be the fool I was. Even as a freebie on YouTube, this is 72 minutes you cannot claw back. A very possible candidate for worst horror film ever made. Ever.

The Last Slumber Party is a B & S Production. I think we can all agree what that might stand for.

Let’s get physical

AEROBICIDE

2.5 Stars  1986/18/82m

A.k.a. Killer Workout

“This workout’ll kill you!”

Director/Writer: David A. Prior / Cast: Marcia Karr, David James Campbell, Fritz Matthews, Ted Prior, Teresa Van der Woude, Richard Bravo, Dianne Copeland, Joel Hoffman.

Body Count: 12

Laughter Lines: “It’s cool to get kinky sometimes…”


Olivia Newton-John has a lot to answer for. Back in the 80s when headbands were big, and hair was bigger, Jane Fonda had the world’s first leotard-graph, and day-glo spandex aerobics carried out to high-BPM synths was the soundtrack to life…

Naturally, someone was going to find a way to make a cheesy horror film about it. Gymnasiums and their equipment have featured in a few slasher films over the years, from the weights used to choke a dumbbell jock in Final Exam and the chick on that upside down sit-up bar thingy who receives death by barbell in Silent Madness, right up to head-squish courtesy of a faulty weight machine in Final Destination 3

But in 1986, along came Aerobicide, exclusively set in and around Rhonda’s Workout, a Los Angeles club where a killer wielding a GIANT SAFETY PIN is doing away with various members.

There’s a lot of this…

*

Beginning with a woman fried alive on a tanning bed, things skip forward gleefully ignoring the event (but we know it’ll be relevant later), and find the temperamental gym manager Rhonda unhappy that moody Lt. Morgan is skulking around the joint suspecting everybody of being the safety pin killer.

Lots of Eric Prydz-esque aerobics are punctuated by safety pin murders, always complimented by horrible sub-Knight Rider cop-after-perp chases are a construction site, as well as a couple of over-rehearsed punch-ups between the prime suspect, Jimmy, and new employee Chuck, who has taken it upon himself to solve the case.

…and a bit of this

*

In spite of the cheery aerobics, the film suffers from electing too few likeable characters, populating the cast with unnamed gym members who utter a few inaudible lines before they exit the building of their own accord, or in a bodybag.

A likely contender for cheesiest stalk n’ slasher, watch the final shot, which is held for so long the actor looks like they’re about to keel over with impatience.

Blurb-of-interest: Joel Hoffman was in Slumber Party Massacre II.

Write and Wrong

YOU CAN’T KILL STEPHEN KING

2.5 Stars  2012/15/79m

“It was a mistake to visit his lake.”

Directors: Monroe Mann, Ronnie Khalil, Jorge Valdes-Iga / Writers: Mann, Khalil, & Bob Madia / Cast: Monroe Mann, Ronnie Khalil, Crystal Arnette, Kayle Blogna, Kate Costello, Justin Brown, Jason Martin, Polly Humphreys, John Mancini.

Body Count: 5


Admittedly, I was filled with a case of the “ugh’s” when I encountered this film… The title alone made me want to dry swallow balled-up barbed wire, but after watching the trailer on YouTube, it didn’t look like it was going to be 80 minutes of Samsung phone-shot lesbianism and ketchup squirts… It looks like it might have taken the wise decision to go down the comedy route.

Indeed, You Can’t Kill Stephen King opens with this rather lovely vista:

…which helps. I like lakes with lots of lush, green trees around the perimeter.

After the obligatory murder of a hot girl in the woods, we meet our primary cast of five ‘young people’ off to stay in the lakeside cabin they’ve inherited in the same town that Stephen King reportedly resides in, somewhere in Maine.

So, the film kinda starts with on a Scary Movie plain with an establishing shot for each of the quintet:

Other than Lamont, we have PTSD-suffering ex-soldier Monroe, his serious sister Hilary, his ex-girlfriend Lori, his King-obsessed virginal buddy Ronnie, and requisite dim-witted hot girl, Nicole.

They stop at a diner where they are advised to go party elsewhere by the waitress, then rent a boat where they are advised to go wakeboarding elsewhere by the boat-rental guy, then they have fun on the lake where they are reprimanded for going too fast by a waterborne cop. Seems as though everyone wants it to be peace and quiet.

Before long, a shadowy figure begins offing the group one by one and Ronnie begins to suspect whomever is doing it is aping scenes from Stephen King stories and only comes after them when they’re being loud.

The dwindling group set about trapping the killer, whom by this point Ronnie suspects is Stephen King, and things kind’ve lumber towards a revelation not too far removed from the climax of Hot Fuzz.

Production unities are higher than expected from both the DVD cover and title, but the film begins to shed its comedy tag towards the end and plays out like any other straight-to-video dead teenager film of late and the jokes all but disappear.

I’m weary of any film where there are A). multiple directors and B). said directors award themselves the lead roles. This results in a sort of limelight hogging that sees all the girls summarily wasted, without a final girl figure to speak of. Final boys hardly ever work as it is.

Some funny parts and plenty of tropes, most of which work better in the two minute trailer (“fog… and more fog!”), a couple of good lines, but – for the first half at least – a sense of fun and frolic. That title though…

And remember, even Stephen King couldn’t make a good Stephen King movie.

Horror schmorror

HEEBIE JEEBIES

1 Stars  2004/18/89m

“Scarier than hell!”

Directors: Doug Evans & Michael Hawkins-Burgos / Writers: Doug Evans & J.J. Shebesta / Cast: Bobbie Jo Westphal, Michael Hawkins-Burgos, Angela Kane, Reaca Pearl, Jeff Lee, Doug Evans, Vanessa Yuille, Jonathan Wainwright.

Body Count: 10


A bizarre horror anthology strung together against the backdrop of a gory little slasher opus.

Main character Cassie can dream the future, proven by forecasting the murder of her mother years earlier. Having experienced dreams concerning some old high school friends, she takes the most ridiculous action conceivable and invites them to a bogus reunion at a dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere: the perfect location for an all-out stalk n’ slash-a-thon.

We take intermittent detours into Cassie’s nightmares, which range from the acceptably strange (a sibling’s prank on his sister that goes too far) to head-scratchingly ludicrous (rock-monsters that come to life in the dark) via the mundanely twisted (a hit and run accident that gets progressively worse for the driver…)

Meanwhile, the teens in the house under-react to the rising body count, as they’re decapitated and hacked one by one. Ultimately, the coda wraps it up neatly enough, but the vignettes are so leftfield that it pulls the rug right out from under the confused viewer’s tootsies. Annoying more than anything.

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