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KILLER’S MOON

KILLER’S MOON

2 Stars 1978/18/89m

“One endless night of terror!”

Director/Writer: Alan Birkinshaw / Cast: Anthony Forrest, Tom Marshall, Georgina Kean, Alison Elliott, Jane Hayden, Jean Reeve, Nigel Gregory, David Jackson, Paul Rattee, Peter Spraggon, Elizabeth Counsell, Jo-Anne Good.

Body Count: 9

Dire-logue: “One minute you’re a person, then you’re a sheep…all covered in blood.”


I was born in 1978. The year of Halloween, Grease and…uh…Killer’s Moon, a film possibly even more fucked up than The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. ‘Ooh, I must see it!’ you may crow. But wait, remain in your seat with the belt fastened, for this is not a recommendation by any means. Tobe Hooper’s film is screwy in a truly horrific way. Killer’s Moon is shot to pieces. It’s like that mental middle-aged woman in accounts who talks gibberish on eleven different subjects at once.

It’s part Clockwork Orange, part exploitation trash and part girls’ school comedy. Said schoolgirls are in fact a choir travelling through the Lake District – yes, it’s 70s England! – when their bus conks out and they take refuge in a secluded hotel. Meanwhile, we learn that four nutters have broken free of an institute and, thanks for a new type of therapy, believe they’re dreaming.

The loonies eventually crash the big sleepover to rip off blouses, rape and strangle any jailbait they can get their grubby mits on. They abduct others and force them to…prepare food for them! OH MY GOD! The depravity! Sooner or later, a couple of camping buddies team up with the girls to escape and reap their revenge.

Author Fay Weldon rewrote much of the girls’ dialogue but some of what comes out of their mouths is unbelievable. We start off with; “I just want to die and get it all over.” Fine, stupid, but fine. But later, proto-heroine Agatha turns to a friend of hers and tells her: “Look – you were only raped. As long as you don’t tell anyone you’ll be fine.” Only raped!?!? By an insane escaped convict, no less! Oh, don’t worry Lucy, all is well, just internalise the anxiety for the next sixty years and all shall remain just tickety-boo.

Whether or not Killer’s Moon is supposed to be humorous is debatable. It could be that it just sucks. Characters don’t question anything they’re told, trust absolutely anyone and spit venomous insults akin to “you’re just horrible!” at the killers as if they’re all at a seventh birthday party. Throw in a random three-legged dog who saves the day, indifference to bodily violation and nightgowns so cheaply made they simply fall off in a passing breeze and you’ve got one of the weirdest 89 minutes one could hope to experience… Approach with caution.

Blurb-of-interest: Birkinshaw later directed a slasher remake of The Masque of the Red Death, which is immeasurably better.

HOLLOW GATE

HOLLOW GATE

1.5 Stars  1988/87m

“When Mark Walters throws a Halloween party, Freddy and Jason wouldn’t dare to come.”

Director/Writer: Ray Di Zazzo / Cast: Addison Randall, Katrina Alexy, Richard Dry, Patricia Jacques, J.J. Miller, Ted Buck, Mario Hernandez, Pat Shalsant.

Body Count: 6

Dire-logue: “Just a few Halloween nuts… Is that all you old bitches want? Happy Halloween, you filthy old hag!”


Yesterday was Halloween. I was at work, but managed to watch a certain famous flick about the day in question. It was amazing. Eerie, creepy, perfect all round 30 years on. I also watched Hollow Gate.

Now, the killer in Hollow Gate, Mark, had his head held in the apple-bobbing bowl by his beer-choking pop at a kids’ party. This actor’s name is Bartholamew Bottoms, which might explain why such a thing might happen to him off-screen. Title cards tell us that ten years later, on Halloween Night (despite it being daylight), he teaches two nasty classmates a lesson when they mock him and his gas-pumpin’ job by setting their tank alight and watching them burn. Another two years pass and, on the same day, he attacks a shop girl who won’t have ice cream with him (“I don’t like ice cream! I don’t like the movies!” -who’d want to date this chick?)

Some undisclosed time later, Mark is living with his dotty Grandmother at Hollowgate, a fat-ass mansion outside the town limits (somewhere in Oklahoma). His live-in nurse has been dismissed and, when she suggests throwing a costume party on Halloween to resocialise Mark, Granny gets a pair of scissors in the eye. A couple of weeks later, two teen couples on their way to a nearby rave opt to deliver a few costumes to Hollowgate in exchange for free wigs. Yes, really. They’re soon trapped on the grounds after Mark shows them what’s left of Grandma and, for each ensuing murder, he dons a costume and plays its respective part (drill sergeant, redneck farmer, snooty British fox hunter…) This is assumedly, Hollow Gates ‘niche’, it’s ‘hook’. Sucks, don’t it? Well, not half as much as the film itself.

The teens in peril are an ensamble of am-dram rejects for sure. They squeal their lines and overact to the point of a lunacy that rivals Mark’s madness. Equally, their decision making abilities should be called into question: at one point, they elect to run across a plain one by one for no obvious purpose. The last girl goes and notices a combine harvester coming towards her in the distance. Now, you can outwalk a combine harvester, especially when it takes between five and ten seconds for each machine appendagey part to lower itself to ground level. But no, she stands there and screams, keeps still so the killer can shoot her and then run her over in said vehicle. She literally had over a minute, during which she could have crawled to safety!

Worse is to come. Another teen is mauled by Mark’s rabid…Golden Retrievers!!? Yes. The friendliest, most placid canine species is cast as a savage killing machine. I have a Labrador Retriever and the only living thing I’ve ever seen it eat is a spider. By the time the last girl is on the run and screaming at everything, two cops whose respective ‘stories’ we’ve had the displeasure of returning to throughout events the film come a-rescuin’ and things are wrapped with that old killer’s-eye-opens-in-the-hospital thing.

Low body count, rubbish gore, characters who should die but don’t – this is only made bearable by the bewildering lack of acting talent. Slam the gate shut upon your departure please.

It’s The Breakfast Club, ayyy?

STUDY HELL

1 Stars  2004/87m

“School’s out forever.”

Director: Mark McNabb / Writer: Jeff McArthur / Cast: Lindsay Dell, Brian Austin Jr., Steve McDougall, Shaylyn Doyle, Ryan Fisher, Michael Henry, Paul Pinel, Karen Dunn.

Body Count: 13

Dire-logue: “The cool kids look at me as a geek, the geeks kinda see me as too mainstream, so I’m stuck in the middle.”


Everyone should love The Breakfast Club, it’s the essential brat-pack flick. Molly Ringwald’s in it for frack’s sake! I’m sure some who saw it back in the day wished the cast would bite it Jason-style. Well, their wishes have been answered and they only had to wait 20 years!

OK I’m lying. Sort of. Molly Ringwald did do a slasher film though. So did Judd Nelson. And Ally Sheedy had already been in Deadly Lessons a couple of years earlier. Instead of these has-beens starlets of the past, we’re given five ‘updated’ versions of them. The likenesses are uncanny as you can see from the trailer…

But wait a minute…this isn’t Shermer, Illinois… What’s with their accents? They’re saying ‘abowt’ and ‘ay?’ Are they- are they Canadian? Actually it’s about the only memorable thing here, I like the Canadian twang; it’s a nice combo of American and Australian soundages, ask my Vancouverianian friend August.

Anyway, with detention in full swing and the same assignment handed out by dorky looking teech Mr Keller, ’tis he who rapidly descends into madness and decides the wayward students must DIE! DIE! DIE! We want this too, as they’re very annoying and cannot act very well.

There’s a rubbish explanation courtesy of the janitor (who ain’t no John Kapelos!) to do with ‘Nam and murdered cheerleaders. The athlete, princess, geek and ‘criminal’ (yes, he’s the bespectacled one) all bite it, leaving the Sheedy-clone to face off with the killer. Some weird-ass twist is sellotaped on to the end, which, when added to the rubbish FX work, divided by the sub-drama class acting, multiplied to the power of shit equals one waste of the six or so hours it took me to stream this flick. And I was sick that day. And I missed  Murder She Wrote to watch it. Boo@Study Hell.

Singular blurb-of-interest-that-should-be-taken-as-a-heeding: many of the cast and crew also produced Dark Fields, which couldn’t possibly suck as hard as this…could it?

BLOOD LAKE

BLOOD LAKE

1 Stars  1987/82m

“A quick dip in the lake turns into a blood bath of horror.”

Director: Tim Boggs / Writers: Doug Barry & Tim Boggs / Cast: Doug Barry, Angela Darter, Mike Kaufman, Andrea Adams, Travis Krasser, Christie Willoughby, Michael Darter, Darren Waters, Tiny Frazier.

Body Count: 5


More regional shot-on-video shite that looks like its entire budget was used to hire a ski-boat that a sextet of teens (two of whom are younger siblings of about thirteen) play with during a weekend break on post-apocalyptic vacation area of choice, Cedar Lake, where they are menaced by a plodding, overweight Dom DeLuise look-a-like (bad hat included!), who’s pissed off because he wants the cabin to himself. Nothing happens for the first 45 minutes and, when it finally does, it’s all crap, backed with a dire thrash metal soundtrack and miniscule body count that spares most of the annoying cast. The bizarre final twist – credited to God – isn’t funny either. Gimme Crystal Lake any day. Bugger off, Blood Lake!

MEMORIAL DAY

MEMORIAL DAY

1.5 Stars  1999/18/79m

A.k.a. Memorial Day Killer - UK DVD

“Beers. Burgers. Bloodshed. Gonna be a long weekend…”

Director: Christopher Alender / Writer: Marcos Gabriel / Cast: Therese Fretwell, Marcos Gabriel, Andrew Williams, Erin Gallagher, Jasmine Trice, Derek Nieves, Adam Sterrit.

Body Count: 9


A boy drowned in Memorial Lake. Three years later, his sister Rachel and her friends return there for a weekend getaway in one of the cabins by the water. Sound familiar? Mrs Voorhees would sue.

This special needs slasher gained slight notoreity for being one of the first digital features, but it’s so damned cheap and grainy it doesn’t matter one bit. It’s strictly amateur night all round, with acting that rivals a GCSE drama production and has a killer in a mask that not only appears to be made of crate paper, but is also shaped like a hockey mask!

A so-so twist prevents things from being totally risible but it’s a case of too damn little, too damn late. One trip down memory lane not worth taking.

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