I spit on your garage

THE MUTILATOR

1.5 Stars  1984/18/86m

A.k.a. Fall Break

“By sword, by pick, by axe, bye bye!”

Director/Writer: Buddy Cooper / Cast:  Matt Mitler, Ruth Martinez, Bill Hitchcock, Connie Rogers, Frances Raines, Morey Lampley, Jack Chatham, Ben Moore.

Body Count: 7

Laughter Lines: “Why would [someone] just take the battleaxe?”


Here’s one that just cannot live up to that awesome artwork and tagline: As a kid, Ed attempts to clean his father’s gun collection as a birthday gesture and ends up accidentally shooting Mom dead. Understandably pissed off, Dad – Big Ed – all but disowns his son.

Years later – 10, 15, it’s always a multiple of five – Ed and a group of college friends are stranded on campus during their fall break until a fortuitous call summons Ed to his father’s beach house to close it up for the winter. Ka-ching. Boredom alleviated.

They explore, flirt, play Monopoly, all the while unaware that Big Ed is lurking in the garage under the house, daydreaming about bloody revenge on his son. For now, cutting up the tag-alongs with various fishing implements will have to do. There’s disembowelment by outboard motor, giant fishhook in the foof, amongst usual beheadings and impalements.

The Mutilator should really be call The Garage, as that’s where a good 50% of the film takes place. On no less than two occasions, characters looking for their absent friends meander in under the assumption that said friend is inside. One guy spends almost three minutes talking to a door with NO evidence that there’s anyone behind it. Turns out, of course, that Big Ed is toting a pitchfork right behind the door, relieving us all of the monologue.

Eventually, it’s down to Ed and his goody-goody virginal girlfriend Pam to save themselves, and they triumph in one of the film’s more inventive grisly denouements. Sadly, inventive griz is all The Mutilator has going for it, the makeup FX work is genuinely above average, but it’s buoyed out by the off-putting cheapness of everything else present.

The central cast muddle through their roles unconvincingly, albeit way better than some of the non-thesp extras, but the slack pacing, dumb-as-hell character behaviour, and the magnetism of that fucking garage just leads us down a road of impatient annoyance.

OK, so it’s not really fair to rag on a film of such a low budget; there’s at least some chuckles provided courtesy of the acting and flypaper-adherent ‘plot developments’, let us observe some of the amusement:

Disclaimer: If you’re the one to pick it up and ask what it is, you’re the one to be slain with it

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A good shot from The Mutilator. Scratch that, THE good shot from The Mutilator.

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I wish this were a gif so the surreal trembling this guy does as he’s sawn up could be shared

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