Leslie Vernon: The London Years. Mate.

unmasked part 25 1988


2.5 Stars  1988/18/85m

“A face only a blind girl could love!”

A.k.a. The Hand of Death Part 25: Jackson’s Back

Director: Anders Palm / Cast: Gregory Cox, Fiona Evans, Edward Brayshaw, Debbie Lee London, Kim Fenton, Howard Martin, Lucy Hornak, Steve Dixon, Marie Kelly, Anna Conrich, Robin Welch, Gary Brown, Annabel Yuresha, Helen Rochelle, Adrian Hough.

Body Count: 16

Laughter Lines: “No sense bothering to run. You’ll get ten feet maybe, run into a branch or stumble over a root…”

This weird satire is like a late-80s British version of Behind the Mask, with Cox as a Jason-esque hockey masked killer who stalks the streets of London, killing young people, until he meets Shelley, last girl at the house party he’s just torn through, who is blind and thinks he’s the date she was waiting on.

Jackson and Shelley begin to date and he tells her of his love of Byron, having read books he took from the bodies of camp counsellors he slayed in America before returning home. They try kinky sexy in a truly weird scene, go to the park, dine together, and she wants to introduce him to her (surviving) friends, which touches a nerve.

unmasked part 25 1988

Jackson’s destitute father reminds him he is a freak whose only purpose is to kill and kill and kill until Jackson succumbs to the pressure, tells Shelley not to attend a party at a country house, and turns up instead to pitchfork, skewer, cleave, and slash the attendees.

Evident budget constraints leave this film looking like an overlong sketch show skit, which is only bookended by Jackson’s killing sprees, which are liberally gory, and the actors conform to quite 19th century stereotypes in terms of their “cor blimey, guv’nor” accents and utterances, except Shelley who is well spoken enough to be a royal.

unmasked part 25

Some amusing insights into stalk n’ slash conventions and a couple of inventive murder setups (a girl offers the killer a blow job to spare her and receives a shattered lightbulb on a lamp base in the mouth instead), plus some frontal male nudity (!) are all mildly diverting aspects, but everything between the first and last fifteen minutes tends to drag.

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