The 1990s were not a good time for horror, especially considering the amount of classics that the 1980s produced, but that’s not to say that there were not any that stood out from the 90s. That 10 year period is really defined by two films: The Blair Witch Project and Scream. Sticking with the 1980’s whodunit  slasher formula is Zipperface, a gem that comes to us from 1992. Zipperface is something else, and I don’t mean that in a good way. What a pleasant surprise this was for all weirdos over there.


Director Mansour Pourmand had obviously decided to start this movie with action packing. Not even opening credits. We see police pursuit dangerous criminal in Palm City, California. They pin him down to some house. More shooting occurs. Eventually, seeing there is no way out this, criminal decides to surrender. Just while he was standing in front of the house, preparing to raise his arms, a young and brave cop Lisa (played by Dona Adams) shoots the poor guy from behind his back. And she even gets promotion for this! Hell, give her Medal of Honor for such heroic act, I say! And while Lisa walks on rose petals somewhere a man in a leather S&M outfit is preparing for action! Not that kind of action! Behold!


Well, it delivers what it promises

Two actresses who are working as whores (is there any difference) by night are visiting a mysterious client who likes to play master and slaves. They are introducing a new girl Janet (played by Kimberly Hamilton – Mansfield) to the routine. But in the last moment Janet decides to back off. Apparently she doesn’t like to be tied and whipped. You have already guessed that client is none else than a Zipperface (who is equally as mysterious). He gets pissed off and kills Janet with his whip. Being completely incompetent he lets other two dumb whores Natallie (played by Jillian Ross) and Sherry (played by Rikki Brando) escape him. Natalie hides at her friend Elizabeth (played by Laureen E. Clair), who is also a whore. Nice whores ring we got here. Anyway, police finds the body and case is handed over to Lisa (for whatever the reason it is). She is paired up with experience cop Harry (played by David Clover). Following the trail they visit photographer Michael Walker (played by Jonathan Mandell) who shoots all the types of S&M photos. Despite obviously being shaken by crime scene photos he somehow managed to hide his connection with the victim from two unsuspecting detectives. Then he starts hitting on Lisa and trying to talk her into taking one of his photo-sessions. Smooth move from possible suspect.

A job is a job

A job is a job

Natalie and Elizabeth are back to business. They are so dumb that they accepted bondage session after everything that has happened. Logically, Zipperface shows up and finishes the job. No luck for Natalie now. This has really disturbed office of the Mayor Angela Harris (played by Trisha Melynkov) who is, naturally, much more worried for her position at City Hall than for lives of some prostitutes. With her two lackeys Devon (played by Timothi D. Lechner) and Brewster (played by Bruce Brown) Angela wants to cover up these murders as much as possible. Meanwhile, Lisa is having photo-session at Michael’s studio followed by making out.

Off the record

Off the record

While searching Natalie’s apartment Lisa and Harry find out about Sherry. Trail leads them to the local church. What is interesting here is that church is full of hookers. Strangely looking reverend over there doesn’t seem to mind it at all. He calls them “foot soldiers”. As in footjob maybe? Anyway, he is acting very strange, almost as if he is hiding something. On his way back to the police station Harry meets Willy (played by Richard Vidan) who is mad and bitter because Lisa got promotion he thinks he had deserved. Hm maybe he is trying to set her up to look incompetent? There is sure a lot of pressure coming from City Hall. And they are all perverts there. Brewster is giving a foot massage to Angela, while Devon carries leather mask in his suitcase. Meanwhile, killer is still somewhere there, lurking and preparing for his next move. Obviously he has good insight into investigation since his next victim is the only remaining girl – Sherry. He killed her during rehearsal for some sexual kind of theater show, after knocking out her partner Alvin (played by Mike Ferraro).  When questioned by Harry and Lisa, Alvin stated that the killer is very tall, something like Devon. Devon didn’t like this comparing at all. I wonder why? Oh yeah, and later we find out that he likes to dress himself as a hooker.


Angela really wants to find a suspect who can be shown to public. So she pressures police to accuse Michael. They find out that Michael was engaged to Janet, the first victim. Finding about this and being faced to accusations of hiding the suspect, Lisa freaks out at Michael. He admits her everything and told her that he was hiding his past because of fear of losing her. Of course, she believed him. Not much use of it tho since Angela announced on TV that Michael is top suspect. As it happens, Lisa and Michael decide to conduct their own investigation so they visit the church once again. But Zipperface is way ahead of them. They find reverend dead in his chair, with his throat slit from ear to ear (not much use of prayers now… or before). Also, there is another prostitute there Lana (played by Denise Ezzel) who was supposed to meet certain John that night. Lisa decides to dress as hooker and go like that to the meeting place. Turned out to be an awful plan since she got captured, tied up and whipped by Zipperface.

Your leather smells so good

Your leather smells so good

Harry and Michael bust in and started a fight with Zipperface. During that fight poor killer got punched to his balls kinda 20 times. Being so much crippled (I know I would be) he was no much for Michael’s attack with machete. They had finally managed to unmask him. Guess who is the killer? Brewster, the Mayor’s lackey! What a twist! He offers a lousy explanation for his crimes. Apparently, he grew tired of being a doormat to ambitious bitch such is Angela so he decided to pursue his dream of being politician. I have to admit that killing people is an effective way to achieve this. Anyway, Angela arrives just in time to see her errand boy exposed. She freaks out at him, again not because of murders but because she is aware that her political career is over now. So she pulls a gun out of her purse and shoots Brewster in front of 20 cops. And no one even tried to stop her. Angela gets arrested, Michael gets off the hook(er), Lisa now continue screwing him, everybody is happy and the end.


Conclusion: If anything, Zipperface effortlessly sums up all that went wrong with the slasher genre towards the end of its rein. What started as a great stepping-stone for up and coming filmmakers and thespians had been reduced to a sewer of cinema faces by movies with flat direction, zero suspense or shocks and talentless mediocre actors. One of the biggest problems that I had with the film was the title character. He isn’t remotely scary or intimidating and is just sort of useless when it comes to being a horror film villain. He’s a portly, partially clumsy type of guy and he is nowhere in the same class as horror icons such as Jason, Freddy, Michael, or Leatherface (no matter how hard he tries to be). Same thing can be told for Dona Adams and her roll of detective. Writing was pretty bad too. And to make things more confusing it had be done by a woman – Barbara Bishop! Sounds like someone had hidden fantasies. Zipperface was just as bad as I thought it would be. It doesn’t really have that many (if any) redeeming qualities about it On the plus side, if you manage to keep the TV turned on until the end then you may be fairly surprised by the killer’s identity. To be honest though, I doubt that by that time you’ll even care.

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