Posts Tagged ‘80s slasher’

 

Ah the glory days of the early 80’s slasher film. It really does feel like these films were popping up left and right and who can really blame the studios for gambling on them, Halloween and Friday the 13th paved the way and the cash cow was going to be milked until it ran dry. Enter J.S. Cardone’s 1982 example…..The Slayer.

Fans of the slasher/body count genre already know what they are getting into as Cardone lays down the plot. Kay (played by Sarah Kendall; best known for her role in Karate Kid 2) is a surreal artist, who has been haunted by nightmares, her brother Eric (played by Frederick Flynn) believes a vacation with their
two friends would be an ideal way for his sister to ease up and start relaxing so that the nightmares in which she is being chased by monster will stop. Eric’s wife Brooke (played by Carol Kottenbrook) doesn’t like the idea of spending a week alone with unstable Kay and her husband David (played by Alan McRae). I was surprised to notice how much Brooke looked ravaged after only 4 years in marriage. Also, you should check sinister music that played in background when Eric cut himself during a shaving. Maybe the director tries to tell us something?

A

A walking nightmare

So two boring couples arrive to the island where they are going to spend unforgettable vacation. MUAHAHAHAHAHA They are being greeted by evil looking Marsh (played by Michael Holmes; best known for his role in Deadly Prey). Marsh also warned them about upcoming storm in the most odd way. Not paying attention to this warning two couple settle out for the beach with hope to catch some sun. Meanwhile, somewhere near them a fisherman gets killed by oar. I thought this island was deserted? Or they just want us to think so?

 

Later that night Kay and David had an argue. David was assaulting Kay because she is having nightmares. Like it is her fault. Kay went to bed while David had decided to take a walk around the house. He hears something at the attic. When he went to check out what that sound was the attic doors trapped his head, leaving poor David to hang from the ceiling. Seriously, how the fuck is something like that even possible? And yet he managed to die here. You really have to be a grade A moron in order to die this humiliating death. Of course, no one has noticed anything.

 

The next morning Kay wakes up in her bed next to her husband. She starts kissing him not suspecting anything and like no argue took place recently. Then the blood starts flowing out of his eyes and Kay becomes suspicious. She removes the cover only to find out that David’s body is missing. There is only just a head. She starts screaming and then wakes up, this time for real. There is no David in her bed. So everything was just a wonderful dream. Or was it? Anyway, Kay runs out of the house screaming and raising alarm. Eric and Brooke starts searching for David around the island. Kay’s dream came true when she found decapitated body of her husband hanging from the ceiling in some ruined house which Kay used to draw before. Coincidence?

Later that night, after putting Kay to sleep, Eric goes searching for possible culprit. He went to the boathouse. I don’t know what he had expected to find there. And he found nothing. So he takes a walk down the peer where he finds a fishing pole. While he was inspecting it a fishing hook flies out from
somewhere and ties up around Eric’s neck. Then the killer (whoever that might be) pulls his away into the sea. Well, Eric was talking from the start he might do some fishing on this vacation. Actually it is all he was talking about. How ironic.

 

Brooke starts searching for her husband moments after he got killed. Talking about marital connection here. And she goes where? That’s right! To the boathouse. Right where killer wanted her to be. She tried to escape but the killer pitch forked her from behind right through her tits. I guess her marital problems are now over and she might finally rest in peace. And that leaves us just with Kay.

 

The next morning Kay starts searching for her brother and his wife. She heads to the beach where she finds Eric’s bloated body on the shore and Brooke’s corpse already infested with small crabs. She starts panicking and barricading herself in the house while some cheerful ’70s music is playing in the
background. Nevertheless the killer still finds his way in. The struggle and chasing around begins until Kay had finally managed to shot the Slayer (played by Carl Kraines) from the flair gun. While killer was laying on the ground with his smoking body Kay took that opportunity to escape out. But when she opened the door a monster from her dreams was lurking on the other side. It materialized itself right out of nowhere. “What happened then”, I hear you asking. Nothing! Kay woke up once more. And yes, she was in her bed but as an 8 eight years old girl far away from the cursed island. It is  Christmas morning and her parents wants her to go and open up her presents under the tree. And her dad has a special present for her – a black kitten. Just the one Kay used to see in her dreams. Maybe it wasn’t all just a wonderful dream? What a unbelievable stupid ending!

I don’t like this present!

Conclusion: The Slayer only manages to scrape its way in to the slasher genre with its heels dragging across the floor. Like Dead Pit, Hard Cover and Small Town Massacre J.S. Cardone’s video nasty includes many of the prominent trappings, but tries to incorporate something slightly different. The majority of the runtime is pretty standard stuff as a silhouetted killer hacks off cast members one by one, but when the maniac is revealed to be a supernatural monster, Cardone stretches the realms of the category beyond tradition. The level of performance from the cast is really bad, especially the lack of emotion from lead, Sarah Kendall. Even when her brother and husband have been slaughtered she fails to look anything other than totally flat. But this even wouldn’t be so much bad slasher if there wasn’t for that idiotic ending. Sometimes it is better to finish a movie with cliché. After all, we were all expecting it.

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I understand the early eighties were marked by, I don’t know, 1,050 horror slashers, each with their own little twist on the horror genre, each wanting to take a piece of the pie. But only a handful and I do truly mean 5 of 1050 were effective. Curtains was NOT one of them.

curtains_poster_01

Actress Samantha Sherwood (played by Samantha Eggar) is a long time collaborator with director Jonathan Stryker (played by John Vernon). She gets the rights to his latest project Audra for him. Audra is imagined to be a mad woman. So they visit Dr. Pendleton (played by Calvin Butler) where she acts out as a charade in order to get into asylum for research (something like Daniel Day-Lewis who went living with Indian tribe for his role in “The Last of the Mohicans” if rumors are to be trusted). She is truly dedicated actor, I give her that. While being there she found out that Stryker is holding audition for her role in his mansion with 6 more other actresses ready to do everything to get the role. Even having sex and committing murder! And guess what? He left her in asylum without saying goodbye! Now she really can get mad! And she plans to get it back!

you-see-the-interesting-thing-about-asylum-isYou see, the interesting thing about asylums is….

One of the actresses, Amanda (played by Deborah Burgess) couldn’t make it to the audition. After unsuccessful sexual role-play with her boyfriend (her fetish is raping) and after dreaming about herself being killed by doll, she got actually stabbed in the dark by some mysterious person wearing an old lady mask. Well, I guess that ends her career. She might appear in commercials though, like many other dead celebrities. Anyway, all the other actresses had arrived on time, including Samantha who made an unexpected cameo. There all of the girls confirmed to us once again how big sluts they are and what they would do to get this role. Especially a comedian Petti O’Connor (played Lynne Griffin) who wants to be taken seriously and who is most probably the biggest slut of them all.  Washed up actress Brooke Parsons (played by Linda Thorson) even mentioned a murder. No such problems for Matthew (played by Michael Wincott) who already got the lead male role and now he can enjoy in casting couch (or jacuzzi in this case) with Tara Demillo (played by Sandra Warren).

real-hollywood-starsReal Hollywood stars

While rivalry between the actresses is building up naive-looking Christie Burns (played by Lesleh Donaldson) decides to take a chill out with ice-skating at nearby frozen pond. There she finds the doll in a snow and that was the cue for the masked killer to bust in with sickle in hand. The whole scene is put together in such a wonderfully campy way with the music and the slow motion. The seriousness of the acting adds to the campy feel of the movie. It’s like an Actors Studio discussion and killings happen every once in a while. Anyway, Christie used the doll as a shield and then as a weapon. She banged the killer in the head with it. Instead of unmasking the villain Christie loses her head and runs into forest where killer finds her and makes her lose her head once again, this time definitely.

 

The next morning, at rehearse, Stryker announces that he has found the note left for him by Christie in which she states that she is leaving mansion because this was too much to handle for her. If you think this was suspicious then what would you say for the next scene when Stryker throws that mask to Samantha, asking from her to seduce him? Does he know something? Or has the old director finally went insane in demanding perfection? I guess we are going to find out soon. As for Christie, Brook finds her head inside toilet seat. But as it is the usual case in such movies, head disappeared while she called for help. To calm herself down Brook had a sex with Stryker. Two birds with one stone. And Samantha saw them!

oh-someone-clogged-the-toilet-againOh someone clogged the toilet again

Meanwhile, killing spree continues. Laurian Summers (played by Anne Ditchburn) had danced her last dance that night. And I think we can rule out Stryker as a suspect since him and Brooke got shot while standing together and drinking. Matthew? Oh we won’t be seeing him again. He ended up the same way he lived – in a jacuzzi. Tara had put up a decent fight and almost managed to unmask the killer, but she also ended up like Christie. So we are down to Samantha and Patti. They are having conversation over glass of champagne during which Samantha confesses murder of Stryker and Brooke in pretty coldblooded manner. But the last say in this is Patti’s. To return the favor she confesses murders of other actresses while stabbing Samantha with large knife. And for all of her efforts she eventually got to play the role of Audra…in asylum! Hah poetical justice!

 

Conclusion: This movie is one of the slowest and most boring slasher movies I’ve seen in a long time. It takes a good third of the movie to get to what it’s all about: six actresses are auditioning for a role of a “lifetime” but they’re being picked off one-by-one by someone who would “kill” for the role. The mask worn by the killer is shown way too much and loses its creepy factor very early on. Though I must admit that such hideous and creepy mask deserves much better movie. There is no straight line here in Curtains; you have horrible dialogue, laughable acting and a hollow plot. The gore was nothing, the sex all-but non-exist and the less said about so called “twist” at the end – the better. Meh I could hardly have expected more from Canadians.

It is holiday season and what could be better way to celebrate it than with bloodshed? New Year is just around the corner which means many of seasonal killers are waking up from their hibernation, hungry for blood and vengeance for any demented reason they might have. And who knows, maybe this night you are going to be lucky enough to be picked for dying in the most brutal ways your twisted mind can imagine.

new-year

This MGM/Cannon offspring starts with phone talk between two friends, Diane (played by Roz Kelly) and Yvonne (played by Alicia Dhanifu). Naturally, when two women are yacking on the phone, you can’t expect any constructive conversation. And as usual, they are badmouthing Diane’s husband Richard. To be honest, Yvonne tipped him off to his wife as she had seen him wasted in Palm Springs (I really can’t blame him considering how boring is his wife). Well that was her last gossip since couple of moments later, after hanging up the phone, she ended up brutally slaughtered. Serves her right for getting involved in men’s business she doesn’t understand.

put-a-sock-in-it-or-knifePut a sock in it…or knife!

Diane is punk rock star known as Blaze and New Year’s countdown starts with her hosting Hollywood Countdown show. she seems far too old and unattractive to be hosting this kind of show and given the way she dresses and acts she seem more like she would be more at home hosting games of bingo than a music show that seems to aimed at the punk rocker set. Also she has grown son Derek (played by Grant Cramer) who practically begs for her attention. Anyway, viewers can call her live and vote for the best song.  All is going well until Diane receives a phone call from an odd sounding stranger claiming his name is Evil, who announces on live television that he going to kill someone close to her at midnight. I guess he doesn’t like songs which are presented on voting list. And he is obviously a man of his word since he butchered a nurse while having sex with her (win-win situation). He calls back Diane to inform her about keeping her promise right on Eastern Central Time and announces  when the clock strikes twelve in each time zone, a ‘Naughty Girl’ will be punished ,then the killer signs off with a threat claiming that Diane will be the last Naughty Girl to be punished. Cops informed Diane about both nurse and Yvonne and now she is scared for her life.

hot-lineHomicide hot line

While his mother is going through a living hell Derek cuts her red stockings and puts it over his face while watching her show. I don’t see the point of this scene since we know that Derek is not the killer. Face of Evil had been shown to us in previous scenes but there are some similarities between him and Derek. Maybe the director Emmett Alston wanted to give us false lead. If that is the case he shouldn’t have shown us the real killer before it. Or maybe it is not false lead after all? Anyway, our real killer turns out to be master in disguise. He puts false mustaches on his face (and that’s all, he didn’t even change the haircut or color of the hair) and goes to some club where he picks some bimbo with promise he is going to take her to wild New Year party. His plan went
wrong when she suddenly took her roommate Lisa with herself. Needing a time to improvise Evil cruised through streets while bimbo was dribbling into his ear about  self-help meditations she has been practicing. In that moment even I felt the urge to strangle her with my bare hands. Evil had done the next best thing. He pulled over his car, sent Lisa to buy Champagne and killed bimbo by putting a plastic bag over her head. And then sliced her throat (better safe than sorry). But that was not the end of it. There is still nosy roommate needed to be disposed off. So Evil creates a trail of shoes which leads to nearby secluded dumpster. Of course, Lisa follows the trail and when she approached – big surprise peek a boo, I see you!

 

As it is his habit Evil ran over to the nearest phone booth to inform Diane about his most recent achievement. Lt. Clayton (played by Chris Wallace) now can only wait for new victims hoping for killer to make a wrong move. He also follows the schedule and announces that Evil will strike again at 11 pm. And boy, was he right. Now disguised as a priest, Evil went to the local drive in theater where he unexpectedly killed some unsuspecting biker who got in his way. Beware of hand of God for it shall slice you! But the biker was not alone. Soon motorcycle band stormed in the theater which made Evil started to panic. So he quickly hijacked the car of some teenage couple who were having fun on the backseat. It seemed that the poor girl was done for especially since her
boyfriend was chucked out of the car back in theater. But she was lucky enough to take opportunity to escape when Evil went outside to have a fight with two drunken idiots he almost had run over. Boy, was his face red! Oh, Oh and the movie that was giving in drive in cinema was 1963. horror classic “Blood Feast”. See the link?

60s-slashers-are-the-best-turn-on’60s slashers are the best turn on

Evil manages to sneak into Diane’s show by killing a police officer and taking his uniform. There we find out his true identity. It is Diane’s husband – Richard (played by Kip Niven). He got Diane right where he wanted her to be – in stuck elevator (which he had previously sabotaged; no porn pun intended). He explains to her that he knows about her cheating around. Derek has told him all about that. Derek also said that his mother tried to seduce him and cut his and his father’s allowance (?) So Richard got fed up of her and Yvonne. And the reason why he killed other women is that they are all the same manipulative, selfish, materialistic whores. Hm can’t argue with that. He left Diane hanging by elevator while police cornered him in good old-fashion rooftop chase. There he decides to end his life the only way appropriate for cheesy 80s slashers – ridiculous falling off the building while wearing some kind of comedian mask. And Diane somehow managed to survive. Looks like happy ending. Or is it? You see, Derek took his father’s mask, sneaked in ambulance van his mother was in, took out paramedics leaving him alone with his mother. The end?

 

Conclusion: Overall this one doesn’t have all that much going for it. One of the many problems here is the fact that this one comes off as a bland, boring thriller which just takes so much out of the film. Premise doesn’t really hold up that much. By using a series of utterly obnoxious story lines is where that tends to fall as the different story lines really don’t make any sense. The fact that the premise isn’t really all that spectacular enough is the prime motivator here which requires a lot of excess scenes along the way to hold itself up, some of which is found by it being dragged out indefinitely with a series of endless and utterly innocuous songs of local bands that really aren’t that great.  Kip Niven thinks he’s doing this big theatrical part, but he’s too nerdy to pull it off. His body is tiny, and teeny and yet he can kill women larger than he is. He happens to be in the area where his target victims are and it gets worse: according to the movie, he didn’t plan this. New Year’s Evil ends up being one of the most lifeless, dull films that the Cannon Group ever produced. Watch it at your own risk. The fact that you’re immune to higher-quality mediocre movies just means that you have a higher tolerance for bad movies now. Thank God a sequel wasn’t made.