Just as I wrote Silent Madness having the most pissed poor antagonist ever seen on the silver screen, along comes Memorial Valley Massacre, violently screaming Silent Madness to hold its beer.
What Memorial Valley Massacre tries to sell us is a concept of some sort of a prehistoric man living in the wilderness, who then starts to – you guessed it – wasting all the campers. Both the look and feel of the movie as well as the dodgy make up of the antagonist (think: someone remembered a costume party in the last minute, and had to make do with things found from home) made me wonder if this was some sort of weird joke I was witnessing, but it seems this wasn’t the case.
Memorial Valley Massacre is one of those movies that fail on all aspects, totally failing to scare or entertain. To try to make up for the bad sales the movie was later rebranded as Son of Sleepaway camp to try to ride on the success of Sleepaway Camp series, another severe faux pas for the movie.
Silent Madness is another early 80s 3-D movie that I immediately anticipated to stink to high heavens – but that contrary to all the expectations turned out a-ok.
The fact that I enjoyed Silent Madness seems even more implausible given the fact that it has probably the weakest antagonist I’ve ever seen in a slasher. Honestly, it looks like they applied some eye make up up to the production company janitor and just send him in front of cameras.
Luckily he is not actually even the main source for the suspension in the movie; it’s the corrupt asylum, its rotten doctors and their henchman orderlies that provide Silent Madness most of its thrills.
Here’s another slasher I’ve mixed up with many similarly named slashers – Bloody Birthday, Happy Birthday to Me 15 and to name a few.
Sweet 16 draws its inspiration (quite loosely) from native Americans, mixes in some weak mythology and puts them up against racist rednecks and watches them clash. Everyone bad gets what’s coming to them and then it’s up to the viewer to start the guesswork who was the actual killer, and watch through to the totally expected last minute jump scare attempt.
The movie is not exceptional in any sense, and was going for a passable rating. But here’s the thing: I really hate the exploitative sexual angle in the marketing of this movie that has nothing to do with the theme (or the actual content) of the movie – and loathe it even more for it targeting 16-year olds.
Cheap trash, this one.
Somebody is wasting people inside a small gym. And instead of closing it down, the gym is kept running while mutilated bodies fall out of every locker room and broom closet. Because, why not?
Aerobicide is light weight entertainment with light weight slasher elements in it. The movie never manages to be quite scary and the writer/director David A. Prior does not seem to have any elementary clue of how to build up suspense; the movie just moves from one killing to the next, and they viewer could not care less who’s next one to go. The same shallowness worked well in Prior’s Deadly Prey, but here everything just feels far too fluffy.
I did like the theme although Aerobicide does not do much with it. I mean, what could be more 80s than aerobics, sweat bands and leg warmers? Plus it seems to act as a quite potent padding material, filling up many precious minutes out of the movie’s measly running time of just 79 minutes.
If something, Troma is never boring. It can be bad, and it can be totally tasteless – but never boring.
Cue in Girls School Screamers that right off the bat feels quite a different kind of Troma movie, like if they were really making a big push for the main stream cinema. The production quality is on a quite different level, and Girls School Screamers doesn’t look amateurish at all, but the movie is totally uneventful, and downright dull, which is truly a shame after that movie’s superb starting with a boy wandering into the old abandoned house. In fact, the starting scene feels like .. almost like from a different movie.
There’s a reason for that. Girls School Screamers actually started out as a haunter house movie called The Portrait shot in the 1985. Troma then picked up the project, added a few gory scenes in the movie and changed its title.
And it’s these hilariously gory small inserts that end up the only thing really working in this snoozefest.
First movie of this Halloween with them creepy kids, Bloody Birthday presents us the concept of three kids being born during an evil solar eclipse that plants a seed if evil in them that activates ten years later, effectively turning them into little psychopaths who plot to act sweet and kill everybody in their path.
The concept works and all three actually make for pretty credible killers that seem to ooze evil, especially the sweet little Elizabeth Hoy in the role of Debbie. Typical shortcomings of slashers plague Bloody Birthday as well but I did like the way the kids weren’t staged as your typical unerring evil masterminds: they work their little brains to no end trying to find out how to kill people, often failing miserably.
Bloody Birthday should not be mixed up with Happy Birthday To Me, another similarly named (but very different) slasher from 1981.
A good rule of thumb is that what it comes to horror and suspense, it’s not what you see, but what you don’t.
But Berserker takes all this too far by spraying all the scenes full of thick machine fog that makes it hard to make see just about anything. The concept of some ancient viking who would be possessed by a Berserker rage making them strong enough to fight a bear is there only to later demonstrate some bear handler wrestling with a grizzly.
Plus, the whole concept is just another spinoff of your tired slasher formula where a group of horny teenagers wander off to a remote forest, have sex and get killed. And that norse supernatural nonsense does not make that formula any more interesting.
Widely dubbed as ”one of the better slashers” out there, The House on Sorority Row follows a pack of sorority girls who clash with their sorority house mother over arranging a party and end up killing her by accident. The party does go on as planned, but guests start to go missing one by one in a true slasher fashion.
I applaud the team in taking a bit different approach with the movie – and they do manage to make it more memorable – but even with a few high points, The House on Sorority Row is ultimately just a thriller, with the negative aspects that come with the genre, and the disappointing ending does very little to help its case.
After a very confusing start of Satan throwing a cursed blade to a tree trunk, followed by lesbian lovers robbing a bank and killing the cashiers and then retreating to a cabin where the other betrays and kills the other for the money and then gets stabbed with the aforementioned Satan’s Blade, the movie finally starts after 15 minutes of padding.
This is when a group of friends arrive to the mountains and they are placed in the same cabin where the murder took place, with blood marks still (!) visible on the ceiling. To no-one’s surprise they then meet a violent dead, one by one.
Low in quality, and low in most other aspects, The movie fails as a horror movie (and even as a slasher) – but there’s some limited charm in its homespun, adorably clumsy qualities.
Twisted Nightmare is one of the movies that got made but did not need to exist.
Basically a remake of Friday the 13th Part III (shot in the same set and repeating the same kills), I can’t imagine the movie would excite any fans of the original nor excite new audience in the already saturated market of 80s slashers.
Twisted Nightmare is a teflon coated, empty shell of a movie that enters and leaves the viewer without leaving any trace or lasting impression.
Splatter University is the most inept take on the slasher genre I’ve seen to date. Not only does it recycle elements seen in other movies, but actually manages to ruin and water down all of them. Also the humor seen in the movie (yes, it tries to be humoristic at times despite not classified as a comedy) falls as flat as its horror aspect.
Splatter University does manage to do one thing (and one thing only) right by eliminating people I thought were the central characters, which sort of made for a nice surprise element towards the end.
A serial killer is loose in He Knows You’re Alone, killing young women in Staten Island.
He does the expected: spooks around the bushes to provide that eerie feeling before entering the houses of his bride-to-be victims and wasting them. And he is very smart about his moves, until it’s time to kill the main character, whom he fails to dispose of so that they have to run around a morgue until the most disappointing twist ending I’ve seen to date.
Only notable thing about Twisted Nightmare is the debut role of Tom Hanks who was at first ear marked as one of the wasteable side characters, but whose role was expanded for a few scenes more after the director Armand Mastroianni noted Hanks’ exceptional screen presence.
Don’t Go in the Woods is often dubbed the worst slasher of all times, which is a mouthful; I’ve seen worse slashers even this very Halloween. At least this one has some unintentional humor in it to make it a bit more interesting.
You know the drill; teens wander around in wilderness, have sex, get killed, nothing extraordinary here. The sleeping bag scene was actually a stroke of genius from someone, and the panic in that scene is very relatable and tangible, so there .. the movie actually does one better than most of the slasher trash.
The ending on the other hand is almost adorable in its clumsiness, and that alone warrants watching Don’t Go in the Woods .. if you really have to watch one slasher this year.
One of the few Canadian horror movies to make it to this site (they also had a flood of their own), thanks to starring the then-slasher queen Jamie Lee Curtis, Terror Train’s effort to add something a little new to the slasher formula feels fresh at first.
The revenge story taking place in a moving train rent for a fraternity’s new year party is a great idea on paper but it’s the stuffy 70s execution that drags the movie down quite a bit. More of a whodunnit than your typical slasher, the lack of a menacing form of evil also makes the movie pale in comparison with the best of the genre.
As a sort of a curiosity the young (and very skinny) David Copperfield can be seen in one of the supporting roles, which turned out to be his first and last of its kind.
One more for this year’s pile of crummy horror movies, The Nail Gun Massacre starts off with a gang rape performed by construction workers, and a following killing spree where they get eliminated by a killer armed with a nail gun.
What the movie lacks in style, wit and overall quality it partially makes up with its utterly stupid one-liners, delivered by the masked assassin while performing the kills. The crew clearly had a good time with these, and admittedly they did make me laugh in their silliness.
Alas, this is where the positive news end. The Nail Gun Massacre is another amateurish horror movie exercise and there’s really nothing here to make special enough to leave a lasting impression.
A slasher thriller done in a very late 80s style, Out of the Dark is one of those movies that manages to look like a movie taking place inside a movie world, which to me is always a big plus even though the holes in the seams are often visible due to the b-movie nature of the film, which manifests in some of the characters resembling bit too much of caricatures, with obvious fake beards and make up applied.
Not set out to gather points for originality, Out of the Dark concentrates on providing the viewer an entertaining distraction from the reality, and the movie does reach its goal fairly well. More of a thriller with a light whodunnit layer than actual horror movie, Out of the Dark will not give you your serving of scares this Halloween, but it will make for a relatively entertaining 90s minutes.
The Hills Have Eyes Part II, a continuum to the 1977 original movie – apparently some sort of a cult classic – is one of the most soulless duds of a movie I’ve seen in ages.
Basically your typical teen slasher, but taking place in a desert instead of forest, The Hills Have Eyes Part II brings absolutely nothing refreshing to the table, and the few odd variables that are present here (motorcycles, a goofball sidekick baddie, shot in darkness without adequate lighting) make the movie even worse than 99% of its rivals – and those rivals aren’t exactly state of the art cinema. To make things even worse, the padding of the movie is painfully obvious, with prolonged scenes and unnecessary flashbacks from the original movie.
Director Wes Craven who would have his huge breakthrough in the same year with A Nightmare on Elm Street has later disowned the movie, stating it was released only because he needed the movie at the moment.
Another permutation of the Halloween / Friday the 13th style teenagers in the wilderness slasher, Madman boasts one of the ugliest posters around (there’s another, even a more horrid version available) but surprises positively, thanks to very, very low expectations.
Instead of opting for super imaginative kills often seen in the genre, Madman hits the nail on the head with its eery scares that are made scarier by being able to relate to them. I mean, who of us has never stood in a pitch black forest, lighting the bushes nearby with a flashlight, and really hoped you won’t reveal someone or something looking right back at you? This is what separates Madman from slashers, all of which I don’t even pass for horror.
The movie resembles me of the 1987 horror movie Slaughterhouse both with its rural theme and its antagonist, but fails to leave a similar lasting impression. Still, pretty good for a braindead slasher.