Entries in Slasher (13)


The Slopes Are Slick...With Blood! ICED (1988) Review

Well, winter is finally upon us, and you know what that means: chestnuts roasting on an open fire, the lighting of the Christmas tree, caroling, and most important of all, horror movies! Winter is a criminally underused setting for horror movies, and when done right, can have very effective results. The blinding whiteness of the snow can create a very isolated atmosphere, and can also lead to some great imagery with the whole red-blood-on-white-snow gag. Unfortunately, there are few horror movies that make good use of the possibilities present with setting a scare flick in the winter. But the question present is, can an obscurity like Iced do right where several other have failed?

ICED (1988) Review

Jeff and Cory have a problem: they’re both in love with Trina. So when they and some friends are at a ski lodge on vacation, the two decide to settle it by having a ski race. Cory wins, and winds up with Trina. Filled with jealousy and alcohol, Jeff hits the slopes again late that night, falls off a cliff, and dies. Four years later, all the friends there that night are invited up to an isolated ski chalet in the mountains. They get there and engage in activities like skiing, boozing, and snorting coke. However, someone wearing Jeff’s old ski suit begins to pick them off one by one in various ski-related ways. Is it Jeff, back from the dead, or is it someone else?

I’ve seen some slasher movies take some heat from critics, but man does Iced get a beating from reviews! Not like those reviews don’t have any basis (more on that later), but it seems like anyone who’s anyone hates this movie! And because of that, I, of course, liked it. This is definitely not a good movie at all, and it does have some major flaws, but overall, it’s a delightful slice of cheese kept frozen. For such an obscurity, Iced does have some familiar faces in the cast. There’s Debra DeLiso (Slumber Party Massacre), Lisa Loring (Wednesday Addams from the original Addams Family), Elizabeth Gorcey (Footloose), and Joseph Alan Johnson (Slumber Party Massacre, Berserker, who also wrote the movie). Director Jeff Kwitny also directed the hilarious killer locomotive movie from 1989 Amok Train, so major props for that.

Despite there being a fifty-minute time in between kills where nothing happens, there are some fun things packed in. There’s an ample amount of nudity (most of which is, oddly enough, provided by Loring), and when paired with the cheap film quality, Iced can sometimes feel like a bottom-of-the-barrel porno. However, the majority of this dead air is filled with antics that wouldn’t be out of place in a soap opera. The guys and gals reminisce about the past and whine about how their lives turned out, and the sheer corniness of it all is very entertaining. There are also the atrociously good fashions (mullets everywhere! A Rockadiles shirt!), bizarre dream sequences, and almost complete lack of skiing. But while this is all well and good, this best parts of Iced are the beginning 10-15 minutes and the final half-hour where the slasher goods really kick in full force. The beginning features an incredible ski race with the most knuckle-biting synthesizer music you’ll ever hear. The final half-hour moves at a fast pace, features some great snow-themed deaths, and actually has some really good music!

But the reason this movie is definitely not for everyone is simply due to how much Iced meanders. As much as the soap-operatic parts can be entertaining, they due begin to get grating after a while and come close to completely dragging the movie down. After seeing how great the final half-hour of this movie managed to be, it does make me curious as to why Kwitny didn’t extend that last part over the course of the entire movie, which would give it a much more favorable reputation than it does now. Then again, the bland scenes leading up to it do give the climax more of an impact. The acting in this movie was, for the most part, terrible. Most of the actors never convey any emotion, especially Joseph Alan Johnson (ironic, considering he wrote the movie and did a helluva lot better in Slumber Party Massacre), but that only adds to the fun (although Ron Kologie was actually pretty good as Carl the coke addict). Also, for a snowbound movie, a lot of it is spent in the cabin where everyone is staying, so the atmosphere of the snow is almost lost upon it.

In all honesty, Iced is a horrendous pile of garbage scraped off the ass-end of the electrifyin’ eighties. However, it’s an enjoyable pile of garbage scraped off the ass-end of the electrifyin’ eighties. The laughable “acting,” the ridiculous synthesizer score, the obvious identity of the murderer, gaping plot holes, some pretty cool (niche) deaths, a sweet-looking killer disguise, a great final half-hour, a hysterically stupid “twist ending,” and a final girl who spends the quintessential “final chase” with no pants on! The only original part about it is the cool POV shots filmed through orange ski goggles. Unsurprisingly, Iced has never made it to DVD, and I think VHS is where it rightfully belongs. I mean, can you imagine Iced on Blu-Ray? Criterion better start working on that…Anyway, I’m probably rating it higher than I should, but I have to take into accountant that warm feeling I get in my stomach every time I think about watching Iced every winter. It makes solid use of its snowbound atmosphere, even if I wish more had been done with it. Oh well, there’s always Shredder...

The Verdict: Iced is an odd mix of killer slasher tastiness and somewhat boring melodrama. The first ten and last thirty minutes are spectacular, but the real question on whether to recommend this or not is simply, “Can you handle the stuff in between?” Slasher fans, check it out for kicks. Everyone else, GTFO.

Score: 7/10


A Slasher For The Whole Family! A DAY OF JUDGMENT (1981) Review

Most people think all slasher movies are the same. And, for the most part, I agree with this. However, the real enjoyment to be found in the subgenre is in the details. The kills, the characters, the atmosphere, the suspense…it all adds to the fun. I’ve seen slashers of all sorts of shapes and sizes, but I have never seen, nor do I expect to see again in the future, anything quite like this. But, is that a good or a bad thing?

A DAY OF JUDGMENT (1981) Review

In the 1920’s, a majority of the people in a small town have strayed from the path of righteousness and have turned their souls over to sin. Only three people go to mass on Sundays, the bank owner is greedily robbing people of all they have, a man is having an affair with the local rich man’s wife, and other occurrences are everyday in this town. However, one dark and stormy night, a man with a ghostly pale face and clad in black rides into town, scythe in hand. He begins to make short work of the sinners, and the ones who are alive seek repentance, but can they save themselves from…the day of judgment?

Here it is folks: the first (and probably only) Christian slasher movie ever made! That’s right; A Day of Judgment is really more interested in preaching the word of God than being a tried-and-true slice-‘n’-dice thriller. The film really feels like an anthology of sorts, as we follow all these different plot threads throughout the movie, and at the end of each one, the “sinners” get their just desserts at the hands of the reaper. We follow a bitter old woman who poisons three kids’ pet goat, a man who commits his parents to a home so he can have their property, two scheming lovers, a greedy bank owner who attempts to force a poor farmer out of his home, and finally, an alcoholic who torments his brother because he blames him for the direction his life has gone. Unfortunately, none of the “stories” are very good, but certain key aspects save this “slasher” from the garbage.

For one, it was well-made, considering the budget and the talent available. There’s not a whole lot of creativity in the story and the writing’s very bland and unoriginal, but some of the acting was surprisingly good (the men who played the banker and the farmer stood out) and the filmmakers did a really good job of dolling up the location to look like the 1920’s. On the horror side of town, what we have here really isn’t that bad either. The 1920’s setting gives the movie some much-needed atmosphere to go with some nice visuals (the one of the reaper riding into town is cool, as well as one later on of a figure with glowing red eyes stalks a man inside a storage shack). The movie is completely bloodless (for the most part), there are some cool deaths, like when a woman literally gets dragged to Hell and a surprisingly bloody decapitation (you can clearly see the wig fall off the dummy head when it happens).

However, where the movie completely falls apart is with all the parts in between the horror scenes. There are multiple plot threads, which implies that things should be decently enjoyable, but none of them are very interesting (the one about the dueling brothers could have been fun, but it really wasn’t) and none of the characters are very interesting. And, unfortunately, these scenes eat up a good 80% of the runtime. The movie runs the standard 90-minutes, but it feels like two hours due to all the stories and how dull they all are. Really, the only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that the reaper was going to show up at the end of each one and deliver the movie some much-needed horror. As Christian propaganda, though, the movie does succeed in hammering the viewer over the head with multiple religious themes (especially at the end), and the filmmakers even took the time to insert the Ten Commandments into the credits. How sweet.

A Day of Judgment doesn’t have the best reputation among slasher aficionados, but it really wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. Knowing what to expect is key in determining whether you’ll enjoy the movie or not. It’s far from a lost classic, but there are definitely worse out there. The acting is above average, the setting is utilized well, and the horror scenes that are present really aren’t too bad. However, this is all marred by the very preachy and very bland writing. Surprisingly, two of the actors in this (William Hickey and Hanns Manship) went on to have parts in the much better piece of slasher nostalgia, 1982’s House of Death, A.K.A. Death Screams. That movie was pretty average overall, but it’s much better than the tedium presented in this movie. Unsurprisingly, this one isn't on DVD, so you'll have to either find yourself a VHS or just watch it on YouTube below.

The Verdict: Even though it’s basically a Bible School film with a touch of horror, A Day of Judgment does have good acting, well-shot scenes, an interesting setting, two cool deaths, and good intentions. I can’t really recommend you go out and watch it, but I’m not going to exorcise this title from your memory either.

Score: 4/10


It Has Been Found: THE HACKERS (1988) Review

Ah, the late-eighties. The magical time period when any schmuck with a camera, a few foolish friends, some ketchup, and lots of beer could make their own horror movie using a home movie camera, then have it distributed by some bottom-of-the-barrel distributor. What a great time period. Of course, now I always feel obligated to track down these chunks of garbage and watch them, and a lot of them are really hard to find! Case in point: The Hackers. No, not that nineties movie about the computer hackers! This is pure late-eighties dumpster material. Well, I finally managed to pull it out of the shadows and watch it so you don’t have to. Is it any good, you ask? Do you even need an answer?

THE HACKERS (1988) Review


The movie opens with a hitchhiker walking along a back road, when a jeep passes by, then…CHOP! Off goes his thumb! Turns out the jeep belongs to the Hackers, and one of them just sliced off that poor hitchhikers thumb with a hunting knife (what an asshole!). The Hackers are a family consisting of an old man, A.J. Hacker, and his two sons, Arnie and Eldon, who make a living by doing odd jobs around town (and doing them poorly, at that), and if you don’t pay up, they live up to their name. The three get hired to do some repair work around a rich person’s house, who has left for the weekend and left his friend to housesit. The Hackers begin tormenting her, until she’s forced to fight back in a brutal struggle to survive.


The Hackers, like most SOV movies, is one odd duck. It started off promising enough, with a funny opening and a killer theme song (yes, this movie has a theme song, further proving my theory that no matter what the budget, any movie can afford its own title song), but it slowly begins to go downhill from there. Fast-paced killing dissolves into father-sons bonding time, speeches on how the family will survive, trips to the playground (yes), and the taunting of a random woman on a rope bridge that goes nowhere. Thankfully, there are some fun kills peppered throughout (one fellow who insults the two gets his throat cut open with a beer mug).


The movie spends so much time following the family going around doing what amounts to nothing that what I assume is the driving plot (them terrorizing the girl in the house) seems like an afterthought. This is also one of the weakest parts of the movie, because it’s also very dull. It attempts to create suspense, yet doesn’t accomplish it in the slightest. It all ends with a terrible “Was it all a dream?” ending that is sure to induce a lengthy groan from even the stupidest film-viewer.


The acting wasn’t very good (nor did I expect it to be), but I’ve seen much, much worse in other SOV movies (believe me). There really aren’t any characters to root for either, because the Hackers are antagonists, and the girl is rushed into the story so fast it’s impossible to see her as a likable character. The gore effects were much better than I expected, though. There are a few pretty good severed heads and other forms of machete mayhem on display, but nothing too gutsy.


The world of SOV movies is like a sack full of poisonous snakes, with a few friendly ones casually thrown in. Every time you stick your hand in, you’re probably going to get bitten. But once in a while, you’ll get a good one. The Hackers is better than some SOV movies I’ve seen (Cannibal Campout, I’m looking at you), but it’s definitely one of the poisonous snakes. It starts off well, and gradually gets less and less fun as it continues until it hits the rock bottom of tedium. Yeah, there’s enough gore, bad music, and other nonsense to keep one entertained through most of the journey, but it’s just not enough. The Hackers was one of the hardest VHS tapes to find (only 3,000 tapes were produced), but I did, and I remembered that sometimes, movies languish in obscurity for a reason. However, if you’re hellbent on seeing this (God knows why), Camelot Studios, the company that released in the first place, have made it available on DVD to order from their site, as well as a movie poster (!). For more information, click here: http://www.camelotstudios.net/webapp/GetPage?pid=204

The Verdict: The Hackers does exactly what you’d expect from a 1988 SOV movie; nothing more, nothing less. If you’re into that, it’s worth a look, but don’t get angry if you’re not thrilled with the outcome.

Score: 4/10

Watch the unbelievably stupid playground scene:


Drama Or Gory Slasher? SOME GUY WHO KILLS PEOPLE (2011) Review

It’s no secret that I really dislike modern horror. Sure, there are a few stand-outs, but usually, we just get the same cast of whiny characters, no sense of fun, shaky camera work, cheap jump scares, etc., and it all makes me angry. And you know what also gets my blood boiling? Lack of originality. It seems that everyone is afraid to step outside the box of the clichés I previously mentioned, and I hate it. Then again, a movie comes along every once in a while that promises to be original, and I will, of course, check it out. Such is a movie that was made a while ago and just got released by Anchor Bay. Does it fulfill on its promises, or does it fall flat on its face?


Some Guy Who Kills People (2011) Review

Ken Boyd (Kevin Corrigan) is a man whose life hasn’t been the best. He still live with his overbearing mother Ruth (Karen Black), he works at an ice cream parlor, only has one friend in Irv (Leo Fitzpatrick), and he kills the people who once traumatized him. One day, he gets confronted by his long-lost eleven year old daughter Amy (Ariel Gade). Now, he has to contend with hiding his secret from his daughter, dodging the local sheriff (Barry Bostwick) who’s investigating the rash of murders and also dating his mom, and just being a father.

I love the title for this movie, because it pulls the rug out from under you in more ways than one. And actually, for the first half hour or so, that title is exactly what we get. We get some murders and the police investigating…then the daughter comes in, and this is where a lot of people are going to start liking Some Guy Who Kills People or they’re going to start hating it. It turns into a drama. Yes, for a good chunk of the film, we get lots of father-daughter bonding. And for me, I really appreciated it. If the film had just gone straight with just killing, I know I would have tossed this aside as “just another slasher.” But no. It dares to try something original, and it works. While the concept is definitely a “hit or miss” idea, the writing is expertly done and the direction does the script complete justice.

But that’s not to say the slasher elements we do get are terrible. The body count in this movie is very low, but there are some impressive kills (or one in particular). First, we get what is perhaps the best decapitation I have ever seen in any modern horror movie. It’s all practical, complete with prosthetic head and a HUGE blood spurt. I’m not going to spoil the other deaths, but they really aren’t the main focus of the movie. There isn’t a whole lot of suspense either, because all the characters that die are completely reprehensible and I couldn’t care any less about them.

However, the main characters are very likable and the parts are all well-acted as well. Ken himself is very likable and very sympathetic, and I found his reaction to everything that has begun to happen in his life very realistic. Barry Bostwick was hilarious as the sheriff, who I imagine is a parody of the cliché inept sheriff in almost all slasher movies, as he literally does next to nothing throughout most of the movie. Karen Black is good, I really liked Lucy Davis as Ken’s love interest, and Ariel Gade was actually pretty good as Amy (I usually hate kid actors).

Some Guy Who Kills People is going to disappoint many people looking for a straight slasher, but for those who can appreciate a good heart-warming drama, it’s great. I’m one of those people, so I got a lot out of Some Guy Who Kills People. It’s nice to actually see some sort of attempt to make characters likable, and it actually pays off because I liked all of them (save for the antagonists, whom we are supposed to hate). It’s also a comedy that doesn’t beat you over the head with humor and instead uses funny dialogue to make you chuckle. The kills themselves are well-done, and I really like the back story they gave us on why our killer is killing them. This was released quite recently on DVD by Anchor Bay, and it looks great. I’m not a big video or audiophile, but I liked the quality. There are some good special features as well, including a feature commentary, a behind-the-scenes featurette, the trailer, and an entertaining short film called “The Fifth.” This is a movie I can see myself pulling out every once in a while and enjoying, and if this sounds up your alley, it’s definitely worth the purchase, especially with that $10 price tag.

The Verdict: Some Guy Who Kills People is an entertaining mixture of gory slasher and engaging drama with a dash of comedy for good measure. Definitely an independent movie worth watching.

Score: 7/10


Can Your Mind Handle It? BOARDINGHOUSE (1982) Review

In the year of 1985, a movie by the name of Blood Cult was released, with its entire advertising campaign claiming it was the “first shot-on-video horror movie made directly for the home video market.” This statement couldn’t be any more false. First of all the first SOV horror movie made for the home video market was a 1983 ultra low-budget surreal horror movie called Sledgehammer, and that wasn’t even the first SOV movie! The first SOV was actually released in some theaters, and was released in 1982. That movie is a little glimpse of sheer insanity entitled…


Boardinghouse (1982) Review

The film opens with a painfully outdated computer text crawl (complete with beeping noises) explaining how the Hoffmans, leading experts on telekinesis, were killed in their house and their child was sent to a mental hospital. Several years later, Jim buys the house and turns it into a boardinghouse for “unattached, beautiful women 18 and over.” However, someone or something begins to pick off the girls in increasingly horrific ways. Is the house possessed? Or is it Jim, using his powers of telekinesis for evil? Or is it his new girlfriend, who his also telekinetic and angry about all the girls throwing themselves at Jim? Or is it something else entirely?

Hoo boy…where do I even begin with this one? This is easily one the most insane, nonsensical, poorly written, poorly made slasher movies I have EVER seen. This literally looks exactly like a home movie, from the amateur acting to the usage of every effect available on the camera they used to capture this insanity on film (or cheap video, rather). John Wintergate, the director/writer, also stars as Jim, but I knew that was director before I even looked it up online. Know how? Why else would John Wintergate put in dialogue for the women like, “Oh…you’re soo sexy!” as they caress Jim’s chest in the hot tub? Yeah…I also figured out he wrote it as well!

While the effects are terrible, the gore in this movie is great. There are plenty of intestines and eyeballs being popped out, people getting stabbed, brains being melted, hands being obliterated by garbage disposals, etc. There’s plenty of nudity as well (at times it does feel like a cheap porno that you find in a small cardboard box while you clean out your neighbor’s garage). No suspense, only two or three interesting/memorable characters, yada yada yada LET’S GET TO THE GOOD STUFF!!!

Alright…now let’s talk about what makes Boardinghouse memorable. Well, to begin with, the film employs gimmick that I imagine is parodying the old William Castle films: Horror-Vision! Basically, this tells you that if you have a weak heart or are “easily frightened by shocking gore,” cover your eyes and ears when an image of a black glove appears on screen or when a cheap synthesizer noise is played. Of course, this gimmick is hardly used in the movie (it is used a few times, but is dropped later on in the movie).

The whole telekinesis angle is done to hilarious effect (apparently, you trigger telekinetic powers by inhaling and exhaling as loud as possible), especially when it culminates with a big “telekinesis battle” in the end. And it’s awesome in the stupidest way possible. There’s also a random dream sequence where a girl is chased around by an evil force and gets assaulted by really fake looking skeletons! One girl’s face turns into a pig and she coughs up a mouse. Wintergate’s character sits on a desk in tighty-whities and makes hilarious faces as he exercises his telekinetic abilities. There’s also a cheaper-than-cheap video effect of a ghost, a live band, and a scene where the creepy gardener goes up to one girl (who’s in the hot tub topless) with a chainsaw, she stands up, begins staring at him and gnashing her teeth, and the gardener walks away in fright. Genius*.

This may or may not sound as hilarious as it actually is, but once you actually see it and combine it with the SOV look, you get the best unintentional comedy of 1982. It’s VERY hard to believe this nonsense was released to theaters, but it was. I can’t explain the strange power Boardinghouse has, but for some strange reason, my eyes never moved from the screen and my mind went into a sort of dreamlike state, where I had no perception on time, rationality, or just the outside world in general. It’s that kind of movie. For several, long years, Boardinghouse reveled in obscurity and acted as a “mystery” tape of sorts. Where did this movie come from? What was this director thinking? That is, until Code Red put this out on DVD, complete with commentary and interviews with Wintergate himself! Unfortunately, that DVD is now OOP and fetching collector’s prices, and I do not have a copy, unfortunately, so the origins and making of this movie still remain a mystery to me. And you know what? I’d prefer to keep it that way.

The Verdict: Boardinghouse is a surreal and oh-so-poorly-made SOV flick whose nonsensical moments add up to a seriously demented good time.

Score: 6/10


*Think I’ve spoiled everything Boardinghouse has to offer? Dead wrong, my friend.