Monday, March 23, 2009

A Trifecta of Slasher Sleaze

Ah, the 80's. A great time for the emergence (and subsequent fall as well documented in this film) of the slasher genre. Seriously, has there ever been a genre of horror films that was more oversaturated than this? One may make a case for the rampant rise of teen horror flicks in the 90's and the 10,000 sequels promoting I Still Really Really Know What You Did Last Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. But those came and fizzled pretty quick. The slasher genre was able to sustain itself for most of the decade and boy, were some painfully awful to watch. But despite this, each one had their own charm, bolstered by the culture of the time. The bad fashion, music, and awful hairdos truly made these films memorable and hilarious. Here are some favorites that I've watched recently.

The Burning:
Fear 3/5
Gore 5/5
Creepiness 3/5
Entertainment 5/5
Arguably the best slasher film ever made, The Burning centers familiarly enough on a group of kids at a summer camp. A caretaker of the camp falls victim to a prank gone wrong and ends up being burned alive (or so it seems).
The caretaker comes back to the camp to exact his revenge on the counselors (who fall victim to the normal trappings of slasher flicks: sex, drugs, etc.) and the poor little camp kiddos. What makes this film so much more different than most slashers is its seemingly more realistic and gorrific death scenes, courtesy of one Mr. Tom Savini.
Great fun all around and perfect for a Friday night. Jason Alexander and a barely recognizable Holly Hunter pop up in this one.

Aerobicide (AKA Killer Workout):
Fear 2/5
Gore 3/5
Creepiness 2/5
Entertainment 5/5
Bad hair? Check. Leg warmers and spandex? Check. Lots of T&A and painfully aweful dialogue? Check. Really, really terrible 80's soundtrack? Check and double check. This movie takes the cake when it comes to 80's cliche.
A girl who's left on a tanning bed for too long, gets fried and takes her revenge on a group of owners and coworkers at the neighborhood gym. And what weapon of choice does she decide to wield as she carries out her horrific scheme of revenge? A mighty machete? A head severing axe? A knife that would make Johnny Rambo jealous? No kids, she dispenses her victims with the all too terrifying oversized safety pin. Yes, you read that correctly. A fucking safety pin. But the movie works despite this and little gore. But its mainly the aforementioned over the top cultural 80's elements that spew forth in the film that makes it all too entertaining. I mean seriously, it has everything you could ever want: bad clothes, hair, music and copious amounts of Members Only Jackets. The guy that plays the detective also doles out some pretty choice lines. And dude, 10 people have already been killed at the gym. Why haven't you shut the place down?
Grab a group of friends, a six pack or 10, and some popcorn. Guaranteed laughs. Hard to find on DVD but our fine folks at Cinemageddon have come to the rescue. A true masterpiece.

Graduation Day:

Fear 2/5
Gore 2/5
Creepiness 2/5
Entertainment 5/5

A high school female track star collapses during a race and dies from a heart attack. Her boyfriend becomes traumatized (as we come to find out, he was supposed to get married to her after dun, dun, dun: graduation day) and goes on a killing spree, knocking off everyone that's on the track team including her over demanding coach.
Again, this film has it all: bad dialogue, hair, clothes, and music. The kill scenes are also pretty awful (the killer is on the fencing team and uses his lame little sword to poke and prod), with little blood. A cardinal sin in slasher films, I know. But the way the killer offs his victims is altogether silly and comical (in one scene, he affixes the sword to a football and throws the pigskin at one of the star football players). The ending is particulary funny, with an epic foot chase as the sister of the dead girl (who has come to find out the identity of the killer) runs a marathon in high heels and the killer is ironically killed by the corpse of his dead girlfriend. I'm not making this up
For better or worse (and more oftentimes than not, worse) this has become one of my favorite genres of horror films. Altogether fun, mindless and absolutely entertaining.
Cortez the Killer

* * *
Complaint Dept here: It was bound to happen - we've reviewed the same movie twice now.
You want perfection? Go rent Action Jackson.

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