Archive for driller killer

Slumber Party Massacre II (1987) Review

Posted in Slumber Party Massacre II with tags , , , on September 15, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

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SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE II

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- The Party Begins When the Lights Go Out

Release Date- October 30th, 1987

Running Time- 75-Minutes

Rating- R

Writer/Director- Deborah Brock

Starring- Crystal Bernard, Kimberly McArthur, Juliette Cummins, Heidi Kozak, Atanas Ilitch, Jennifer Rhodes

Was there ever a more fun time for the horror genre than the 80s? Only in the 80s could a movie like Slumber Party Massacre II be made and work well with the audience. Even though the 70s is my favorite time for the horror genre (and film in general) the 80s easily has to rate as the most fun the genre has ever had and most likely ever will. There are still some filmmakers that attempt this kind of off the wall over the top movie and almost all the time it doesn’t work and even when it does work it feels forced. Released in 1987 Slumber Party Massacre II picks up from the original and is set 5-years later (and the movie came out 5-years after the original).

Courtney (Bernard) who survived the attack of the Driller Killer in the original is now 17-years old and has her own all-girl rock band and her sister Valerie (Eilbacher) is now in an insane asylum. Rather than go visit her sister, Courtney decides to spend her birthday weekend with her friends for a fun slumber party weekend, but the fun soon turns deadly as the Driller Killer (Ilitch) shows up and spoils all the fun.

Even though Slumber Party Massacre II picks up from the original it’s a totally different movie and strays from the original in terms of execution of the plot. The original was the typical slasher flick of the 80s with more comedic elements than most at the time of its release and while Slumber Party Massacre II is also a comedy and even a satire of the genre the whole tone of the movies are quite different and honestly this almost seems as if it was meant to be a totally different movie and later changed to be a sequel. The original film was a lot of fun, but Slumber Party Massacre II in my opinion is every bit as fun as the original and depending on my mood I sometimes enjoy the sequel more. Slumber Party II is so over the top and absurd, but it’s just way too much fun. The Driller Killer looks like John Travolta in Grease and even has a drill on his guitar and even while chasing after his victims the Driller Killer still has time to break into song and dance in the middle of the action.

The screenplay by Deborah Brock is a lot of fun mixing in slasher elements and supernatural elements and some of the influence clearly comes from A Nightmare on Elm Street. I don’t think anyone goes into slasher flicks for the deep characters, but I do expect them to be at least fun. The characters here are mostly inter-changeable and while they may not entirely have their own identities all the characters are however a lot of fun and likeable well at least the women.

Brock never really has any intentions of writing a serious screenplay and just has fun with the genre conventions. The script is quite over the top and silly, but again it’s quite a bit of fun. Like I said even though the movie does continue from the original it really is quite different in style and while Brock’s script may not be an award winner it really is a blast with fun and entertaining characters.

As director Deborah Brock delivers a fun and well-paced movie; the movie doesn’t have a whole lot of action until the final act, but each scene has a high fun level. Like her screenplay, Brock never really attempts anything too serious and the movie has a campy feel throughout. There does however seem to be a few things implied such as Courtney’s sexual hang-ups, which is a nice touch to an otherwise silly and over the top movie. Like I stated earlier in my review this is the kind of movie that could only be made in the 80s and Deborah Brock delivers one of the most fun horror flicks of the 80s.

Slumber Party Massacre II gets some mixed reviews and I can more than understand the poor reviews; the killer singing and dancing, Courtney getting attacked by a frozen chicken (yes you read that right) and those are just a couple of the silly scenes so I can totally get the negative reaction this movie can sometimes get, but if you take the movie for what it’s worth and sit back and just enjoy the camp value that Brock was going for the movie is a lot of fun. The camp value was intentional and Brock just wanted to make a movie that was fun and in my opinion she very much succeeds.

The cast is actually pretty good with some notable faces; the biggest would be Crystal Bernard who is probably best known for the TV show Wings also in the cast is Heidi Kozak who the very next year would appear in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood and keeping in tune with Friday the 13th Juliette Cummins starred in the 5th installment A New Beginning and Psycho III, Kimberly McArthur is a former Playboy Playmate and last, but not least is Jennifer Rhodes probably best known for her role on Charmed. The actors all deliver really fun and energetic performances and while none may be Oscar worthy again all the actors really deliver fun performances and really help elevate the movie.

Atanas Ilitch as the Driller Killer is a total blast! While characters such as Jason, Freddy and Michael are the most popular choices for favorite villain I honestly would pick The Driller Killer over them. Ilitch is a blast to watch with his drill on his guitar and it’s hysterical when he starts to sing and dance before going back on the attack.

Overall Slumber Party Massacre II is one of my favorite horror flicks of the 80s and easily one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies. Despite being a continuation this movie very much strays from the original and is just a total blast to watch! Each scene is just as much fun as the last. There are also some nice homage’s in the movie with one character named Kruger (spelled Kreuger in the credits) and another character named Voorhees (spelled Voorhies in the credits). Also Heidi Kozak’s character is named Sally Burns, which is a nod to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Sally being the name of the lead character and the actress was Marilyn Burns.

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Slumber Party Massacre III (1990) Review

Posted in Slumber Party Massacre III with tags , , on September 11, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

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SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE III

** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- It’s Driller Time and This Bits for You

Release Date- September 7th, 1990

Running Time- 87-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Catherine Cyran

Director- Sally Mattison

Starring- Keely Christian, Brandi Burkett. Hope Marie Carlton, Garon Grigsby

After reaching its peak in the early 80s the slasher film still slashed along through the 80s even if they weren’t as successful there was still enough of a following to keep making them and by the mid-80s slasher flicks started to become a little more light in tone and many were even satires even if Scream gets all the credit for starting that. Slumber Party Massacre III was released in 1990 and in many ways is one of the last of the 80s style slasher flick. By this time the market for these movies were starting to die out as even the major franchises such as Halloween and Friday the 13th were seeing their lowest box office numbers.

Slumber Party Massacre III like the previous two retains the campy tone, but also adds a little more meanness at times and sort of borders on exploitation and while this sometimes does work well, but mostly it falls sort of flat. Slumber Party III is more of a remake of sorts rather than a sequel. Many scenes mirror the original, the plot is mostly the same and some of the names of the characters are the same as those in the original. The plot for Slumber Party Massacre III as stated is pretty much the same as the original though all 3 movies have the same basic plot; Jackie (Christian) with her parents away decides to have a slumber party and of course the boys show up to scare them during the party, but a killer also shows up and begins to dispatch the characters.

The screenplay by Catherine Cyran is rather weak and while she tries to mold her script in the style of the original film it really doesn’t work as well. The characters are one dimensional, but they are fun however even if they lack any depth, but I don’t think we go into slasher films for the deep characters. The script has its fun moments, but the fact we’ve seen this done twice before things don’t work as well this time around. Slasher films in general aren’t known for their smart characters, but Slumber Party III has some of the dumbest characters to ever grace the slasher film. This time around the identity of the killer is kept a mystery unlike the first 2 films where we knew who the killer was, but the identity of the killer is fairly obvious unless you’ve never seen a movie before and while Cyran does try to have a couple of possible suspects it wasn’t working. Oddly enough though the trailer totally spoils the identity of the killer.

Director Sally Mattison delivers an uneven pace to the film; Slumber Party Massacre III at times can be a bit slow and the fun level never reaches as high as the first two films and as stated earlier SPM III also adds a bit more darkness and Mattison never really handles either of these two elements very well for the most part. At times there is a fun atmosphere to the movie, but something just wasn’t working and in the end Mattison follows what the previous filmmakers did in their movies more or less and that sort of sinks the production as its starting become a tired act. The darker scenes sort of feel out of place and are handled rather sloppy and they aren’t very dark or disturbing even if that was the goal of Sally Mattison. I like the idea Mattison attempted to try something a little different with the movie seeing as for the most part it’s just a rehash, but Mattison never really delivers a movie as fun as the previous two and the darker scenes just feel out of place, which just sort of creates a mess of a film at times.

As I stated Slumber Party III features some of the dumbest characters any slasher flick has seen. The characters are trapped inside a house, but none of them even attempt to break a window to escape, though late in the movie one girl does jump through a glass door and while I hardly ever complain about stupidity of the characters in Slasher flicks this was just downright annoying in how dumb they were. One scene has the killer who is partially blinded attempt a sexual assault and the rest of the girl’s just stand by and watch. Even though his back is to them and his weapon is a couple of feet from him they don’t attempt to make any move.

However the best part is when they knock the killer out one girl wants to kill him and the other girl replies with how you can’t just kill somebody that’s lying there. Even though this guy just killed their friends and is trying to kill them it would be wrong to kill somebody just lying there. This may sound funny and in many ways it is, but it also shows the utter stupidity of the characters and it’s more annoying than funny.

It’s kinda difficult to fully dislike a movie where on character is killed with a vibrator, but overall SPM III just doesn’t work as well as the previous two. It was a nice attempt, but just falls a bit flat. Despite my review I did find SPM III to have some fun moments and I would actually watch it again, but compared to the first two films this one really lacks and the mixture of light and dark just doesn’t work well; fans of the series should get some enjoyment, but in my opinion this was easily the weakest of the trilogy.

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The Toolbox Murders (1978) Review

Posted in Toolbox Murders, The (1978) with tags , , , on April 18, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

Review by Dave Kaye

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THE TOOLBOX MURDERS

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Bit by Bit He Carved a Nightmare

Release Date- March, 1978

Running Time- 93-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- Neva Friedenn, Robert Easter, Ann Kindberg

Director- Dennis Donnelly

Starring- Cameron Mitchell, Pamelyn Ferdin, Wesley Eure, Nicolas Beauvy, Tim Donnelly and Aneta Corsaut

Released in 1978 The Toolbox Murders has built up a cult following over the years and has also been criticized for its violence and for being sleazy, but personally while the movie is violent it’s actually not anywhere near its reputation even for the time it was released and HG Lewis starting doing splatter flicks as early as 1963 and as far as the sleaze factor it stems really from one scene in, which Dee Ann (Marianne Walker AKA Kelly Nichols) pleasures herself in a bathtub before meeting a grisly end, which was the best death scene of the movie, but point is the reputation of the movie isn’t quite up to what it has been made out to be.

The Toolbox Murders is a very frustrating movie to watch since it has all the elements of a great horror movie, but it just never reaches that level or comes close to it even if enjoyable. The movie gets off to a really quick start with about 4 death scenes in the first 25-minutes, but after that not a whole lot happens and the movie also lacks in real direction and it’s not until the final act when things begin to pick up again. While Toolbox Murders is a totally different movie from When a Stranger Calls the basic structure of the movie is sort of like that with the middle sections lacking any action, but at least When a Stranger Calls had a direction and it’s not nearly as boring as people sometimes make it out to be and while Toolbox Murders isn’t totally boring there are moments where I sort of started to zone out of the movie.

The screenplay by Neva Friedenn, Robert Easter, and Ann Kindberg was rather weak and never really had a clear direction; there isn’t any character development and the victims are introduced and killed off right away without any hint of depth; Laurie (Ferdin) was the only interesting character and likeable character, but she only has a couple of scenes before her abduction and therefore it does make it tough to get attached to the character or fully sympathize with her.

After a quick start the movie slows down and the script isn’t strong enough to keep things interesting. The identity of the killer should be fairly obvious as soon as he first appears on screen, but halfway through the movie the killer is revealed and the motivation was a bit weak more because we never know what he was like before he had his breakdown. I think the biggest problem with the script is plots never really go anywhere. The police investigation feels more like a filler to pad the running time and Laurie’s brother Joey (Beauvy) starts his own investigation, but it never really goes anywhere and also feels like filler scenes; all of this would be ok if there were more action, but since after the opening act there aren’t any more death scenes until the final act these scenes after a while start to lag the movie down. Though there is a pretty decent twist and that sort of saves the script a little bit.

Toolbox Murders marked the feature film debut by Dennis Donnelly who prior to this directed TV episodes and this also happens to be his only feature film to date as after this it was back to TV productions. Despite getting off to a quick start Donnelly never sets a tone for the movie and we go from one death scene to another with no real set ups and zero character development; even with the limitations Donnelly could have given the characters a little bit of depth and therefore the suspense and tension are nonexistent. Despite the lack of suspense the death scenes do have a mean spirited feel behind them and are rather strong even if again there isn’t much of a set up. The death scenes have gotten quite a reputation, but the gore is fairly tame when compared to other flicks of the time.

After the opening act as I stated things really slow down and Donnelly isn’t able to inject much life into the movie and while some of this might be due to the script a lot of it however falls on Donnelly. I never felt as if Donnelly set a tone for the movie and I’ve seen several horror flicks that have a weak script or an ok script, but the director was able to create an eerie tone with suspense and tension that make up for any flaws with the script, but Donnelly isn’t really able to do that. Even the opening act had some sluggish pacing despite the amount of deaths due to the poor set ups, but regardless the opening act is the most fun and exciting, but Donnelly is unable to carry any of that over. All in all Dennis Donnelly does make an enjoyable if not overly flawed film and despite the middle sections I quite enjoyed the movie maybe more due to the potential than content.

Like many slasher flicks The Toolbox Murders came under fire for its graphic violence towards women and for being overly sleazy, but I don’t think the reputation is warranted since as I stated I found this rather tame when compared with many other movies released within the same time. Were the attacks justified or just another case of people with nothing better to do other than complain? Overall The Toolbox Murders was an alright film; it has a strong first act, but after that never really goes anywhere until the end and even the final act isn’t all that exciting, but fans of exploitation cinema should check this out since despite the flaws it does have its moments.

While my review may not sound overly positive I did enjoy the movie for what it was and it was later remade by Tobe Hooper and despite a few connections it’s a totally unrelated film with a supernatural killer. My advice skip the lousy remake and get the original.

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