Will filmmakers’ attempts to recreate the vibe of 80s horror films ever be replaced by—I don’t know—homages to Asian horror of the 2000s or imitations of mainstream ghost films of the 2000-teens? We’ll just have to wait and see. Until then, I’ll continue to dissect 80s slasher wannabees! Here are four more from four consecutive years.
Gutterballs is the infamous film by director Ryan Nicholson (I blog about his equally infamous Hanger here). Gutterballs was marketed as a throwback to 80s slashers upon release, so I bought it immediately—not realizing there was a 9-minute rape scene. That, by the way, is 13 seconds shorter than in the uncut version of the film (I’ve not seen it), which features explicit insertion footage and cum dripping. Because clearly 9 minutes of footage isn’t enough to get the point of a rape across….
Anyway, leading up to the rape, we meet two groups of friends who bowl together at an alley in which they always seem to be the only people present. The nice group has a transgender friend and a chick who likes to wear super short skirts (when she bends over, you totally see her snatch—really, you actually see it). The other group—all guys—is the biggest bunch of douche bags, and they alone manage to exploit both F words (fuck and faggot) to the point that watching this film for only the second time ever to write this blog, I fast forwarded through everything but the kill scenes and still didn’t lose any of the “story.”
The homophobic misogynists start to attack the transgender woman, so her friends beat the shit out of them to protect her. Everyone leaves, but the short skirt girl forgets her pocketbook and goes back for it, which quickly leads to nine agonizing minutes that are unbearable to watch.
Not surprisingly, there’s some latent homosexual weirdness when the muscle boy of the group whips off his shirt, and then the geek in the group, who tries to get them to stop, is forced to rape the chick—with a bowling pin (hence, the uncut version of the film is titled the “Pin-etration addition”). If you could not sit through the I Spit on Your Grave movies, you won’t make it through this either.
If only there were an “unpinned” edition, this would be a damn good homage to 80s slashers—the fashions, colors, and music (Loverboy, Harlequin, Chilliwack, April Wine, Trooper, Honeymoon Suite) are all from the 80s—with the added bonus of grindhouse grossness. Everyone returns to the bowling alley the next night—including the rape victim, who shouldn’t even be able to walk—and the game goes on. I was so hoping Johnny Nogerelli would stop in for a chorus of “Score Tonight,” but that probably would have been in bad taste and just pissed off the killer even more.
So yeah, there’s a killer. The killer wears a bowling bag for a mask and has sharpened bowling pins into stake weapons. Ouch.
While the kids bore us with the usual (sex, fighting), the killer’s disgusting slaughter techniques make us want to hurl. A couple has an explicit 69 on the floor of a bathroom (you see her sucking dick and her ass on his face), so the killer takes advantage of it, making them both suffocate on genitals.
The transgender woman is forced to deep throat the bowling pin and then receives a graphic sex change (and I’m not just talking having her penis cut off).
There’s bowling pin stake eye-gouging, death by bowling shoe laces, bowling ball head crush, face removal by ball waxing machine, and most importantly, the leader of the bad boys getting ass-fucked by the bowling pin stake, complete with nauseating noises.
When we’re down to the final couple, the film momentarily feels like the 80s slasher classic Intruder, only in a bowling alley instead of a grocery store. Then the killer’s identity is revealed and things turn completely bat shit crazy grindhouse. Fun, fun, fun. It’s so unfortunate that the unnecessarily excessive rape scene spoils this otherwise wild gore flick. But hey, it’s the director’s vision, so he can do whatever he wants. It’s up to us to decide if we want to watch it or not, which is easier to do if we’ve been warned first. So…you’ve been warned.
MENTAL SCARS (2009)
Messy and amateurish as far as plot and performances go, Mental Scars actually offers plenty of classic slasher spirit and a freaky killer—the only reasons to give this one a look.
Some really bitchy chick is trying to make an old junkyard into a parking lot. The junkyard is visited by various investors, as well as couples that sneak in for sex—times at which scenes will repeatedly jump from day to night for no good reason. Awesome. There’s also a bizarre side plot of a young woman with the hots for some old dude who rejects her, plus a Native American dude lurking around spying on the whole situation because the junkyard is built on an Indian burial ground!
Don’t ask me what that has to do with the bandaged, hoodied killer hanging in the junkyard and having continuous flashbacks of his bad childhood. Honestly, I stopped caring about or trying to follow the plot pretty early on.
The initial kills are all cop outs, with the deaths happening off screen. But later on, the killer delivers the money shots nonstop, roaming the junkyard and killing one person after another with various weapons. There’s also a dude with a hot bod who randomly takes his shirt off right before he dies, and the bitch has a sex dream, complete with boobs and a hint of man ass.
Like I said, check in to this one just for the cool killer and a rapid fire set of death scenes near the end of the film.
BLOOD JUNKIE (2010)
If Napoleon Dynamite suddenly turned into a hardcore horror movie in the last half hour, it would be Blood Junkie.
The challenge while watching this movie would be to pinpoint any flaws that reveal that it is actually a modern film and not from the 80s, the time period in which it takes place. The perfectly washed out look of the film and the 80s synth score are just the beginning. Two dudes hang out in a bedroom covered in hair band posters while playing video games. One chick watches an aerobics television show taught by a male instructor obsessed with ass exercises. There are short shorts, head bandanas, leg warmers, acid wash jeans, boobs and (major) bush, and genuine looking guido staches.
Just when this movie seems like it’s going to be a total farce (there’s even a goofy bedroom dance montage with the guys getting kind of gay together), the group of friends jumps in a station wagon—bringing along one chick’s little brother—to go camping near an abandoned building in the woods.
Holy shit does this movie suddenly turn grisly and serious. Not only does the little kid begin to show signs of psychotic behavior, but a killer in a gas mask comes on the scene as the group explores the dark and ominous building. There’s a nasty lair, the kills are brutal, jump scares and creepy atmosphere abound, and shit gets gory good. This final sequence is both a total throwback and totally fresh. Add this to the list of movies I purchased on DVD as soon as I finished streaming them.
RAYMOND DID IT (2011)
Such a great name for a slasher film. Raymond Did It is one of those “almost” movies that needed to cook a bit more before it was ready to serve. For starters, it would have benefitted greatly from even a slightly better budget. I also think the director needed to gain a bit more experience with making full-length features before putting this particular idea to film. He actually may have been better off presenting his concept to a writer that could have delivered a tighter script, rather than writing it himself.
The blatantly low budget might may make those who give this one a try shut it off before it starts to deliver. The plot is initially classic 80s slasher material. When a group of young kids accidentally kills one of their friends, they blame his murder on his intellectually disabled brother, who is then locked away in a mental institution. Six years later, he escapes and comes back for revenge!
Despite its slasher premise, Raymond Did It feels more like a revenge film. We aren’t made to like this group of friends at all, because the script never presents any of them as feeling guilty or remorseful for what they did. They just spend a majority of the film trying to figure out what to do to protect themselves after Raymond escapes. Therefore, you’re kind of like, “Raymond, DO it.” In fact, the deliciously wild turn in the tightly plotted and paced final act leaves you totally siding with Raymond. The circumstances and the exceptional (but brief) performance by the guy playing Raymond lead to a sad, tragic ending. But that doesn’t stop the director from promising a sequel with more carnage in the final scene! Heh heh.
While the low budget look, Raymond skulking around in his pajamas, and our sympathy for him all hinder the possibility of scares in the slasher section of the film, there are notable classic slasher techniques used that make me wish the director had reworked the film to take advantage of his strengths in this area. Most of the death scenes alone are fantastically executed and quite original—as if they belonged to a totally different movie.
Also, while there are no major names in the cast, notable is the inclusion of two contestants from the Scream Queens series: Lindsay Felton could be considered the “final girl” here (the twist deliciously messes with that concept), but Jessica Palette would win the Scream Queens prize for this film. She scores big points for her scene describing the condition in which she finds her dead boyfriend, her fully committed sex scene (totally retro slasher fucking), and her post-sex insistence that her boyfriend fetch her…milk!
This is another film for which I’d say, if you start it and consider turning it off, fast forward past all the crap and get to the point when Raymond comes home. There are a lot of noteworthy aspects to this film, despite its shortcomings.