Joe Zaso has been doing low-budget indie horror for decades, but in Nikos The Impaler, he gets to work with scream queen Felissa Rose! The pair plays college professors who go to a museum with a bunch of students. Before long, some shady business leads to a mask of Nikos The Impaler getting splashed with blood…which brings him back to life!
Be aware that this is super low-budget indie horror that looks like it was shot on video. It’s not a “scary” film. It’s a body count/gore film that gives you loads of those ridiculous, over-the-top kills we all love at times. My favorite here has to be when Nikos slices the front of a dude’s face off! Plus, there are a couple of bodies sliced in half from various angles.
Sure there are loads of problems with the flick. The editing needed to be tighter and with a good 15 minutes shaved off the hour and 40 minute running time, it could have been much better paced. A good portion of the drag is in all the dialogue at the beginning of the movie before the action starts, which, unfortunately, could lead viewers to get bored and turn it off.
But if you stick with it, the real cheesy fun begins at the museum. Trapped inside are the teachers, a smart collegiate chick, a couple of horny dudes who just want to get laid, a gay couple, and an elderly couple. Surprisingly, one of the gay guys makes it through longer than your average horror movie gay guy.
I can’t deny it. There were a good number of funny moments in this movie beyond the schlocky, sometimes unintentionally humorous stuff. While Felissa Rose plays such a great screamer/victim (funny, considering the role that put her on the map was as the killer), Joe Zaso is actually strongest when he’s acting goofy and dropping funny lines. His comic acting doesn’t come out until later in the movie, but it’s adorable. I’d love to see him do more horror comedy.
The movie starts as a standard slasher in the museum. They’re trapped inside, the lights go out, they get picked off one by one. You assume that’s going to be the whole movie. And you laugh at the insanity when the dwindling number of characters runs into a virtually pitch dark room and all you see are flashlight beams bouncing around, and all you hear are the females screaming and panicking, even though actors are delivering dialogue at the same time.
What comes next is the real shocker. Nikos takes to the New York City streets! For any excuse to have a shower scene, he goes into a gym to kill a naked woman (she’s one of only two people in the gym). And it’s major nudity. Like, perfectly trimmed bush right up in the camera nudity.
Then he moves on to a movie theater, and a lesbian bar…where a lesbian literally tries to molest Felissa! WTF? Where are the activists who made a huge outcry over Sharon Stone’s character in Basic Instinct?
Finally, Nikos, apparently disappointed by the horror films playing at the movie theater, hits up a video store. Not only does he take down Lloyd Kaufmann and Debbie Rochon at the video store, but he also uses some supernatural power to bring to life villains on the covers of video boxes: a dark mistress, a zombie, ninjas, and fricking Adolf Hitler. WTF?
I would have preferred if the film had stayed as an uber-gory horror comedy in the museum instead of crossing into absurd Troma territory. Also, as is common with these really low-budget flicks, the director has chosen to load it with an endless, generic heavy metal soundtrack (along with some techno). If a more conventional horror score had been used in death scenes, the film had been edited more smoothly, and had stayed focused (in the museum), the director really could have delivered a campy, gory slice of trashy fun. Instead, things go astray and get quite messy by the film’s conclusion.
However, after all the wackiness dies down, the director patches everything up at the last moment—with one final scene of Joe shirtless. He could have taken it one step further an ended with Joe’s end…which is how I’m going to end this blog.