1985 was pretty much the pinnacle of evil killers that didn’t become pop culture icons. So The Mutilator is a welcome addition to the genre. It’s got seriously sleazy, gruesome kills (as long as you see the unrated version), a killer that hides in murky shadows, and nudity. Isn’t that all a slasher needs?
I definitely love The Mutilator for its 80s slasher vibe, but it isn’t without issues. The film starts out with a lesson: mom always said, don’t shoot guns in the house. Flash forward, and this kid who accidentally killed his mother is going to close up his dad’s condo with a bunch of friends. We SEE his dad stalking and killing everyone, which makes this a fairly unscary slasher. And when the son learns it’s his father killing his friends, you just want to shout your best 1980s “No-duh!” at the screen.
Brutality and gore are definitely the stars here, along with perfectly dark slasher atmosphere. Back in the day, this is one of those movies that made your stomach turn when you saw the VHS cover art. You truly feared the heinous experience you were getting yourself into when you popped the tape into your VCR. What you didn’t expect was a lot of really cheesy generic pop tunes, from the opening credits to the end credits, that totally water down the tone of the film. Also, other than the kill scenes, the character and dialogue scenes are just pointless and not entertaining.
Go into this one solely for the slaughters. However, despite the early “torture porn” promise of the VHS cover, this really is just a slasher with elongated deaths. There’s only one time when the killer tortures his victim before killing her, and it’s rather cruel and vicious misogyny involving a hook and her nether regions. Not even sure why he opted to do this to only one person.
It’s a treat that adorable scream king Matt Mitler (Deadtime Stories, Breeders, Basket Case 2) is the leading man!
Aside from that, there’s a ginge activist (almost unheard of back then), great eerie musical cues, the killer uses one massively scary weapon, the piled up bodies make some amazing cameos in the final frames, and the chase scene at last injects some tension and suspense. But the closing credits (set to another cheesy pop song) present us with the bloopers and outtakes! WTF? Way to negate every minute of horror we’ve just watched!!!