Those were the days. Either your last minute decision to rent movies on a Friday night found all the new releases and hot titles were gone…or you had been systematically renting everything in the horror section over time and were now down to the stuff you’d never heard of—if you were lucky enough and the store actually carried them. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the crap you were left with. And this is just part 1….
A bride and groom commit suicide in a house. A new couple moves in and spends a majority of the movie going about daily chores like talking on the phone and making tea. Meanwhile, stuff moves around constantly so we know there’s a ghost. The couple experiences various strange occurrences (like a screaming woman) and totally ignores them.
Finally, various extraneous people start to come to the house to be killed by a bloody bride ghost, including two burglars. But hey. That’s the best scene in the movie, seemingly trying to capture the magic of Evil Dead. The bride ghost actress rolls her eyes back as much as possible to show off the whites since scary eye contacts were apparently not in the budget. There’s also a lot of the ineffective appear/disappear trick considered a special effect back then.
But where’s the groom ghost throughout all this? The woman of the house always has to do all the work.
Cheesy gore comes into play when the movie eventually morphs into a sloppy supernatural slasher…with no explanation as to where the ghost hides the bodies. They vanish, along with any signs of blood. My favorite part of Carnage is the cheesy musical score that sounds exactly like the melodramatic horror music used in movies in the 1950s and 60s.
DEATH SCREAMS (1982)
Death Screams opens with a young couple having sex by a river and becoming the first victims. Then we get an hour of small town life—baseball games, diner conversations, convenience store pleasantries, and tons of carnival shenanigans. There are occasional, mostly bogus killer POV scenes to remind us it’s a horror movie.
In the last 20 minutes, a group of friends goes to a cemetery to tell scary stories. A body drops out, so one kid after another runs off alone to be hacked up. The killer gets bored waiting for the conveyor belt so the four remaining survivors are hunted down and massacred in a matter of minutes. At the last second, we also get a couple of flashbacks to show us this random killer saw boobs as a kid. That would make me a psycho, too….
In the end, the final girl asks, “Why?” And the sheriff replies, “I don’t know.” Neither do the rest of us, Sheriff. All I do know is there’s one stud in tight white pants and a tank top, there’s a male shower scene with a little bubble butt on display, one of the campfire stories is the urban legend about the hand-licking dog under the bed, and the rapid fire kills in the last few minutes aren’t bad for the time period.
TERROR AT TENKILLER (1986)
A chick shows off her huge boobs in the shower then goes to a cabin by a lake with her girlfriend in an effort to get away from her crazy boyfriend. Her friend tells her the legend of an Indian maiden who slaughtered a bunch of Indians and killed the last one in the lake. Then the girls spend an hour talking about the main girl’s relationship with her boyfriend and having fun on the lake. This is definitely the biggest problem I see with low-budget slashers, even to this day. The filmmakers don’t know how to fill an hour-and-a-half of time, so they just write loads of nonsensical dialogue.
The girls meet a very cute guy who has a rugged crater face and likes to wear Daisy Dukes and kill people. He takes out a few people (inexplicably cutting off one’s arm after he’s dead), there’s a bit of gore, then he finally chases the lead girl around in the dark, which is the best part of the movie. But apparently, he can’t swim….
Remember that legend about the Indian maiden? In a wickedly cheesy voice over at the end, as the final girl is walking out of the water, she’s saying that she thinks the Indian chick helped her get away from the killer by pulling him down into the lake and goes on to say the police never found the body…as the killer is popping up out of the water behind her! WTF?
THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY (1988)
Was this low-budget mess trying to have the final word in slumber party massacres? The ultimate goal of The Last Slumber Party seems to be to show us just how often a killer or dead bodies could be right behind us in our own house and we’d never even notice. It’s effectively creepy the first dozen times, but then it gets sort of ridiculous.
So these three chicks decide to have a slumber party at the home of Linda, the sweet chick you’re sure is going to be the final girl because she’s the Laurie to the, well, Linda and Annie of this movie. Instead, it’s the foul-mouthed slut who is our main girl. So confusing. Also, keep an eye out for the red baseball cap chick in the first scene who you would swear is P.J. Soles in Carrie.
Linda’s dad works at a hospital. A crazy patient gets away, dressed as a surgeon. Guess where he’s headed. Little does he know there are only three victims waiting for him. Luckily, the slut has called several boys over for some fun. And to her, that seems to be calling them faggot and queer repeatedly. No wonder there’s no partying and everyone totally splits up to do their own thing.
Eventually, they all start getting killed, we keep seeing the same two clips of the killer staring at his scalpel and hanging out behind a bed, and the gay-hating slut seems pretty chill and uninterested despite the fact that all her friends are dead. The best part is when she finds her friend dead in a bed, hears a noise in her closet and walks towards it saying, “Who’s in there?” Why they hell does this dumb bitch get to be the final girl?
There are other great scenes. During a scene in which Linda goes outside for a moment, the killer sneaks in the door behind her…and she turns around to go back inside as he’s still entering the house. This actress deserves an Oscar for the way she pretends he isn’t even there. Then there’s the moment the dad comes home, finds out the lines on all but one of the phones in his house have been cut, gets a call saying he has to come to the hospital because his crazy patient has escaped, walks out the door, sees a ladder leading up to an open window on the second floor of his house, shrugs, and leaves.
And watch out for the random zombie attack scene somewhere in the middle of the movie. I assume it’s supposed to be something the kids have playing on their television, but that’s never made clear. I’m guessing the director actually wanted to make a zombie film.
Hey, at least The Last Slumber Party comes from the 80s. There’s blaring metal music, an eerie and trippy musical score, a fricking Shelley Hack reference, and some of the gayest posters on the bedroom wall, including Barry Manilow, the Bee Gees, Xanadu, and Tom Selleck with his pornstache.
So what I’m saying is, if you see only one terrible 80s movie on this list, The Last Slumber Party is the one.