Oddly enough, in the early part of the new millennium, during the onslaught of post-Scream slashers and the death of the “rock band” in pop culture, there were a bunch of cheesy horror movies centered around rock bands! While the goal was usually to give these bands an “emo” image, it was convenient that they looked more like bad mockeries of 80s bands, because it went along with the throwback feel of the slasher movies themselves. Which is all the reason to pit the 2002 films The Backlot Murders and Slash against each other!
The Backlot Murders (2002)
Just think. If they made a gay porn spoof of this film, they wouldn’t even have to change the title.
The Backlot Murders is all about the fricking awesomeness that is Priscilla Barnes. She MAKES this movie, and is funnier than she ever was on Three’s Company. With veteran actor Charles Fleischer, who plays a gay video director, as her foil, they are unstoppable.
The film does a pretty good job of getting by as a clone of better slashers, much like the post-Halloween slashers of the 1980s. It feels like a direct-to-VHS slasher from around 1982, my favorite kind. There’s a killer in an Elvis mask, plenty of sharp weapons, some backlight and a smoke machine, chicks with huge boobs, a couple of cute guys, and a pretty pointless plot (about a band shooting a video) that serves merely to serve up victims.
You can definitely show The Backlot Murders at a party for kicks. It would be more fun that way. Especially since you get a small appearance by big, bad Kincaid from Elm Street 3 (he should have been in it more), and even Corey Haim! What’s kind of entertaining about the movie is that there are murders of “characters” you NEVER see until they’re getting killed. Before you can say “Who the fuck is that,” they’re dead.
The final chase scene rox. The killer is the best I’ve seen since Urban Legend, and the final bouncing babe is perfect.
It was only a matter of time before a slasher was named after Cousin Itt, and it makes sense that it be a slasher about a rock band.
Slash opens with the traditional flashback setup; some kid sees a dude draining blood from bodies in a barn. Then there’s a fire and we cut to the present.
This HOT dude Mac with a fricking killer bod (which explains why he’s shirtless throughout most of the movie) is in a band. Their tour is interrupted when Mac finds out his aunt has died and he has to go to her farm to attend the funeral. The whole tour bus goes along.
Slash runs a little too long (but you get to look at the above that much more). We spend too much time watching the members of the rock band rehearsing in the barn, sleeping, smoking pot, talking about their relationships, reading Tarot cards (and OF COURSE getting “The Devil” card), and joking with each other. The main plot is about Mac and his family’s bizarre past at the farm. And then there’s the killer running around in a mask and long coat with a sickle in hand.
The kills are pretty good in this one, eerily executed at times and reminiscent of 80s slasher gore. Even more bizarre than the hick farmhand is the hot black dude in the band (who’s shirtless a lot as well. Yummy). He gets into numerous fights with the farmhand and then all of a sudden gets all pissed off at everything and begins running around the farm waving a gun he just happens to carry with him. Really?
The underground tunnels, the chase scenes, the twist about the killer, the setup for a sequel—it’s all pretty typical. And then we get literally 15 minutes of the band performing a show at the end of the movie.
Choosing the better of these two slashers is like the MTV Video Fights on a Friday night in the summer of 83—when “Photograph” by Def Leppard reigned supreme. Decision time! As hot as the bods are in Slash, I find The Backlot Murders to be the better of the bad band movies.