The slashers market was so oversaturated by 1987 that titles became more obscure and often never even made it to the local video store shelves at all, like the remaining titles I’ll be covering in the next few installments of my 80s Slasher Vaults blog series. So here are the first three 80s horror slashers that may have passed you by in 87.
Open House is from the more “pseudo slasher/thriller” subgenre that became increasingly popular at the end of the decade. Think The Stepfather, The Hitcher, and Blue Steel. It almost feels like a made-for-cable movie.
This one has a killer slaughtering real estate agents! The killer keeps calling a radio psychologist…whose girlfriend, played by Adrienne Barbeau (!), happens to be a real estate agent. Adrienne is having a major conflict with a competing agent, so when the body count begins rising, she becomes convinced she’s the next target.
Open House isn’t going to win any slasher awards because it fails to be scary or suspenseful, but the death scene setups are campy, as are the reactions of the victims, complete with melodramatic music and overly dramatic screaming. The couple trapped in a bathroom by the killer is a screaming highlight.
There’s also plenty of gore, and topping it all off are the gratuitous sexual situations, including the killer tying up a woman and pouring champagne into her cleavage, as well as a real estate agent being put on a dog leash by a dominatrix. Not to mention, Adrienne appears in a sex scene. Sadly, she doesn’t get any kind of kick ass chase as in The Fog, and the big climax is absolutely laughable.
GEEK (aka: Backwoods)
Geek is a lost backwoods horror flick that deserves a little more recognition. It has a wickedly good vibe once it gets going, and the general concept of the killer predates Luther the Geek (which I love) by a few of years.
A couple camping in the woods suddenly has to rescue a choking girl. The girl’s weird father insists they come home with him so he can feed them as a thank you. The weird man is even odder during the dinner conversation.
But he’s nothing compared to his mentally ill son—a geek that stays out in a shed biting heads off small animals. He also takes a liking to the female because her hair reminds him of his dead mother. Uh-oh.
Geek delivers good, gritty atmosphere and creepy music, and once the geek starts terrorizing the main girl, it doesn’t let up. Best of all, she totally fights back, so the final act rox. If you’re a fan of the era and backwoods horror, this is definitely one to check out.
This piece of direct-to-video absurdity should be a cult classic. It looks so perfectly eighties and the performances are awesomely awful—but the killer totally rules. He completely goes for it, elevating the campiness to near perfection with his performance. For me, he’s more entertaining than Angela in Sleepaway Camp II & III.
The killer is an ordinary dude who becomes convinced his wife is fucking every man that steps through their door. But is she or isn’t she? We keep seeing her screwing guys, but it all might be in the killer’s head.
The film never tries to be serious—it knows its b-movie trash from the start. And you’ll know as soon as he pictures his wife’s entire head turning into giant lips to give a guy head—by blowing his actual head. It’s also incredibly 80s, from the wash of neon light to the severed punk rock head the killer gives extra love and attention.
The kills are deliciously inventive and gory, from a ceiling fan with machete blades to a screwdriver dropped straight down into a guy’s head from a ladder. The killer bugs out and talks directly to the camera, babbling, spewing one-liners, and doing shit like vacuuming in a Speedo after a kill. Just when you think things can’t get any more whacked…his victims start rising from (their backyard) graves!