It’s back to the woods for some brutal kills

One’s just a hiking dude. Another is a masked psycho. And the third is…well, we still don’t know what he is, but he’s pissed. I take a look at backwoods slashers Capps Crossing, Bastard, and Playing with Dolls: Havoc.


capps crossing cover

Think about movies like the second and third Sleepaway Camp films. You know from the start Angela is the killer. She’s not a particularly threatening looking figure. The plot is, she has all these victims who didn’t do shit to her at her disposal in the woods. I mean, who really cares about the other characters? We’re just watching to see how they’re going to die. Those two absolutely hollow films with no characters to connect with, no scares, deaths that are more laughable than disturbing, and “humor” that couldn’t trick you into a giggle if the Family Ties laugh track was dropped in are cult favorites.

Having said that, if you claim Capps Crossing is “the worst movie ever,” I will roll my eyes so hard the wind power created by them will pick you up and throw you off a cliff. At least David, the all-American looking kid in Capps Crossing, means business when he stabs the fuck out of the people he comes across in the woods.

capps crossing hand

While Angela was so angry because she had her balls cut off by her aunt, David is angry because he had his balls figuratively removed by his girlfriend when she dumped him. Now he just hangs out in the area where the breakup occurred and kills anyone who happens by.

capps crossing spear

Meanwhile, the group of friends that comes camping in the woods is dealing with some drama involving half the group hating the guy that one of the girls is going to marry. So they all decide to split up…making things much easier for David.

capps crossing knife bend

Capps Crossing has a few montages with some slammin’ dance music, and the guys are cute as hell.

capps crossing pretty boy 2

Look at those eyes, those lips…those pits. But I’d trade you three pieces of that lean meat for this one slab of beefcake. Pass the BBQ sauce…and the cherry cola, because that’s a lot of man to swallow and I’m going to need something to wash him down.

capps crossing beefcake

capps crossing pink shirt
Real men wear pink…and have nipple erections.

This next part made me butter my popcorn. One of the hottest gay-baiting duos ever…

capps crossing rub

So…oh yeah. The movie. David doesn’t hold back or try to be inventive when he kills. He just uses as much fury and force as necessary to get the job done.

capps crossing brains

He’s also plagued by various flashbacks, some of which I didn’t totally understand. And finally, there’s a twist at the end, but veteran horror fans will probably figure it out.

BASTARD (2015)


Bastard is an oddity in the world of backwoods slashers in that there’s a single part of it (near the end) that is about as typical as the formula gets, yet everything that happens around that simple slasher scenario is so fricking weird and sprinkled with wicked gore and oddly, darkly humorous moments that you can’t go into it expecting just another slasher flick.

bastardhammer to head

The unique approach here is that the “group” that comes to a place in the woods – a bed & breakfast this time – consists of people who are strangers to each other. We learn just enough about all of them to know they have issues. One couple is a pair of murderous psychos. Seriously. A young teen and his quiet female companion have run away from home. And a guy on his own is a suicidal gay cop who was trying to hang himself while in partial drag when his hot man walked in on him.


There’s also a killer in a hoodie and mask that brings to mind The Hills Run Red or Valentine.

bastard mask

After all the character development, the first major kill fricking rox – a hot bartender is about to get pegged by his strap-on girlfriend on the beach when they’re interrupted. I wish I could say it was by the gay cop, knocking that bitch off the bartender for trying to do a man’s job. But sadly, there’s no further exploration of the gay cop’s gayness. But there is deeper exploration of the bartender’s posterior. Ouch.


Following that initial kill, the film pretty much goes into its mini-slasher segment, with all the kills coming on fast. The score is very Carpenter-esque, there’s great gore, and the killer reveal is just completely out there, opening the film up for a final bizarre act.

bastardspine pull

Bastard makes you feel like you’re continuously leaving one movie and entering another. That approach definitely leaves your head spinning and a lot of questions unanswered, but damned if it isn’t one entertaining mess that delivers the horror like few slashers do these days.


playing with dolls havoc cover

It’s here! The third film in Rene Perez’s slasher franchise has arrived, and the freaky killer is at it again in a house in the woods. Who’s not at it is the boss that sets this beast free for fun – Richard Tyson. While he doesn’t appear in the film this time, he’s mentioned, so he’s still the mastermind behind the massacres.

playing with dolls havoc doll

If you’ve seen the first two films, the blueprint stays the same. Perez’s formula of heart-stopping jump scares and horrendously savage kills without CGI are what it’s all about.

playing with dolls havoc military gut

Really, this franchise is essentially Friday the 13th for the new millennium. People come to a cabin or house in the woods and are savagely murdered by an unearthly, powerhouse figure. Every. Time. And I just keep coming back for more.

playing with dolls havoc male friend splatter

The plot does have a dastardly catch in this installment – a woman comes to her weekend getaway home to surprise her husband, who is staying there while on business. But both husband and wife are in for an even bigger surprise when an unexpected guest shows up…and I’m not talking about the killer. Of course, he complicates matters even more.

playing with dolls other girl in snow

Just like the Friday the 13th franchise, with all the familiar slasher situations in Playing with Dolls: Havoc, there are some standout moments. This one has a kick ass “hide under the bed” scene and a chase through the snow that puts both the main girl and the killer in a predicament I’ve never seen before in a slasher. Fricking AWESOME. Dammit, this series needs to be on DVD like yesterday.

playing with dolls havoc main girl drag

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at
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