PRIME TIME: a trio of slashers

Which of these three films scratched my slasher itch…or did they all? Let’s take a look at Pickaxe, Scream For Summer, and The Stalker Club.

PICKAXE (2014)

If you just want a good trashy slasher that plays by the most basic old school rules—kids have sex, masked killer hacks them up—Pickaxe is perfect.

It’s that simple: sex scenes and slashing after an infamous killer is resurrected from the dead.

As a bonus, Tiffany Shepis is excellent in her role as an alcoholic mess, and she gets to play opposite A. Michael Baldwin from the Phantasm franchise, who plays the sheriff.

Meanwhile, a bunch of kids goes to a cabin in the woods, drinks, parties, and fucks.

There are big tits and a dude’s bare ass getting spanked with a pancake flipper. Pass the maple syrup.

Most importantly, the gore is done with practical effects…which go into full effect during a massive massacre when the killer shows up at a skanky metal club.

SCREAM FOR SUMMER (2017)

This is one of those indie slasher that delivers on the late 90s slasher vibe with vicious kills and a creepy masked killer (and that headshot lineup on the poster art, of course). But it also shows the first-time director/writer’s overall lack of experience in terms of writing and editing.

Plodding dialogue attempting to establish storyline leaves us with a nearly two-hour movie, forcing us to decide if the kick-ass kills are enough to keep us watching. Even what we don’t see but is implied is rather disturbing, especially one girl’s performance during a lengthy chase and kill scene. But in exchange, we have to sit through unnecessary scenes, such as the main girl being brought down to the police station for questioning.

The film is about a group of friends in a small town getting killed in between partying. Over a series of days.

That’s right. They just keep hanging out, partying, and talking excessively about their relationships to establish characters and eventually a killer motivation.

Despite the cheesy denouement, the kill scenes are so good that if this had been trimmed by twenty minutes it would have been a much more satisfying slasher.

THE STALKER CLUB (2017)

After this nightmarish week of non-stop Coronavirus shit (holy blog timestamp), this sleek slasher inspired by Scream era horror was an extremely satisfying diversion. It even has a slow-mo cool cast  walk sequence.

Most shocking of all—it’s a movie made for the Lifetime channel! I’d heard they’ve been making some pretty good thrillers, but I didn’t realize they tapped into the old school horror vibe so well.

Suspense and style is at the forefront as a group of friends begins playing a “stalker club” game.

Naturally, they soon begin getting picked off for real. Shades of TAG: The Assassination Game blend with an I Know What You Did last Summer feel as they are stalked and sliced by someone in a hoodie and a plain white mask.

As a bonus, there’s just enough hokey stuff going on—like a fun library chase scene and the final frame—to remind us that the film is meant to feel like a PG-13 teen horror flick and not taken too seriously.

And finally, like most late 90s slashers, there’s a major whodunit component to the film…that will most likely have you rolling your eyes.

 

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 www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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