This next trio from 87 (a big year for forgotten slashers and pretty much the year the genre went bust) has a special case—one of the films was released in 1987, but actually has ties to a classic of the genre from the early 80s!
Directed by porn director Hal Freeman (his “Caught From Behind” series lasted for 15 years), this trashy 1980s slasher actually has some familiar faces in it. The opening scene has a drunk dad screaming at his kid for playing with a Jack-in-the-box, which leads to the dad having his throat ripped out with a gardening tool—repeatedly!
Next, a therapist takes a group of wackos – a prude, a slut, an alcoholic, a vet with PTSD, a macho prick, and an angry butch lesbian – on a desert retreat in an RV for some The Hills Have Eyes action.
There’s some awesome bickering between members of the group, particularly sexuality jabs between the butch lesbian and the butch asshole dude (Hank Garrett of movies like The Sentinel, Exorcist II: The Heretic, The Amityville Horror, The Boys Next Door, and Maniac Cop 2). Then everyone starts having sex.
After the first victim’s throat is cut (special attention is paid to the gore effects here), everyone freaks out and…splits up! There’s lots of chasing and chopping in the hills and caves of the desert until finally we get a hokey killer reveal, the motive, and the twist (hint hint…it’s the 80s and there’s an angry lesbian in the film).
But the torture inflicted on one female victim is pretty gruesome because she screams a lot. Nothing scary here, but it’s worth a watch for 80s video store nostalgia fans.
I was actually feeling this one for a while, which has a classic premise and is loaded with music that couldn’t sound any more like it came from the 80s music.
A group of friends goes camping, and after some needless drama between the boys over one of the girls (it’s the most we really get to know about the kids), they are attacked by a hillbilly family (an all-male family, no less).
Complete with a sniveling idiot, physical abuse, and some gory cannibalism, this backwoods family is a reminder of how often the actors in these roles were more convincing than the main cast of characters.
While the freaky family is perfect, as is the 80s grit, the film blows its wad all at once. As soon as the kids encounter the family, practically all the kids are killed within minutes (and some are devoured). What follows is a repetitive hour of the two main kids playing a cat and mouse game with the hillbillies. It becomes a snoozefest fast, but overall I love the low budget 80s vibe.
I’m shocked this one hasn’t gotten a cult following and a DVD release. This is early 80s slasher garbage perfection. That’s right. I said early 80s. It may have been released in 87, but it was shot in 82—the look and feel make it undeniable, as does the genuinely spooky tone of the film despite how cheesy it might seem in retrospect. On top of that, Twisted Nightmare was filmed in the same location as Friday the 13th Part III.
When a bunch of friends returns to a summer camp they went to as kids, they spend a majority of the time having sex, complete with plenty of boobs, shirtless hunks, and a fricking sauna orgy.
Meanwhile, they also begin to filter into a barn one by one, where they are hacked up by some sort of snarling humanoid creature! There’s plenty of red and blue lighting, fog machines, a crazy old man, blood, body reveals, chase scenes, cute 80s guys in tight 80s shorts and 80s cut-off shirts, and a hideous man beast!
Twisted Nightmare is a forgotten 80s classic that deserves some respect, dammit.