Suggested Audio Candy:
Michael Minnard The Mutilator
I recently posted the first edition of my exclusive Z-List; a rundown of some of the most appalling horror films of our time. I had a whole cavalcade of fun and how could you not with execrable silage like Troll 2 and C.H.U.D. 2: Bud The Chud stanking up the line-up? There are two facts you should know about Keeper; firstly I have far too much time on my hands to be considered healthy and secondly, much of that time has been wasted watching utter drivel. However, for as much as the films you will find included within my Z-List are cinematic diarrhea of the most steaming order, some of them hold a place suspiciously close to my heart. You should be able to spot which. Anyhoots, without further ado, here are another thirteen unlucky candidates and I have my finest can of whoop at the ready.
By sword … By pick … by axe … Bye! Bye!
Buddy Cooper and John Douglass are first up on the chopping block with their 1985 slasher The Mutilator. My recollections for this are remarkably fond, given the fact that it sucks on so many levels. It tells the story of a young man who has committed matricide and his demented father who sets out to spoil his homecoming, slaughtering his gormless friends in the process. Pops achieves this in all manner of grisly manners and, considering the grue is pretty much the only reason to watch this in the first place, it does admittedly dig it from a fairly deep trench. However, the moment which will forever be etched onto my brain is the final scene where dear old dad is ripped clean in half by an automobile, only to awaken bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and still attempt an opportunist strike at a bystander’s ankle. Priceless.
Funnier than Driller Killer! Gorier than Airplane!
While admittedly its slogan is on the money, Chris Windsor’s Big Meat Eater commits one crime so heinous that it should be cast aside on principle alone: it’s a musical. While this is fine for The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it doesn’t bode so well for a film about a murderous small town butcher named Abdulla. To its credit, the songs are catchy, the comedy black, and I must come clean about loving it in the same manner as you would love an adolescent stepchild with progressive acne and acute gingivitis. “Pleased to meet you, meat to please you” is the enigmatic Bob Sanderson’s slogan and please us he bloody well does although a beating heart is the only prerequisite for Big Meat Eater as a functioning brain is strictly surplus to requirements.
So to Kenneth J. Hall and Ted Newsom’s pitiful Evil Spawn of 1987 which Fred Olen Ray had limited uncredited involvement in. Attempting to ride on Cronenberg’s coat tails, it tells the story of a washed-up actress sick to the molars of being passed up for plum roles who jacks up using an ominous serum, only for the malevolent bacteria to turn her into a colossal murderous insect. When Olen Ray decides to remain ambiguous you know you’re in strife and something tells me that Cronenberg didn’t suffer from any sleepless nights on account of Evil Spawn being shat onto the marketplace. On its singular plus-side, the wonderful John Carradine pops up in a fleeting cameo, although it’s questionable whether he still had a pulse come the end credits.
There’s no place left to hide
Richard Freidman’s Scared Stiff from the same year may well have hoodwinked you with its wondrous sleeve design and you won’t receive any punishment from Keeper as it tricked me also. How can a movie boasting such a magnificent cover possibly be tripe of the lowest order? Devote 83 minutes of your life to Friedman’s film and you shall receive your answer. It’s appalling in every conceivable way and the talking Mr Potato Head in a noose is the straw which broke this camel’s back, but it blinds you with science to such a degree that, come the end, you haven’t the faintest idea what’s going on. One would imagine this is intentional as it is performing an unlicensed lobotomy on you as you watch in the hopes of securing a second rental. Dagnabbit it worked, curse you Scared Stiff. Curse you to infernal hell! And back again!
“Oh Dick, oh Dick…It’s just that my head isn’t in the right place Dick”
There were far worse slashers doing the rounds in the eighties than The Mutilator as attested by James Bryan’s Don’t Go In The Woods…Alone. Consequently there were many places in the eighties that you would be advised not to go in: The Basement, The House, Near The Park, and lo-and behold now the woods are fucked too. If The Hills Have Eyes then they’ll thank you for the cataracts after sitting through an 82-minute stretch through these particular woods. Hilariously it was branded as a video nasty and, in 1984, placed on the DPP’s 39-strong list of shame making it somewhat notorious around horror circles. Damn right it should be considered notorious; it’s lamentable in every feasible way and spending those 82 minutes having your eyes pecked out by a raven would be preferable to watching this festering codswallop. Which brings us tidily onto our next culinary delight.
Fabio Frizzi Manhattan Baby
It’s Looking At You… …From Hell!
It seems a sacrilegious to include the great Lucio Fulci in my Z-List but, thanks to the way in which his 1982 clunker Manhattan Baby is regarded, the Z-List it is. I’m sure if he were alive now he’d cut me some slack. Now, this one dumbfounds me as I believe it to be far better film than has ever been credited. Sure it’s incoherent but then isn’t that a trademark of any Fulci’s movie? So the acting blows like a dime store hooker, again, I’m waiting for the downside. The fact is that the splatter maestro affords us the incalculable delectation of watching a man have his face torn apart by a flock of vengeful seagulls. Granted they are clearly hanging by wires but that just adds to the appeal. It’s Fulci, not Polanski after all. There’s just no pleasing some folk.
It’s Horror! It’s Murder! As Daring as Has Ever Been Shown Before!
With the cantankerous Mother Nature primed to take the power back, Marc Lawrence’s 1972 film Pigs and George McCowan’s Frogs from the same year both attempted to fray our nerves and only succeeded in frittering our patience. Neither are what I would call abominations but that still doesn’t mean that Kurmit and Miss Piggy can be trusted on this evidence. I think that the common goose is the answer you know. If I were around in 1972 I would have suggested Geese to the studios, they’re always good value for money and persistent as hell if you show them even the faintest whiff of consternation. Frogs however? Not so sure they bother me that much, inherently evil or otherwise. Meanwhile, if it’s pork you’re after, give Eric Weston’s Evilspeak a look and grab your bellies there instead.
Without further dalliance we move swiftly and decisively on to Don Dohler’s ropy Nightbeast from 1982. Having already provided the world with The Alien Factor three years previous, Dohler decided to rework it and his tale of a rampaging alien made of rubber who crash lands in a small town and wrecks all kind of havoc is actually rather entertaining in spite of itself. It has enough grue going for it to keep things reasonably brisk and also features a downright delightful love-making montage set to a soothingly sedate piano composition which proves, without reasonable doubt, that it wasn’t just Selleck and Atkins who knew exactly how to wiggle their ‘taches for the ladies during the eighties.
“Old Uncle Impy is just a little bit cranky. No fun being locked up, especially in a bowling trophy”
David DeCoteau’s Sorority Babes from the Slimeball Bowl-A-Rama from 1988 was entertainment at its most disposable and actually reveled in such awfulness. However, despite being intellectually stunted, inconsequential and seemingly devoid of reasons not to give it the largest berth conceivable, it did feature Linnea Quigley as a biker babe which is never a negative in Keeper’s estimations. For what it’s worth, an impish ancient djinn awakens inside a bowling alley and proceeds to make life hell for a group of scantily clad sorority pledges and their geeky sperm donors. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell and the production values actually aren’t that low although whoever was responsible for the puppetry deserves to be made an example of most unceremoniously.
“For a woman who has the sensitivity of a slut… to the point of giving her lover the identical watch she gave to her husband as an anniversary present, I will not accept lessons”
Many years before Sharktopus washed up on our screens, there was Devil Fish. John Old Jr. directed this cinematic guppy, and that name may not mean much to you, but that was merely an alter ego for the great Lamberto Bava of all people. To make things even more shameful, Bruno Mattei also had a hand in this one. Ordinarily the two men’s endowments combined would yield something special but Devil Fish is the eception to this rule. Poorly conceived, lacking any form of coherence or, indeed, logic, vapid acting complete with dialogue seemingly dreamed up by carp, shockingly awful dubbing, and starring a shark with tentacles which approached with all the tenacity of a low tide; the only thing that this pile of plop has going for it is its alternative title Devouring Waves and it stands merely as living proof that even the son of the legendary Mario Bava has his off-days.
The Terror Is Back….But This Time It Flies!
It seems somewhat unlikely that, three years prior to James Cameron giving the world his effects-laden sci-fi epic The Terminator, he was responsible for Piranha 2: Flying Killers but the credits don’t lie I’m afraid. I’m fairly assured that Cameron wouldn’t consider this his finest directorial hour and, in his defense, matters were taken out of his hands by Ovidio G. Assonitis a week through the shoot and he had no hand in the editing process. He has since gone on record to suggest that this atrocity is “the finest flying piranha movie ever made” and take from that what you will. He missed a trick if you ask Keeper as The Birds 2: Swimming Terror would have been one hell of a movie.
Six men … playing a deadly game of cat and mouse … With a machine that wants to kill them
Arriving in 1974 directly on our TV screens was Jerry London’s Killdozer, a film which I’m not ashamed to admit I still cherish to this day. Clint Walker and Robert Ulrich were amongst the six-man construction crew hunted by, you guessed it, a possessed fifty ton bulldozer. In fact, it isn’t half as bad as it sounds, although it does beg the question “what prevents man from outrunning a rampaging bright yellow dozer?” It runs on its own diesel, the diesel of revenge, and roars its discord as it stalks each man in turn at less than 5kmph. Even the Rabid Grannies lapped it, while it was involved in an admittedly excruciatingly tense photo finish with the Slugs.
There we have it Grueheads, thirteen forgotten movies which all share one similarity…they all suck. However, a few of them at least have the common decency to don their best deep red lipstick. If you simply must investigate further then may I suggest a Big Meat Eater/Manhattan Baby double bill? Alternatively you could choose to look upon all unlucky thirteen from a secure vantage. Get too close at your peril as the Killdozer has a fresh tank of diesel and knows of any short cuts. Honestly, between bitter frogs, ravenous pigs, singing butchers, airborne tropical fish, and sharks with tendrils, it’s a wonder I didn’t lose my marbles. Oh that’s right…I did. I have only one simple request should the men in white coats come to haul me away for evaluation and that is that you Don’t Go Onto The Building Site. Padded walls, how positively delightful; that leaves no way for those pesky Frogs to get in. What you mean ribbit?
The Abominable Collection
Big Meat Eater
Don’t Go In The Woods…Alone
Sorority Babes from the Slimeball Bowl-A-Rama
Piranha 2: Flying Killers
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
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Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2015