This week I watched a pair of eighties slashers, Joe Giannone's 1981 flick Madman and Buddy Cooper's The Mutilator from 1984, the latter of which I had never seen before.
Madman was technically a re-watch, but I remembered little past the antagonist named Marz and the opening where the inevitable dickhead screwed over everyone in the movie by doing the thing that they're not supposed to do. I recall this being decent when I was a kid, but it did not hold up well. I just have so many questions.
This was supposed to be a camp for gifted children, but there are only five and half of them looked as old as the people watching over them. And by “watching over them”, I mean they stuffed them in a cabin so they could go drink and screw. You know, usual slasher stuff.
|Gaylen Ross in Madman
Gaylen Ross was in this movie - under the assumed name of Alexis Dubin - and God bless her because she's one of the few bright spots. I wonder if she was as confounded as I was while doing that awkward, awkward hot tub scene that went on forever.
Madman does have two other points of interest. I realized this movie was the root of my phobia about car hoods falling on my head while I'm leaning in to check the fluids – that rod is so flimsy, I don't trust it! Then, there's that classic scene where Ellie (Jan Claire) panics and hides in the refrigerator.
And the most ridiculous thing is that it worked! She'd have been fine if she'd just stayed in there for more than thirty seconds. Lastly, I think the main detractor was that the ending sooooked. It's super frustrating seeing the Final Girl get smoked at the zero hour, but the guy who'd been wandering around the woods alone almost the entire movie – stumbling into the killer's cabin twice I might add – somehow managed to get picked up at the end. Unacceptable!
Moving onto The Mutilator which had somehow eluded my eyes until now. This had a slightly less annoying bunch of good looking people, including Matt Mitler, star of such unclassics as Breeders and Deadtime Stories. In typical slasher form, they go to a remote location, engage in some drinking and fraternizing and then get picked off by a guy who likes to sleep with his axe.
Speaking of fraternizing, this one also has a weird sexy water time sequence, made so by music that would've been more at home in some seventies TV police drama. Sadly, The Mutilator committed the cardinal sin of killing the hottest girl (Frances Raines) first. In slow motion, no less. Actually, Imdb tells me that was a last minute change because they couldn't get their original gore gag to go. Also, they put milk in the pool to make it cloudy. Gross.
So the killer – who it's not a reveal to say is Mitler's dad – was hella pissed. In an unnecessarily nasty scene, he jabbed a giant fish hook through a gal's groin before beheading her. I have to ask, why so furious? I get it, your kid accidentally shot your wife, but you know what? You could've also locked up your arsenal of loaded guns. Just saying.
The Mutilator featured better gore – two sizable continuity errors notwithstanding – so I'll give the edge to this one over Madman, but they are both definitely second-tier efforts.