Monday, August 9, 2010

Two late '80s slashers

The late 1980s was a dismal time for horror movies. The video shelves were clogged with sequels and rip-offs. Too many of them were deliberately bad, as if poking fun at your own half-arsed effort somehow magically made it good. Too many characters had the same surnames as horror movie directors; too many villains made Freddy Kruger/James Bond/Arnie wisecracks.

Here are just two of these movies.

Doom Asylum (1987)

A guy who had his face cut off during his autopsy after being in a car wreck that killed his girlfriend now lives in the abandoned hospital and carves any visitors up with surgical tools. One day, a punk band and some random teenagers decide to hang out there for no discernible reason. It does not go well for them.

This movie is just terrible. Every character has one trait that they then proceed to annoy us with until they get killed off. There's the undecisive one, the one who spouts psychobabble, the one who collects baseball cards, the one who can't shut up about how cute that guy is, the one who cackles maniacally after every sentence... The only entertaining one is the cackler, a punk singer played by Ruth Collins.

Ruth Collins is in the middle, preparing to cackle

Patty Mullen, who was so hilarious in Frankenhooker, has nothing interesting to do here as the "final girl". Her talent for physical comedy only comes through sporadically. Kristin Davis (later of Sex in the City) is pretty irritating as the psychobabbler. Nobody else is worth mentioning, including whoever played the killer.

There are some good gore scenes.

Rapunzel, apparently

Kristin Davis, star of Sex in the City

Driller killer

This little piggy...

I have no idea what a hospital has one of these machines lying around, nor what one of these machines is

Every now and again the movie cuts to the killer watching some old British horror movies starring Tod Slaughter. Even with this padding the whole thing doesn't quite crack 80 minutes.

This movie looks better than the one it's featured in

As terrible as this movie is - and it is entirely terrible - nostalgia makes me not want to hate it. I watched too many of these sorts of things to count as a teenager, and quite frankly many of them were a lot worse. Igor and the Lunatics, Unhinged, Final Exam, Surf Nazis Must Die, Breeders, Necropolis, Nightmare Sisters, Creepozoids, Night Train to Terror, Curse of the Screaming Dead, Hobgoblins, Ghoulies, The Demons of Ludlow, Welcome to Spring Break, Slaughter High, Pieces, Deadime Stories, The Tomb and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama were all worse than Doom Asylum.

But lots were better.

With a poster like this, how can it lose?

Intruder (1989)

Some kids are in a supermarket working late for some reason, when someone starts killing them off in very creative ways while the directors goes nuts trying to stuff the camera into everything he can find.

Shopping trolley POV

Telephone dial POV

Stuff that's being swept off the floor POV

Writer/director Scott Spiegel co-wrote Evil Dead 2 with Sam Raimi, but his attempts to match Raimi's visual style are pretty weak. Speaking of Sam Raimi, he's an actor here alongside his brother Ted and Danny Hicks, both also from Evil Dead 2, so it's kind of a reunion.

There is plenty of gore.

This is a much better movie than Doom Asylum. Despite the poor choices of "interesting" shots it looks more stylish and has lots more atmosphere. The acting is better. The humour is more effective (or at least less embarrassing). But there's nothing really special about it.

These two movies made me nostalgic for those teenaged days when I would rent every single thing in the horror section, just in case. One is terrible, one is mediocre, but I enjoyed the short time I spend with them. I would not recommend them.

No comments:

Post a Comment