Bite Size: Lurkers (1988)

While likely best remembered for her collaborations with her husband Michael, Roberta Findlay keep on grinding out films long after his 1977 death. After a stint in hardcore, she spent the last phase of her long career turning out New York local horror and exploitation efforts, with Lurkers being one of her final releases before retiring from filmmaking in 1989.

Cathy (Christine Moore) is a deeply unhappy child. Already timid and near constantly afraid because of bloody nightmares and visions of spirits climbing out of the walls of her apartment building, her abusive mother uses the young girl’s worries to exert control. The slightest infraction is grounds for her mother to shriek that she’ll call “them” to take Cathy away. In the thrall of the specters the little girl will be forced to behave.

Despite a near death experience in a childhood game of jump rope and the horror of losing her parents in a murder/suicide, Cathy miraculously manages to be a (mostly) well adjusted adult. She’s grown into a beautiful young woman, with a successful career as a cellist and a fashion photographer fiancee named Bob (Gary Warner). While heading to meet Bob after rehearsals she sees an all too familiar ghostly figure in the crowd, and almost gets hit by a cab trying to catch up to her.

All of Cathy’s childhood nightmares and visions come flooding back, of hands reaching out to grab her in the night, her mother’s bloodied face and a wan little girl. The ghostly woman in oddly old fashioned Gunne Sax dress continues echoing warnings in her ear. Cathy should have more of a support system as an adult, but her estranged brother Phil (Gil Newsom) still blames her for the past. Even Bob doesn’t take any of her distress very seriously— perhaps because he’s too busy making eyes at his business partner and anyone else he can find with a pretty smile and a pulse. Increasingly anxious and unhinged by paranormal history repeating itself, she’s heard but not really believed.

Lurkers takes a while to get where it is going, strolling through the usual signposts of the “beautiful woman who may or may not be having a breakdown” trope. The reoccurring nature of the nightmares allows for some budget friendly recycling of the nice for the price special effects the legendary Ed French (Terminator 2: Judgement Day) created for the opening scenes.

While nothing of too much narrative consequence happens in the first two thirds of the film, at least the meandering pace is garnished with healthy dollops of both sleaze and silliness. There’s a brief bit of softcore sex, goofy photoshoot montages, Bob’s corny pick up lines, and a deliciously stupid bit of gratuitous nudity as two models undress while discussing the finer points of investment strategy.

One doesn’t necessarily dive into a Roberta Findlay film for the performances, but Colleen Moore’s Cathy is neither unduly narcoleptic or excessively hammy, landing firmly in the land of “adequate” at the lovestruck mooning and cowering in fear that are her primary jobs in the film’s first two acts . Gary Warner’s Bob fares slightly better, only because he gets more to do as a two faced scheming slimeball.

A pile of plot contrivances get Cathy back inside of her childhood building for Bob’s studio opening party. Her homecoming is when Lurkers finally abandons the slow burn format for some proper exploitation, “everything but the kitchen sink” style weirdness. A mallet wielding maniac cackles through the streets, a rainbow of color gels and a symphony of synth hits coming out to play. There’s a scuzzy set piece lurking behind every door— from crucified bondage boys to geriatric group sex. The malevolent spirits weren’t all in Cathy’s head, and now they’re reciting poetry in thick Bronx accents.

The reveal of what is actually going on doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but the larger regret is that the bulk of the movie’s runtime could have been just as much shaggy fun had it tossed its remaining restraint aside a bit earlier.

Roberta Findlay may not have been the most technically proficient filmmaker, nor were her choices of scripts always the easiest to parse. What she did have was a sharp eye for sleaze and a hometown gal’s pleasingly unromantic vision of the streets of New York. In the late career world of Roberta Findlay, every overpriced apartment is haunted and brutal disco gangs rampage through the Bronx. Why couldn’t the gateway to an eternity in Satan’s service lie at the end of the West Side Highway? If you can bind souls here, you’ll make it Hell anywhere else you might want to supernaturally go.

Bite Size: Lady, Stay Dead (1981)

Despite writer/director Terry Bourke’s often being credited with the first Australian horror film (1973’s Night Of Fear) and his early adopter status for the government funding that would kickstart the Ozploitation wave, Lady, Stay Dead didn’t have a huge theatrical release at home or abroad. It did have a pair of mid 80s video releases, getting somewhat lost in the shuffle of the slasher boom, but doing respectably enough to stay in circulation.

Gordon Mason (Chard Hayward) is a caretaker and groundskeeper on the Gold Coast. He doesn’t have much of a life, his sparse apartment decorated with posters and clippings of singer and actress Marie (Deborah Coulls). His hobbies basically boil down to a pile of red flags, from dancing around in a Speedo to Marie’s records, to making out with a life size love doll he calls by her name.

This would be enough for a restraining order in and of itself, but he’s Marie’s actual handyman. She lives and works out of a gorgeous seaside villa, and apparently no one bothered to do a background check. He peeps on her nude swims in the pool, and is constantly lurking underfoot regardless if she’s on a date or shooting a commercial on the property. When she decides to do some aerobics on her private beach, Mason masturbates while spying on her, visions of bound and gagged women dancing through his head.

Not that Marie notices. Despite her public image of elegant beauty and romantic love songs, off camera she’s quite the diva. She screams at her agent, barks orders at the staff and refuses to work past noon. This doesn’t line up with Mason’s obsessive image of her as a compliant feminine ideal, and when her ire is directed at him one too many times, the collapse of his fantasy leads to sexual assault and a brutal murder when she doesn’t accept his violent violation as a sign they were fated to be together.

Just to tie up loose ends, he murders her lone neighbor, Mr. Shepard (Les Foxcroft), and poisons his pet dog. What Gordon Mason wasn’t counting on was that Marie’s equally beautiful sister, Jenny (Louise Howitt) was scheduled to house sit while Marie was away on location. The cycle of romantic idealization and violent fantasy begins again, that maybe Jenny will be “different”.

Lady, Stay Dead spends its first third in sleazy slasher territory, aping the misogyny coated mean spiritedness of Don’t Answer The Phone or Maniac, but hemisphere swapping urban streets for sunny seaside isolation. The concept itself is a workable one, but the balance between characters is off.

Gordon is revealed to be unhinged almost immediately, which kneecaps anything resembling narrative tension. Nothing good can possibly come of his proximity to the imperious and bratty Marie, yet the film kills time with scenes meant to be character development that don’t add any real dimension to either character.

He stays impossibly crazy, she stays impossibly bitchy and within the first half an hour she meets her doom at the bottom of a fishtank. Mr. Shepard was the only person Marie treated kindly, and the only character painted in a remotely sympathetic light, and yet he too is rapidly dispatched, removing the escalated stakes of a possible savior or a witness to the crime.

The arrival of the unknowing Jenny almost forces the film to start over from scratch, abandoning its slasher guise for a home invasion thriller. Louise Howitt’s Jenny is allowed a warmer demeanor and a bit of final girl ready pluck, but the film’s narrative orbit again seesaws completely out of alignment. The audience knows a lot more than Jenny does, and waiting for her to figure it out feels like Lady, Stay Dead is killing time while deciding what exactly what kind of film it wants to be.

Daytime horror is always a tricky business, and the film’s inconsistent perspective doesn’t help. Bathed in golden light and hampered by repetitive music cues that tell the audience how they should feel without having shown them much to evoke the desired emotions, it all starts to fly a bit too close to the soap opera sun, a tonal mismatch with the vicious opening act.

Only when night falls does the film really gain any momentum, abandoning any real attempt at anything that resembles logical human behavior, but strangely better off for it. Mason brings Jenny flowers and take out, then decides to menace her not via any of the things she now knows he’s done, but by playing around with a lightswitch. Rather than climb through the window he’s smashed, he grabs a chainsaw from the shed and cuts a hole in the wall.

When the police finally arrive, they promptly blame Marie’s death on her nude sunbathing, and casually offer Jenny a cigarette, confident Gordon won’t come into the house despite the giant hole in the wall. There’s molotov cocktails, more resurrections than Jason and a completely unnecessary fire stunt that likely ate a sizable chunk of the film’s budget. A movie has definitely moved into delightfully trashy B film territory when things have gotten so ridiculous that even the frustrated heroine screams “DO something, you fuckwit!”

It’s unfortunate that the final blast of wackiness comes in far too late, the various segments of the film never quite gelling into a satisfying whole. There’s no third act payoff for the film’s early going, making sitting through it feel superfluous. You could easily watch the last 35 minutes of the film without any context whatsoever and still be able to follow events to the minor degree they’re intended to connect. In fact, doing so would probably be a far more satisfying viewing experience.

Bite Size: Horror Safari (1982)

Horror Safari, AKA Invaders Of The Lost Gold AKA Greed is one of those low budget productions that makes up for a lack of resources by luring an international cast of familiar faces with the promise of a beautiful shooting location/free vacation. Directed by bottom rung knock about Alan Birkinshaw (Killer’s Moon), and produced by the much more successful Dick Randall (Pieces, Don’t Open Till Christmas), the production was troubled by the loss of an early financier. With the post Apocalypse Now boom in Filipino film production, Safari was clearly looking to cut costs via ripe for exploitation unregulated local talent and a built in exotic setting.

The film opens in 1945, during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. A small platoon of Japanese soldiers to transporting crates of gold bullion, but soon finds themselves ambushed and outnumbered by a local tribe. Not wanting to lose all of the gold, the platoon’s three commanding officers stash the loot in a remote cave, vowing to come back and retrieve it together.

Several decades later, writer Rex Larson (British stage actor and Hollywood almost was Edmund Purdom) tracks down each of the officers, seeking the map to the missing gold. The first man refuses to divulge the location, and is shot by Larson for his secrecy. The second ex-officer commits ritual suicide rather than breaking his sworn vow. Larson finally gets his wish in Sergeant turned martial arts instructor Tobachi (Harold Sakata, Goldfinger), who offers to share the map in exchange for a twenty-five percent stake in the final haul.

This leads to the assemblage of your standard line up of ragtag adventurers, all with their own personal motivations and percentage to look after. There’s financier Jefferson (David De Martyn), who uses his control of the purse strings to justify bringing both his pretty blonde daughter (Glynis Barber) and his personal bodyguard, Cal (Woody Strode, Once Upon a Time in the West).

The expedition’s jungle guide is Mark Forrest (Oscar nominee Stuart Whitman), a down on his luck soldier of fortune who has both a past and an axe to grind with Mr. Rex Larson. Given the deeply held distrust between himself and Larson, Forrest brings his own scout, Fernando (Junix Inocian). Fernando just happens to be married to Mark’s ex lover Maria (Laura Gemser, Women’s Prison Massacre), who tags along in the hopes of rekindling an old flame.

Despite the briskly paced opening flashback and a constellation of B cinema stars, Horror Safari takes a very leisurely stroll toward anything that its myriad titles promise. Aside from a delightful scene where Mark and Cal beatdown some racist sailors in a strip club, the first half of the film is primarily different combinations of badly dubbed characters bickering in rooms over percentages and who gets to join the expedition. The film is half over before a single person heads for the jungle or even steps on a boat.

Some of the narrative is explained in verbose speeches detailing events that are never really sketched out on screen, like a love triangle between both of the beautiful young women in the cast and Stuart Whitman’s gin blossomed Mark Forrest—even his dubbing sounds slurred. The rest of the loosely defined story beats are shown on screen without context or explanation. Tobachi and Cal suddenly come to blows, but both laugh and there’s a quick cut to the next scene. Laura Gemser’s Maria takes a skinny dip at a waterfall and screams in slow motion. In the next shot, her body is floating lifelessly without any visible cause of death.

Horror Safari clearly draws influence from a variety of subgenres, from Italian cannibal flicks and Agatha Christie mysteries to 40s adventure serials. It’s just that the film clearly has a poor handle on what makes any of those things enjoyable. No one watches a cannibal gut muncher to watch characters complain in the jungle, picks up a Christie whodunit for the bouts of casual racism, or watches an adventure story for melodramatic interpersonal sub plots with no actual action to speak of.

It’s only in the final 20 minutes that Horror Safari leans into the And Then There Were None structure it was halfheartedly setting up. It’s obvious who the mastermind behind all the death is, as only one character has a history of violence and of bitterly complaining that there are too many people on the trip. For a movie that spends nearly an hour attempting character development, it still leaves them all as stock caricatures at the end of the day. What a waste to assemble such a stacked cast of genre faces for a film that serves as a scintillating look at the joys of sweating, screaming, and just standing there.

Indifferently photographed, ploddingly scripted and so sleepy even the luminous beauty of (severely under utilized) Laura Gemser can’t save Horror Safari from itself. The opening 10 minutes are a solid attention grabber, the strip club showdown is a good time, and Ms. Gemser’s skinny dip gives a much needed dash of skin. The rest of the film is eminently skippable. Use the time saved to pour one out for the copy writers who had to tie themselves in knots to try to make this listless misfire sound like a manic energy filled jungle stomping exploitation gem when it was recently released on disc.

Bite Size: Mad Foxes (1981)

Hal (José Gras, Hell Of The Living Dead) is exactly the sort of idly rich, middle aged man you’d expect to see in a fully kitted out Corvette. His smirk is semi permanent, his paunch is beginning to overtake the waistband of his polyester pants and the brittle swoop he thinks passes for bangs is drifting into combover territory with each passing second. He’s got a date in the passenger seat, a pretty brunette named Babsy (Andrea Albani), who he is taking out to a disco to celebrate her 18th birthday. The car, the date that is likely less than half his age, and the hair metal — because he’s not a posturing relic, he’s a cool guy who is very badass and listens to Krokus— turned up to 11 on the soundtrack firmly establish Hal as a cliche covered in spray tan.

Idling at a stop light to make out, Hal gets into a verbal altercation with some Nazi styled bikers, speeding off to the disco before things escalate. The bikers make chase, but are forced to abandon their mission when one of their number meets a fiery end smashing into a parked car. Hal and his girl drink and dance until closing time, to find the remaining bikers waiting for them in the parking lot. They beat Hal senseless, and brutally sexually assault the virginal Babsy.

Considering Hal himself was openly attempting to get a teenage girl drunk with the purpose of deflowering her, he’s only a hero when grading on this very specific Nazi inflected curve. Gathering a dojo of kickboxers the following day, Hal crashes the biker funeral, and team “slightly less awful” forces the rapist to choke on his own castrated genitals. This kicks off an ever escalating war of violence and vengeance between the biker gang and the bleached blonde blowhard, at the expense of every other character (a term I use extremely loosely) in the film.

Mad Foxes (original title: Los violadores) was a Spanish/Swiss coproduction produced by veteran scuzzmeister Erwin C. Dietrich and green as grass writer/director Paul Grau. The pair must have had a good working relationship, in the sense that each man’s influence is clearly stamped on the final film. The movie is both cartoonishly sleazy and an international monument to inexperience. Even the basic rape revenge narrative structure slips away like a thief in the night, the victim never seen again. Instead the film becomes a dick size contest between two factions of terrible people, where everything escalates quickly, but there’s no actual tension.

The film never had a proper US theatrical release, and was quickly censored or banned in multiple other countries. Mad Foxes primarily made its reputation as a boundary pushing cult item via home formats, probably given more cache than it strictly deserves by being placed on Section 3 of the UK’s video nasties list.

Like a lot of word of mouth and moral panic fueled films, Mad Foxes is less than the sum suggested by pithy description of its component parts. For every Dolemite level ineptitude filled kung fu battle royale, death by toilet grenade, or cheapjack bloody squib massacre there is an equal and opposite passage that’s interminably dull.

There are some slight joys to be had in the film’s shoddy construction and inexplicable audio visual choices, from putting a Nazi biker in a codpiece and pigtails to a dub track that constantly has characters inanely chattering over each other. As violent and scuzzy as the more action oriented segments are, it gets harder and harder to take any of it seriously in light of all of the goofy padding that surrounds them. There’s a step by step narration of how to fill a glass at a bar, a weird fog shrouded sock hop dance number, and Hal’s mother muttering to no one about the joys of Polynesia.

While the parity of male and female nudity is unusual to note, the sex and skin on display goes full bore on sleaze without being remotely titillating. The film opens with a genuinely disturbing sexual assault and tosses in some fetish fueled shock in the third act, but the “romantic” scenes of Hal the ersatz playboy’s conquests are arguably just as filthy. Whether it’s playing footsie under the dinner table in dirty athletic socks or having softcore coitus in a suspiciously yellow tub of bathwater, rarely has sex looked so decidedly unsexy.

Mad Foxes is worth a single viewing as a curiosity, as it is perhaps the only rape revenge biker softcore Nazisploitation kung fu flick in existence. However, the overall viewing experience is oddly toothless and puerile, like watching a petulant child string together overheard swear words for reaction’s sake for 80 overlong minutes. In trying to be everything, Mad Foxes manages to accomplish nothing notable at all, committing the cardinal sin of exploitation cinema. There’s a genuinely notable level of blood, boobs, balls, and bad taste in this movie, and it still manages to be boring.

Bite Size: Madness (1980)

Fernando Di Leo was one of the masters of poliziotteschi, deftly weaving complex plots and copious violence with a cynical eye toward the political corruption and contempt toward the working class that existed in 1970s Italy. A deeper dive into his filmography also reveals a uniquely dark take toward the socioeconomic divides lying beneath a newly permissive and libertine eroticism, most notably in 1978’s brutally bleak To Be Twenty.

Madness (original Italian title: Vacanze per un massacro) incorporates elements of both of these styles, taking Di Leo’s penchant for sex and violence into a tightly confined setting. Gio Brezzi (Warhol superstar Joe D’allesandro) escapes from prison, quickly dispatching a local farmer with his own pitchfork to steal a getaway car. He heads to a rural vacation house where he had stashed a previous heist of 300 million lira.

The house has been purchased by a well to do couple from the capital, Sergio (Gianni Macchia) and Lilliana (Patrizia Behn). The pair dash Gio’s hopes of a quick score when they arrive unexpectedly for a weekend in the country, Lilliana’s comely younger sister Paola (Lorraine De Selle, Cannibal Ferox, Women’s Prison Massacre) in tow. When Sergio heads off on a hunting trip, and Lilliana heads into town, Gio seizes the moment. He knocks Paola unconscious while sunbathing, and breaks in to recover the stolen loot.

Madness was written by Mario Gariazzo, who was also originally slated to direct. Only after schedule conflicts was Fernando Di Leo brought on for a script polish and a stint in the director’s chair. The film feels much more true to Gariazzo’s style than Di Leo’s, a chamber drama that makes some halfhearted attempts at hard-boiled, but never really commits to rising tension. Instead, the film is full of the sexually charged, strangely familiar plot meandering that characterized The Eerie Midnight Horror Show. It’s a full 20 minutes before Gio even gains entry to the house, most of that spent in a voyeuristic interlude that reveals Paola and Sergio’s torrid affair, and serves the larger point of displaying plenty of Lorraine De Selle’s naked body.

Despite the title, there isn’t really much mania and mayhem, just growled threats and a heaping helping of humiliating sleaze, a lot of which is mean spirited trope for Italian cinema of the period. This unfortunately includes a sexual assault that culminates in Paola praising rapist Gio on his sexual prowess. Not much improves when Liliana and Sergio return, as they are quickly subdued without too much of a fight, and are summarily tasked with taking a pickaxe to the mantel under Gio’s watchful eye. When their status as laborers is found lacking, Gio idly humiliates Lilliana by forcing her to watch Paola and Sergio have sex.

This wouldn’t be terribly original fare even in the hands of David Hess, whom was the go to guy for this sort of sadistic heavy post Last House On The Left. Joe D’allesandro is woefully miscast, his physical mannerisms not aligned with the snarl of the actor dubbing his voice, and his diminutive stature working against him in the more violent, physical scenes. His strongest cards were the pretty boy hustler and the cooly indifferent street punk, not the brute force rage of a sociopathic bruiser.

Given Sergio is characterized as a self serving coward from the first frame, and Lilliana isn’t given much to do aside from be dutifully wounded by betrayal, the character of Gio should be the film’s center of gravity. Instead, that task falls to Paola, who quickly turns out to be the most cunning of them all when she realizes there’s an enormous amount of money at stake. Sex, scheming and solicitous duplicity are all fair game.

This was clearly a low budget production, and one has to wonder if some of the more idiosyncratic visual choices were Di Leo trying to break the monotony of a lack of action scenes, and a single sparse set. Gio escapes from jail via climbing a single strand of rope, like Rapunzel letting down her hair. When the trio enters the house, Paola is lugging a case of J+B, a very familiar sight for fans of giallo. A huge poster of a smiling John Travolta hangs in the living room, often sitting in the dead center of frame even during the film’s nastier scenes. Sure, any of these choices could be merely a matter of budgetary necessity, but it also feels like a bored hired gun messing with his audience.

Hamstrung by cheap production values, highly inconsistent characterization and a final 15 minutes that seemed forced into the service of a visually interesting final frame than any actual concerns of the plot, Madness lacks the clarity of purpose to live up the the intensity that either of its titles promise. Die hard completionists for any of the personnel involved may find something of slight interest here, as will those with a crush on Ms. De Selle, given she spends the bulk of the film in various stages of undress.

Viewers looking for a home invasion thriller that lives up to its cruelly sleazy premise would be better served by Ruggero Deodato’s House On The Edge Of The Park, which premiered in Italy eight months later than Madness, in November of 1980. Both movies share undercurrents of sexual menace, socioeconomic status fueled rage, and an oversexed Lorraine De Selle in a bitchily conniving role. However, Deodato’s movie is built on a much stronger script and more carefully curated casting choices, which help give it the visceral, vicious punch that Madness never manages to attain.

Bite Size: The Black Room (1982)

The Black Room Poster/Box Art

There’s a reason people only call kids “bundles of joy” for a limited window after their arrival on the planet. Parenthood is an uphill battle to find personal happiness and equilibrium while simultaneously having to regularly subsume yourself to the greater good of trying to take these formless little creatures and mold them into something resembling a healthy and happy adult. Without a supportive partner, the supposed gift of parenthood can begin to feel like an isolating curse.

Robin (Clara Perryman) and Larry (Jimmy Stathis) are definitely feeling the strain a family can put on a marriage. Their two young kids constantly bicker, and seem to have an uncanny knack for interrupting any attempt at sex or intimacy the couple might have. Imminent bed death has started to take its toll, and soon even simple interactions like meals or errands are mine fields of mini resentments.

When Larry comes across a newspaper ad promising a Hollywood Hills room where you can “live your fantasy” he can’t drop his $200 deposit fast enough. The mansion is owned by Jason (Stephen Knight), a decadent photographer who promises to keep the wine flowing, the candles lit, and the Vivaldi on the speakers as long as he receives a warning phone call. It’s a perfect perch for vice and debauchery, wrapped in an immense yardage of black velvet drape.

Larry, having had a taste of the excitement of an illicit secret, spends increasing amounts of time in the black room. From hitchhiking students to call girls, he’s on the make with any and every woman he can find. His trysts starts out relatively vanilla, but edge further into drugs, drink, and kink as time progresses. By the time he hooks up with Jason’s sister, Bridget (Cassandra Gava) Larry is being ridden about the room like a bull while covered in elaborate body paint. Each night, Larry comes home to Robin and tells her a sexy bedtime story, leading her to believe the black room is just a fantasy roleplay exercise they share.

Larry is so caught up in his assorted affairs that he doesn’t realize that Jason’s mysterious illness is actually a form of vampirism, with a constant need for fresh donors for elaborate transfusions. Once Larry has had his fun with his latest fling, Larry and Bridget drain her in a much more horrific manner than sexual exhaustion. To add blackmail material to bloodletting, all of Larry’s extracurriculars have fueled Jason’s erotic photography hobby and Bridget’s taste for voyeurism.

Carelessly leaving the room keys and the original rental ad in the car, Robin discovers the black room is a real place and decides turnabout is perfectly fair play. If Larry can cavort with Bridget, she can seduce Jason, as well as the cuckolded boyfriend—played by a very young Christopher McDonald of Happy Gilmore fame— of one of Larry’s conquests.

Online databases list The Black Room’s release date as anywhere from 1982 to 1985, because of an intermittent distribution history. Stephen Thrower’s Nightmare U.S.A. places the actual filming at 1981, which would explain the lingering whiff of the 70s that hangs over the fashions, slang, and abundant fondness for hitchhiking that found their way into the final film. The plausible viability of rental rooms specifically for swingers —particularly one with a glowing coffee table surrounded by rutting ready floor pillows and black velvet— seems a definite relic of a more key party friendly era.

It’s easy to see why this movie would’ve struggled for financial backers for wider theatrical release, finally finding its most permanent home on video. While deeply sexual, the film’s action isn’t particularly sexy. None of the characters are easy to root for, and The Black Room doesn’t have the sort of clearcut survivors to facilitate a typical audience stand-in horror movie catharsis.

Larry is duplicitous and self centered. His various flings are thinly sketched caricatures. Jason and Bridget are serial killers, and even poor Robin only reaches any level of self actualization via spite and suffering. The only real innocents to be had are Larry’s bratty children and their non entity of a babysitter (played by a pre fame Linnea Quigley). Given that everyone else in the film is so deeply damaged, even the blameless parties nearly end up exsanguinated, too pure to exist as anything other than prey for the predatory.

Writer and co-director Norman Thaddeus Vane had lived more than his fair share of wild sexual misadventures and toxic personal relationships, from bedding his employer’s Penthouse Pets in rented rooms to a deeply questionable marriage to a teenage fashion model less than half his age. If there’s anything exquisite in such a bleak film, it is the finely drawn sexual politics of all of the various couplings, how sexual liberation can be both a smokescreen and a sidestep in the hands of broken individuals. The Black Room isn’t interested in punishing its principle characters for their non vanilla desires, but instead for their deep dishonesty in how they choose to approach them.

Larry’s Madonna/whore complex is abundantly clear, unable to separate Robin’s role as a wife and mother from her desires as an adult woman with value outside of those roles. A smarter man would be thrilled to have their partner so obviously open to sexual exploration, as she freely expresses her fetishes for leather and desire for the BDSM dynamics he has used on other partners. He could’ve hired a babysitter, or taken Robin to his new playspace rather than a random stranger. Instead, Larry considers his ability to have no strings sex as a given, then threatens to leave Robin when he discovers she can play the game of casual sex even more cleverly than he. She wastes no time gaining access to Larry’s debauchery sanctuary, and snatches up a few of his preferred partners along with it.

While I personally feel that The Black Room (along with 1973’s The Psychopath) is one of the endangered titles most deserving of rescue and restoration, there’s also a certain amount of mood that is helped along by the fact that the film only currently exists in the grainy VHS ether. The shaky editing and velvety darkness are only interrupted by flickering candlelight, spurts of bright red blood and flashes of discarded gold lamé on a sticky sex-stained floor. The audience is forced to be yet another layer of voyeurs watching the action unfold, the mood claustrophobic on both sides of the one way mirror.

The protagonists are all in their own private bondage, performing things they don’t quite feel long before the knots are tied or Jason’s camera is brought out. Larry is lost in his own fragile ego, Robin in her jealousy, Jason in his bloodlust. Bridget is terrified of Jason’s lingering illness leaving her alone in the world, the incest emotional (if not explicitly literal) . There’s some forms of pain you can’t fuck away, some regrets that can’t be purified by the lashes of the penitent.

The 80s slasher film boom would soon flood screens with super sex negative teen cautionary tales, but The Black Room is an adult film, in the broad sense. Its horrors are the sort that only come from experience, the last guest at a party realizing there’s nothing but regrets and a hangover coming with the sunrise. The freewheeling 70s were over. There’s an eerie, creeping prescience (no matter how accidental it may be) to the film’s specific choice to incorporate medical procedures and needles into its version of vampiric lore and imagery, even if none of the elements come together in the final reel.

While the the impending horror of the AIDS epidemic didn’t yet have a universally agreed upon name in 1981, there was already something lurking in the darkness, that would use any means necessary — sex, drugs, or otherwise— to get into your blood and turn you into a voiceless shadow of your former self. To add tragedy to terror, even those who managed to survive long enough to attempt a warning would find themselves consumed long before being heard or believed. When there is no one left to answer the call, the finest wine dries to dregs and even the brightest candles burn out, leaving nothing but the inky black.

Bite Size: The Nesting (1981)

Armand Weston certainly wasn’t the first director from the porno chic era to take a swing at mainstream legitimacy. However, Weston’s project seemed better positioned than most to be successful in its aims. He had secured an architecturally unique historic home as a shooting location, and the recent success of The Amityville Horror had revived audience interest in haunted house terrors. The cast included both a beloved genre great (John Carradine) and an Old Hollywood grand dame (Gloria Grahame).

Lauren Cochran (Robin Graves) is a popular novelist, struggling with agoraphobia and recently beset by panic attacks. As her analyst thinks the hustle and bustle of New York might be aggravating her condition, Lauren packs her bags and rents a gorgeous old mansion in a small town upstate. Initially, the rural reset seems to have placed her on the road to conquering her phobias. She experiences a serious setback when she is suddenly plagued by odd hallucinations and eerily prescient dreams. The estate has a sordid and violent past as a wartime bordello, Lauren is soon convinced the deceased ladies of the evening are the ones turning her every waking minute into a nightmare.

Sounds fun, right? Vengeful sex workers wreaking havoc from beyond the grave is a delicious new flavor of seasoning on the familiar trope of a mentally fragile young woman forced to question her sanity in the midst of seemingly impossible events. Plus, the house’s history allows for some pleasing retro styling in the flashbacks of the ghosts in their original contexts.

Armand Weston was one of the more competent technicians in his era of erotica, and he does wring some proper atmosphere and aesthetics out of his limited locations. Lauren’s opening panic attack is stylishly shot, her run out of sync with the people around her, everything moving too fast as increasingly manic music cues rise on the soundtrack. There’s some solid visuals sprinkled throughout, including an aerial shot of terrified Lauren frantically clutching the ledge of the mansion’s domed roof as a ghost manically laughs at her predicament. Another standout has the perfectly concentric ripples of the lake sparkling in the fading sun as a victim of the spirits is dragged to their doom.

For what is essentially a slice of 80s gothic revival, the kills are also surprisingly gory. Amongst all of the dark corners and spooky noises, there are some sickles to the head, violent drownings and bloody visions of piles of bodies not typical to a shadowy chiller. While not shockingly gruesome to modern audiences, it was enough the land The Nesting onto section three —not prosecutable for obscenity, but able to be seized on a lesser charge— of the infamous video nasties list.

All of the essential ingredients are here for a satisfying small scale horror, but the proportions are all off. The spectral hookers stay fairly scarce through most of the runtime, other than an occasional cackle, big band record, or fragmented flashback. The idea of using agoraphobia to heighten the tension of a limited location movie is a smart one, forcing Lauren to choose the lesser of two evils. Is the danger whatever lurks inside the house? Or is she better off taking her chances in the outside world? This angle stays woefully underdeveloped, drifting in and out of the plot.

Even in the throes of terror, empathy is hard to muster for Lauren, a deeply unlikeable character. If her new neighbors are all varying sorts of hicksploitation style hillbilly caricatures, Lauren herself is a cartoonish embodiment of selfish big city pretensions, wearing both her novelist pedigree and her various neurosis like a sophisticates’ badge of honor. She even treats her therapist like her personal errand boy, demanding he visit her in her new home as the supernatural tensions rise.

The ideal scenario would have been to make a film that was essentially the love child of 1981’s The Prowler and 1978’s French Quarter. The hauntings, history and histrionics would seem more of a complete thought in the context of a dual timeline structure, and it would give the film more room for its mélange of textures and tones.

However, Armand Weston seems too caught up in his bid for conventional respectability, reluctant to lean in on the potentially downmarket slasher elements or to let the cast have too much camp fun in period costume. Instead, the script (co-written by Weston and Daria Price) goes for atmospheric buildup and a complicated backstory, a time traveling riff on 1971’s Let’s Scare Jessica To Death.

This approach sidelines The Nesting‘s most interesting actors. John Carradine spends the bulk of the runtime morosely slumped in a chair or convalescing in bed. As for the still glamorous Gloria Grahame —who would pass away 4 months after the film’s premiere, at the too young age of 57— her bordello madam character is mostly relegated to a silent shade in a form fitting red dress.

Meanwhile, the audience is forced to watch Lauren endlessly wander around the house being terrified by things. When she does gather the nerve to interact with the locals, they swerve from merely unfriendly to murderous. Occasionally, she gets to argue with her boring maybe boyfriend Mark (Christopher Loomis) or the equally boring (but slightly less obnoxious) physicist grandson of her new landlord, Daniel (Michael David Lally). Neither male lead really serves much narrative purpose other than to reinforce the idea that all of this might be in Lauren’s imagination….until it’s not.

Then, and only then, does The Nesting remember that Grahame and Carradine are in the film. A ton of runtime has been wasted in a fumbling, overlong attempt at psychological horror. The fractured storytelling slows an already meandering movie to a treacle trickle. This leaves the pair of seasoned professionals to deliver massive exposition dumps in the third act in an attempt to make any sense of it all.

To cast one of Old Hollywood’s queens of noir as a ghostly madam, only to utilize her as nothing more than a walking, talking, text crawl is perhaps the single biggest missed opportunity in a film absolutely lousy with them. Even the title is a misdirection, given that the heroine’s titular novel only appears on screen in one very brief moment in a bloated, nearly two hour runtime. Consider The Nesting better in theory than in practice.

Bite Size: Alley Cat (1984)

Alley Cat‘s path to release was just as patched together and scarred as its animal namesake. The production burned through three different directors, and the film’s original producers ran out of money, causing the film to be shelved for several years. Film Ventures International both finished the picture and picked it up for distribution. Alley Cat finally saw theatrical release in 1984, which was handily kneecapped by Film Ventures collapsing in a flurry of lawsuits and embezzlement. After a very truncated run on the big screen, the film was dumped onto home video, where it also failed to make much of an impact.

Billie (Karin Mani) wakes up in the middle of the night to find two thieves trying to steel the wheels off her car. Billie looks like a lost extra from the Charlie’s Angels set, but has a karate black belt along with the jiggle. The thieves rush off into the night with faces as bruised as their egos. The beating of his underlings angers gang leader Phil “Scarface” Krug (Michael Wayne). Scarface retaliates by not only mugging Billie’s beloved grandparents, but stabbing them as well.

Billie’s grandmother eventually succumbs to her injuries, but not before Billie has a meet clumsy with Johnny, a rookie cop (Robert Torti). The two soon begin a romance in spite of their first interaction being an angry Billie smashing him with a door hard enough to break his nose. Johnny also would love to collar the high profile gang to raise his profile in the police force. Billie, after seeing how slowly and rarely the wheels of courtroom justice actually turn, decides to mount some vigilante justice of her own. She takes to the streets to take some bad guys down, in an impressive array of matching tracksuits and some equally amazingly mismatched daywear.

Film Ventures International wasn’t exactly known for the originality of its productions, and Alley Cat is no exception. The base plot is basically a gender swapped Death Wish, mixed with Lady Streetfighter’s insanely low budget charms. What makes Alley Cat more entertaining that such a shoddy production likely should be is that it never tries to rise above its Z grade station. Within the first 5 minutes of the film, there’s a blithe bit of undressing, a brief street fight, an angry gangster flatly delivering the line that gives the film its title, and a bit player gleefully cackling about giving Scarface the clap.

Karin Mani isn’t much of a thespian, nor is she terribly physically coordinated (though the movie manages to make the cuts to her stunt double not unduly jarring). However, she is quite attractive, and delivers her lines with the camp glee of an actress that knows this is likely to be the only top billed role she was ever going to get. Robert Torti has had a long career as a character actor, but his main purpose as Johnny is to be the square jawed, six packed voice of reason. All of this vengeance leaves little time for character development, but these two dimensional caricatures’ romance manages to at least look like the drawings belong on the same page.

Alley Cat realizes its limitations, and never goes much more than 5 minutes without giving us something to gawk at, be it nudity, another fight sequence or hilariously misguided dialog from a gang leader that looks more like an annoying Billy Idol fan than any actual menace. It’s all shot pretty listlessly, often far too dark, and scored with a random spin of the library music wheel, but at least the film isn’t too unduly filled with dead air. Something is always afoot, no mater how coincidental or lacking in logic that something might be.

All of Billie’s human punching bags have to come from somewhere, and pretty much every man Billie meets is an aspiring rapist, corrupt, a criminal or some combination of all three. When she is unjustly imprisoned for stopping a rape with her karate kicks and an unlicensed handgun, it even allows for a short tour of women in prison greatest hits like a lesbian encounter, a shower scene and a multi member catfight in the yard.

Alley Cat is clearly the dollar store cola to Savage Streets‘ (which came out later the same year) Coke, but for those who have a taste for this particular flavor of action oriented, female fronted vengeance, even the off brand of cinematic empty calories still tastes pretty good.

Bite Size: Women’s Prison Massacre (1983)

1982’s Violence In A Women’s Prison and 1983’s Women’s Prison Massacre were shot back to back, recycling the same locations and cast of actors. Both feature Laura Gemser as a character named Emanuelle, but neither is an official sequel to the “Black Emmanuelle” series she famously starred in. Those films were themselves loose riffs on 1974’s Emmanuelle (starring Sylvia Kristel), but a cogent analysis of all of the sequels, knock offs, and imitators of that particular piece of seminal softcore would require a separate post and a flowchart.

Where there’s suspect use of intellectual property Bruno Mattei is never far behind. Both Violence In A Women’s Prison and Women’s Prison Massacre are clear attempts to cash in on his leading lady’s most notable role. Despite the title, Violence In A Women’s Prison has a lot more sexploitation elements mixed in, and Women’s Prison Massacre favors the more violent side of Eurosleaze.

Emanuelle (Laura Gemser) has been unjustly imprisoned for drug smuggling, after her work as a journalist nearly exposed some important government officials involvement in the illicit substances trade. Now she’s at the mercy of a wicked warden (Lorraine De Selle, Cannibal Ferox) and her equally sadistic guards. Emanuelle’s calm defiance of her circumstances also causes conflict with top dog inmate, Albina (Ursula Flores), who makes it very clear she wants Emmanuelle dead.

Four max security male inmates are transferred to the previously all female facility. The muderers’ row includes Blade (Pierangelo Pozzato), a proudly Aryan serial rapist and thrill killer “Crazy Boy” Henderson (Gemser’s real life husband, Gabriele Tinti). The men quickly take over the prison in a hostage situation, and subject both inmates and guards to a whole new level of brutality.

For the first half hour, Women’s Prison Massacre ably hits all of the basic bases of a women in prison flick, with enough off the wall touches to keep a familiar formula interesting. The film opens with a gel filtered piece of performance art put on by the inmates, the pretensions of which kick off the conflict between Emmanuelle and Albina. It’s a grudge match for the ages, which apparently can only be solved by an intense bout of arm wrestling. Meanwhile, there’s some softcore sex in the showers, and a really intense relationship between one of the locked up ladies and her blow up doll. I’m not sure either of the female guards have their names spoken aloud (despite spending quite a few minutes onscreen), but the movie makes a point to tell us the blow up doll’s preferred form of address is Bobby.

The arrival of the men opens up a world of bad taste possibilities, but the film doesn’t particularly bother with any of them. Aside from each member being named like an off brand G.I. Joe, none of the male inmates are all that menacing or interesting. Rather than the trashy delights of warden sanctioned knife fights and guards nearly drowning Emanuelle in the guise of cleanliness, there’s a ton of toothy mugging and Gabriele Tinti yelling demands into a radio. It slows the pace of the film down considerably, and no one has even chosen to watch a women in prison picture for the self interested machinations of a bunch of dudes. Doubly so for a film starring as gorgeous of an actress as Laura Gemser.

Women’s Prison Massacre manages to right itself in the final few minutes with some decently satisfying splatter and the sort of overly elaborate death scenes familiar to fans of Italian exploitation efforts. It’s still far from the actual massacre the title promises, and where many of Mattei’s directorial efforts take delirious pleasure in excesses of questionable decisions, Women’s Prison Massacre never quite goes far enough to make it much past the middle of the locked up ladies cinematic pack.

Don’t Answer The Phone! (1980)

Single serving film director Robert Hammer left the military and began making his living as a backstage and tour photographer for musicians. Like countless other L.A. cliches, he found himself bitten by the film bug, buying the rights to a novel by an author named Michael Curtis for a mere $2500.

The book was likely unpublished, as I can’t find any printing records or surviving examples. Entitled Nightline, the story was a loose riff on the crimes of the Hillside Strangler, the trials of which were still ongoing at the time of the film’s production.

As the source material would have been too expensive to shoot as is, Hammer and producer Michael D. Curtis gave it a rewrite under the working title The Hollywood Strangler. Short on cash and not wanting to lose their timely hook, the film was shot on the fly in and around Hollywood. Start to finish, the entire production wrapped in just 18 days.

Distributor Crown International Pictures found the title to be too generic and mandated a switch, to both capitalize on the recent success of When A Stranger Calls and the flotilla of genre fare with titles advising against all manner of ordinary actions.

Keeping in mind that the likes of Don’t Open The Door and Don’t Go Near The Park were considered aspirational in this case, prepare yourselves for 1980’s Don’t Answer The Phone!:

After a brief shot of the shirtless killer (Nicholas Worth) giggling maniacally in front of a massive crucifix, the bulk of the credits roll is devoted to some slasher POV style stalking shamelessly ripped off from Halloween. This sequence, with an unsuspecting nurse having a chat with her whatever male PA had nothing to do mother is also one of the few instances anyone in the film is near a phone.

Not answering it doesn’t save her from being brutally strangled with a stocking. My money is on this opener being a concession to the retitle, given neither the visual style nor the phone has much to do with anything else that happens.

Cut to the following day, where the camo jacketed killer is cruising the streets for new victims, his car radio tuned to the ever so popular station that provides the finest of exposition. There have already been 5 rape/murders in the local area, and as the news fades out, we cut to Dr. Lindsey Gale (Flo Gerrish), who apparently likes to live dangerously in regard to workplace harassment of the news anchor before starting her pop psychology show.

The killer, having tried and failed to entice a new victim with the offer of a modeling job, decides to call in and taunt Dr. Gale. Adopting a manic grin and his best Señor Wences accent, “Ramon” calls in complaining of headaches and blackouts, and the nurse that made him feel EVER so much better.

This is apparently a regular ritual, as Dr. Gale recognizes the voice immediately, but not the signs of severe head trauma or psychological disturbance. The latest victim of the mystery killer was a nurse, but apparently Dr. Gale was a bit too busy playing footsie with the anchorman to perhaps also note that as a cause for concern.

Meanwhile Lieutenant Chris McCabe (James Westmoreland) is across town investigating the crime scene, and proving people from all walks of life can be throughly terrible at their jobs. He bickers with his partner regarding the standard number of breasts a woman has, and decides that the heavy coin inside a nylon stocking strangulation method is a hallmark of the Viet Cong (?!). The killer must be a military veteran, and given the scrap of a film box found at the scene, must own a camera.

Not to be outdone in the incompetence Olympics, Dr. Gale is having a therapy session where she blames a child molestation victim’s trauma on her lack of assertiveness.

The cops are having a laugh at the station, putting their feet up secure in their assumption that their necrophiliac serial killer couldn’t POSSIBLY strike again so soon.

Except the synthesizer noodling has already kicked in on the soundtrack and the killer has already broken into the house of Dr. Gale’s patient. Craving some wax play with a side of homicide, he begins cooing gently that “daddy would never hurt his little baby”. Randomly switching gears, he dedicates his upcoming mortal sin to the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. Compounding the tragedy, he also destroys the actress’ lovely vintage slip in the process.

Six victims and a third of the film’s runtime later, the police finally start to attempt to find their “paranoid obsessive compulsive psychotic schizophrenic”. Done with all of the “mumbo jumbo psycho crap” McCabe takes over the meeting and makes it a decidedly macho task force. There’s a long montage of exasperated extras looking at files, best summed up by the expression in the still above.

Just in case this movie’s stance on women, feelings, and women who dare display feelings wasn’t abundantly clear, McCabe goes to question Dr. Gale about her murdered patient. Within 30 seconds he smugly mocks her for her adherence to patient privacy laws and general reluctance to cosign either vigilante justice or capital punishment. Without the firm guiding hand of the law, some silly lady psychologist will let the killer run free, so its best she cooperate and accept his heroic man protection.

Anyone who has ever watched a police procedural knows that this plot thread will lead to an eventual romance, no matter how nonsensical. Off screen, Flo Gerrish and James Westmoreland loathed each other, which may be why this still is Gerrish’s only genuine moment of emotion in the entire film. When tasked with acting like she thought her co star was an arrogant sexist prick, she didn’t have to do any acting at all.

Meanwhile, the killer goes for another synth warble accented cruise down Hollywood Boulevard, using his human skin of Kirk Smith, mild mannered fashion photographer. He ends luring a young hitchhiker named Sue Ellen (Playboy centerfold Pamela Jean Bryant) into his studio for a photo session.

Soon she’s just as naked and dead as pretty much every other woman in this movie. As he stares at her corpse in the mirror of his odd corner altar of candles and crucifixes, he pants “I love it….ohhhh….I love it” in the exact manner you would expect from a deranged necrophiliac that just killed a Playboy centerfold.

Having parceled out a morsel of plot, we get some awkward attempts at workplace comedy. A lounge lizard looking psychic correctly describes the most recent murder, and mumbo jumbo hating McCabe has him unjustly arrested. Dr. Gale makes a patient scream “THE DRUGS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU!” until she cries, and calls it a breakthrough. As for our killer, he receives praise for the porn photographs he provides to his boss, until a candle D.P. from one of the death scenes pops up in the pile, which is only upon reflection dismissed as too kinky.

Kirk is pleased with his paycheck and a job well done, and lures a hooker with the promise of both cash and drugs. He asks that she call in to Dr. Gale’s radio show, and ask for advice on getting out of prostitution. Unfortunately, the call girl almost reveals that Mr. Tough Guy can’t get it up. He strangles her, her final cries live on air. This tidily proves the radio staff is just as inept at their job as every other character in this film.

When Dr. Gale brings the tape of the call to the police (in addition to taped calls from “Ramon”) they interrogate her as to WHY she is so convinced the woman is dead. Despite having an audio recording of the prostitute’s last moments in their hands. Perhaps tape recorders are also useless “psycho mumbo jumbo”.

In any case, we’ve got a rising body count, more DNA than a genome mapping project, audio tapes of the killer’s voice and two thirds of the runtime gone. Yet….instead of any remotely logical or plot relevant action, the film idles away some more time with a vice bust played for comedy and casual racism. The screenwriters must’ve followed the old adage of “write what you know”, which explains the general air of incompetence.

Nicholas Worth had a long career as a character actor, and I have to appreciate his going through all of the SERIOUS ACTOR 101 motions in the course of this film, one of his few leading roles. The constant cartoonish mugging, the over the top accents, the pseudo Shakespearean lilt of the “tis a dream” chat with the doomed Sue Ellen. All of it goes way past chewing scenery and into manic chomping on the theater floor. However, in a film where the procedural elements and performances are pretty listless, exaggerated overacting is actually a refreshing change.

This insane, mostly improvised speech is the apex of an already loud performance. The Deuce does downmarket DeNiro for a few short minutes, as Worth pounds a beer, beats his beefy chest and snarls into a mirror “What do you think of me now Dad? Do I MEASURE UP?”. This is followed by a grunting ramble full of toxic macho bullshit and standard persecution complex dollops of paranoid racism. This “tough motherfucking honky” wishes his dad could see what he was capable of, because “I’m the best there is”.

…..and right on schedule, the romance hits to pad the runtime. Love (or at least lust) blooms when Dr. Gale and McCabe prevent one of her patients from committing suicide. It’s poorly lit. It’s overly long. Moving on.

Meanwhile, Kirk Smith the serial killer wastes no time in getting in some powerlifting accompanied by dying animal yowls, and dusting off his best imitation of a sane man to gain entry to a home and murder another pair of models. The only real question is how anyone could buy this refrigerator box in an ill fitting sport coat and your granddad’s chinos as a real, totally not lying, fashion photographer.

Kirk can’t even handle one girl, hence his penchant for killing them. Having to resort to double murder has made him a rather sloppy maniac. The cops trace the camera and photos left at the scene to the pornographer he’s been working for. To avoid an obscenity rap, the smut peddler hands over Kirk’s home address. The cops rush to the scene…..and break in to the wrong house, terrifying an innocent toymaker who can barely lift his briefcase, much less strangle anyone. At this rate, McCabe and partner are making the Mutt and Jeff duo from Nail Gun Massacre look like paragons of law enforcement.

The cops do locate the correct address eventually, but Kirk has already slipped out to do his standard home invasion and homicide routine over at Dr. Gale’s place. Apparently, she was always the “big prize” he had his eye on. Connecting that Kirk is the mysterious “Ramon” surprisingly quickly, Dr. Gale tries to buy herself time by engaging the killer, asking if he ever had something he cared about. Like maybe a puppy?

Given that the movie is nearly over, this would be the place for the film to give us the slightest insight into what exactly drives Kirk to kill. His obvious daddy issues? PTSD from his military service? Psychosis? The religious mania that has been alluded to (but never explained) the entire film?

As far as Kirk murdering his childhood pet, the poor creature shat on the rug. Animal abuse often being an early hallmark of serial killers, it makes sense for the character. But what’s the deal with the violent rage toward people, women in particular?

He wet the bed until he was 18, had trouble with his ass and his “crazy-otic” head, and whoever his guardians were they dared send him to the doctor for all of that. That’s the best explanation we get. That’s all, folks.

The American health care system is certainly frustrating, but I’m willing to bet good solid money that this is the only slasher in history that has ever attributed its plot driving killing spree to the lack of an adequate proctologist.

Some of the photos in Kirk’s studio tipped off the cops that he was coming for Lindsey Gale. Having managed to at least get her address right, it’s FINALLY time for the Lawful Good vs Chaotic Evil versions of festering macho bullshit to face off.

At first, it looks like Killer Kirk has the edge (and a severe size advantage) over Macho McCabe…..
Until a pistol shot and a hit over the head with a chair leave a battered, bloody Killer Kirk lying handcuffed on the dirty linoleum…..
….and leaving Macho McCabe free to rescue Dr. Gale. Yet, some VERY familiar synths kick in……
….and Killer Kirk has gone full on slasher cliche. Two bullets worth of blood loss and he’s still got the brute strength to snap the handcuffs and pop up for another tussle…..
….before another SEVEN bullets leaves Killer Kirk’s corpse floating in the pool like the piece of shit he is.

Having saved Hollywood from both a serial killer and a serious heap of that God damned touchy feely psycho mumbo jumbo once and for all, James Westmoreland got to ad lib McCabe’s final line victory lap.

Adios, creep!

…. at least until this film popped up again as a Section 3 offender in the UK’s “Video Nasties” moral panic, anyway.