Drive-In Massacre is one of those regional obscurities that boutique Blu Ray labels occasionally dredge up with mild fanfare as a lost bit of classic sleaze. Drive-In Massacre also happens to be one of those times when whoever is tasked with writing the promotional copy for the release is unabashedly full of shit.
While the title and the bang for the buck opening kills would suggest at least a bit of bloody proto slasher fun, the 76 minute runtime feels painfully overlong. Drive-In Massacre parcels out a bunch of potentially delightful trashy elements, only to end up petering out into an unsatisfying attempt at an old bit of William Castle gimmickry.
There’s the standard issue police procedural folderal in between the sparse spate of sword slashings. Our red herrings take the form of an angry theater manager whose volume setting is just as loud as his assortment of eyestrain inducing sport coats, a peeping trucker, and a carny sword swallower turned custodian a few sharps short of a knife block.
Given that we never actually see the film that’s onscreen, and our police officers’ best investigative tool is a brief foray into drag, the rest of the film is just people sitting around. The cops bicker in their cramped offices, the soon to be victims perennially parked in the dusty drive-in lot.
The vague implication of a Western is dropped into the sound mix at complete odds with the score of atonal pencil can shaking and baby’s first Casio keysmash electro warbles. Considering that pretty much every plot element introduced is a non sequitur, the burial of the actual dialogue in the sound mix doesn’t make much difference.
There is something seedily refreshing in seeing a cinematic representation of a drive in so utterly devoid of charm or romanticism. As far as this movie is concerned, it’s basically just a backdrop for the same semi anonymous hormonal rummaging that characterized your standard sticky seat indoor theater. Given the utter botch of just about everything else you can think of, that slight historical angle is not nearly a good enough reason to actually sit through this movie.
For those looking for a technically inept, yet scuzzily accurate, time capsule that is actually fun, I’d recommend 1973’s Massage Parlor Murders! (which I’ve previously written about for the fabulous Drive-In Asylum) as a much better investment of the hour or so of your lifetime.
They are many reasons why an actor who has had a degree of mainstream success would find themselves working in low budget cinema. Perhaps their career prospects have cooled as they aged (Anita Ekberg , Mercedes McCambridge). Maybe their career is just starting, and they take the lead in a B feature to attempt to prove they can carry more than secondary roles (Phillip Michael Thomas).
Lyle Waggoner falls somewhere in between. He had had success as both a model and in television during the 60s. By 1972 he was a beloved long running member of the ensemble cast of The Carol Burnett Show, a certified heart throb with a touch for light comedy. Each week, his smiling face was beamed into living rooms all over America on one of the most popular shows of the era.
Unfortunately, movie roles had always basically eluded him. Lyle made a few stabs in the late 60s, but the likes of Catalina Caper and Swamp Country were centered more on his youthful, square jawed good looks than any display of acting talent. Waggoner was still handsome, but was approaching middle age, and perhaps was feeling the pressure to pivot to theatrical leading man status before his days as every housewife’s favorite dream boat were completely over.
However it happened, this week’s film is one of the premier slices of psychosexual 70s weirdness there is, directed by a one and done high school theater teacher named Jacques Lacerte. From fall of 1972, the “my heart belongs to Daddy” epic Love Me Deadly:
The film opens on a funeral, with beautiful blonde Lindsay Finch (Mary Charlotte Wilcox) sitting in the back row. Waiting until all of the other mourners have left, she tentatively walks up the aisle to the casket, delicately raising the veil on her stylish oversized hat. Furtively glancing around, she leans in and plants a passionate kiss on the deceased.
Despite having wasted no time (3:10 to be precise) jumping into the necrophiliac waters of taboo, the credits roll over sepia images of a blonde moppet and her father playing happily, obligatory AM radio title theme song playing on the soundtrack.
Cut to a swinging party at Lindsey’s rather lavish house, full of food, friends, fun……and a variety pack of greasy and overly grabby future date rapists of America who are very into her. They are also very bad at taking no for an answer.
Should you question my characterization, the next scene is the blonde Ken doll up there (given the properly vintage villainous name of Wade) following Lindsay as she heads to her bedroom to freshen up, and attempting to force himself on her. She nearly scratches his eyes out, and he finally takes the damn hint to leave. Being a complete waste of even 50 plus year old cinematic oxygen, he calls Lindsey a bitch on the way out.
Understandably shaken, she clutches a stuffed teddy for comfort, and we get another sepia montage of when her beloved father gifted her the toy.
While Lindsey settles her nerves hunting through the funeral notices for any young handsome men being laid to rest, we are suddenly dropped into what may as well be different movie. In a sense it is, as this is one of the inserts shot after the fact. Producers insisted the film play less like a soapy melodrama, and more like a traditional horror film.
A street hustler is plying his trade outside an adult theater (I. William Quinn who also appeared in brutal roughie A Climax Of Blue Power). Up rolls Fred McSweeney (Timothy Scott), the creepy funeral home director from the first scene, presumably looking for a good time.
All things considered, I doubt any sex worker would get into a car with the world’s most unctuous undertaker for the promise of only $15, but this guy does. Slow night, I guess. He does up it to $25 when McSweeney insists on taking him to the funeral parlor for the trick.
We drop back in to the main plot for a moment. Lindsay is doing her usual hot lips for cold stiffs routine, when she gets startled by the arrival of the deceased’s hunky brother, Alex (Lyle Waggoner). Disturbed by both nearly getting caught, and Alex’s resemblance to her dearly departed dad, Lindsay bolts.
Meanwhile back at the funeral parlor, McSweeney proves he’s the serial killer the dead eyes and greasy hair told us he was, embalming his “date” alive. It’s the only scene in the movie that is genuinely harrowing, and considering the main subject matter here, that’s saying something.
We get a montage to upbeat, kicky sitcom music of Lindsay being a stylish little stalker. Spying on Alex at his brother’s burial, looking him up in the phone book to ferret out his workplace, sitting outside the window of his job and running for dear life when he notices her. The sepia toned flashbacks of daddy keep on coming.
As Lindsay is a rich and conventionally attractive blonde white lady, not even Alex finds all this as weird as it obviously is.
I do have to give murderous Fred McSweeney half credit, as he’s the only person in the whole film who notices that something is very wrong with Lindsay. Seeing her skulking about yet another funeral, he corners her in her car. On the ride to the cemetery, he handily defines “necrophilia” and that lovers are of the dead “are quite ordinary people, just the needs and desires are different”.
I don’t know how much life advice I would take from a man for whom cold blooded murder is a sex toy. In any case, he mentions he has a conveniently located necrophile cult right in his funeral home, and will be happy to provide her educational literature if she happens to be interested. Usually this level of hard sell is reserved for Amway, but I suppose a Satanic necrophile cult needs to modernize like any other highly suspicious bit of industry.
Lindsay speeds off in anger, and Fred sails off into the night for another sex worker.
True to his word, McSweeney snail mails Lindsay the details on the next cult meeting, in a discreet unmarked envelope. Desperate to avoid doing the two backed dance of the dead, she calls up date rape Wade.
Halfway through the evening, she realizes the outing was a waste of a fabulous fur coat, and that she’s probably safer and happier with the devil worshippers. Considering what we’ve seen of Wade, she isn’t wrong.
She tells him she has a headache, and burns rubber to the funeral home. However, the sight of their corpse fueled key party is too much for her. Being a one cadaver kind of girl, she runs away in tears. Freaky Fred offers her a more “private viewing” at a later date, as well as an ominous warning to “keep our little secret”.
When she arrives home, things get no better, as Wade is sitting in her house asking questions that are none of his damn business, about where she went so late at night.
Trying to drive away her urges, she lets the butter blonde butthurt boy spend the night. They go on a date the next day, and just happen to stop by Alex’s gallery for an art opening. Once Alex reenters the picture, it’s very clear that the gallery isn’t the only thing that’s open. Bye, Wade.
There is a long ass montage of wacky hijinks and sweet young love, straight out of a soap opera or a shampoo commercial. By the time the ominous music cue hits announcing Fred McSweeney’s phone call about that “private viewing”, it’s a welcome return to what is supposed to be a horror film.
Wade happens to see Lindsay’s car driving by while he’s using a payphone. Proving yet again he may very well be the worst person in a movie that involves a serial killer, a necrophiliac, and a Satanic cult, he jumps in his car to follow her.
We all know exactly where Lindsay is headed, but Wade just can’t grasp anything she does being none of his concern. At least his asshole characterization is consistent.
Lindsay’s private dance with the dead gets interrupted by the fracas outside, and Wade’s lifeless corpse becomes part of some sort of dollar store Satanist ritual that even Joe Sarno would have found embarrassingly cheap.
Despite having known him for all of 2 weeks, Lindsay runs away from all this death by marrying Alex. Too bad the wedding ring still didn’t solve the whole issue of her being unable to have sex with anyone who has a pulse.
Lyle offers to sleep in another bedroom until Lindsay decides she wants him. Inexplicably, this is followed by another amber hued, boring as hell happy couple montage. I’m neither straight, nor have I ever married. However, even I know that is definitely NOT how that works.
Alex happens to see Lindsay’s car on his way to work, but she doesn’t respond when he honks and waves, as she is in her mourning garb. Alex manages to follow her, but is utterly confused as to why she would be making mid day visits to a funeral home.
He asks her about it later that evening, but she has an elaborate gift and a fancy dinner ready for their 3 week anniversary (!) in some masterful psyops. Feeling guilty, he lets the matter drop.
Alex comes home early the next day to bring Lindsay a gift, but Lindsey isn’t at home. The housekeeper mentions that what Lindsay does is “unnatural” and that the staff basically raised Lindsey after her father died. The housekeeper was demoted to a two day a week caretaker, because little rich girl Lindsay was pissed that the hired help pointed out the obvious.
When Lyle heads to the cemetery, he finds Lindsay in a child’s pigtails speaking in a baby voice while skipping around the headstone singing “Skinnamarink”. I’m genuinely unsure which is worse….the fact that the song made me remember Barney & Friends ever existed, or Lyle’s attempt to emote after this thunderingly obvious revelation.
Breakfast the next morning is tense, as Lindsay demands the housekeeper be fired, and Alex (correctly) states that their marriage is a sham, “just two kids playing a game”. When Lindsay storms off to sulk, the awkwardness and ski slope of red flags intensify when a registered letter arrives for Lindsay from McSweeney’s funeral home.
Alex is either the kindest man who has ever lived or the ultimate in brainless himbos, as he hands her the letter without asking questions. Apologies are exchanged for the heated argument, and the couple take the afternoon off to picnic in the country.
When Lindsay gets a mysterious headache that doesn’t need a doctor or medicine or anyone to see where she goes after 10pm, Alex FINALLY catches on to how quickly his marriage is going six feet under. Lindsay is in the bathroom as he is preparing to leave for a family party, and he snoops at the letter from Mcsweeney’s detailing another mysterious “meeting”.
I have no idea why a death cult would send a registered letter, or a member of said death cult would leave the opened letter on their bedside table. The image quality isn’t good enough to see if the post code is stamped “plot device”.
Lyle leaves the party early, and follows Lindsay to the funeral home…..
…..only to find his formerly frigid wife enthusiastically mounting the recently deceased…..
…… and to get quickly stabbed to death by Mcsweeney to keep the cult’s secret safe.
Mcsweeney takes Lindsay home and pumps her full of tranquilizers to keep her calm. Turns out she killed her father all those years ago, in an accident with an unattended gun. The trauma made her ideal man have to be identical to Daddy…..including the part about being deceased.
Mcsweeney brought Alex home to “prepare” him for her, embalming him so he could be hers forever. When Lindsay walks into Alex’s room, she sees Mcsweeney about to make an incision on the corpse, but in her drug addled state she doesn’t realize no one can hurt Alex anymore, given he’s already dead.
She bludgeons Mcsweeney to death with a decorative statue, happy her Alex is safe. She climbs into bed with his corpse, and though her face is tear streaked, she nuzzles next to “Daddy” and smiles as she closes her eyes.
Mary Charlotte Wilcox was right to smile. Somehow both leads of this glorified Very Special Episode about the dangers of necrophilia managed to have careers after this, albeit not in feature films. Lyle Waggoner went on to star in the Wonder Woman television series, and had a long career as a working character actor. Mary Charlotte Wilcox went on to write and perform in popular comedy series SCTV.
Like many things that happened during the 70s, both actors quietly resolved to never speak of Love Me Deadly again. All things considered, it obviously worked out better for everyone to let the dead stay buried.
The early 70’s were a time of massive change for all facets of film industry. The old studio system was gone, and a newly frank and independent generation of filmmakers were veering into rawer territory than ever before seen in Hollywood. Hardcore pornography broke box office records, and porno chic permeated pop culture to the point that even the staid New York Times had a reviewer front and center for “Deep Throat”.
It was bad enough that the mainstream was edging onto exploitation’s turf, and that the rise of hardcore had killed the market for old style hard R/soft X sexploitation almost overnight. However, another shake up was coming to the grindhouse ecosystem. As is often the case with cinematic stalkers, the next menace was coming from inside the house. Exploitation veteran Sean Cunningham and fresh face Wes Craven unleashed “Last House On The Left” in 1972, and set a new high water mark of drive in depravity.
With everyone scrambling to find new ways to package exploitation style sleaze, short lived distributor General Film Corporation took a chance on an odd little film called “The Candy Snatchers”, with TV writer/one off director Guerdon Trueblood manning the director’s chair, and first timer Bryan Gindoff providing a script that mixed sex and shocks with a new crime thriller style structure. Let’s find out what exactly they are doing to poor Candy, shall we?
Folk guitar twangs over the sound track, admonishing us what a shame it was that “the Candy girl had to play the game”, and clueing us in that this particular Catholic schoolgirl is the titular Candy. In a classic B-movie tradition, the teen Candy is played by twenty something actress Susan Sennett. Candy chats with the Mother Superior, says goodbye to her friends, and promptly starts trying to hitch a ride home. Basically this entire sequence becomes a music video for the folky theme still blaring away on the soundtrack, “Money Is The Root Of All Happiness”. Candy is young, carefree, and blissfully unaware of being watched:
Enter hulking Eddie (Vince Matorano), scheming Jessie (Tiffany Bolling), and her several screws loose brother Alan (Brad David). Following behind her as she continues to hitchhike, they kidnap Candy in the guise of giving her a ride. Because those Groucho glasses don’t actually hide anything, our trio blindfolds, binds and gags Candy in the back of the van to protect their identities.
We get a close up of a “Money Is The Root Of All Happiness” bumper sticker on the van, a special credits sequence mentioning the writer and singer of the new song “Money Is The Root Of All Happiness”, and now a long plot mandated drive into the hills so the entire song can be played AGAIN.
Dear God, this movie needs to stop trying to make “fetch” happen with this Jim Croce reject theme song.
Candy’s father is a well to do manager of a diamond jewelry business, and our terrible trio kidnapped her to collect a hefty ransom. A efficient, simple plan. Where this veers from Crime 101 is that they plan on burying Candy alive until the ransom is paid, with nothing more than a tiny pipe for air. This is the sort of overly elaborate nonsense that tanks Bond villains, let alone a group of people who have yet to master the concept and correct use of masks. Jessie admits that she got the idea from seeing it on television. Clearly, that was one gritty episode of “Scooby Doo”.
To compound the tragedy, no one notices there’s a witness, even if that witness is just a kid who looks like a lost extra from “Village Of The Damned”:
The child does try to help Candy in his own odd way, listening in to make sure she is still breathing, then dropping some peanuts down the hole to attempt to feed her. Our tiny potential savior is named Sean(Christophe Truegood), as we learn from his mother screaming his name like a pig caller from the bottom of the hill. She also is slamming a cowbell with all her might, in case your eardrums weren’t bleeding yet. Little Sean is apparently mute, and before he can even try to indicate what he saw up above, his mom is slapping him and shrieking that they are late to Daddy’s business dinner. Meanwhile, Daddy isn’t even home yet. If this woman was my only company, I wouldn’t talk either.
Meanwhile, back in the actual plot of the film, the baddies are synchronizing watches and getting ready to make their ransom demands to Candy’s father, Mr. Phillips (Ben Piazza). It’s an ornate, timed 3 person plan. They need all the help they can get if they are going to successfully pull off such daring maneuvers as making a phone call and dropping an envelope off at the back gate of a business. What’s next? A cereal box decoder ring?
Right about here is where this movie starts to splinter into a random joy buzzer effect, as if you were flipping through the channels, unsure of what exactly it was you wanted to watch, and catching a little bit of everything. Each individual plot thread chugs along, with blithe disregard for matching the mood or content of the others. This does not get better as the film goes on.
Jessie and company celebrate their victory with some drunk driving, visions of diamonds giddily dancing in their heads as they drive to the ransom drop off point.
Sean’s parents cringe in embarrassment in admitting to the big boss their son can’t talk. Said boss finds disability hysterical, and laughs like a community theater Mephistopheles for at least 30 seconds. Making a mute child cry is high comedy, apparently.
Meanwhile, Mr. Phillips gets Candy’s mom drunk, tells her Candy is staying with a friend, and that he has a work meeting to get to. The “work meeting” is a tryst with his assistant Lisa, who is also his mistress. She is putty in Avery Phillips’ hands, as long as those hands are full of embezzled diamonds from their shared workplace. Not surprisingly, he never shows up at the ransom drop off point.
Standing by their cartoon supervillain plan, Eddie and Alan take Candy out of her prison, and take her into their abandoned house hideaway for the night. You know, the one right next to the ventilated hole they decided to use instead. Because that makes total sense not to just use the house for the hostage in the first place.
Assuming that Candy’s family isn’t taking them seriously, Alan insists that Candy’s ear in a box is the only option to let her father know they mean business. Jessie and Alan are all for it, but Eddie stops them from actually harming Candy.
Instead, someone remembers this is indeed a grindhouse movie, and we take a trip to see a man named Charlie, a worker at the hospital morgue who apparently sells body parts out of the back. There’s a brilliantly creepy little scene where he negotiates the price with Jessie via singing a cheerful song down the hall, then delivers this bizarre speech while massaging the feet and legs of a corpse:
Charlie: These are the best people in the world. They don’t hurt nobody. They don’t make no trouble. They don’t tell me what to do. They don’t cost no money. They mind their own business. Yes, all they do is lie there, and just think about all them people it’s too late…..to fuck.
The smile never leaves Charlie’s face, even as he hands Alan the bloody ear in a baggie.
Eddie is back at the hideout, having a cozy fireside chat with the bound Candy, and inadvertently letting her know the name of each of her captors and approximately what they look like. It’s a soft focus speech full of pouty pathos and bowling alley dreams, and Candy falls asleep in Eddie’s arms.
Just in case you fell for the supposed character building of it all, as soon as Jessie returns from the morgue, Eddie has a vicious fight with her, until she is sobbing incoherently that “I don’t want to be me anymore!” Apropos of absolutely nothing, Eddie pulls her out of the bathtub and sexually assaults her in a fit of “friendzone” faux nice guy rage.
The only thing anyone learns from any of this is that they finally use the abandoned house to stash Candy, tying her to the radiator before they leave for the next stage of their Hindenberg of a plan. It involves more bickering, and the theft of a telephone truck.
Candy’s dad? Still keeping his wife drunk and misinformed as to Candy’s actual whereabouts.
Cut to an utterly ridiculous chop socky fight with a remarkably agile telephone repair man, which Jessie ends with a 2′ x 4″ and a terrible one liner.
Sean…..is still in the movie. His parents are still abusive.
Eddie tries to strong arm Mr. Phillips, and we finally learn why he has been so coolly indifferent to Candy’s fate. He’s not her real dad, and never will be. If Candy lives to be 21, she will inherit two million dollars from her biological father’s estate. If Candy dies before then, Avery himself will receive half that sum. This knowledge is why he married Candy’s gin blossom of a mother in the first place.
In the second piece of actual acting in this entire movie, Mr. Phillips hands Eddie back his box of cadaver ear with a casual “You forgot this”, thanks him with barely concealed glee, and sincerely wishes him a nice day. Villain transformation complete, and parting Mr. Burns hand gesture duly earned.
Eddie runs back to the van and tells Jessie why they can’t kill Candy, if they want to see any sort of profit.
Unfortunately, Alan is already on his way up to the hills to do precisely that.
This is what happens when the annoying child actor is the director’s real life son. Rather than the at least semi exciting chase that is currently happening off screen, we get a TV movie of the week presentation of Son-Rise: The Miracle Of Denim. He loosens Candy’s blindfold, but can’t untie her. Candy then begs him to get the police. Having failed miserably at everything but grinding the plot to a screeching halt, Sean hides in the open attic trapdoor when he hears Alan coming.
As he has been planning the whole movie, Alan brutally beats and rapes Candy, so she “won’t die a virgin”. It’s awful, and made worse by the fact that Sean is still there, and can see everything from his vantage point.
Eddie and Jessie arrive, and while too late to stop the rape, he nearly kills Alan for doing it.
In a spectacular misread of the room, the follow up to this is several scenes of flatfooted slapstick involving stray cats, goofy chases and Sean trying to use a talking toy to summon help. In more side splitting hilarity, the attempt at a phone call leads to a cantankerous Jewish deli owner telling Sean to shove a salami up his ass.
I can’t stand him either, but that was harsh.
There’s a solid 30 minutes more padding to the plot, but both this film and this write up have run long as it is. Assume bad jokes and drawn out scenes of Sean. Here’s the highlight reel:
Eddie has hidden Candy in the hole with a newly concealed breathing tube, to fool the others into thinking she is dead.
The titular Snatchers get themselves a gun, but stop by the house and kill Candy’s mom with a knife (?!)
They finally manage to force Mr. Phillips to empty his store’s safe and make with the diamonds.
Alan shoots Mr. Phillips and is about to shoot Jessie to increase his cut, but Eddie kills him first.
A wounded but not dead Mr. Phillips shoots Jessie in the parking lot, steals a car and starts following Eddie into the hills. The car chase is sped up like a bad episode of “The Benny Hill Show”, and there’s more wah wah pedal pseudo funk.
Everyone caught up? Good. Lets end this thing.
Eddie shoots and kills Candy’s stepfather…….
…….. and as he had promised earlier, Eddie begins furiously digging to free Candy from the hole.
Only for Sean to pop up out of nowhere with Mr. Phillips’ gun, and shoot Eddie dead in some sort of bizarre reverse MacGuffin that absolutely NOBODY wanted. He then happily slides down the hill, and shoots his parents for good measure. Candy’s paniced breathing gets louder on the soundtrack, before some familiar folky chords kick in:
Let’s take a journey deep into the heart of the public domain, to talk about “Scream Bloody Murder” a negative bank balance budget 70’s slasher that can be found everywhere from the Internet Archive to $5 DVD sets at big box retailers. The leading man is a one film wonder, and every print I can get my hands on is damaged and so yellowed it looks jaundiced. Even so, “Scream Bloody Murder” in slightly better shape than “Death Drug” by virtue of having actually made it onto the lowest rungs of DVD.
However, it is also a fantastic example of a basic class of filmic dumpster fire. These sorts of films wander out of obscurity by virtue of sheer manic gusto. Plot elements and set pieces are piled on top of each other in pedal to the metal crescendos of sex, violence, and sheer weirdness. Plotting or tension building is irrelevant, plot threads, characters, or entire chunks of the film are blithely made non entities in service of the next passing thought. Given budgetary constraints and often concise run times, if you go several steps too far as standard procedure, one of the 8769476834678937 ideas you’ve thrown against the wall will stick before the end credits roll. It’s filmmaking as Mad Libs. The result might be comic. Its also likely nonsensical.The zippy pacing and low investment of effort threshold will also probably go a long way toward making the end result entertaining overall. Now let’s get to “Scream Bloody Murder”:
The pre credit open is a farmer working next to a tractor, while his bowl cut sporting moppet plays nearby. As soon as Daddy’s back is turned, the kid hops into the driver’s seat, and mangles dear old Dad to death under the wheels. Why? Because someone remembered “The Bad Seed” was a huge hit in 1956.
In a lightning fast bit of instant karma, the kid then loses control of the tractor, falls down, and MANAGES TO RIP OFF HIS OWN HAND under those same wheels. We are at the 3 minute mark, and we’ve already had two bloody “industrial accidents” and as much straightforward exposition as we are going to get regarding anything that happens in this entire movie.
Post credits we get a quick scene of the dime store bad seed getting hauled off to a mental ward, then a flash forward to the adult version reading (via voiceover) a letter from his mother. We learn our protagonist’s name is Matthew (Fred Holbert in his only film role), asylums look like mid tier day spas with kicky little striped robes, Matthew’s mom has been too busy to visit because of her new boyfriend, and that Matty boy now has a hook for a hand, likely because it was the cheapest way to explain away the missing one. It still gets a stinger music cue straight out of “Dark Shadows”.
We get the director’s credit (Marc B. Ray, who only helmed that particular chair for 3 films) and a pouring blood graphic to cut to Matt’s homecoming after being released. Too bad it’s the same day as Mom’s wedding to that pesky boyfriend, and no one even knew the he was arriving back. Once the newly minted husband & wife do sort out who the one handed man is in their driveway, they attempt to seem remotely interested. Matt tosses a snitty shit fit worthy of any teenage edgelord that ever moped across a shopping mall to the Orange Julius.
When Matt takes a break from sulking and farmwork to peep on his mom & stepfather kissing in the garden, he promptly murders them. The unmitigated gall of getting married and seeming happy about it was bad enough, but when stepdaddy kisses Mommy/Madonna (and makes her a filthy whore) he dispatches them both….with an axe and a rock. Even though he has a sharp object attached to his arm.
Matthew then hits the road and runs…… from the mother of all Oedipus complexes. He hallucinates his mommy being mauled by filthy men in everyone he meets, and none of the women he “saves” appreciate his sacrifice, so they get bloodily dispatched too. The newlyweds who pick him up hitchhiking? He bludgeons the man with a rock and then drowns the woman in a stream. The imagined taunts of his dead mother and step father ring loudly enough in his ears that they drown out the smooth jazz on the soundtrack, as he once again makes haste to avoid the rising body count.
Meeting painter/hooker with a heart of gold Vera(Leigh Matthews, a two film wonder), things brighten a touch for our little Matt. He compliments her art, renames her Daisy, brings her flowers, and kills a john for treating her poorly. If that isn’t love, he doesn’t know what is. Also, the dead john? Killed with Vera’s stolen palette knife. What do the death sequences of this film and the song “Triumph” by the Wu Tang Clan have in common?
No hooks to be found in either of them.
Desperate to impress and to make good on his claims of wealth and success to fulfill his inane white knight fantasy of “saving” Vera/Daisy from sex work, he murders the entire household of the closest fancy house he can find. For those keeping score at home: Time elapsed: 50 minutes Body Count: 9 Implements used: 7 Kills via Hook Hand: 0
Matthew kidnaps his lady love and steals from locals to provide her with all the creature comforts you could possibly need while tied to the stolen bed of a psychopath. I would also be remiss if I didn’t pull out this notable quotable, both for the actual content, and the perfectly petulant delivery:
Matt (to Vera/Daisy): See what I do for you? I get groceries, and clothes, and art stuff, and kill people, and do you appreciate it? No.
“Scream Bloody Murder” has always been a favorite of mine, and the sequence post kidnapping has always been a big part of the reason why. In a film whose very existence indicates a gaggle of questionable choices, Vera/Daisy never falls into the Bermuda triangle of slasher victim bad decisions. She defies Matthew’s insane directions as best as she is able, be that spitting food back into his face or insisting on being called her real name. The second Matt leaves the house, she hobbles to the phone, even if her bondage means she has to dial a rotary phone with her tongue (a rather impressive skill). She hops downstairs and makes noise when she hears the doorbell. She’s always plotting escape, and eventually she finds Matt’s Achilles heel. Like every other character based on Norman Bates’ basic template, he’s terrified of women, terrified of sexuality, and female sexual agency makes him just as limp as his knives and threats are sharp. In the context of needing a bath, Vera/Daisy forces him to attempt to play pool with a rope, and upends the power dynamic just long enough for another chance to flee.
Unfortunately, just as Vera/Daisy’s plan starts to work out, the unfamiliar sensations of wanting to be filthy cause Matthew’s hallucinations of Mommie Dearest to come back back in full force. He snaps, and finally slashes Vera/Daisy’s throat with the hook. The one character we have reason to care about is just a few STEPS from freedom, and Matthew FINALLY learns to keep it simple, stupid.
Matt’s mind completely snaps, and hallucinations of all of his victims stalk him, cackling ungodly loud on the soundtrack. He runs away, then steals a car, abandoning it to try to hide in a church. Unsure if what he is seeing are real ghosts or tricks of his own mind, we see him finally get his fondest wish, giving the apparition of his mother a tongue kiss, then collapsing and spitting blood.
The ghosts/hallucinations/whatever raise hooks, Matthew raises his…….
…….and eviscerates himself with his own hook. Instant karma strikes again, and this dumbass goes to his grave never having learned.
This is actually the poster/tagline for a much better film. Rightfully, the term gore-nography probably belongs to either “Blood Feast” (the originator of gore horror) or ” I Drink Your Blood” (first film rated x for violence/gore)