Body Count (1986)

Hey, take a look at this: An 80s teen slasher made by the director of Cannibal Holocaust himself. Wow, you don’t say… This has to be something else, right?

 

Well…

 

The plot could be summarized as the first drafts of  any Friday The 13th film synopsis: In Body Count we meet (surprise, surprise) a group of teenagers who’s on their way to a campside to party and do stupid random shit. And guess what: a serial killer is on the loose who wears a ghoulish Halloween mask and body counts the teens one by one.

 

I wasn’t expecting much when it came to the visuals, after watching the trailer. It’s as trashy as it’s looks with some really shoddy editing choices which I refuse to believe was done by a sober person. The killing scenes are lazy and not much to be excited about, and the acting is just laughable. I can especially mention one scene where one of the dudes finds his recently murdered girlfriend,  and reacts as if he was watching his favorite football team losing. Hilarious!

 

It’s quite impressive that it took five screenwriters to come up with such an unoriginal plot and screenplay like this. Anyone with half a brain could make this on a long weekend, and not let the director’s name fool you. Ruggero Deodato either made this as a quick, half-baked attempt to cash-in on the 80s slasher mainstream, or just for shits and giggles and a a big portion of ironic distance. Not easy to tell. The film’s only strength is the simple, yet catchy soundtrack by Claudio Simonetti, with its distinctive 80s-electronic tunes.

 

I had a fun time watching Body Count, though, much thanks to the funny-bad acting and its sheer schlocky sillyness. It has enough so-bad-it’s-good moments to pick apart while watching it, and I honestly got was I was hoping for. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

It’s (as we speak) available on streaming at Filmrise, Tubi TV, Hoopla (and for us Norwegians) on Amazon Prime. The original title is Camping del terrore!

 

Body Count

 

Director: Ruggero Deodato
Original title: Camping del terrore
Country & year: Italy, 1986
Actors: Bruce Penhall, Mimsy Farmer, David Hess, Luisa Maneri, Nicola Farron, Andrew J. Lederer, Stefano Madia, John Steiner, Nancy Brilli, Cynthia Thompson, Valentina Forte, Ivan Rassimov, Elena Pompei, Charles Napier, Sven Kruger, Lorenzo Grabau, Stefano Galantucci, Clelia Fradella, Fabio Vox
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0090788/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Pieces (1982)

Pieces (1982)Boston, 1942. The movie doesn’t waste any time and gets straight to the first body count, where a young boy is in his room minding his own business while pinning a pornographic jigsaw puzzle. In comes his strict and unhinged mother, who gives him a few slaps before she throws away that filthy thing. He then picks up an axe, which he happens to be allowed to have in his room for some reason, and chops his mother to death, before he saws off her head while he smiles, and then hides in a closet. When the cops come in, they just assume that the boy was lucky and managed to hide from the unknown killer. Little did they know..

 

Then we jump 40 years later, still in Boston, where the kid we just saw in the opening have grown up to be a serial killer (No, really? Who would’ve guessed). He hunts down young female students at a college, dressed as a classic giallo-style killer with a black coat, gloves and a big hat that hides his face behind its shadows. And speaking of shadows, the look of the killer is actually inspired by the comic book character The Shadow. He has also developed an obsession with pornographic jigsaw puzzles and is fixating to make his own, personal masterpiece(s) with real body parts. The first victim gets her head chopped off under the blue sky as she lies on the lawn outside the campus, studying. The chunky gardener, played by Paul “Bluto” Smith, is the first to be suspected, of course. The killings are being further investigated by Lt. Bracken (Christopher George) who also has a suspicious eye on the socially stunned anatomy teacher Arthur Brown (Jack Taylor), who looks like a reduced Vincent Price with a bad flu.

 

The tagline for Pieces says “You don’t have to go to Texas for a Chainsaw Massacre“. It’s probably the best and fitting tagline I’ve ever read for a film like this, and it isn’t an exaggeration either. Pieces is easily one of the goriest slashers from the 1980’s with all the mandatory recipes of Blood, Tits and Gore. The effects really stand out, especially the girl who gets sawed to pieces in the toilet, and some visual highlights like the woman who gets butchered on the water bed. And as bad, wooden and stiff the acting is, which is also the funniest part of the movie, they sure were dedicated enough to deal with gallons of animal blood, fresh from the local slaughterhouse, while organs from dead animals were used as the more gorier effects. Must have smelled just like pure movie magic. There is some really bizarre dialogues here, such as one of the female students saying right of the blue and makes it pretty clear that it’s the middle of the mating season: “the most beautiful thing in the world is to smoke pot and fuck in a waterbed at the same time”. I want a T-shirt with that quote. There’s also a complete random cameo of a Bruce Lee imitator that doesn’t make any sense. But nevertheless, Pieces is a lot of bloody, brainless fun with solid entertainment value that definitely belongs in every gore-hound’s film collection.

 

Pieces

 

Director: Juan Piquer Simón
Original title: Mil gritos tiene la noche
Country & year: Spain | USA | Puerto Rico, 1982
Actors: Christopher George, Lynda Day George, Frank Braña, Edmund Purdom, Ian Sera, Paul L. Smith, Jack Taylor, Gérard Tichy, May Heatherly, Hilda Fuchs, Roxana Nieto, Cristina Cottrelli, Leticia Marfil, Silvia Gambino, Carmen Aguado
IMDb: //www.imdb.com/title/tt0082748/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The Burning (1981)

The Burning (1981)It’s a hot summer night in Camp Blackfoot, where a group of teenagers are preparing to pull the prank of the year on the camp’s caretaker, Cropsy. We learn that he’s obviously a bully who deserves a lesson, and the kids also learn in the hard way that a prank with matches and fire isn’t the best combination. They sneak into his cabin, planning to scare him with a rotten skull full of maggots and candles in its eye sockets. It gets from bad to worse when the fire gets to Cropsy himself, and he runs out in full flame, with the kids being helpless witnesses as he stumbles down to the lake. Five years later, he is released from the hospital, completely deformed and disfigured by the burning, and of course, hungry for revenge.

 

So this is the premise of “The Burning”, the film which is best known for kick-starting the movie career for the Weinstein brothers, Harvey and Bob. Having founded the company Miramax Films in 1979, with only two obscure films in its catalog, the young brothers were desperate for a hit. And having realized that making a slasher is quick and cheap and could be big business like both “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and John Carpenter’s “Halloween”, and other slashers who came and went. So, why not. Harvey Weinstein was inspired by Cropsey, a boogeyman-urban legend from New York that was a popular campfire story, but ended up using only the name for the movie’s killer. And yeah, we all know at this point who turned out to be the real boogeyman here, but that’s a whole different story. Brother Bob was involved in writing the script and their mommy Mira worked as a consultant. So this was more or less a family project. The Brit Tony Maylan, who previously made documentaries, was set to direct while Jack Sholder worked as the editor, who later made “Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge”. Yes-keyboardist Rick Wakeman gives a great soundtrack, and Tom Savini stands for the effects. But the big star here is probably a young Jason “George Costanza” Alexander in one of the roles. Here he is 22, slim and has hair. Would you imagine. This was also his debut role. And no, we don’t get a twist where Cropsy is actually Cosmo Kramer, even though it’s a hilarious thought. And enough Seinfeld references for today.

 

With some great talents in place with lots of potential, it’s too bad that the film itself is nothing much. After the opening sequence and a quick, gritty scene where Cropsy, dressed as a giallo killer, visits a brothel and find his weapon of choice with which he kills one of the whores before he heads to the camp, the film is pretty dull and boring. There’s too far between the interesting moments, and most of the second act is just lots of filler scenes where the kids bathe, smoke, and mostly do nothing to keep the interest up. No build up, no tension, just a bunch of random scenes that goes nowhere. And visually this looks more like a cheap teen comedy, where atmosphere is nowhere to be found. And the night scenes in the woods that were shot day-for-night…why even bother? This is just lazy and uninspiring. Yawn. Where did the budget go? Who knows. So, where’s all the killing scenes? In the last twenty minutes, if you’re patient. And some of them are brutal and juicy, at least.

 

And if you want to know more about the original “Cropsey”, watch the documentary “Cropsey” from 2009.

 

The Burning

 

Director: Tony Maylam
Country & year: USA, 1981
Actors: Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer, Larry Joshua, Jason Alexander, Ned Eisenberg, Carrick Glenn, Carolyn Houlihan, Fisher Stevens, Lou David
IMDb: //www.imdb.com/title/tt0082118/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Violent Shit (1989)

Violent Shit (1989)

Somewhere in Germany we see a random boy who’s playing with a ball, and gets spanked by his mom for coming home late. The boy then kills her with a meat cleaver, and our new terrifying slasher villain “Karl the Butcher” (or simply “The Butcher”) is born. Then we skip twenty years later where The Butcher is being transported by the polizei from-or-to God knows. Then one of the transporters have to take a piss, and The Butcher manages to escape as soon they stop the car, and kills them all in the worst low budget-way which is pretty indescribable. And we’re only seven minutes in, so take this as a foretaste to what the rest of the movie will be.

 

Then we’re being introduced to a nameless blonde chick who drives to a gas station, parks the car and switches to an other car to continue driving. When she arrives at the countryside and into the woods, the car dies and she yells “scheisse”, which describes this movie pretty well so far. And now that it’s gotten dark and her being all alone, what could happen? We see The Butcher from pov-view while he halts and grunts like a pig, then attacks her, and cuts one of her titties off. Make me wonder if Lars Von Trier has seen this. However, he then butches her to pieces (off camera) and eats some of her entrails. Yummy, good night.

 

Next day, The Butcher hunts for more victims in the countryside when something unexpected happens: he suddenly collapses. Maybe food poisoning from the woman’s guts he ate last night? Or maybe the actor is simply tired of this (violent) shit and realized that his performance never would lead to any Oscar Nominations, and would rather go home and play Nintendo? Who knows. Movie over? No way! We haven’t even gotten halfway through its running time. Then we meet our next victim who by a  coincidence spots The Butcher laying by the road. And, like nice and empathic people do, he checks if he needs help, which of course turns to be quite opposite when The Butcher grabs his meat cleaver and cuts his hand off. And his dick, which he don’t eat. Thank God. And in order to not waste any precious time, we’re jumping straight over to the next victim, an aggravated redneck, played by the director Andreas Schnaas himself, who yells (in German) “fucking shit”. At least, the movie seems to have a sense of self-awareness.

 

And at this point I think you know the drill: every new character who gets on camera is just set up to be the next victim and killed off as quickly as they came, like a fart in the wind. So yeah, Violent Shit couldn’t be a more blunt and fitting title: It’s Violent Shit and that’s exactly what you get. A bunch of death scenes filmed over four weeks, “directed” (to use that word loosely) by Andreas Schnaas, who is a part of the trinity of the underground horror scene from Germany, along with Olaf Ittenbach and Jörg Buttgereit. Shot with his friends and with a budget that was enough to buy some gallons of cranberry juice as fake blood, rent a low-fi Video-8 format-camera and buy a lot of Heineken. The result is something you would expect to see from some kids in their early teens made for shits and giggles in their back yard on a weekend without any goal, purpose, ambition or a script.

 

One thing’s for sure: if you’re a fan of non-budget-amateurish-splatter horror, Violent Shit won’t fail to entertain you. The witty German dialogue, which apparently are just improvised and dubbed in post-production, makes it even more funny. Also worth mentioning that Andreas Shnaaas did the impressive thing of actually managing to drag his Violent Shit to the movie theaters in Germany, but it was pulled shortly after when it got under the censor board’s radar. It eventually found its way over to the USA where it became an underground cult classic on VHS.

 

A “Five Films Collector’s Shitition” with all of the four Violent Shit-films and the zombie flick “Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence” is available from Synapse Films. Knock yourself out. I couldn’t find any trailer, but down below you can see a clip with Karl The Butcher in action showing no mercy.

 

Violent Shit

 

Director: Andreas Schnaas
Country & year: Germany, 1989
Actors: Andreas Schnaas, Gabi Bäzner, Wolfgang Hinz, Volker Mechter, Christian Biallas, Uwe Boldt, Marco Hegele
IMDb: //www.imdb.com/title/tt0094271/

 

Tom Ghoul