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Since I started the website I've done a Slasher marathon every summer. This time I thought I'd start things off in the first week of...

Friday, June 15, 2018

Wacko (1982)




Before Scream there was Wacko! This quickly made movie from director Greydon Clark pokes fun at the slasher genre long before Wes Craven took his crack at it. The Slasher marathon continues with something a bit different, a comedy!

Some teenagers go to a dance but are killed by the infamous Lawnmower Killer, who then mysteriously disappears. Thirteen years later the younger sister, played by Julia Duffy, of one of the victims is still having nightmares. As we will hear many times she’s bound to be screwed up by the terrible images she must carry with her for the rest of her life. It also doesn’t hurt that the virginal girl is ready to lose her innocence to a boy who just can’t help but make lawnmower sounds when he is aroused. Yeah things are about to get silly!

When the Lawnmower Killer returns to start terrorizing the kids we are given many suspects. Could it be the creepy Dad of the girls? He does “mow” the yard a lot. Maybe it is the recently escaped mental patient that is running around the school flashing people? Or there is always the police detective who just can’t let go of the Lawnmower Killer case and insists every year that he has returned. Heck the boyfriend with the lawnmower sound issues, who is named Norman Bates, is suspicious as well. Some people are killed, jokes are made, and eventually everything is revealed.

Be warned about Wacko. It was made fast and on the cheap to cash in on the slasher genre by making fun of the tropes that were being established. We have a ton suspects, lots of teenagers running off to have sex, a silly looking killer with a signature weapon, and an obscene phone call! We even get a small lawnmower that bursts out of a character’s chest ala Alien! One of the funniest bits is that fact that no matter how many times Duffy’s character “kills” the Lawnmower Killer he keeps coming back. She shoots him, stabs him, and runs him over. This leads to a funny line, “You asshole can’t you stay dead!”.

Of course Norman brings his Mom to supper!
The jokes are all over the place with some scoring and others missing. The filmmakers are certainly giving it everything they have. Some of the highlights include George Kennedy’s character, the creepy Dad, who keeps spying on his girls inappropriately. The boyfriend named Norman Bates has a funny payoff at a family dinner and there is even a goofy car chase. I noticed the best jokes are delivered by George Kenney and Julia Duffy, who are both very funny in Wacko. Hell, Andrew Dice Clay even has a small part so there was some talent involved here.

This is the kind of flick where they just keep tossing things at the wall and see what sticks. While that doesn’t make for a great movie with a lot of re-watch value it does make it worth checking out once. I don’t remember ever having seen Wacko back in the slasher movie phase, but I might have. It isn’t’ that memorable. But it’s worth a few laughs which I think was the whole point. With that lukewarm recommendation I’m moving onto my next slasher flick!


© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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