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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Mutilator (1984)

The Slasher movie marathon continues with another favorite from when I was young and impressionable, The Mutilator. This is the first time that I’m watching the uncut version that was released by Arrow Video and I’m looking forward to checking it out with some of the restored gore.
The original title to this movie was Fall Break which makes sense since it follows a group of colleges students on an impromptu mini vacation. At the last minute one of the kids’ father calls and asks him to close up the beach house for the season. This is weird because his dad hasn’t really spoken to him since he accidentally killed his mother… Oh yeah this is going to end well! So off they go not knowing that the father is drunk and waiting to finally get even for the accident that killed his wife. Probably just meant to off his son but the friends are there so might as well murder them all.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about this movie. The plot is straightforward and easy to follow but leaves little to the imagination. For example, I found it a bit disappointing that we know who the killer is right from the beginning. The Mutilator also suffers from pacing issues as it spends too much time trying to establish characters before just killing them off. Did we really need to see them buying beer and playing drinking games? I think not. There are also a few scenes, like the beer purchase, that exist solely for laughs. It isn’t all that funny and the attempts at comedy actively work against setting the mood for some scares, stalking, and kills that occur later.
You don't want to know where that is going to end up...
In spite of what I wrote above The Mutilator is still a decent entry to the Slasher genre. While knowing who the killer is from the start annoyed me it did let them add some interesting touches to the story. First the father is a hunter, so we get several scenes of him stalking and even using bait to lure his victims into his kill zone. I can’t think of another slasher movie that uses that as well as the Mutilator does. The beach house’s walls are covered with the father’s hunting trophy’s so when he kills his victims sure enough he hangs them on the wall! Now that is gruesome and a neat touch on the part of the filmmakers.
This is what was cool in the '80s kids!
Speaking of gruesome we need to talk about what has always made The Mutilator stand out to me and that would be the special effects. We get a respectable six kills (if you include the Mom accidentally being shot!) with almost all the action on the screen. After starting off with a tame drowning that takes place mostly offscreen things get nuts. One frat boy has an unfortunate encounter with an outboard motor, another gets pinned to a wall with a trident thru the neck. A nosy cop loses his head and finally we have one of the most notorious kills in slasher history. The killer takes a nasty looking hook used to drag a large catch onto a boat and um “inserts” it into a female victim before lopping her head off. It has always been briefly seen and mostly implied in the copies of the movie that I’ve seen before. But with the new unrated Blu-Ray from Arrow Video it has been restored in all its glory.
Between the goofy theme song left over from the original title of Fall Break and the superior gore effects this is a must-see Slasher movie. The last kill alone is worth your time to see at least once. My only question is how did they ever thing they would get that past the censors?

Next up in my Slasher movie marathon is Death Screams

© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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