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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Killer Workout (1987)





Slasher movies were a staple of the eighties and so was Aerobics. Eventually the two had to cross paths and they do with this movie. At this point the decade had already given us killers at summer camps, coal mines, trains, and the prom. Why not toss a gym in for fun? This year’s marathon wraps up with Killer Workout aka. Aerobicide.

The movie opens with a woman returning home. She gets a message on her answering machine that she got the cover of a magazine and needs to shoot it next week. But her agent mentions her having a tan so off she goes to the tanning salon where a tanning bed takes her from a beautiful bronze to crispy critter. We watch her burn up and then the action moves to a gym run by a woman named Rhonda. How does this connect? Oddly enough I keep reading plot synopsis’ that mention Rhonda is supposed to be the twin sister of the woman burned by the tanning bed, but I’ll be damned if that is ever mentioned in the movie.

The rest of the movie is an unknown killer targeting customers of the gym for death. Most of them die in and around it. The bodies are found, and the police called. Even with an officer stationed on the premises they just can’t stop the killer! Eventually the detective in charge of the case makes some connections and tries to stop the murders. Let me stop here for a minute. This is one of those movies where the protagonist, the detective, comes to a conclusion with information that the audience was never given. As a fan of murder mysteries, I hate that. In the end the killer is identified, and the movie makes some attempts as bringing it to a conclusion.

Let me be very clear that the story and writing is lousy. Either there are important bits of dialogue missing or they simply never shot some scenes because there are many confusing twists and turns that aren’t ever explained. I don’t want to get more specific because of spoilers. Another thing that bugged me is that in spite of nine or ten bodies piling up at the business they never close! While a couple of characters talk about everyone quitting but then we get another montage of an aerobics class that is packed. So, there are still a lot of people showing up.

What I can say positively about the movie is that they understand and follow the Slasher formula. The kills are spaced out pretty well and they put some effort into them. We get a respectable thirteen kills with some highlights being a throat cutting, hanging, lots of safety pin stabbing (weird choice of weapon), and even death by convertible top… well okay it was probably more because they had a convertible rather than a hard top. Now be warned that the level of gore here isn’t crazy, but this is later in the Slasher cycle and the movies couldn’t get away with as much. Plus, I have a feeling that Killer Workout had a smaller budget. All in all I was satisfied.

The movie knows it's audience...
Okay now we get to the part where I sound super creepy. There are a lot of pretty girls, many of whom get into various stages of undress. That is a fancy way of saying naked ladies… Like it or not that is an important aspect of the Slasher genre, so I feel obligated to mention it. I can say that Killer Workout brought the goods and met that expectation. Neither of the above should be a surprise since the writer/director David A. Prior was responsible for another low budget slasher Sledgehammer just four years earlier. The guy clearly understood the formula and all in all made an acceptable entry.

To recap the story is bad and seems to be missing important details. But that isn’t a deal breaker for me because in all other ways it met my expectations of what I want when sitting down to watch a movie like this. Not everything has to be a classic, sometimes you can just be entertaining. While it is flawed Killer Workout is certainly entertaining. It seems like a perfect match for an evening with some friends and a few adult beverages.



© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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