THE FOREST (1982)
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Loopy 1982 slasher finds two men, Charlie (John Batis) and Steve (Dean Russell), challenging their ladies, Teddy (Ann Wilkinson) and Steve’s wife Sharon (Tomi Barrett), to a little camping excursion in the California woods. Teddy and Sharon head up to the mountains with the men deciding to follow them up early, not convinced the gals can handle themselves. As per our opening scene, though, the cannibalistic John (Gary Kent) is hiding out in those same woods after murdering his unfaithful wife (Jeanette Kelly) years before. Now the young ladies are in grave danger as the hungry hunter has his sights set on dinner…oh, and did I mention that the woods are also haunted by the spirits of John’s dead wife and kids (Corky Pigeon and Becki Burke)?
This is a terrible movie, sometimes in a good way, but even that wears out it’s welcome long before it ends. Written and directed by Don Jones, this flick meanders along as the homeless John tracks and lamely kills his prey. At the same time John’s dead children visit his intended victims and there are some laughably awful scenes of our two couples, especially Sharon, conversing with the echo-voiced offspring of the demented cannibal. Their mother even appears to the campers randomly looking for her children that she abused in life. Even more amusing is that none of the four campers find it odd they are confronted with ghosts and engage in conversations with the spirits as if it was something they do often. WTF? Equally laughable is that Steve and Charlie even spend a night in John’s lair and nothing about a man living in a cave six hours hike from civilization sets off any alarms, it’s only until John admits killing his wife…then they get a little nervous. Also, how did John carry his chair and candelabra six hours hike into the woods to decorate his cave? Even without the eccentric goofiness of the script, this is a slow paced flick that is edited very badly and even the kills are lamely executed. Sometimes the flick gives the feeling of being somebody’s home movie they made with friends on a weekend and maybe it was. The acting and dialog are awful and it’s no surprise this flick is an 80s obscurity…though the look and feel is more 70s.
Overall, the only reason to watch this is to see the goofball plot unfold for yourself. I did find some of it amusing, though cannibalistic homeless men and their apparition-like family did wear out it’s welcome rather quickly. The dialog and acting are awful, the editing barely coherent at times and even the kills are lamely choreographed and amount to some fake blood thrown around. Hard to believe that Don Jones made five other movies besides this one. Only if you’re really curious.
Rated 2 (out of 4) spectral ghost children…and it only gets THAT cause I found some of this dreck amusing.