TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE SLAYER (1982)

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THE SLAYER (1982)

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Another abscure 80s slasher that I caught up with recently. This one tells the story of emotionally troubled artist Kay (Sarah Kendall). She’s been having bad dreams and translates her visions into her art. She goes on a vacation with her husband David (Alan McRae), brother Eric (Frederick Flynn) and sister in-law Brooke (Carol Kottenbrook) to a deserted island house…which in a horror film is a sure sign of trouble. Obviously, she sees things on the island that echo her dreams and soon those nightmares may become reality as someone…or something…is stalking her and her companions with deadly intent.

As directed by J.S. Cardone (Wicked Little Things), this slow paced horror resembles a 70s flick more than the type of horror associated with the 80s. There is some atmosphere, but since William R. Ewing’s story has a small number isolated on the island, the kills are few and far between. There is a lot of dialog as Kay feels something is very wrong and her husband and brother continue to doubt her. Even when one of their number disappears, they still blow her off. This makes for a slow moving 80+ minutes and when we finally get to the confrontation at the end, it’s over far too quickly and with a final scene that elicits groans more than chills. There is some decent gore, but again too little of it to make that a focal point and the acting is mediocre at best, so it’s not like we have some dramatic intensity to liven things up. Aside from atmospheric locations and the sporadic splashes of gore, there really isn’t much going on here.

Overall, 80s completists might want to take a look to satisfy the need to see everything horror from this prolific decade. Otherwise, aside from some atmosphere, creepy locations…why does a private island need a theater anyway?…and a few gory kills, there is not much to recommend to those looking for scares, gore or even some good nostalgia. Robert Folk’s score did remind me, here and there, of Piero Montanari’s score from the 1988 GhostHouse but, that was the only curiosity that really caught my attention.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 pitchforks.

slayer rating

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: WICKED LITTLE THINGS (2006)

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WICKED LITTLE THINGS (2006)

During the early 1900s in a rural Pennsylvania mine, a group of children used as workers are killed when a dynamite charge is used unsafely while they’re inside. Now in modern day, pretty widow Karen (Lori Heuring) and her two daughters, young Emma, (Chloe Grace Moretz) and teen Sarah, (Scout Taylor-Compton) move into a recently inherited property in the area. Soon supernatural occurrences begin to happen and Karen finds out that the vengeful children still inhabit the woods at night sating their hunger for revenge by devouring anyone foolish enough to be out there after dark. Worse yet, her family may be tied to these ghouls in a much deeper way then just living in their domain.

Director J.S. Cardone gives the film a continual atmosphere of dread and keeps a story, that might have gotten silly, appropriately creepy. Cinematographer Emil Topuzov gives the film a nice visual style and makes good use of the dark Bulgarian woods (which stand in for rural Pennsylvania) and the setting of the old house our characters occupy. The cast does well, too with Heuring giving depth to the strong-willed mother trying to start a new life for her girls and now faced with an unnatural horror. As the daughters, the young, future ‘Hit Girl’ Moretz is good as Emma, whom one of the dead children is drawn to, and Taylor-Compton plays the rebellious teen very well. They are joined by genre vets Geoffrey Lewis as the local handyman and Ben Cross as a hermit with ties to the flesh eating specters.

The film’s not perfect, the pace is a bit slow, though, I feel that is deliberate, and some of the plot elements are a bit cliche’ for this type of flick…ominous warnings from the local eccentric, local teens ignoring the legends and going in the woods at night…but one can forgive some of the flaws and familiarities as the film provides enough chills and there is some decent gore too. Overall, a spooky little horror flick that never tries to be more then what it is. Definitely worth a look for a movie night horror fest.

3 pick axes.

my bloody Valentine 2009 rating

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