The Mutilator (1985)

directed by buddy cooper and john s. douglass
OK productions

More or less what the previously discussed Nightmare/Blood Harvest probably imagines itself to be, this little pic has most of what you want from a kill-crazy 1980s indie feature: actors you’ll never see again, no attempt to hide the killer’s identity from the audience, an offbeat attitude, a rockin’ homemade theme song, and imaginative death scenes. What do I mean by “offbeat” approach, you’d like to know. The theme song I mentioned is “Fall Break,” the original working title for the film. Think about that for a second, while considering that the majority of the action takes place in or around a beachside bungalow. The characters are of a similar bent – they’re caricatured but not generic – and the humorous elements remain subtle and never overwhelm, despite the fact that the entire plot setup is basically absurd. Even that fact is treated with a shrug of acknowledgement. Mutilator sets a reliable template for a successful slasher film, one which was rarely followed so well without becoming repetitious in the countless ensuing rehashes.

why did i watch this movie?

As one among hundreds (or more!) of ’80s-era slasher flicks I’d neither seen nor knew existed, I was lured in by not only the impressive title characterization but the premise: kid accidentally kills his mother while cleaning his dad’s gun; mayhem ensues.

should you watch this movie?

Operating under the premise that you enjoy ’80s-era slasher flicks, I think you’d embrace this exemplar of the genre’s charms.

highlight and low point

The fact that this film doesn’t take itself too seriously while not descending into farcical idiocy is what really recommends it, in my opinion. Who dies when is predictable, as is the climax, but that’s what eventually begat metahorror, after all.

rating from outer space: a-

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