October 31, 2013

Horror-A-Day: The Mutilator

While the enjoyment of horror can certainly seem amplified during the month of October, what with the specter of Halloween looming large in the distance, it really is more of a lifestyle. Being a horror fan is like being a metal fan, it is something you become steeped in, it merges with your essence, it can even come to define you (at least partially). It is unlike any other gene of film. There are always darker nooks and crannies to explore for films of all budget levels. There is no excuse for not getting into horror.

Why do I open with that? Well, sometimes you will find surprises in the unlikeliest of places. I had never heard of this particular film before, had no clue what it was about, and, quite frankly did not have the highest of expectations, although the hope was there. The cover art had the great tag line "By Pick... By Axe... By Chainsaw... Bye Bye!" and claimed to be the Extreme Version with "more gore than allowed before!" Usually those promises are never lived up to, so while I always hope, I have learned o keep expectations in check.

The movie is called The Mutilator and while it feels like an amped up title to help move video copies, here is a little bit of mutilation going on here. In the very least, it is a more attractive title than it's original uninspired name, Fall Break. The title card may have changed but the original name has left is fingerprints in the form of a seriously bad opening credits song. Catchy, but terrible.

The movie does not have much of a story so much as it has a setup. Basically, it sets the stage, let's loose some players, and puts the killing in motion. It does not do anything to tell a story for comment on anything, it doesn't hide its influences. Writer/director Buddy Cooper, making his first and only film, only set out to make a horror movie with some good gore in it. He succeeded. It is far from a great movie, but it is very 80's and does manage to be a lot of fun.

As The Mutilator opens, a mother is working in the kitchen while her son is in the next room over. He is trying to do something special for his father's birthday, so he starts cleaning his guns. Little does he know that one is loaded, it goes off, killing his mother just as dad comes home. The boy's father is distraught, hitting his son before dragging mom into the living room and pouring whiskey into her mouth. What a way to open, right?

We jump ahead and the boy, Ed, is know grown and hanging with friends at a bar. He eats a call there from his father, asking him to close up their beachfront home. First, this is kind of weird, why would he call him at a bar? Second, it seems like they are not on speaking terms, so the request is a bit odd. Anyway, Ed and his friends decide to make a party of it and head out to the secluded location.

Once at the house, the young folks do what young folks do. They goof around, they split up, they have sex, they venture into poorly lit locations, and investigate stages sounds. They do all the things we have come to learn are bad to do in horror movies. Their mistakes are our benefits.

It turns to that the father's call was a ploy to get his son out there so he can kill him. The years following his wife's death have seen him go way over the edge. We get to watch him kill people in nicely gruesome fashion. We see a chainsaw kill with one of the most over acted dying scenes ever, a decapitation, a girl gutted through the crotch with a giant fish hook thing (apparently this caused a row with the censors), and a buddy cut in two, among others. Each kill is nicely realized and suitably bloody.

This is not a movie to watch for story, acting, or as a comment on society, you watch it to see people get killed in interesting ways. It definitely delivers the goods. You can look at The Mutilator as an underrated gem. It will never be considered great, but it is well worth your time should you happen to stumble across it.


Related Posts with Thumbnails


Post a Comment