Ghost Stories: Graveyard Thriller (1986)

Directed by Lynn Silver [Other horror films: N/A]

I first heard about this over ten years ago from a VHS-collecting friend of mine, and it’s from him that I also heard last about this. That may be written poorly, but my point is that Ghost Stories: Graveyard Thriller is quite obscure, and after finally seeing it, it’s not difficult to see why.

If you’re familiar with An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe, then you’ll understand what this straight-to-video movie was going for. If you’re not, here’s a little background: An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe was a 50-minute movie in which Vincent Price recited four stories written by Edgar Allan Poe. They weren’t normal anthology stories – it was purely spoken word. And because Vincent Price was reciting them, it’s a nifty experience.

This movie was going for the same thing – we have a host (Bob Jenkins) who is walking around the Tuesday Hill Boneyard (classy cemetery name) and introducing extended family members (cousins, a brother-in-law, that type of thing), each of whom have a story to tell. They tell their story – occasionally with props (such as a coffin, a bolt, or a severed hand) – and it’s onto the next tale.

Overall, the whole thing lasts 56 minutes or so, and while perhaps the most low-budget thing I’ve seen in my life, I can’t say I wasn’t occasionally entertained. Only two of the five stories are really worth it, but it’s more the whole of the product than the individual pieces, and this was just fascinating.

Though it’s not listed anywhere in the credits, I believe this was filmed in South Carolina. Not only was South Carolina mentioned at least three times throughout the film, but also the production company is named Alamance Entertainment – Alamance is one of the counties of South Carolina. That goes a long way to explain some of these accents, some of which are quite southern, and adds a little spice to the recited stories.

Of the five stories (‘Where Have You Been Billy Boy, Billy Boy,’ ‘Mr. Fox,’ ‘Buried Alive,’ ‘Hunting Werewolves for Uncle Albert,’ and ‘Reunion’), the only two that I’d recommend based on content would be ‘Where Have You Been Billy Boy, Bill Boy’ and ‘Mr. Fox.’ ‘Mr. Fox’ is narrated by one Laura Kay, and while she’s not great, the story itself is sort of fun. ‘Where Have You Been Billy Boy, Billy Boy’ is nicely narrated by Ralph Lucas (who also wrote the story), and the story is perhaps the best written, what with an asylum, disfigured patients, and rats who sexually assault women.

‘Buried Alive’ isn’t the most original nor most interesting tale, but it does possess a deeply amusing aura, as it’s narrated by one Sandra McLees (who in fact not only wrote ‘Buried Alive,’ but also wrote ‘Mr. Fox’). McLees is a Southern woman through-and-through, and her dramatic recital of this story is just great (“Oh God, they’re gunna bury me alive!!”). It’s what men refer to when they speak of the ‘higher arts.’

‘Hunting Werewolves for Uncle Albert,’ which is actually a story told by our host Bob Jenkins, is just too silly to really get into. It has some okay portions (such as Uncle Albert telling the host that if he were a jaybird, “it’d fly backerds” [my attempted phonetic pronunciation of how this guy pronounces ‘backwards’]), but it also has Frankenstein’s monster chewing tobacco with the main character, and just has a terrible ending.

Somewhat related, the final story, being ‘Reunion’ recited by Maria Hayden, was occasionally funny, but mostly a generic yarn about witchcraft.

I probably enjoy this more than I should, but that doesn’t mean I’m fooling myself into thinking it’s a good movie. No doubt it’s interesting, and were it a play, it might go over well, but despite some good recitals (Sandra McLees and Ralph Lucas) and an animated, occasionally-amusing host (Bob Jenkins), this really isn’t a movie I think would appeal to many.

Because I love cheap, SOV horror films, I knew I had to see it, and I’m happy I did. Even more, it wasn’t near as dull as I thought it’d be. Despite all of that, though, it’s definitely not a good movie, and more a curiosity than anything else.


Chopping Mall (1986)

Directed by Jim Wynorski [Other horror films: Not of This Earth (1988), The Return of Swamp Thing (1989), Transylvania Twist (1989), The Haunting of Morella (1990), Sorority House Massacre II (1990), Hard to Die (1990), Scream Queen Hot Tub Party (1991), 976-Evil II (1991), Ghoulies IV (1994), Sorceress (1995), The Wasp Woman (1995), Vampirella (1996), Storm Trooper (1998), The Bare Wench Project (2000), Raptor (2001), The Bare Wench Project 2: Scared Topless (2001), Project Viper (2002), Wolfhound (2002), The Bare Wench Project 3: Nymphs of Mystery Mountain (2002), Cheerleader Massacre (2003), Bare Wench Project: Uncensored (2003), The Thing Below (2004), The Curse of the Komodo (2004), Gargoyle (2004), Komodo vs. Cobra (2005), The Witches of Breastwick (2005), The Witches of Breastwick 2 (2005), Bare Wench: The Final Chapter (2005), Cry of the Winged Serpent (2007), House on Hooter Hill (2007), Bone Eater (2007), Vampire in Vegas (2009), Cleavagefield (2009), The Hills Have Thighs (2010), Dinocroc vs. Supergator (2010), Camel Spiders (2011), Piranhaconda (2012), Gila! (2012), Scared Topless (2015), Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (2015), Legend of the Naked Ghost (2017), CobraGator (2018)]

In many ways, Chopping Mall is a pretty simple movie, taking common elements and meshing them together decently well. It’s not special, and it’s not even particularly memorable, but it’s digestible fun, which counts in it’s favor.

Apparently far more based on Gog (1954) than it was Short Circuit (which came out a year before), the film follows security robots going awry and chasing down eight teens who stay after hours and party in a furniture store (a spiritual prequel to Hide and Go Shriek, some might say). The variety of the kills isn’t really that high, but you do get the ever-classic head being blown off by a laser, which was actually repeated during the beginning of the credits. The electrocutions were sort of cheesy, but still fun. Oh, and there was a slit throat, so there’s some “chopping” for you.

Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet) was solid as a more-reserved teen who quickly became one of the best fighters this group of kids had. She was fun, occasionally adorable, and easy to root for. Few of the other seven teens stand out, though. Tony O’Dell was okay, Suzee Slater had quality breasts (and a fantastic death scene), and even Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond, and most famously, Beyond the Gates) was just eh. No one else stood out aside from Dick Miller, who had just a single scene, but as always with Miller, it was a lot of fun.

As one would hope, the soundtrack is pretty fun (albeit somewhat generic) 80’s synth, but even more fun were the multiple references to other movies. Obviously the posters of The Slumber Party Massacre, Galaxy of Terror, and Forbidden World were visible toward the beginning, but you have Miller’s character being named Walter Paisley (the same name of a character he played in A Bucket of Blood), and then there’s Roger’s Little Shop of Pets (of course referencing The Little Shop of Horrors). Some characters were watching Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) early on before the fun with the robots began. They even threw in some characters from Eating Raoul (a movie I didn’t particularly like, but hey, whateves), so overall, this was fun and playful.

What wasn’t fun or playful was that scene in the pet shop, though – tarantulas probably have very good souls, but they terrify me (just as they did in Deadly Blessing), and that scene in which they’re crawling on Maroney’s arm just freaks me out. That was legit the hardest scene to watch in the film.

With plenty of fun lines, such as Maroney’s final one-liner, and a good, quick pace, Chopping Mall is a movie that got it’s job done and done well. Sure, there’s only one really memorable death scene, and few other scenes really stand out (though I do love the silhouette of the killbot snapping it’s pincers), but even knowing that, Chopping Mall is fun, and it has been since I first saw it years back.

Thank you. Have a nice day.


Night of the Creeps (1986)

Directed by Fred Dekker [Other horror films: The Monster Squad (1987)]

This is a solid piece of campy fun, and while Night of the Creeps is a rather tongue-in-cheek film, it’s not too much as to be distracting, and ends up an all-around entertaining movie.

Honestly, there’s not that much to the story, and ignoring the stylistic black-and-white flashback introduction, the movie takes place over the course of just a few days. That doesn’t make the film weak, by any means, but it certainly doesn’t have that epic feel you might expect (which is probably to it’s benefit).

If there’s one place where I think the movie maybe went a bit overboard, it’s with the constant references to famous horror-related directors and actors, such as Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter, Steve Miner, Sam Raimi, and David Cronenberg, among others. We got it after the first few names popped up. On the other hand, Atkins’ saying “Thrill me” never got old, nor was I unhappy to see Dick Miller for a few moments.

Jason Lively wasn’t the best here – I just didn’t really care for the look of him. I think he was a fine companion piece with Jill Whitlow, though, and his friendship with Steve Marshall (who, in himself, was a sort of unique character, what with the disability) was sort of nice to see.

Let’s be honest, though. The true star here is Dick Miller, who’s been in tons of horror films, from Chopping Mall to Gremlins, The Little Shop of Horrors to The Howling, Demon Knight – wait, no. Upon further examination, I think Tom Atkins is the true star, though as always, it’s fantastic to see Dick Miller pop up, even though it’s for only a single scene.

Tom Atkins (The Fog, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, and Maniac Cop) was great here. You couldn’t help but feel for him upon learning about his full backstory, and that scene in which he decides to help out Spanky as opposed to killing himself was oddly touching, as was the conclusion. Atkins was great here, and I thought he brought a lot to this film, especially since virtually no one else here aside from Miller had experience with horror.

The special effects are all pretty good aside from that pile of slugs at the end, which looked somewhat janky (and to be fair, that dog puppet didn’t look the best either). Slugs are admittedly probably hard to mess up, but they looked good here, and the zombie designs were all admirable (if a bit uninspired, but that wasn’t the focus, so I can’t complain).

With quite a few amusing quotes throughout (including the one on the poster about the ‘good news/bad news’) and a good sense of what this movie was going for, Night of the Creeps is a good film that’s well-worth it’s cult classic status. It doesn’t blow me away, but it’s always a fun watch.


From Beyond (1986)

Directed by Stuart Gordon [Other horror films: Re-Animator (1985), Dolls (1986), Daughter of Darkness (1990), The Pit and the Pendulum (1991), Castle Freak (1995), Dagon (2001), Bunker of Blood: Chapter 5: Psycho Sideshow: Demon Freaks (2018)]

I have to admit that when I saw this film for the first time, it didn’t click. If you were to ask me what I didn’t like about it, I don’t know entirely if I would be able to give a great answer. The truth is I’m pretty sure I watched it on the same day I watch seven or eight other classic horror films, and this just got lost in the sauce, as Howie Hawkins (the presidential candidate I voted for in 2020) would often say.

So seeing it again was a nice surprise. I still can’t admit to loving it, because I don’t. I think the atmosphere is great, the main performances are solid, even the story is decently interesting (with elements of both Videodrome and a sprinkle of Prince of Darkness thrown in), but I lose interest in the last thirty minutes or so (once they leave the house and hit the mental institution). It’s not a bad direction, but I didn’t care much for it.

Of course, Jeffrey Combs (who I recently saw in The Attic Expeditions, and is most well-known for Re-Animator and voicing the Question in Justice League Unlimited) is a treat to see here, and there’s a  decent amount of sympathy felt for his character despite not really knowing much about him. Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator and Chopping Mall) was attractive here, especially in her glasses. Ken Foree (who, in fact, I forgot was in this – I loved him in Dawn of the Dead) was a lot of fun too.

Even with the strong cast and amazing special effects, the atmosphere doesn’t carry over to the mental institution, at least in my view. It’s still a good movie, but I’m rating it around average, and can only hope that I eventually grow to enjoy it as much as many other seem to.


April Fool’s Day (1986)

Directed by Fred Walton [Other horror films: When a Stranger Calls (1979), I Saw What You Did (1988), Trapped (1989), Homewrecker (1992), When a Stranger Calls Back (1993)]

Though mired somewhat by a mixed reception, April Fool’s Day is a classic that I will never not enjoy.

A large part of this is due to all of the characters. In truth, the kills themselves are somewhat light, but the variety of characters here still add a lot of vitality to the movie, and the opening scenes, while almost overwhelming insofar character introductions (there are quite a few characters thrown at us that we need to keep track of), do a good job of showing us who we’ll be watching for the next hour and a half.

So let’s take an unnecessarily lengthy time and go over each and every cast-member, shall we?

Jay Baker cracks me up here. He plays the Texas boy Harvey, and he’s fun in pretty much every single scene he’s in. It helps that he wants to plow some fields wink wink. Deborah Goodrich (Nikki) never really stuck with me, but she’s in the movie, so she’s fine too. It helps that her name is Mary O’Reilly O’Toole O’Shea, and she fucks on the first date. You know who else is fine? Ken Olandt (Rob, who was also in Leprechaun), as he’s a solid protagonist and there’s little to really dislike him for.

Griffin O’Neil (Skip) is of good quality. No complaints. Leah Pinsent (Nan) is probably my favorite character, especially toward the end when she’s just trying to read her book in peace amidst the celebrations going on. I really find her a lot of fun here, as Nan is totally my type. Clayton Rohner (Chaz) is something else, and of course, in this case, ‘something else’ means a lot of fun. He also wants to hide the sausage with Thomas F. Wilson (Back to the Future, brah), and seeing Rohner and Wilson just goof around like that is a lot of fun.

I don’t know if Amy Steel stands out amidst the characters as much as she did earlier in Friday the 13th Part 2, but she still makes for a pretty solid focal point. It’s Deborah Foreman (my girl Muffy) who really shows talent, though her obviously different personality in the latter half of the film felt almost too telling (which I guess is the point, so I won’t complain). Foreman’s probably best well known for, aside from this one, Destroyer, Waxwork, Lobster Man from Mars, and the ever-classic Valley Girl (this last one is, unfortunately, not horror), and I definitely think she’s a lot of fun here, from beginning to end.

Certainly, it could be said the kills are lacking. Much of the action, such as it is, happens off-screen, and usually that would be at least a mild cause for concern, but it works here due to, one, the nature of the story, and secondly, you’re already having a lot of fun watching these guys hang out, mess around, and get fooled by fake cigars, so the fact that the blood is a bit light isn’t a giant issue.

As for the conclusion, I think it’s pretty suspenseful, and they really get all the juice they possibly could out of the situation (I do love it that when Kit finally figures out what’s going on, Rob is still bellowing in the background). It’s worth mentioning too that, even had I not loved the ending (and I’m not going as far as to say I loved it, but I never had a problem with it), it wouldn’t badly impact the rest of the film – look at Slaughter High. That had perhaps one of the worst endings imaginable, and it still rocks in awesomeness.

From the beautiful island setting to the collection of fun and playful characters (I really can’t get enough of the cast – fantastic job all around getting these performers together), April Fool’s Day has never disappointed me. It’s not the best the 80’s has to offer, but it is pretty damn good, and I’ll stand by that.


This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss April Fool’s Day, a true classic.

Crawlspace (1986)

Directed by David Schmoeller [Other horror films: Tourist Trap (1979), Catacombs (1988), Puppet Master (1989), The Arrival (1991), Netherworld (1992), Possessed (2005), Little Monsters (2012), Puppet Master: Blitzkrieg Massacre (2018), Death Heads: Brain Drain (2018), Carnage Collection – Puppet Master: Trunk Full of Terror (2022)]

Honestly, there’s not really a lot to Crawlspace. Oh, sure, it’s short, at only an hour and twenty minutes long, but more to the point, there’s not a whole lot of story here. Girl moves into an apartment building, girl hears strange noises, girl finds out landlord is a Nazi. I mean, we’ve all been there, right?

Well, perhaps not, but it is true that this movie doesn’t really feel that active. It’s not that there’s really a boring moment here, because I don’t think it drags at any point, it’s more that it just felt, for lack of a better adjective, shallow.

Respect where respect is due, Klaus Kinski gives a great performance (apparently he wasn’t that enjoyable off-camera, which was interesting to learn). It’s not that his character is filled with unique backstory or emotion, it’s just that he plays his role in a very creepy, yet subtle, style, and he’s pretty much all you’re watching when on-screen.

Problematically, he’s about one of the only reasons to go out of your way to watch this, though. It’s not that the other performances are bad, or even lacking (I personally enjoyed the main character, played by one Talia Balsam), it’s just that there’s not a lot to this movie, and Kinski’s character is pretty much the focus for a large portion of it.

Hell, most of the kills themselves aren’t exactly that memorable, save for maybe the chair scene, and while I’ll give credit to the ending for being somewhat suspenseful (a chase through air ducts being both claustrophobic and tense), along with the woman trapped in the cage added an additional uneasy vibe, I just couldn’t find it in me to call this an overly memorable movie.

I think I’ve seen this one maybe three times before, perhaps only two. No matter how many times I saw it before this most recent viewing, though, I don’t think I was ever amazed with it. No doubt that Crawlspace is competent, and occasionally compelling, but it’s certainly not much more than that. Not bad with a single watch, but I really don’t think multiple viewings does this one much good.


This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen to the wonderful video below to hear Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Crawlspace.

Witchboard (1986)

Directed by Kevin Tenney [Other horror films: Night of the Demons (1988), The Cellar (1988), Witchtrap (1989), Witchboard 2: The Devil’s Doorway (1993), Pinocchio’s Revenge (1996), The Second Arrival (1998), Endangered Species (2002), Brain Dead (2007)]

I’ll be honest, this was a bit of a disappointing rewatch. I saw this film once before quite some time back, and I remembered having a good enough time with it. Seeing it again, though, I struggle to exactly capture why I felt that before. Some of the movie was interesting, but overall, I can’t help but see Witchboard as moderately underwhelming.

As far as leads go, Tawny Kitaen, Todd Allen, and Stephen Nichols are fine. Both Nichols’ and Allen’s characters can be dicks, but hey, it’s the manly competition to get the girl, so why not? As it is, their story is decent, as they used to be friends, fell apart, and through the course of the film, begin to again get on friendly terms. If there’s any performance here that’s really memorable, though, it’s Kathleen Wilhoite as a medium Zarabeth, who’s wacky but decently entertaining.

Some of the creepy scenes here, including dream sequences, are solid, and the special effects throughout, while nothing amazing, are still certainly decent. It’s just that the story isn’t necessarily my favorite thing, and though elements are sort of interesting (such as the mystery behind the spirit that’s going after Kitaen’s character), all pulled together, it doesn’t do a lot for me.

Witchboard isn’t as good as I remember, which is a shame, because, as I said, I recall having a solid time with this one. It’s still an okay movie, and for a supernatural flick from the latter half of the 1980’s, it’s decent, but unless my view drastically changes the next time I chance this one, Witchboard, for what it does right, is probably a bit below average.


Aliens (1986)

Directed by James Cameron [Other horror films: Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981)]

While it’s true that it took me until my most-recent viewing of Alien to fully appreciate it, Aliens is a movie I loved from ‘hello,’ and it’s probably the best horror/action/science fiction movie in the history of the moving pictures.

Let’s dispense with the problems first, though:

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the myriad of great performances (it’d almost be easier to talk about those who didn’t make a positive impression, but that didn’t strike me as fair).

I loved Sigourney Weaver in the first movie, but she’s even better here. Once she takes control, she really takes control (the scene in which Ripley usurps Gorman is fantastic), and though she’s all bad-ass, she still has a sensitive side, as seen when dealing with Newt (Carrie Henn) and Hudson (Bill Paxton). She is the exact right person in that situation, and I enjoyed watching her kick ass throughout (especially in regards to Paul Reiser’s character).

And speaking of Reiser, boy, does he cause some whiplash. At first, he seems a decent guy, one of the few trying to back-up Ripley’s experience and get her back into a suitable profession, but then we find out something later on that shines a whole new light on him, and he quickly becomes one of the most hated characters in the whole of cinema (perhaps an overstatement, but man, I utterly abhor this guy, and I definitely thought he should have been killed just as soon as his secret and actions were discovered). Reiser does a great job playing a terrible character, so kudos.

It’s Gorman, played by William Hope, who at first seems to be the main antagonist. Very quickly, though, we find out that he’s not so much a bad man as he is just under-experienced. He certainly thought he had control of the situation, but when Ripley shoves him aside, he takes it gracefully, and I always low-key appreciated him for that. Another individual who takes a little while to really make a place for themselves is Hicks, played by Michael Biehn. To be honest, I barely noticed him until he retained command, but I loved him as soon as he sided with Ripley, and from there on out, he gave it his best to protect everyone.

Others who merit a positive mention are probably obvious, being Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Bill Paxton, Mark Rolston, and Al Matthews. Henriksen as the android Bishop really did well here. Being an android, he didn’t need to have much in the way of emotions, so Henriksen was a perfect fit, and I definitely enjoyed him throughout (especially towards the end). Goldstein kicked ass about as much as Weaver, and her comeback to Hudson near the beginning was cuttingly brutal.

Paxton’s Hudson lost control past a certain point, but he was still a solid character to the end, and though Rolston’s Drake didn’t last near as long as I was hoping, he too was a character I really found myself enjoying. Of everyone, though, it’s Al Matthews, who, as soon as he awakens from cryofreeze, the very second, he has a cigar in his mouth. Love that guy’s dedication. I also rather liked Colette Hiller, though she appeared for only a short time.

As far as the special effects go, everything here looks great, and though at first glance it might look like the movie runs a little long (as it’s around two-and-a-half hours), I think everything feels smooth and well-paced throughout the film. The setting is a nicely deserted alien world, and there are some absolutely fantastic scenes of suspense here (such as Ripley and the kid being trapped in the room with the facehuggers).

Let’s face it – Aliens is a fantastic movie, and this is probably one of my least controversial movie opinions of all time. The movie currently sits in IMDb’s top 100 movies, and I’m very much mistaken if I think that’s going to change anytime soon. It’s an action-packed ride with with a ton of suspense, scares (that locked room with Ripley and Newt gets my heart racing every time), action, and I can’t recommend the movie enough.


Sorority House Massacre (1986)

Directed by Carol Frank [Other horror films: N/A]

For a somewhat lower-budget, mid-80’s slasher, I think that Sorority House Massacre has quite a bit going for it. While the killer certainly leaves something to be desired, the film often carries with it a rather more artistic feel (especially during the dream sequences), and helps the film stand out positively.

What really sets this one apart from more lackluster slashers around the same time (some that come to mind include Blood Hook, Killer Workout, and Open House) were the more artistic portions of the film, most often the dream sequences. It’s not uncommon that I feel dream sequences in films turn me off, but the ones in this movie are done pretty well, and occasionally provide some creepy imagery (the picture that starts bleeding, for instance).

On the other hand, no one in the cast really bowled me over. I did like the main actress, Angela O’Neill, well enough, but the other girls and miscellaneous guys were pretty much just the generic bunch you’d expect. Luckily, that doesn’t really harm the film much, as the body count insured that most of them are dead by the end of the film anyway. One performance that did bother me was the killer, played by John C. Russell. He just didn’t seem that frightening (though I did like how they portrayed his insanity, what with hallucinating the college-aged girls as his little sisters). I think they could have done a better job with him, though.

The story was pretty standard with no real surprises, but it was pleasant enough, and the special effects were competent to nonexistent, but really, for a 70 minute slasher, I wasn’t complaining. I did like the tepee kill, and there were a few solid painful looking stabbings, but nothing over-the-top. One scene I did like the was montage of three of the girls changing clothes. Some hot, nude bodies changing clothes to 80’s synth music is just what the doctor ordered…

Obviously, I’m a rather large fan of slashers, especially 80’s slashers, so it might not come as a shock that I thought Sorority House Massacre worked out for the best. Honestly, though I’d seen this one before, I forgot just to what extent I enjoyed it, so while it doesn’t have the same name recognition of The Slumber Party Massacre or The House on Sorority Row, I’d give this one a go. It may not be amazing, but I do think it was very competently made, and even had a few surprisingly creepy scenes.


This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. If you’re interesting in hearing Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one, check out the video below.

Camping del terrore (1986)

Directed by Ruggero Deodato [Other horror films: Ultimo mondo cannibale (1977), Cannibal Holocaust (1980), La casa sperduta nel parco (1980), Inferno in diretta (1984), Un delitto poco comune (1988), Minaccia d’amore (1988), Vortice mortale (1993), The Profane Exhibit (2013, segment ‘Bridge’), Ballad in Blood (2016), Deathcember (2019, segment ‘Casetta Sperduta in Campagna’)]

This Italian film (most commonly known as Body Count) was a bit of a muddled, scatter-shot mess. It was certainly still enjoyable as a slasher fan, but boy, you’d hope that Ruggero Deodato would have been able to make a more stable slasher than what this shows.

As it is, the kills throughout are decent. I particularly liked seeing one character’s fingers getting chopped off by an ax, or another in which a girl gets stabbed through the hand, and the killer twists the knife. There are some painful scenes in this one, and though it doesn’t really compete with the best of the best, the kills were very competent.

A bigger problem, though, is the story and characters. Maybe it’s because the movie’s Italian, but the story here seems a bit on the messy side. It’s true that I had an issue remembering who was who here (though to be honest, I don’t know if that matters much), but starting out the movie, then jumping 15 years later, then later throwing in a flashback of a ‘bear attack’ (that was very obviously a murder, on a side-note) just left me feeling jumbled. The ending, which implied that there was another killer, also didn’t help.

Even once we find out who’s behind the murders (which isn’t a big surprise, but there were a few legitimate suspects here), we’re told that one of the earliest murders (that happened in the introduction, 15 years prior to the core of the movie) wasn’t done by the killer. Wait, I missed something – who killed that first person, then? Maybe it slipped past me, or maybe that wasn’t clarified.

The characters here were all sort of goofy and hard to really feel much for. The worst offender was Andrew J. Lederer (who provided us with some solid male frontal nudity), but to be honest, he did crack me up a few times, and at least stood out, which can’t be said for any of the other teen characters (despite the fact that a handful of the young women weren’t what you might refer to as ‘modest’).

Some of the others here were okay, though. Ivan Rassimov (who starred in a handful of classic cannibal films, such as Man from Deep River, Jungle Holocaust, and Eaten Alive!) brought a solid performance as a sheriff, though I wish the movie did more with him. Ditto John Steiner, who I thought would play a bigger role here. David Hess (Last House on the Left) and Charles Napier were also solid presences, but given the story they’re dealing with, I don’t think either stood out.

I’ll give Body Count kudos for the 80’s score, which I rather liked, but I’ll take the kudos away due to the atrocious lighting at various parts throughout the movie. Maybe if the lighting had made some of the scenes more visible, some of the movie might have been more on the comprehensible side.

The question is, though, did I enjoy Body Count? I did, given all of it’s flaws. I still think this Italian slasher is below average, but hell, it’s an 80’s slasher, and there are decent kills here, so even if the story is lacking, at least we get a little something.


This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast, so if so intrigued, check out below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Body Count.