Mutilator, The (1985)
Cast: Matt Mitler, Frances Raines, Jack Chatham, Connie Rogers
Director: Buddy Cooper
Nutshell: Accidental matricide leaves family ripped apart and with dreadful, deadly consequences.
A prologue in which a geeky kid accidently shoots his mother dead and then suffers the rage of his father sets the tone for this slasher fare from 1985 that barely made it to theatres due to its “X” Rating.
Years later we find the son, Ed Jr, at his college contemplating what to do with their upcoming vacations when out of the blue his father calls him up telling him to go to the house on the Coast and lock it up before winter sets in. Though in shock at his estranged fathers call, he is soon persuaded by his friends that if they tag along, they could help with the house and also enjoy the holidays by the seaside.
There is much banter and horrid 80s synth pop including a superb chorus that goes “Gonna Have a Good Time” echoing the lead singer in the most cringeworthy yet brilliantly 80s manner. There is much giggling and ass grabbing and familiar innuendo as the couples explore their new surroundings and the hormones start to kick in. Meanwhile the audience can see that Ed Sr. clearly hasn’t taken his wife’s accidental death at all well and has been languishing in the basement for countless years feeling highly disgruntled and vengeful.
By slasher movie rules, Skinny Dipping is a fatal mistake and the first couple to indulge in this nefarious behavior are the first to be offed by the enraged Ed Sr. A beauty is pulled under water in slow motion to the strains of some putrid 70s elevator music which then holds its note as the dreaded moment takes place. Her sleazy boyfriend goes looking for her but finds the end of a chainsaw instead as Ed Sr. pops up once again and a very nasty blood clot situation follows.
Second Slasher movie rule; Blind Man’s Bluff or Strip Poker is the kind of activity that will earn you a particularly gruesome end sooner rather than later. Daddy Ed certainly doesn’t approve and prowls around without the slightest fear of being caught, his emphysema ringing loud and clear Myers style.
Admittedly some of the kills are enthusiastically and even lovingly displayed with ample blood and gore in evidence. Rough and ready gore effects more than a few notches below the lofty standards set by Tom Savini and co and yet carried by their enthusiasm and noble intentions.
In between the prowling, the couples are up to their cat and mouse sexual games, oblivious to the extreme menace lurking just around the corner.
More situations of boyfriends looking for girlfriends in an old dark house and girlfriends doing the same. Lots of opening doors and closets and slowly walking down creaking corridors sort of thing and once in a while our killer will pop up with one of his several instruments of death.
Not the most imaginative nor creative Slasher film ever made, it still manages to roll along without getting bogged down too badly and the kills including the climactic mayhem is fairly amusing though not remotely scary. The Mutilator is also hampered by some horribly wooden acting all around as well as a background score that does nothing to create menace or suspense. Easily the most terrifying element of the film are the songs especially Paul Yellen’s “Fall Break” which will undoubtedly give you nightmares but everything else in the movie is pretty much by numbers. The Slasher genre had grown very, very stale by 1985 and unless you came up with some innovative killing sequences, there was nothing left in the closet to surprise audiences with. The Mutilator arriving in 1985 was already five years too late. None the less, fair slasher game even if it was DOA.