20 March 2009

The Mutilator

The Mutilator
United States - 1985
Director – Buddy Cooper
Vestron Video, 1987, VHS

A bunch of incredibly dull college kids on fall break whine unconvincingly in the local cafeteria because they have no plans, oh what a drag. But wait! Ed’s dad, Ed Sr. calls and tells him to close up his beachside condo for the season. This sudden paternal outreach seems a little bit odd to Ed at first, since, he confesses, he and his dad have hardly spoken since the day Ed Jr. accidentally blew his mom in half with dad’s shotgun, on dad’s birthday, after which dad went on a drinking spree with moms corpse. But since his friends want nothing more than to fill their idle time with three word sentences and light beer, he is quickly won over to the idea of having a party.

Look at that jacket, if you saw these people wouldn'y you wanna kill 'em too?

The kids head up to the condo, swindling minorities and swilling beer all along the way. When they arrive they find Ed Sr.’s collection of exotic weapons, sacrificial masks and texidermied animals all described with more practiced recitation by Ed Jr. (Matt Mitler who appeared in 2 Tim Kincaid movies).
Hey, what usually hangs in that spot on the wall?
Oh, just my dad’s battleaxe, I wonder where it’s gotten to?
I could guess but…oh, there’s Ed Sr. hiding in the closet breathing heavily and fondling said axe. So much for suspense.

After dinner at the rough-hewn raw wood picnic table the three couples settle down for a rousing round of light beer and Monopoly. One bored couple heads off to shag, ending up at a swimming pool where, after she’s kind enough to briefly secure this heavily edited films R rating, they are both dispatched by the censors. (He’s supposed to get it from an outboard motor propeller, but with the edit, it’s impossible to tell) Anyway, after everybody else goes for a walk on the beach, they go back and drink more beer. This has been going on the whole film, yet, none of them is drunk. Maybe they’re always drunk and just trying not to fall below a certain level of intoxication; that might explain the acting and dialogue.

When it gets late, one of the other guys goes looking for the swimming pool couple (only after his girlfriend offers some boob upon completion of the mission, otherwise he didn’t give a shit about ‘em). Soon he too is missing, and the remaining three go and search for the first three. The boob-bribing girlfriend (ok, I admit, they’re probably worth it) is grabbed and “mutilated” (we must assume) with the gaffe-hook of poster fame, and Ed and his girlfriend flee in terror, quickly stumbling in rapid succession across the previously unfindable “mutilated” bodies of their four friends. Apparently, and I can only guess here, all the “mutilation” is so horrible that it drives Ed and his girlfriend to shrieking crocodile tears, our inquiry must unfortunately rest on such circumstantial evidence however, because most of the “mutilation” occurs on the editing room floor. Ed and his girlfriend run wailing to their car where the headlights illuminate something even more horrible, Ed Sr., ready to supply more missing mutilation. In this final goofy scene, there are a few brief splashes of gore, the car lighter which seems to do more stabbing than burning being the most notable. Even if it was all restored, I get the feeling it would be like a low rent slasher-film singlewide trailer with nice lampshades.
I tell you what was mutilated, my sense of cinematic wonder and naive optimism.

This review is based on the 84 minute R rated VHS tape version in the box seen above which has almost no gore whatsoever. According to other peoples accounts there should be some gore, actually quite a bit of good gore, all of which seems to have been edited out of this version. The Mutilator can be found online on a wildly overpriced DVDR rip with footage restored from an uncut VHS tape. Quite possibly one of the saddest moments of my life when a poster which has just about everything awesome going for it turns out to be the only good thing the movie has going for it. I’ve seen bad movies that have good art, but never terrible movies that have unassailably perfect art.

The incredibly awesome poster (OK the title design is pretty bad, but otherwise), same concept as the box, different (better) art.

1 comment:

dan said...

I've seen this one, Always loved the artwork. Completely different the the one we have Unfortunatly I don't have the vestron tape. A strange thing is This film is releasd in Belgium & the netherlands by video for pleasure & has the Vestron logo at the beginning. I don't know how long the running time is but on my tape it says 97 minutes.