Monday, March 24, 2014

When You Wish Upon a Killer's Moon

Let’s just get this out of the way:

This film is poorly punctuated. 

Killer’s Moon implies the moon belongs to one killer. 

This film has four.

Perhaps I’m just quick to the angry apostrophe following a recent typo in the special edition of The Dark Knight Returns

Anyway, let’s try to put this terrible experience behind us and get on with the show.

Quick Plot: An all-girls choir bus experiences some mechanical trouble in the middle of the British countryside, where a pair of handsome (I assume, by 1970s British/expat American standards) twentysomethings are camping, a pleasant woman is prepping her out-of-the-way hotel, and a grumpy gamekeeper is gamekeeping.

Also, there are four violent lunatics on the loose who escaped the clutches of their psychiatrist and his experimental treatment that involved encouraging them to act out their basest instincts by convincing them they were living in a dream world with no consequences.

Naturally, the combination of insane men without societal constraints and the nubile flesh of teenage girls does not a merry evening make.

Let me just say it: I absolutely adored this movie.

Mind you, I don't normally like to jump into my judgment so soon in a review, especially for a film as messy (maybe intentionally?) as Killers' Moon (yeah, I'm repunctuating the title like the maverick I am). 

But see, I simply did not want to stop watching the kind of movie that includes such gems of dialogue as such:

 "Look, you were only raped, as long as you don't tell anyone about it you'll be alright. You pretend it never happened, I pretend I never saw it and if we ever get out of this alive, well, maybe we'll both live to be wives and mothers."

The biggest question I had with Killers' Moon regards said script, credited to director Alan Birkinshaw but rumored to come from the pen of his sister, famed feminist novelist Fay Weldon. Had I not known anything about Ms. Weldon, I probably would have assumed lines like the above to be tongue-in-cheek. This is the same film, mind you, that sees our pair of heroes discuss how they are outnumbered and outarmed only to conclude that the best solution to fight their enemies would be to split up.

Always a wise plan, gents. Always wise.

However, some brief Wikipedia'ing seems to point that Fay Weldon considers rape, how do you say, overrated as a crime. Knowing that makes Killers' Moon an even odder watch, as the film is filled with young women being violently attacked in a way that might be tasteless, might be offensive, or just might be what you would expect (and maybe want?) from a '70s pre-slasher exploitation genre film.

While Killers' Moon is rife with messiness as a low budget movie, it also has some pretty neat subtext in its villains. From their bowler hats and white-on-white attire to the way they respectfully speak to each other as Mr., our killers are clearly inspired by A Clockwork Orange. That they're acting out their impulses simply because they believe they're living in a fantasy world is rather fascinating. They're confused when their actions don't cause the desired effects they'd have in REM, but you almost can't blame them for committing these crimes because why should they not believe it's all part of their therapy? As the mayhem intensifies, some start to realize what's really going on, and their reactions are not at all what you'd expect.

If that weren't enough, we also have a heroic three-legged dog played by a local canine hero, barbershop quartet levels of harmony coming from the mouths of mass murderers, and a rather brilliant case of drag being applied where you least expect it.

Yes, I did indeed love this movie.

High Points
Though it sometimes calls a little too much attention to itself, John Shakespeare and Derek Warne's score is generally pretty darn awesome, filled with Repulsion-like jazz riffs and playful little nods to Three Blind Mice and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Low Points
It's a shame that none of the girls really register as fully fledged characters. Other than 'somewhat helpful girl,' 'somewhat whiny girl,' 'somewhat raped girl,' and 'somewhat flirty girl who thinks it's silly to be sad about being somewhat raped girl,' none really stick out in a way worth remembering

I suppose it bears mentioning that in the real world, nighttime and daytime don't necessarily change back and forth over the course of an evening

Lessons Learned
The white slavery industry has been ruined by too many enthusiastic amateurs

Never call a British headmistress a nature lover

If it’s not ramblers, it’s bramblers

The Winning Line
Killers' Moon is bursting with them, but I think my heart belongs to this one:

"I understand you have a problem."

This is the final line of Killers' Moon, and is spoken by a police officer in the calmest manner possible. Substitute "I understand you have a question about parking regulations" and you might have a better idea of how this is delivered. 

The problem, you see, is that these characters have been terrorized all night by raping murderers. Nothing to raise anyone's voice about, of course. 


I’m not sure how I had never heard of Killer(s)’ Moon before stumbling upon it on Netflix Instant Watch. This is the kind of low budget, completely insane little gem that brings true joy into the lives of genre film fans. Hop to it with your very own three-legged Doberman. 

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