Monday, November 6, 2017


There are certain personal beliefs of mine that I feel very confident about. Among them, that Buffy the Vampire Slayer's fifth season is the best but that the third season is my favorite, that Clancy Brown has never and will never give a performance that isn't the best thing in whatever film he's in, and that the best use of a tonally inconsistent song in a horror movie is Silent Night, Deadly Night's feel-good montage set to "The Warm Side of the Door."

Then a movie like The Mutilator shambles along with its jaunty "Fall Break" ditty and I question everything I know about life.

Quick Plot: Poor Ed Jr. just wanted to clean his papa's gun collection for the old man's birthday, but unfortunately, the gift has some unintended consequences when Ed Jr. accidentally shoots his mother, killing her on the spot. The lessons in this case write themselves.

Some years later, Ed Jr. is a college student mulling over the best way to celebrate fall break (FALL BREAK!) with his girlfriend and two other couples. In case you had the slightest doubt, the answer is, without question, to have a montage to the jauntiest original tune you've ever not heard called indeed, "Fall Break" (also apparently the working title for The Mutilator).

Because this world is cruel and we apparently can't have an entire 90 minute film set to "Fall Break," Ed Jr. decides instead to take his pals to his father's isolated beach condo for a long weekend. Before you can even attempt to get "Fall Break" out of your head, a mysterious man (or just Ed Sr.) begins brutally murdering the young people in especially grisly ways.

Written and directed by Buddy Cooper, The Mutilator is far from the top tier of '80s slashers, but it also gives you nearly everything you want (PLUS "FALL BREAK") from the genre. The acting is rough in an absolutely charming manner, with the young cast clearly trying their best with zero camera experience to help back them up. Every trope you find appears in goofy earnestness, from the doe-eyed brunette constantly defending her virginity to the prankster getting murdered in the middle of a joke. 

This is a good old fashioned dumb slasher, and I say that with full affection. Aside from "Fall Break" (FALL BREAK!), you won't find anything overly revolutionary, but between pitchforkings, vice killings, and a decapitation AFTER OUR KILLER HAS ALREADY BEEN TORN IN TWO, there's a lot to love here.

High Points
Is this really up for debate? Guys, FALL BREAK. If you don't believe me, have a listen and try, JUST TRY I SAY to get this out of your head

Low Points
Maybe the fact that it's been two weeks and I still can't get FALL BREAK out of my head?

Lessons Learned
Chlorine probably prevents herpes

When sleeping in an unfamiliar room, always stay fully clothed with your jeans belted an your shirt buttoned up. You just never know when you'll be called out of bed to investigate the murder of your friends by your insane father

It's very easy to get lost in a larger-than-average swimming pool

The Mutilator is incredibly satisfying to fans of '80s slashers. No, it's not good by any measure, but it's time stamped in such an adorable and low budget way that it's simply impossible to be too hard on it. You can find it streaming on Amazon Prime in all its grainy glory.


  1. I'd seen the cover of this one on the shelves for years but never watched it.
    But you pushed me off the fence and I finally gave it a try.
    Most of it is pretty dopey, but with decent gore... but that fish hook murder is just mean.
    Happily that song did not get stuck in my head.

    1. Please tell me the secrets of your existence that you can hear "Fall Break" and not have it on endless loop in your head.