Monday, August 29, 2022

I Axe the Questions Around Here


How is it possible that in 2022, a horror diehard who grew up a mile away from one of the country's best independent video stores with the largest horror selection in the state of New York can STILL discover '80s slashers for the first time? 

Humanity is an endless well of wonder. 

Quick Plot: A promising opening murder follows an ill-fated cigarette puffing nurse through a deadly car wash, where an Uncle Fester-ish masked killer chops her up before the credits can roll. We're off to a neat start!

And now, our movie. 

Meet our hero(?) Gerald, an early internet adapter and all-around jerk. Gerald lives with his grandfather? Uncle? Random old man he likes to harass? It's unclear, but we know this much: Gerald is obsessed with computers and is only mildly less horrible than his best friend Richard, an exterminator who despises his much older, much wealthier wife.

Is there anything less pleasant than hearing someone talk about how much they hate their spouse? Yes, I can think of one: watching said jerk publicly seduce a much younger woman who has no reason to be charmed by a man she knows to be married (and a jerk). 

Anyhoo, Gerald and Richard begin dating Lillian and Susan (a pair of local sisters with incredibly low standards) while our axe murderer continues his reign of terror across town. The sheriff is reluctant to take any action, hoping he can pass each death off as an accident or suicide, but by the time six female bodies have piled up in pieces, the jig is up. 

Could it be Gerald, whose prescient computer obsession and gross sandwiches screams "the boy ain't right?" Lillian's mysterious institution-confined cousin with a childhood swingset head injury? Her shifty father? The shiftier town priest? MAYBE THE INTERNET CAN HELP!

Maybe, and I won't spoil the reveal, but it's 100% the best thing about this oddball of a movie. 

Directed by José Ramón Larraz as a co-production between the US and Spain (and filmed in both countries), Edge of the Axe is, in a word, a hoot. There's a mix of decent and laughable acting (though some of that may have been equally hilarious dubbing) that makes the amateur quality kind of charming, and the recycling of sets from one home to another is something that low budget fans have no choice but to salute.

High Points
I don't know that any of it really adds up, but the big reveal is pretty grand, especially for its time. Bonus points for a killer freeze frame final shot

Low Points
Look, I know we had lower standards for our leads in '80s slashers, but there's nothing redeeming about the ones we have here: Gerald is awful, and Lillian's immediate infatuation with him makes us question her sanity well before the film does

Lessons Learned
Nothing offers the promise of a serious relationship more effectively than wearing a gray-on-gray sweatsuit on your first date

The beauty of country music ballads is that they don't have to rhyme

You know it's true love when you start dressing like your new sweetheart just a week into your courtship

Edge of the Axe is occasionally a good slasher, occasionally a pile of garbage, and entirely something that deserves any '80s horror fan's eyeballs. Have at it on Amazon Prime. 


  1. I've been passing this one over because of my assumption it was some new thing trying to look like an old thing... not that that's a bad thing, I just haven't been in that mood.
    But I'll give it a watch since you pointed it out.

    1. Yup, it's weird to "discover" '80s slashers in this day and age, but apparently, there are still some hiding!