The Curator of Schlock #343 by Jeff Shuster
Also known as Fall Break.
Where did I leave off last week? Oh, yes. I was about to be eaten by Wally the vampire when in busts Edwidge the kangaroo, ready to pounce. Wally arches his back and hisses at her like a wild cat, but that doesn’t faze Edwidge as she pummels Wally with repeated stomach jabs and right hooks. Just as she’s ready do what looked a tiger uppercut, Wally grabs her by the tail and starts swinging and swinging and when Wally finally lets go, Edwidge goes flying into a hutch filled with china. Plates and tea cups smash on the floor and poor Edwidge is down for the count. Wally slaps his hands together and I realize I am once again a dead man.
This week’s Arrow home video release is 1984’s The Mutilator from directors Buddy Cooper and John S. Douglass.The movie’s original title was Fall Break, most likely to capitalize on the slasher tradition of naming movies after famous days like News Year’s Evil or My Bloody Valentine. The problem is fall break isn’t a thing. I never enjoyed a fall break while I was in college. I got spring breaks (many of which I spent catching up on term papers). Mutilator is a better title. It reminds brings to mind a killer that mutilates bodies which is exactly what I want to see in this kind of movie.
The movie begins with a young boy named Ed cleaning his father’s rifles for his birthday while his mom is preparing the birthday cake. Ed accidentally fires off a round, killing his mom in the process. Needless to say when his father arrives home to find a dead wife at the hands of his son instead of a fun birthday celebration, he kind of loses it a little. We know this because he drags her body to the living room, props it up, and pours her a glass of Scotch.
Fast forward about ten years later and Ed (Matt Mitler) is a happy college student, trying to move on from his past. Ed’s father has a beachfront condominium in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, and Ed has to prep it for the winter as his dad is an insane drunkard and can’t manage it himself. Ed’s college friend go with so they can party hearty. Naturally, there’s a mutilator on the island ready to pick them off one by one.
The first victims are Lisa (Francis Raines) and Mike (Morey Lampley) who decide to go skinny dipping in an abandoned swimming pool. The first murder is Lisa, drowned by the Mutilator. I have to say that’s rather disappointing. When I spend my limited time watching a movie called The Mutilator, I expect to see some mutilation. Drowning is not mutilation! Fortunately, Mike goes looking for Lisa only to encounter the Mutilator waiting for him with a chainsaw. And he cuts Mike up real good. You can see the guts and everything!
Wait! What am I talking about? This is a sick movie and you’re sick individual for liking such filth! Why couldn’t I have covered a more wholesome movie like Paddington or Paddington 2? We get to see other gruesome murders. The local sheriff gets cleaved in the neck before getting decapitated. The Mutilator then goes on to stab the funny friend, Ralph, with a pitchfork. Later, our slasher guts Ralph’s girlfriend, Sue, like a fish.
This leaves Ed and his girlfriend, Pam (Ruth Martinez), to escape the insane clutches of the Mutilator. Are you ready for the shocking twist? Turns out the Mutilator is none other than Ed’s dad, driven mad by coming home to his dead wife on his birthday so many years ago. I bet you didn’t see that one coming. The Arrow Blu-ray comes with a bevy of special features including a making of documentary where we learn that the producer had enough money in the early 80s to make a slasher movie or buy a vineyard in France.
He now thinks the vineyard in France would have been a better investment.
Jeff Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, episode 131, episode 284, episode 441, episode 442, episode 443, episode 444, and episode 450) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.