10 reasons why the Mutilator rocks!
Over at Staystillreviews we're switching things up a bit, pushing back Shark Week so it actually takes place during Shark Week (is it just me or have they switched what week this takes place like constantly over the last few years?) I do gotta hand it to writer/director/actor Eli Roth as the new official host of this celebration in all things shark. Still, with us jazzing things up a bit, I decided to make this week as Vacations Gone Wrong. In kicking off this wonderful week, why not highlight ten reasons why the ultimate vacation slasher rocks!
10) The brutal cold opening.
- In wonderful tradition of such slashers like Pieces, this movie didn't hold back at all. In the opening moments we watch a young boy wanting to impress his father by going into his gun cabinet and cleaning his shotguns as a surprise for his birthday while his mother frosts a birthday cake in the next room. I don't know about you, but I grew up in a house where my father had a gun cabinet which was under lock and key. I was forbidden to EVER touch the thing, so watching this scene as the boy takes the shotgun out to polish, even pointing the barrel near his face always gives me a major panic attack. Tragically he points the gun at the wall, screwing around and pulls the trigger, firing a blast through the wall and hitting his mother right in the back. (Great to know it was left loaded!) Here the father walks in moments later to discover his wife's body, completely snapping as his son hides. Here he drags her corpse into the next room, gives her a drink, and hangs the sign his son made on her bloody body. Beyond unsetting and sets the tone for why Big Ed has snapped and hates his son so much. I think the Mutilator is overall a pretty light hearted slasher, but this opening is beyond chilling.
9). The catchy theme song.
- "We're going on a Fall Break!" Hands down one of the most catchy theme songs ever to be featured in a slasher. I mean what even is a Fall Break? Thanksgiving Break? I always wondered this. Still every time I watch movies like Cabin Fever, I smile knowing it's honoring the original film that featured a bunch of teens going away in the Fall for a weekend full of beer, sex, and fun! This soundtrack is beyond epic even though it really only features one song. How it hasn't gotten it's own single vinyl release is beyond me. Mondo, I hope you can hear me...
8). The likable characters.
- In perfect tradition of such movies like The Burning, and Intruder...we actually have a cast of young adults we like. Sure some of the acting is...well...questionable. Besides that I loved the entire cast (Even that very attractive lead who played Matt. Yum!) This is a group of kids you can't help but like as they get into some zany fun during the run of this movie. I always LOVED the scene in the beginning when they are crossing the bridge, drinking beers when suddenly a cop car comes up behind them. I crack up watching them trying to play it cool as they continue driving.
7). The killer's motive.
- In continuing with the film's brutal opening, we understand why Big Ed honestly flipped his shit. He comes home to find his wife accidentally shot. Clearly the guy loved her, and had some major screws missing. His relationship with his son was strained. (Always makes you wonder what life was like between the two while he grew up.) Was there other family involved that made it impossible for Ed to strike earlier? We watch in Ed's mind as he day dreams of brutally murdering his son, choking the life out of him, or even killing him with whatever tool he can get his hands on. Clearly this was a ticking time bomb as he waited until the perfect moment to strike. Here he calls up his son, telling him he needs to help close up his beach house for the season. The estranged relationship shows the two haven't been close since the accident, and here Big Ed awaits in the shadows, picking off his son's friends one by one until trying to attack and kill his own son. What kills me is the music cue after Matt discovers that the killer was indeed his father and how devastated he is. The ending scene of him holding his girlfriend always kills me. A bit of a downer, but that jazzy credits song starts playing and raises our spirits instantly.
6). The effects!
- Thanks to makeup wizard Mark Shostrom we get some of the most bloody and brutal deaths ever shown in a slasher. What I love about this movie is the fact it marketed on the fact these deaths were going to be beyond over the top, gory, and bloody. The killer seriously uses any tool he has on hand. We get drownings, a circular buzz saw, harpoons, giant fish hooks, and battle axes. Each death more disturbing than the last. Some of my personal favorites were the police officer's leg getting cut off, or the fish hook going up the girl's hoo haw. It's bloody and showcases the glory days of effects. Long live practical effects! Corn syrup for everyone!
5). The fact there's a large indoor pool at the beach...
- I always scratched my head at this. Maybe I haven't been to many beaches but really? An indoor pool right on the beach? This would maybe make sense if they were staying at a resort, but I never quite got this. Still the lighting is pretty awesome, as is the slow motion shot of the girl floating and the killer's hands reaching up and pulling her under. Very cool!
4). This guy's death.
- Another pretty boy in the movie. I still have an old issue of Fangoria of him on set smiling, holding the magazine smiling all done up in his makeup. I love the scene of him approaching the garage closet, thinking his girlfriend is there. "I'm...coming...to...get...you!" Very over the top, and very cool. Love how brutal and bloody this death is!
3). The speed-up zany scene.
- I love the comic relief in this movie. Yet again we get a zany little moments when Ralph is forced to go downstairs and lock up for the night. Love how fast he moves after his girlfriend promises him a little "something" something in return. Ralph is the kind of guy you would wanna crack open a few beers with. I love the scene in the beginning when he thinks he's fooling the people who run the market into giving him a discount of beer. Classic.
2). The hook death.
- Whenever I think of this movie...I think of this death. In fact, thanks to my good friends Chris and Courtney I own an original poster signed by the director and cast that hangs proudly in my kitchen. Whenever I look at it when the teens hanging by hooks, staring at the giant sharp fishing hook, I remember why this movie still after all these years remains a cult classic. This scene is beyond unsetting and for a girl makes you feel more than a little uncomfortable. Yikes!
1) The killer's end.
- Why not have a brutal ending to our killer. I love him getting crushed against the wall after climbing on top of the car and getting his hand burnt. I love him cut in half, only to come to life one last time in typical slasher fashion and attack the police officer at the end cutting his leg off. It's gory, and very over the top, and that's why I love this movie. How it didn't get a sequel is still beyond me!
So 3 cheers to one of the best vacation slashers of all time!