Director: David A. Prior
Tagline: “Flesh Tears. Bones Shatter. The Nightmare Has Begun.”
Choice IMDB keywords: Matricide; Killer Child; Slasher; Blood; Sledgehammer
Key scenes: In a flashback to the original murder, we see the mother’s lover offer his best seductive chatter—“Damn!”—before the shadow of the sledgehammer signals the end of the affair.
Back in the present-day, Chuck and Joni share a slow-motion romantic walk, which loses some of its sweetness when Chuck starts yanking on Joni’s hair and putting a beer can on her head.
Later that night, the gang gets silly and has a food fight, which if nothing else provides an excuse for all the women to go upstairs and change their clothes.
The séance takes a violent turn when the pal Chuck has installed upstairs to fool his friends with boombox sound effects gets skewered through the neck by the villain. At last… Sledgehammer’s first real kill!
From there, the murders mount—though without much of the clever gore effects and staging of most ’80s slashers—until Chuck goes looking for one of his missing friends and finds the creepy little boy stabbing her over and over and talking about his wicked mother. Then the boy grows into a man before Chuck’s eyes. A masked, freaky-looking man.
Can easily be distinguished by: Those damned white walls—which look even more unsettlingly nondescript when shot by Prior’s video camera—and that pulsing synthesizer soundtrack. (The DVD even opens with a suggestion that viewers turn up the bass on their home theater systems, for maximum disorientation.)
Sign that it was made in 1983: Chuck never misses an opportunity to do his Bill Murray impression.
Timeless message: While dishing about her boyfriend, one of the ladies offers advice that the movie’s villain would do well to heed: “I guess being a little crazy’s okay. But John takes it a bit too far.”
Memorable quotes: More about that “crazy” boyfriend: “Try going to bed with a man wearing a mask. He doesn’t wear it on his face.” (Also: “Wooooooo!”)
Available on DVD from Intervision.