Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Movie Review: "The Mutilator" (1984)

Director: Buddy Cooper and John Douglass
Year: 1984
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

A college student named Ed and his friends go to Ed's father's beach house to clean it and close it up for winter...and plan to have a fun weekend while they do it. When they arrive, Ed's drunk father is lying in wait to murder them all.

The Mutilator 1984 movie still
"Jesus Christ! It's my dad!" (Image Source)
We have all had disagreements with our parents, but "The Mutilator" takes it to the extreme. This movie is written and directed by Buddy Cooper and is his one and only writing and directorial credit. SHOCKER. As a young child on his father's birthday, Ed Jr. (Trace Cooper) cleans Ed Sr.'s (Jack Chatham) hunting rifles as a present to his dad. While cleaning them, unaware that they are loaded, Ed Jr. accidentally fires the gun, killing his mom. From that point on, Ed Sr. falls into grief and alcoholism, holding a long-standing resentment against his son. Now in college, Ed Jr. (Matt Mitler) is asked by his father to come to clean their beach condo and close it up for winter. Though Ed is reluctant to do so, his friends, who are looking for a fun weekend at the beach, convince him to do what his father asks. What Ed and his compatriots don't know is that Ed's dad, drunk and tortured by years of grief, is there waiting to murder his son and whoever he brings to the beachfront condo.
The Mutilator 1984 movie still
"There are no murderers or rapists around here, are there?" (Image Source)
"The Mutilator" is one of the hundreds of shlocky slasher movies that dominated the 1980's. It follows the typical slasher formula to a tee. It's got a bunch of college kids stuck in an out-of-the-way place looking to party and get picked off one by one by a crazed killer. Of course, no one is safe except for the final virgin girl, who remains pure until the end. A lot of slasher films from this era are very tongue-in-cheek, and this movie is no different. There are a lot of goofy moments, including a scene where the footage speeds up ala Benny Hill when group prankster Ralph (Bill Hitchcock) is promised sex if he completes a task. There is also another scene where the picture moves so so so slow that the slow motion is laughable. The dialogue is terrible as the script is loaded with cheesy lines delivered by people who can barely act their way out of a paper bag. That being said, the bad dialogue combined with some dreadful acting leads to some unintentionally goofy comedy. The best thing "The Mutilator" has going for it is some very gruesome and bloody deaths, but keep in mind, even some of the kills wind up being funny! For example, one character is mutilated by a boat motor, and his reaction to being sliced up by the propeller is a lazily indifferent scream and some mild wiggling. Finally, one weird note we have to mention is that the score for this movie is utterly bizarre. The majority of the music is an out of place mix of happy, poppy tunes that don't go with the themes, the dialogue, or the kills.
The Mutilator 1984 movie still
"You kids be careful walking along the beach at night." (Image Source)
Though the murder scenes are sufficiently bloody and the comedy is accidentally hilarious from an acting, writing, and musical standpoint, "The Mutilator" isn't a film we would recommend.

My Rating: 4.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.3/10
RT Rating: ---%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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