Monday, July 30, 2012

An Early Christmas gift for Slasher Fans!


Producer Dick Randall, hot off the success of his slasher flick PIECES, made a two picture deal with UK based F/X man Peter Litten for this film and another slasher called APRIL FOOLS DAY - which was retitled SLAUGHTER HIGH to avoid litigation from Paramount. For this Christmas themed gore flick Randall brought in his PIECES star Edmond Purdom to play the lead again. But Purdom would only do it if he could direct too. Which led to such a hack job that three other directors ultimately took over to patch this mess into the hilarious monstrosity it is today.

Yet in some ways, this may be my favorite if the X-mas themed slasher films from the era. The film is just, top to bottom, so insanely wrong-headed that it is constantly entertaining. Delivering consistently for the whole running time.

The scant story has some psycho scouring the streets of London killing street Santas. Very brutally in fact, burning off faces, slicing throats in peep booths and castrating one poor St. Nick in mid piss. Purdom is the dick on the case investigating and he is convinced a flute playing street musician is the culprit.

Naturally he isn't. The killer is exactly who you think the first time you meet him. But you will be distracted by the naked saggy boobs, overflowing blood and incredible dialogue. Like when flute boy is almost caught by a couple of cops in the street with a babe in a Santa cape and exclaims "they are gonna think we are a couple of GAYS!" Or when Purdom finds a dead body and two women gasp, he tells them "it's ok I'm a police officer!" Then two men approach and he tells them "go phone the cops!"

I also love how every dime store Santa in England is a drunk or a pervert or both. They get killed because the stumble drunk into dark alleys or go into peep booths for a wank. Except for one poor Santa who stumbles inexplicably into Carolyn Munroe's sound check! She looks super hot, the song kinda sucks, the guy gets killed and Carolyn never shows up again!

Of course it is all some flimsy psycho sexual trauma. But you won't care. This is the kind of thing that is only as good as the piles of absurdity it can muster. Trust me, they don't come much more absurd than this.

The dvd has an hour long vintage behind the scenes that showcases mostly producer Dick Randall. But they don't even try to hide how troubled of a production it was. Instead they made a humorous behind the scenes film about it.Joking about the multiple shoots, body doubles and new directors. But even better is the Mondo Macabro made extra THE WILD WILD WORLD OF DICK RANDALL that is a wonderful and loving overview of his life and career. That extra alone is worth the price of the disc and make my all bleary eyed for an era of exploitation film that will simply never exist again. 

The movie looks fine, grainy in places, belying its very low budget roots.but better than if ever has considering it has floated around in bootlegs sourced from 20 year old VHS and one full frame DVD of questionable originans from nearly ten years ago.   Add to that the mind melting Mondo Macabro trailer reel and you get a package that is fit to open well before Christmas indeed.

Review © Andrew Copp 

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