The Mutilator (1985) is a typical 1980’s slasher, but has a little bit of an extra charm to it for myself. It always takes me back to my early teens, when I first laid eyes on it, in a discount store in Dixie Mall. The tagline, By pick, by axe, by sword, bye bye! in grained in my pre-adolescent brain and this became a must see. Sadly, as often happens to me, when I went back to buy it, it was gone. Several years later I found a VHS copy, during the mass sell offs of the video chains, when they switched to DVD formats and picked it up. I watched it and found it at the time unremarkable, eventually I sold all my collection off, including it to my regret. A few weeks back, I was searching around for some inspiration for an October film festival of sorts and I fell upon it. Strangely, there is no official DVD release, some less than honest sellers are releasing a DVD-R of it, at a very pathetic $75, so don’t be fooled. I found it on Youtube in full, rather easily and off I went.
The Mutilator opens with a mother and her son making preparations for the father/husband’s birthday. The son decides to surprise his gun nut father, by cleaning his prized guns and inadvertently ends up shooting his mother in the back. The father/husband, whatever, comes home and is understandably upset by this and beats on his son, before carrying his wife’s corpse and having a drink with her. From there, we are fast forwarded to the future, when the son has grown up and gets a random call from his now estranged and alchoholic father, whom demands he goes and closes the family cottage for the winter. Of course this becomes an opportunity to party it up one more time, for the fall break as it is and mayhem soon ensues. The father’s weapon collection is soon turned into a means of butchery and torture on the group and some very creative kills follow.
After rewatching this, I found it was far better than I remembered. Sure it is loaded with all the 80’s horror cliches, that are all so overdone and the characters range from obnoxious to straight out boring, but this is a good looking and decently paced slasher, It is director Buddy Cooper’s first and only film, which is kind of a shame, he could have easily made a few more of these and no doubt would have pulled them off nicely or even better than this. Story wise, it’s all been done before and is a pretty standard slasher formula. For what it is, it is very enjoyable, especially for fan’s of the genre.
Pros: Surprisingly good effects, creative kills, some great mid fall, beach front scenery, the opening scenes were fun in a morbid way. Good pacing
Cons: Somewhat cliched, characters are not appealing and the stupid opening song Fall Break, gets stuck in your head, Buddy Cooper never made another film.
Grading : B(75%)
Typical 80’s slasher but gets the job done.
Trailer posted by Youtube user Ne1cool