Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Shadows Run Black (1981)

Directed by:
Howard Heard

Troma-tic turkey (produced by Eric Louzil, who went on to direct those awful NUKE 'EM HIGH sequels) and substandard slasherama with one difference by default... Kevin Costner! In a sixth-billed supporting role, Costner has two scenes as campus party animal Jimmy Scott, main suspect in a rash of killings at Dorothy College. I'm not a big Costner fan by any means, but he is obviously the best actor in this entire cast even with his limited screen time. Anyway, back to the film... Short fused, foul-mouthed detective Rydell King (William J. Kulzer) investigates the murder spree of "The Black Angel" (aka "The Co-ed Killer" or "The Moral Vigilante"), a mystery maniac who enjoys cutting up a group of co-eds, who used to be hookers and like to shower a lot. A key subplot involves a young bimbo named Judy (Elizabeth Trosper) who receives heavy breathing phone calls ("I'm coming to get you!") and whose racist brother objects to her new black boyfriend. Everyone talks about how hot she is, a point that seems to require her to be in full make-up at all times, including in the shower and waking up in the morning.

This film might set some kind of record for nude female victims, including porn star Susanna Britton/Barbara Peckinpaugh in a seemingly endless scene where she showers and runs around naked trying to elude the killer. Also featured are skinny dipping (provided by Terry Congie, who co-starred with Costner in his very first film, SIZZLE BEACH USA; Troma picked that one up for release, as well), a bloody stabbing, a head mashed in a car hood, a magician, a fat lesbian, a cello player and a visible boom mike. It didn't get released on video until 1986 (it was actually produced in 1981). Guess who the publicity centered around?

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