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.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Victims! (1985)

Directed by:
Jeff Hathcock

A woman heading toward her apartment gets a hatchet planted in her skull and takes an awkward tumble down the stairs. Another (nekkid) one with feathered hair and a tan line so bad her naughty bits almost blend in with her pristine bed sheets gets hacked up with a meat cleaver. And then a third woman gets stabbed repeatedly in broad daylight by a psycho dressed in some hilariously unconvincing drag. A witness to the last crime manages to chase down the psycho and wrestle him to the ground, he's shipped off to a nuthouse where the first sentence of a voice-over begins and then suddenly ends mid-sentence and then, strangely enough, this man, his victims and his crimes are never mentioned again. In fact, these scenes have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film we're about to watch and were probably tacked on to: 1. Pad out the running time. 2. Provide a moment of frontal nudity. And 3. So this could be released on home video as a slasher flick.

After the utterly senseless opening, we get to the real meat of the tale as two robbers (Robert Axelrod and Lonny Withers) shoot a man and steal a car. They encounter a couple messing around in the woods, kill the guy, beat the girl up, gag her, strip her naked and take turns raping her. Meanwhile, our four unlucky heroines are getting ready for a trip to the desert to "study rock formations." Susan's overbearing mother doesn't understand why she doesn't like wearing bras and is afraid she's going to get knocked up. Janet works up a sweat exercizing and takes a shower. Debbie is just kind of there. And Lisa's boyfriend doesn't like the fact she's going camping without a M-A-N around to protect them. Lisa snaps: "Just because we're women, you don't think we can take care of ourselves?!" Apparently not well enough sister or you wouldn't find yourself having forced lesbian relations at gunpoint with your daisy-duke-sporting amiga.

After stopping at a gas station (where they're oggled by every guy there... probably because they are all dressed like hookers) and getting chased by two horny guys riding a dune buggy, the ladies finally reach their destination, which is ten miles from the nearest highway. They "study rock formations" by sitting around drinking and going skinny dipping. Having a feeling they're being watched and discovering someone has destroyed their campsite, they attempt to leave but whoever's watching them has already fucked up their car. Eventually they come face-to-face with the sadistic robbers. They're all smacked around, threatened with a gun, made to strip and get raped. In the most tasteless scene, one of the psychos forces one of the girls to go downtown on the other. Naturally, the women eventually get fed up with all this and manage to turn the tables on their attackers.

The only gore is the stuff tacked on at the beginning, but there's lots of nudity, a strange 'Nam flashback where one of the rapists kill a "gook bitch" and a sort-of castration scene (which oddly enough is pretty similar to what Ellen Page did in Hard Candy). The film seems to be striving for a feminist message (including some of the idiotic male characters equating how women dress with how they 'deserve' to get raped), but it's so exploitative and badly made that it's impossible to take seriously. The editing, lighting, sound recording and photography are all bloody awful.

Not surprisingly, none of the lead females (Ava Kauffman, Ann Richardson, Geri Schlessel and Pam Richards) appear to have acted in anything else. However, one of the rapists, Mr. Axelrod, did. He can be seen in the slasher SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE (1986), Alien Private Eye (1987), the terrible TV movie Bates Motel (1987), the remake of The Blob (1988) and many other films and television shows, but is probably best known for playing Lord Zedd on the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers TV series.

This appears to have been filmed well before 1985; probably around 1980-81 going by the makes of the cars seen in the film. Director Hathcock went on to make three other horror flicks; the shot-on video, psycho-kills-models slasher NIGHT RIPPER! (1986), the shot-on-video, snuff-filmmakers-kill-hookers exploiter Streets of Death (1987) and the awful Satanism tale Mark of the Beast (1990), which was later acquired by Troma and re-titled FERTILIZE THE BLASPHEMING BOMBSHELL so that someone would want to watch it. Mark / Fertizile has a lot in common with this one, including the dune buggies, the scantily-clad ladies and the desert location.

VHS from Simitar. No DVD.



toreador32580 said...

LOL Lord Zedd from MMPR.... who knew? I guess it was the bad 70's mustache that threw me off!

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Well actually he was the skinnier rapist without the mustache. And we all have to start somewhere!

Anonymous said...

I know the names of the rapists were Peter and Eric. Who was who?

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

I'm not entirely sure since it's been forever since I watched this. I have a copy of this lying around somewhere. I'll have to take another look at it.

Here is a picture of Robert Axelrod:


Diana Jones said...

Thanks! That would be great! I actually know Robert I am a friend of his. I have a character Album for all his characters on my FB page.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Heya Diana! Just found my tape and ff'd through. Robert's character in this one is Peter. You need some screen caps too?

Diana Jones said...

Thanks for letting me know and sure that would be great! Thank you.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

OK I got those for you if you want to throw them in your character album. Send me a contact email to thebloodypitofhorrorblog@gmail.com and I'll send them.

Diana Jones said...

Thanks! Sending an email now.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Alright, sent you five pics of Robert. Hope that's of some help for your page.

Diana Jones said...

It is. Thanks!

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

You're very welcome. If I catch him in anything else I'll grab some more pics for you.

Diana Jones said...

Thanks! I've watched in him in a lot of stuff. If you have a facebook I'll show you the album.

Diana Jones said...

I know Robert was in 2 other films one Midnight (1985), which was a movie similar to Elvira Mistress of the Dark. He played a character called Ozzie in that. He was also a Hotel Manager in Terror on Alcatraz (1987). If you have any of those movies, would you be able to get stills of Robert from them?

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

At one point I had a large amount of VHS tapes and some I transferred to DVD and others I didn't. I known at one point I had both of those but I'll have to check my stash and see if I transferred them or not. I only started doing screen caps religiously a few years back so I haven't made them for Midnight or Alcatraz yet. Will get back with you on those two!

p.s. I just checked my Sorority House Massacre review and there's a photo of Robert on that review actually!

Diana Jones said...

Ok :) Thanks for letting me know and I have seen the Sorority House Massacre. Great Movie! I have a photo of Robert in my album there too.

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