Friday, October 21, 2011

Masterblaster (1986)

... aka: Master Blaster
... aka: Masterblaster: The Exterminator
Directed by:
Glenn R. Wilder

Filmed near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, this low-budgeter attempts to blend survivalist action with backwoods slasher, and doesn't do a very good job at either. Motorcycle-riding Native American loner Jeremy Hawk (co-writer Jeff Moldovan) shows up at a small town bar and is immediately greeted by three pleasant rednecks who tell him they "just don't want no AIDS-carryin' dirtbag biker hanging around." Since Jeremy's also a Vietnam vet, they wonder if he's been "screwing those little chink whores" and might be spreading around "infectuous VD stuff." When they start getting physical, Jeremy kicks their asses and sends one flying out the window and another through the door. Police officer Samantha (Donna Rosae) shows up with a gun to help hold them off, and two hispanic guys, failed actor Monk (Richard St. George) and el loco Snake (George Gill) help tie him to a tree. The redneck leader, Leon (Antoni Corone) - screams that they'll get their revenge. So what are Jeremy, Samantha, Monk and Snake doing risking their lives out in redneck country? Well, they're all regional winners of paintball contests heading out to a secluded camp where they'll compete for 50 thousand dollars with other regional winners at The First Annual Master Blaster Grand National Championship.

Upon arriving at camp, contest organizer Mike (Robert Goodman) introduces the rest of the contestants. There's Lincoln Shakir (Raymond Forchion), winner of Chicago regionals, Tony De Angelo (Joe Hess), winner of Big Apple Games and personal body guard for a famous Italian businessman, rock star Lewis Carlisle (Peter Lundblad) who's brought along his snobby girlfriend Lisa (Tracy Hutchinson), Mr. Yamada aka The Shadow Warrior (Yoshimitsu Yamada), who's descended from samurai, psychiatrist Laura Dacosta (Earleen Carey) and journalist and novelist Brad Sterling (Bill Wohrman). Rounding out the roster are three racist rednecks (yes, more of these); Jimmy Roy (Jim Reynolds), Gary Lee (Julian Byrd) and Bobby Jo (Ron Burgs), who are distant relatives of Daniel Boone. There's also an attorney and ex-pro football quarterback, but he decides to drop out of the competition when he learns the woods will be booby-tapped: "You people are crazy! Somebody's gonna get hurt... real bad!" And yes, some people do get hurt real bad, when someone in group goes crazy and starts slaughtering everyone... but it takes almost an entire hour to even get to that point.

First, we must learn the rules of the game (avoid traps, retrieve money and return to camp without getting splattered), listen to a never-ending stream of racial and homophobic slurs, see some bad campfire dancing and watch as a romance starts to bloom between our monotone hero Jeremy and huge-eyeballed heroine Sam. He tells her about how he spent two years in a 'Nam concentration camp and had to slaughter an entire family, children included. She tells him that her partner had his head blown off with a shotgun because she was too slow to react and that the rock star guy had slept with her and then dumped a year earlier. Meanwhile, the "graduates of Hee Haw University" make watermelon jokes and talk about "speak-chuckers." The dialogue, original songs (including a rap theme) and the acting are all absolutely terrible, by the way.

45 minutes in, the game finally is under way. Unfortunately, even it fails to build up much excitement and is essentially just a series of scenes of people walking through the woods before being killed. Several characters are hung, there are numerous fist fights, someone gets stabbed, someone gets decapitated, one of the girls is killed after taking a shower and another is shot in the face with an acid capsule. Sadly, most of this occurs off-screen... but just wait until you see the identity of the mystery killer and learn their motivation for offing everyone. Absolutely hilarious!

It was backed by Bill Grefé (William Grefe), an independent director who'd been churning out films since the early 60s and had moderate success with such drive-in favorites as STANLEY (1972; which involved a man using snakes to strike back at his enemies), IMPULSE (1974; with William Shatner as a sleazy, bell bottom-clad psycho child molestor) and MAKO: THE JAWS OF DEATH (1976; a JAWS-inspired killer shark tale). Another Floridian who worked on this thing is Brad F. Grinter, the director of Veronica Lake's last hurrah, FLESH FEST (1970), as well as the notorious turkey-man-monster gorefest BLOOD FREAK (1971). Randy Grinter, perhaps Brad's brother, wrote the original story, co-scripted, produced and was the 2nd unit director. Kari Whitman (a Playboy centerfold and the star of PHANTOM OF THE MALL: ERIC'S REVENGE) and Herb Goldstein (BLOOD STALKERS) have small roles.

The director is best known as a Hollywood stunt man and has worked steadily in that capacity since the early 60s (this is his only director credit). While performing a speedboat stunt for the dumb comedy GONE FISHIN' (1996), Wilder, his son Scott and his daughter-in-law Janet (all stuntpersons) were involved in an accident that cost Janet her life. Masterblaster was released on VHS by Prism in 1987. As of this writing, there's no official DVD.


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