Sunday, August 28, 2011

Murder Weapon (1989)

Directed by:
David DeCoteau

Whoa, brother. This is a weird one. Pig-tailed Dawn (Linnea Quigley) drinks milk, strips and kills her sister after she has sex, then sneaks into the bathroom, jumps in the shower with her sister's boyfriend and kills him, too. She goes to a nuthouse, makes a best friend out of the equally-troubled Amy (Karen Russell) and the two blackmail their way out of a mental institution by sleeping with their psychologists (one is played by Carol Burnett Show regular Lyle Waggoner). Now on the outside, these two man-hating mafia princesses (!) stop taking their medication and invite six slimeball ex-boyfriends over to Amy's large country home for a party where they're systematically slaughtered in very gory ways by a gloved, leather-clad mystery killer. Is the psycho one of our extremely troubled leading ladies? Is it one of their disgruntled or insanely jealous former ex's? Is it one of the pissed-off head shrinkers out for revenge? Is it a mob hit meant to snuff out Amy because she's just inherited a ton of money from her recently-deceased gangster father? Unfortunately, the identity of the killer is accidentally revealed during the very first murder scene when you can see the top of their head as they swing a sledgehammer!

You might presume this is just another forgettable 80s slasher movie, but you'd presume wrong. MURDER WEAPON actually manages to stand out from the pack. It's so amazingly inept, badly-paced, written, edited and acted and has such super-bloody but utterly unrealistic-looking death scenes that it almost takes on this unintended surrealistic quality after awhile. There are numerous long, drawn-out flashback sequences between the girls and their shrinks (one lasts almost ten whole minutes!), which are filled with ridiculous dialogue and are set in unfurnished rooms which are either completely black or completely white. In these, Dawn reveals that she was molested by her mobster father as a child and may have set a fire that killed her entire family. Even though she's not quite ready to be released back into society, Dawn manages to get her shrink - Dr. Gram (Lenny Rose) - on tape raping her during their hypnosis sessions and is able to weasel her way out. During Amy's session, she reveals that she suffers from nightmares, has always been in abusive relationships, threatens to get revenge on the staff once she gets out, says going to a dogfight turned her on and claims that she loved going hunting with her ex because she liked butchering the animals. Immediately after admitting all of this, her doctor tells her she's finally ready to join the "real world" (!?)

Interestingly, where so many slasher flicks have killers that target women, this one actually has a killer that targets men. And all of the guys are brainless horn dogs, cokeheads, complete jerks or just really, really irritating. One of them is lured into the basement and has his head repeatedly smashed in with a sledge hammer. In another scene, a hand goes completely through a guy laying in bed, rips out his heart and then shoves it into his mouth! There's a face blown apart with a shotgun (causing the victims tongue to fall out), a broken bottle jabbed into a neck, a throat slashing and someone gets set on fire. During one of the therapy sessions, Amy makes special mention of an ex-boyfriend who was physically abusive toward her... and then the filmmakers turn around and present this guy as our hero at the very end!

Quigley is easily the most entertaining of the cast members because of her enthusiasm and effortlessly campy line delivery. She also produced the film, has several songs on the soundtrack and gets naked three times. If you've watched many 80s B-movies, you'll also probably recognize some other cast members. Stephen Steward played porn star "Chucky Long" in the silly VICE ACADEMY (1988); which also starred the two female leads here). "Damon Charles" is better known as Eric Freeman; the Santa Claus killer in the insanely bad cult favorite SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2 (1986). Many of the other (including Quigley) also appeared in DeCoteau's terrible action movie AMERICAN RAMPAGE (1989). Mike Jacobs Jr., Rodger Burt (both from DeCoteau's LADY AVENGER), Victoria Nesbitt (LINNEA QUIGLEY'S HORROR WORKOUT) and Richard J. Sebastian (DREAM A LITTLE EVIL) round out the cast. David Barton (with assist from J.R. Bookwalter and others) did the bloody make-ups. The wardrobe is credited to, uh, Wilma Rubble and Betty Flintstone.

Released to VHS by Cinema Home Video (in a very misleading box that makes this look like some girl-power action movie); this potential bad movie cult classic has yet to get to an official DVD release.


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