"Wolfgang Schmidt" (Ray Dennis Steckler)
Alright out there, a show of hands: Who asked for a sequel to THE HOLLYWOOD STRANGLER MEETS THE SKID ROW SLASHER?
Instead of being financed entirely by Steckler, this follow-up was bankrolled by John Golff and Salvatore Richichi of Camp Video, who had some minor success on the home video market in the mid to late 80s. Not content with just releasing other people's films, Camp also made some of their own in-house productions to expand their catalogue of titles. Those included the shot-on-video Death Row Diner (1988), VIDEO VIOLENCE (1987) and VIDEO VIOLENCE PART 2 (1988), ZOMBIE DEATH HOUSE (1988; the first and only directorial effort for actor John Saxon and easily CV's largest budgeted production) and, their most famous project by far, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988). However, Camp ceased production on new films after only a few years and the company itself petered out soon after. It may or may not have had something to do with the fact Richichi was the son of Natale "Big Chris" Richichi; a reputed "capo" in New York's Gambino crime family and a one-time confidant of John Gotti. Richichi Sr. ended up in prison for extortion and racketeering charges and died behind bars in 2001. As for whether any mob money was funneled into this company or not, well, let's just say, stranger things have happened.
Steckler's association with Camp Video began the same year the company was formed. It was the first distributor to release his earlier films The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1963), The Thrill Killers (1964) and Rat Pfink a Boo Boo (1965; re-titled The Adventures of Rat Pfink and Boo-Boo) on home video. There may have been some kind of contract between Steckler and the company; say he gave them release rights to a few of his films in exchange for the funds to make another movie, but that's all conjecture on my part.
After killing seven young women in the previous film (it was actually ten, but who's counting?), the Nevada parole board and two court appointed psychiatrists have decided to release Johnathon Klick (Pierre Agostino) from prison after serving just six years. What could possibly go wrong there? As for their reasoning, well, since only one corpse was ever found, the shrinks came to the conclusion he was just making up the other murders to increase his notoriety (??) This also, of course, completely discounts the finale of Hollywood Strangler where the Skid Row Slasher repeatedly stabbed him with her switchblade and he fell over dead in front of a Deep Throat poster. But, ya know, unnecessary sequels and incongruity go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Apparently Nevada correctional facilities in the 80s just bounced prisoners with zero money, help or even transportation after they're set free because Johnathon is next seen simply heading down the road by foot outside the jail. He finally makes it to Vegas, and just in time to see Miss World Burlesque 1980 Toni Alessandrini perform a slow motion strip routine covered in glitter and showing ample T&A. Alessandrini became somewhat known in the 80s and early 90s for her appearance in the Tom Hanks comedy Bachelor Party and roles in some Rick Sloane B movies that were on cable all the time but, before all that, she'd appeared in a number of Steckler's Vegas-shot hardcore films, usually using the alias "Toni Reenee."
Arriving on the Vegas strip at around the same time as Johnathon are a couple of low grade hoods named Clarence (Ron Jason) and Jack (Chris Cave), who are there simply to rob people and scope out "broads." When they aren't snatching purses and such, they're critiquing the bodies of female passersby. Seeing how Steckler clearly just filmed random people walking around without their knowledge, the fact many of the voice-overs insult some of these people is in hilariously terrible taste. Women who are short ("Bad legs, bad legs"), slightly pudgy ("They waddle like a duck... Quack! Quack!") or old are all immediately dismissed. Apparently these two idiots only like to steal from chicks they find hot.
Johnathon crashes a "highly publicized" nighttime pool / birthday party for "Las Vegas film star Cash Flagg" (!!!), pulls one of the girls (Glenda Savage) into the bushes, rips off her bikini top and then uses it to strangle her to death. His next victim is a hooker, who he kills in an alley after she tells him her going rate. To make ends meet, he gets a job as a delivery man at a pizza parlor, which has a framed poster for the "Cash Flagg" movie Incredibly Strange Creatures on the wall. The two thieves frequent the joint and end up crossing paths with the strangler numerous other times.
While making a pizza delivery, Jonathan is greeted at the door by a large-breasted blonde in a bikini, who coerces him to her back patio, takes off her top, hops in the Jacuzzi and propositions him (yeah right), but she's saved when her friends arrive to eat. After the thieves knock an old man out and lock his much-younger secretary / mistress in the trunk of their Mercedes so they can steal a briefcase full of cash, Johnathan happens upon the scene, opens the trunk, strangles the woman to death and then just re-shuts the lid and walks off (!) Because the old man only saw the thieves at the scene and has provided a description to the police, Clarence and Jack are blamed for the murder.
We're next off to a mansion for a swimsuit / lingerie photo session with models Suzee (CHOPPING MALL's Suzee Slater), Joanie (Joan Ruedelstein aka adult actress Jeannie Pepper), Maria and Deborah. Johnathon sneaks in, manages to get Suzee and Deborah alone long enough to strangle them and then steals a camera. This scene really stands out from the rest. No, not because it's any good, but because it's photographed better (for some reason they used 35mm just for this one scene), was actually shot with sync sound and was filmed in the Hollywood Hills instead of Vegas. Johnathan then kills another hooker, uses his whole photographer shtick to murder another lady and then sets his sights on "stripper" Kat Carson (Kathryn Downey), who he's been stalking around town. He becomes a frequent visitor to the club where she (horribly!) dances in a one piece blue swimsuit that never comes off and may or may not eventually strangle her to death next to a stuffed Papa Smurf doll. I'll never tell!
With the exception of the modeling scene, this was shot on 16mm without sound, so nearly all of the dialogue, which is poorly recorded and incredibly insipid ("Die garbage!") was dubbed in later. Just like the original, this has the laughable premise that lots of young twenty-somethings are going to be throwing themselves at the near-elderly Johnathon. Just like the original, this has next to no plot to speak of (co-star Jason said there wasn't even a script). Furthermore, replacing the female serial killer character with two petty thieves just isn't as interesting. Some footage has been recycled from the first film and it also re-uses a lot of the same music.
The real deal breaker here, and what turns this all into an incredibly boring viewing experience, is the relentless time padding. We get endless shots of people walking around (many of whom look directly at the camera and are probably thinking, "Why in the hell is this man filming me?"), shots of various buildings, cars driving, the famous Vegas lights and whatever else happened to catch RDS's eye when he was making this. We get several minutes of footage from the "El Dorado Parade" where the camera focuses on clowns, Indians, an old car and a flag while a female voice-over goes "Oh look at the clowns!" "Oh look at the Indians!" "Oh look at the old car!" "Oh there's the flag. Salute the flag!" We also get footage from an airplane show, a rodeo, casinos and plenty of other useless filler. At this point in the game it appeared that Steckler would do, and shoot, just about ANYTHING to keep from having to actually write a script!
After the Camp video release, this was given several DVD releases. It was distributed by both Media Blasters and Guilty Pleasures; the latter including it on their 4 film "Midnight Movies II" set along with Steckler's Body Fever, Blood Shack and Hollywood Strangler. Later this year, it will be re-released by Severin as part of a massive RDS box set including 19 other films of his.