SLASHER MONTH: The Forest (1982)

The Forest is unlike any other slasher you’ve ever seen. Sure, it has murders in the woods, campers and stalking scenes. But it gets weirder than almost any other slasher would dare, pushing itself to the edge of absurdity while subverting anything you’d expect.

The killer — John — is played by Gary Kent, a stuntman whose work extends from his debut in Battle Flame through the films of Al Adamson and Roger Corman, emerging as the inspiration for Cliff Booth in Once…Upon A Time In Hollywood and the subject of the documentary Danger God. He’s not just a killer in this. He’s not just a cannibal. He’s a killer cannibal haunted by the wife and children that he murdered in a fit of rage.

Two couples — Steve and Sharon plus Charlie and Teddi — have decided to go into the woods for a vacation. The girls meet the ghosts the first evening, as they first meet the kids and then are confronted by their mother. If a ghost can be insane, hers definitely is.

When they were all still alive, the woman slept around on her husband to the point that he killed her, took off for the woods with his kids and watched them commit suicide, which was finally made him lose his mind and became the hermit human flesheater we meet in this film, the kind of maniac who’d feed a man his girlfriend.

The craziest thing about this movie is that Sharon ends up being the real hero — not just a final girl — and the two men are shown to be, at best, victims and at worst, total morons. Only she is capable, strong and able to survive, perhaps because she has connected to the dead children of the killer.

Even stranger, she was played by Tomi Barrett, who was the wife of Kent.

Shot in 13 days, this movie doesn’t get mentioned enough. Don Jones, the writer and director, would also Who Killed Cock Robin?The Love Butcher, Schoolgirls In Chains and Sweater Girls — all quality films.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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