“A bloody trail of seemingly senseless murders leads a terrified young girl into a nightmarish web of police corruption and deadly, psychopathic madness!”
We haven’t had a killer judge on our site since we talked about Lindsay Shotneff’s — working as Lewis J. Force — Night After Night After Night.
Made in 1981 but not released until three years later, this is one of those movies where I have to use my scale of “Is it a giallo or a slasher?” It does have some attempts at fashion — which I’ll get to — but it’s grimy and near artless, with no attempt at a great soundtrack or color palette. So let’s say it’s a political conspiracy/woman gone wrong slasher, a hybrid that is pretty much a rarity.
There are also innumerable scenes of people eating in this, including one scene in a diner where a loud old homeless man dislikes his soup so much that he stands up and urinates in it before starting a fistfight.
One of that place’s waitresses — Janet (Pamela Collyer, Meatballs III: Summer Job) — has no money and a controlling low-level mobster boyfriend named Dino (Jack Langedijk, who was in the 2000 version of Left Behind). Her friend April (Nanette Workman, who sang backup for the Stones on “Honky Tonk Woman” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”) suggests that hey, maybe she should try some hooking. After all, April has all of these fabulous outfits — her housecoats look like something Ric Flair would wear to defend the belt against Tommy Rich in Greensboro — and smokes all the time, so why not? Janet shares this idea over pillow talk with Dino and gets thrown out of bed naked, so she decides to stop being controlled and start selling her body.
Is this going to become a slasher soon? Just as I think that, a mental patient (Walter Massey, Happy Birthday to Me, Zombie Nightmare) kills a doctor and nurse and runs into the night.
Back to Janet being a hooker. Now, her friend April has brought her in to sleep with a rich client who looks like Rip Taylor and acts like Evelyn Quince. They’re attempted — and creepy — menage a trois is interrupted by the lights going out and the maniac killing everyone but our heroine, who the police blame for the killing. So in the question of giallo vs. slasher, Janet must now become the detective and solve this. However, she is not a stranger in a strange land and the fashion sense of this movie remains horrid, so we are still in slasher country, even if the mysterious killer has on black leather gloves.
Oh and hey — the cop who accuses our protagonist of the crimes is slasher vet Roland Nincheri (Visiting Hours, Terror Train). Suzanne DeLaurentiis, who produced the film D-Railed that we covered last year, is also in this.
You can watch this on YouTube.