SLASHER MONTH: The Undertaker (1988)

Joe Spinell’s last film, this movie was never released to theatres or to video and the only known copy belonged to the actor best known for his role in Maniac. This was a bootleg for years until Code Red put out a version in 2010 that was padded with public domain footage to increase its length. Vinegar Syndrome re-released it in 2016 without that footage.

Uncle Roscoe (Spinell) attends community college during the day and kills women at night, saving their body parts in his basement, Spinell is, of course, the best part of this movie, acting completely unhinged and making what should be a typical film into anything but just by the ability of his performance.

His nephew Nicky joins Pam, who is one of his professors and her roommate Mandy to figure out what Roscoe is up to. But soon, the hunters become the hunted and pay the price.

Even Spinell at the end of his life, struggling through making this movie, is better than anything most actors will do on their best day. Seeing him cry and try to talk to a corpse is at once heartbreaking and hilarious.

Director Frank Avianca is actually a pseudonym for the following four people: Screenwriter William James Kennedy, cinematographer Richard E. Brooks (the cinematographer for Dark August, Teenage Mother and Creating Rem Lazar) and producers Steve Bono and Frank Avianca (writer and producer of Blood Song) all of whom had a hand in directing this film.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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