SLASHER MONTH: Skullduggery (1983)

Coming at the center of the Venn diagram for the slasher boom and the Satanic Panic*, Skullduggery is straight out of Canada and straight up nuts and I wonder, why is no one going crazy about this movie?

Oh yeah — it’s also about community college theater.

There’s a group of D&D players who all work together at a costume store, which is kind of the life I wanted to live in 1983. The newcomer, Adam, comes from a long line of warlocks who have been cursed by Satan, a fact that a magician reminds him of this very fact while he’s working at the theater, sending him on a bloody spree of mayhem.

His first kill is very Bloodsucking Freaks, as he watches a girl in a talent show and imagines a snake is killing her. She dies exactly like he imagined but no one sees it happen. There’s also a baffling scene where Adam chases a girl with a sickle while a man in a red sequined Liberace-style suit tickles the ivories in a graveyard. And a kill where Adam is inside a bunny suit.

Satan has commanded Adam to kill everyone else in the group, but when he’s cornered by the cops at a costume party hosted by a man named Dr. Evil, he disappears and leaves only a puppet behind. This should freak out the group and put a stop to their antics, but they decide to keep playing and have a suit of armor in Adam’s chair. Smart move — the suit comes to life and kills the Dungeon Master, revealing that it’s Dr. Evil — who is really Satan — inside the suit.

There’s also a lot of Adam and Eve symbolism throughout as well as an opening that takes place in the Dark Ages and the same stupid energy as Night Train to Terror and that’s the kind of drug we look for around these parts.  Every single person in this movie is a maniac and I love them all. It has more magic tricks than Terror Train! There’s even a disco theme song!

Director Ota Richter only made one other movie, Oklahoma Smugglers, a film about a bodyguard school and destroying a casino. Producer and writer Peter Wittman was also the director of two other equally ridiculous films, Ellie and Play Dead, the second Yvonne De Carlo movie where she can command dogs**.

You can watch this on Tubi.

*It was originally made in 1979, so it was in the slasher boom and ahead of the Satanic Panic, but got released in 1983. It also has Wendy Crewson, who is in the best-known D&D warning movie of all time, Mazes & Monsters.

**The other is Satan’s Cheerleaders.

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