SLASHER MONTH: Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh (1991)

A chainsaw-wielding killer is on the loose in our hometown, collecting body parts like a Yinzer Fuad Ramses, as the clues all point to this being an Egyptian ritual of the dead.

This may be more amusing if you’re from here, as the film gives you the opportunity to see plenty of the Lawrenceville neighborhood when it was just another blighted part of the end of the steel industry and not the artsy mecca that it is today.

Director Dean Tschetter was unhappy with how the film ended up, so he took an Alan Smithee credit. That makes sense, as the film is a ramshackle unfocused mess, unsure if it wants to be a broad or black comedy and barely holding itself together, kind of like if it were edited with a chainsaw.

Sweeney Birdwell (Jake Dengel) and Joe Blocker (Joe Sharkey) are the cops fumbling in the dark — I’ve said it so often, but defund both the giallo and slasher police — as they seek a killer leaving Egyptian messages at each crime scene. Luckily, meter maid Deedee Taylor (Susann Fletcher) has arrived from Vegas, the daughter of Blocker’s last partner who went missing after a similar case, and she seems to have some clue about what’s happening.

This is the kind of movie that would have you believe that there’s an Egyptian district of Pittsburgh. The closest thing I can think of is that there used to be an Egyptian place in Penn Hills that had a hookah lounge that served fried chicken and you were encouraged to eat while you smoked.

Birdwell’s wife smokes so much that she leaves mountains of ashes around the house, Veronica Hart shows up as the next victim, Egyptian ninjas (man, it seems like the term Egyptian is an SEO search term in this review) and Tom Savini effects which were so badly shot and presented in the film that they waste whatever artistry the Bloomfield resident brought to the film.

I wish I could tell you that this is some long-lost slasher classic, but it’s not. Watch it to see the Doughboy statue on full display, but otherwise, if you live anywhere outside of the Golden Triangle, you may avoid.

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