The Toolbox Murders (1978)

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Bit by bit… by bit he carved a nightmare!

Directed by Dennis Donnelly.

Written by Neva Friedenn, Robert Easter and Ann Kindberg.

AKA

France: The Bloody Drill

West Germany: The Killer with the Drill

Portugal: The Path of Crime

Listed as a video nasty in the 80s, remade by Tobe Hooper, The Toolbox Murders is certainly an interesting little film.

The film starts with a man in black driving at night. He has flashbacks of a car accident in which a young woman dies. He arrives at an apartment building, gets his toolbox out of the trunk and goes inside; he has further flashbacks of a funeral when he comes across a bunch of flowers. A woman, Mrs. Andrews (Faith McSwain) comes out of an apartment and he attacks her with a drill. He kills her and then puts on a ski mask.

His killing spree doesn’t end there.

Later the police interview tenants and the owner of the building Vance Kingsley (Cameron Mitchell).

The killer returns the next night, kills another woman, Dee Ann DeVore (Kelly Nichols), who’s just been masturbating in the bath (there are more flashbacks), and abducts teenager Laurie Ballard (Pamelyn Ferdin) from the apartment where she lives with her mother Joanne (Aneta Corsaut) and brother Joey (Nicolas Beauvy).

The film reveals the identity of the killer about midway through.

It’s very good. I haven’t gone into much detail about the deaths or plot, spoilers, but it’s worth checking out. It’s not massively gory but it’s certainly unsettling; the music by George Deaton adds a lot to the murders giving them an eeire bittersweet texture reminiscent of The Last House on the Left (1972). I watched the uncut version, as always, there really is no alternative if you want to experience these films. It is quite a slow-paced film but it delivers.

Also stars Marciee Drake as Debbie, Evelyn Guerrero as Maria, Tim Donnelly as Detective Mark Jamison, Don Diamond as Sergeant Cameron, Robert Leh as Policeman, Wesley Eure as Kent Kingsley and James Nolan as Al.

If you like The Toolbox Murders you might also like:

Don’t Go in the House (1979)

Maniac (1980)

Nightmare in a Damaged Brain (1981)

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