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The Mutilator (1984) aka Fall Break review

The Mutilator (1984) aka Fall Break


So my philosophy is,
let’s have some beer

Directed by Buddy Cooper who you might know from… well this and this alone.
He wrote, directed, produced and even sang on the films theme song.

Yes this has a theme song

He did a good job as well so why is it according to IMDB did he not do anything else?
I don’t know but maybe watching this will give us some insight as to why.

The film starts with a wonderfully twisted and darkly humorous murder of the everyday suburban housewife as Americans put it and then jumps about 10 years to where we see the murdered housewife’s son, now in his late teens.

Unsure of what to do with themselves during half term Ed Jr. receives a phone call from his dad asking, or more like telling him to close up their beach home for winter.
His friends finally pressure him into doing it and off they go.

You know the rest. This is an 80’s slasher so there’s a killer stalking them and will they survive? But you can probably guess the answer.
By the book standard fare even though some of the established rules weren’t established when this was made; slasher films aren’t known for too much originality.

We have our horny teenagers who thankfully are far more entertaining than the horrid teenagers in today’s slashers doing what horny teenagers do and getting killed in a variety of painful ways.

Watching the documentaries made for this Arrow release I found out that some of the effects they tried to go for were too ambitious or the effects team wasn’t as polished at their craft as they are now so deaths had to be filmed differently or scrapped in favour for simpler kills.
This doesn’t work against the film. It is low budget so what can you expect?
One death of note involves an outboard motor that had to be filmed showing the actors reaction rather than the death in all its glory due to the effect not coming of and what a reaction.
This chap is such a bland actor so his ‘acting’ in this scene that lingers a tad too long is beautifully cringeworthy to watch.
Another notorious death, one that has been labelled mean spirited even though I can’t see how being hacked up with an outboard motor cannot be considered mean spirited too, is the infamous gaff hook death.
One that’s sure to water the eyes of any woman watching. It even had the boom girl run out in tears when filming it.

It isn’t that bad. A bit unexpected but especially these days people need to lighten up and enjoy it like all the other death scenes in this film, just like the outboard motor death.
The way he shakes his head and slowly drops to his knees. Brilliantly bad. I can’t stop talking about it.

The script isn’t too bad for this sort of film and the acting varies from bad to not as bad but as it’s an 80s slasher this what we expect and even want to see.
The gore when there is nicely done and over the top that has a final showdown to match in absurdity.

People have said The Mutilator is slow but I disagree. It starts of fast then you do get a lot of just the horny teenagers pissing about and like I said before they aren’t the worst to watch. Of course once it gets around to why we are here it’s nicely paced and besides, at 86 minutes you don’t have to wait too long for the pay off.

Did I mention the theme song?

It has a theme song that you won’t forget because it’s so catchy… nope because it’s cheesy at first and then grates 2 minutes in.
We aren’t talking Miley Cyrus or One Direction cheesy and annoying but the next time I watch this I will be fast forwarding the opening titles and turning off at the credits.

The Arrow Blu-ray is nicely packed with new extras made especially for this release and even has a documentary almost as long as the film filed with lots of interesting stories, plus an interview with the make-up effects fella that has to be worth 15 minutes of your time.

So is this film bad enough to have stopped Buddy’s budding film career before it got started?
No. It’s no worse than most and as bad as some we love. He tried and succeeded so given a choice between this again and whatever glossy MTV modern slasher for the Facebook generation that I haven’t yet seen I will go for this almost every time.

Well there must be one good modern slasher with horny teens in it out there.


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