12 August 2010

NERDY PSYCHO STALKS HORNY YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE AUSTRALIAN DESERT IN 1990's MIRAGE

I am not sure what to say about this odd entry from Australia into the stalker/slasher genre. It is not really an unwatchable and I can recommend it but for the most part it failed to deliver the goods I had hoped it would provide. I cannot find much about it on the internet and even had a hard time finding a low quality poster scan. The AVI I downloaded is definitely a VHS rip and the quality is not too bad. I do not know about everybody out there but sometimes I actually like getting an old VHS rip and watching it when I am in the mood. Can't remember where I downloaded it even but it looks like something from Tracker 3.Not any info on director Bill Craine that I can locate. Craine directed, co-wrote and co-produced the film. A Brian Craine did the music score and editing. The Craine boys are certainly no Coen Broters and I will take a wild guess and say that the actors and rest of the crew are pals of the Craines. One slight mistake I may have made with this one is that I watched it with my wife whose film viewing standards are a bit higher than mine and after a while we were both sort of ripping the movie apart too hard. I just wanted to be cool and seem smarter than I am but had I watched it alone and been under less pressure to appear sane I may have enjoyed it more.
The film takes place in the deserts of Australia where three pair of 20 somethings go out for a weekend of beer drinking and getting frisky. Wouldn’t you know it though but a twisted psycho trolls the desert flats in his black jeep and the sight of horny attractive people pushes him over the edge. As it would any self-respecting psycho-slasher of course. One thing low budget films like this tend to do is pick a cheap locale to shoot in such as a forest or beach or in this case a desert. Now a desert provides a great backdrop for a western or epic like Lawrence of Arabia but one would have to be a pretty capable director and have a good script to pull off a slasher flick in the desert. I never really thought Wes Craven did it with The Hills have Eyes (though I did like the remake) and the poorly funded Caine brothers do the best with what they have and the end result is not really that terrible.

The cast is pretty small. It stars Jennifer McAllister as the heroine and B.G. Speers as the killer and Todd Caldecott, Kenny Johnson, Kevin McParland, Nicole Anton and Laura Albert as the members of the body count. Now I found the deaths to be nothing special and a couple even take place off screen. In a film like this one needs to have bloody gruesome death scenes –and some basic nudity here and there which this film has- for it to overcome its budget shortcomings. The ‘actors’ here can’t act and so why not kill them off in imaginative and gory fashion one by one. There is one fairly bloody death sequence involving a tree, a chain and the jeep pulling on of the hapless youth in half but that is really about it. There is one scene where one of the blonde pretty boys gets buried in the desert up to his neck and we were both expecting some grisly death but it never happens. In fact the scene was well shot and shows the black jeep driving off into the hazy desert heat as the guys screams for help and mercy. In the distance you see the jeep slowly turn around and return and I thought this was pretty good. But they totally blew by having the killer toss a hand grenade (!) out the window and have it land by the guy’s head. The explosion takes place off scene. Why not just run the guy’s head over like a ripe watermelon here? There a few more gory moments that aren’t over done really but they are few and far between and do not make up for all the bad acting and dialog we have to endure between these brief bloody moments.
And the choice of weapons by the killer is another issue with me as well with this movie. A good psycho does not have to rely on things like hand grenades and shotguns (yes he uses a shotgun as well) to eliminate his prey. Usually he is content to uses objects readily at hand or things found in his tool box. Another issue is that the killer must have charisma. Albeit evil charisma but charisma nonetheless. Through most of the film all we see of the psycho are his boots and black gloved hands or his all black jeep with dark tinted windows. We are trying to imagine who and what he looks like and when his face is revealed he winds up being the goofiest pyscho-slasher I have ever seen. He even talks goofy and you almost expect him to start going ‘yuck yuck’ at any moment. He is also a dumb ass since he hands the weapon of his destruction back to Chris (MacAllister) and dares her to kill him with it. There are some formula twists at the end with one left wondering how many times the killer can come back to life after being shot through the face with an arrow and then blasted point blank in the gut with a shotgun. And then we are left with tries to be a clever psychological twist of an ending that really does not work. Was there ever really a killer in a black jeep? Or was he just a mirage and pretty Chris in her assless blue jeans is the real killer? Oooooohhhh! So deep. But I recommend the film to fans of 80’s style slasher flicks. I love them and I love picking at the faults and inanities. These are some of the funnest movies in the world to watch. This one is really hard to find so good luck. You can try tracker 3 (which is where I think I got it) or the movie is on Youtube in 8 or 9 parts. I am providing a clip of one of those parts at the bottom of the post. This is the scene where the doofy new age guy walks like a sissy boy up to the jeep and flips off the killer. I wonder what happens to him?

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