The Firelight Shocks DVD Review Section





The Mutilator
Distributor: Vipco
Region: 2
Ratio: 4.3
Sound: Mono
Vipco strike again, with the release of a horror picture that few would want to see, let alone shell out any money to own on DVD. In a sense though, for all the criticism levelled at the company (by myself included), Vipco remain the one company that still (unfortunately) attempts to bring the nostalgic experience of the 'video nasty' back to UK households. Consequently, Vipco sells its variable product upon grisly box art, ghoulish monikers and gory pictures plastered all over the film's sleeve. The same sort of practise which brought the otherwise useless likes of Cannibal Ferox, Nightmares in a Damaged Brain and The Toolbox Murders to prominent cult recognition way back in the early eighties and The Mutilator is certainly no worse or indeed any better than that meagre lot...
So who is 'The Mutilator'? Well, he doesn't say anything but it appears he's never forgiven his son for accidentally blasting away his wife with a shotgun. Oops. Anyway, dad gives his son (now an adult and at college) a phone call and asks him to look after his beach house for him during the weekend. Naturally, his son accepts the offer and soon he and his friends set out to have their 'Fall Break' (excuse me?) which cues the most unbearably piss poor theme song ever (even by the standards of American eighties pop).
The good news is that none of the actors here can actually act so you don't feel quite so bad about grinning happily when each of them meets a nasty demise. My favourite character is this airhead blonde stud whose acting ability consists solely of a sporadic grin. He just sorts of hangs around like a spare part until he gets to meet the dangerous end of a chain saw, and even then, in his ultimate scene, he makes a sound more appropriate to a furious orgasm than a deathly howl. It's horribly embarrassing to watch and I doubt the poor chap has lived it down to this day.
Granted, the gore is fairly explicit in this film, rivalling Scavollini's Nightmares in a Damaged Brain and even Fulci's The New York Ripper in the contest for grisliest eighties stalker flick. Yet whereas the former was dull and seemingly unaware of its own hopelessness, and the latter merely unpleasantly misogynistic, The Mutilator is simply banal. Seriously, blood and guts aside, this film is a very forgettable viewing experience and very badly made. In terms of bloody special effects, alongside the previously mentioned scene of the crap actor being torn asunder by a chain saw, we have a copper being decapitated, a dream sequence in which dad slits his son's throat, a drowning and a couple of deaths by spiked implements. Despite being the 'extreme' version, one murder is missing from this BBFC approved version of The Mutilator and to be honest it does seem rather inevitable.
The scene in question involves a pretty female who is laid down and has a large steel hook forced through her back and out of her mid section. The sight of the sharp implement nearing her spread legs typifies the sort of complaints which many critics made about this genre back in its heyday. Contrary to popular belief, such imagery is not typical of the stalker movie (only a few wretched pieces of shit indulge in such pornographic leanings). However, the picture of a sweaty, well built man offing an attractive female in such a suggestive manner serves only to fuel the criticism which has been directed towards this type of film. It is unfortunate, then, that an otherwise 'fun' slasher movie should suddenly turn so uncharacteristically brutal, and without this scene the film really does play better.
The ending, however, is without a doubt the high point of The Mutilator, returning the movie to its ridiculous popcorn happy thrills. As you'd expect the title character makes his Michael Myers like return long after the cast (but not the audience) think he's a goner. The final scene is, admittedly, mildly amusing with the madman sliced in half only to make one final lunge with his huge battleaxe in order to chop a policeman's leg in half!
Still, this is not a good film. If you really must indulge in some cheap stalk and slash action then there are far better films in the genre (Christ, any of the Friday the 13th films are preferable to this). Moreover, you'd really have to have pretty shit taste in movies to have this film anywhere near the top of your DVD shopping list. This is honestly not the reason that motion pictures were invented.
The Disc:
Shit picture, comparable sound, not much in the way of extras (Picture gallery! Some trailers for other Vipco releases! Stop it, you're spoiling us!)... pretty typical for the morons who run Vipco then. If you've not yet got the message: AVOID THIS PIECE OF CRAP!


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