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  Zero Boys, The Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed?
Year: 1986
Director: Nico Mastorakis
Stars: Daniel Hirsch, Kelli Maroney, Nicole Rio, Tom Shell, Jared Moses, Crystal Carson, Joe Estevez, Gary Jochimsen, John Michaels, Elise Turner, T.K. Webb, Jason Ricketts, Stephen Kay, Neil Weiss, Harry Donenfeld, Dennis Ott, Patrick Hirsch
Genre: Horror, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Steve (Daniel Hirsch) is getting ready for today's events, and he pins a photograph of Rambo to the wall and tells Sly to eat his heart out, then produces a gun. He creeps outside where a bunch of young men are stalking each other with pistols and other weaponry, and they start shooting, stealthily tracking one another until one of the leaders, Casey (John Michaels) who is dressed in a Gestapo uniform, is finally felled by a well-aimed shot to the head. Steve emerges victorious, but these men are not dead, they have been putting on a show for an audience which is effectively a paintball session with realistic blood, and once he gets back up Casey has to admit Steve's crew, The Zero Boys, are the best.

Nope, those titular Zero Boys were not the villains here but the heroes, even though they initially come across like a bunch of Guns and Ammo perusing firearm nuts which usually in these circumstances would render them the antagonists. Not this time, they are the potential victims once they get out into the surrounding countryside, and two of them, Larry (Tom Shell) and Rip (Jared Moses) take their girlfriends with them, so what will Steve do? How about taking Casey's girlfriend Jamie, who was the subject of a bet between them and decides if Casey thinks that little of her then she might as well go with Steve? She was played by the biggest name in the cast, Kelli Maroney, a minor cult actress for such films as Chopping Mall but especially Night of the Comet.

This little item was not the winner of quite the same kind of following, though like everything from the eighties with a horror inflection it did pick up interest, even some years after the fact, and if you wanted to see Maroney get a decent amount to do then it would come recommended as she proved capable enough for a shocker heroine, if not technically the final girl that a suspense thriller made on the leftover set of Friday the 13th Part 3 would have indicated. Not because of the reasons you might be thinking, however, more because writer and director Nico Mastorakis neglected to put an ending on his opus, so when the credits did roll after eighty-nine minutes, you may be tempted to ask the age-old question, was that it?

With that in mind you might be best prepared to anticipate something of a feeling of being left dangling by The Zero Boys, which could bring tears to your eyes if nothing else, but before that the tone of a work created by a Greek director operating in a language other than his native tongue was noticeable. Most obviously in the dialogue, which at times sounded much as you would expect, but at others had the tendency towards non-sequitur that left you wondering if the characters were saying precisely what Mastorakis had intended them to. Taking that on board, the off-kilter delivery of what was when you boiled it down a rather straightforward thriller with horror trappings such as a snuff movie or elaborate death scenes did indicate why it stuck in the memories of those who had caught it down the years.

In fact, that plot was reminiscent of the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears, with the Zero Boys (and girls) standing in for the little porridge fiend and the evildoers the vaguely defined ursine foes, only this time around the trespassers had more legitimate grievances than those who they were trespassing against. After their victory at the show (which looks to have about five or six people in the audience) they head off to a forest location for a picnic and to exchange more not quite with it lines, but just as they are getting comfortable they hear a bloodcurdling scream. They dismiss it, but do not forget it, so when later that day they break into an isolated house in the woods you may be thinking, fair enough, we’ve all seen The Evil Dead. However, this was more like that subgenre of horror the survivalist yarn, as ushered in by Deliverance in the previous decade, in that there were some largely unseen but very deadly nevertheless folks lurking around spying on the gang. As a storm blows up and the electricity wavers, they forget about celebrating a birthday (!) and get to pondering pressing issues as who sabotaged their car. As these things went, it was basic, yet just odd enough to stand out. Music by Stanley Myers and a certain Hans Zimmer.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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