HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Boss Level
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To
Edge of the World
PTU
Superdeep
Insignificance
Treasure City
Piccadilly
Parallel
Invasión
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Initiation
Redoubt
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
   
 
Newest Articles
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
   
 
  Wacko Hurray for Halloween
Year: 1982
Director: Greydon Clark
Stars: Joe Don Baker, Stella Stevens, George Kennedy, Julia Duffy, Scott McGinnis, E.G. Daily, Michele Tobin, Andrew Dice Clay, Anthony James, Sonny Carl Davis, David Drucker, Jeff Altman, Wil Albert, Charles Napier
Genre: Horror, Comedy, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is Halloween, on Prom Night, on the thirteenth anniversary of the infamous Lawnmower murders. As a child Mary Graves (Julia Duffy) witnessed her older sister’s grisly death at the hands of the pumpkin-masked Lawnmower Killer. Now a senior at Alfred Hitchcock High School, Mary is eager to lose her virginity to doting boyfriend Norman Bates (Scott McGinnis). Following the escape of a mysterious bald, half-naked inmate from the local insane asylum, dogged police detective Dick Harbinger (Joe Don Baker) suspects the Lawnmower Killer will strike again. Thirteen years ago Harbinger swore he would not rest until he arrested the elusive madman and literally hasn’t slept a wink since. With the cranky, bleary-eyed, caffeinated cop on the case, Mary and her friends hit the prom, unaware the Lawnmower Killer lies in wait.

Wacko was among a handful of slasher movie spoofs released in the early Eighties alongside the hilarious Student Bodies (1981) directed by Woody Allen cohort Mickey Rose, Pandemonium (1982) an amusing parody from offbeat horror auteur Alfred Sole and National Lampoon’s Class Reunion (1982). It was evidently obvious to many that the genre had already lapsed into self-parody anyway, although these shrewd satires did nothing to stem its continuing decline in quality throughout the decade with straggling items like Bloody Pom Poms (1988) and the ever-worsening Friday the 13th, Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street sequels. Versatile journeyman Greydon Clark got his start as an actor as part of the stock company of infamous schlock merchant Al Adamson before going on to become one of the more engaging exploitation filmmakers of the Seventies and Eighties. His most notable works include the good-naturedly trashy likes of Black Shampoo (1976), Satan’s Cheerleaders (1977) and, a personal favourite, the alien-in-the-woods classic Without Warning (1980). Here Clark assembles an exceptional cast who inhabit their ridiculous roles with gusto performing comedy so broad it makes the Three Stooges look like Alan Bennett.

Co-written by an intriguing array of future big league scribes including Jim Kouf who went on to pen comedy cop capers Stakeout (1987) and Rush Hour (1998) as well as cult sci-fi favourite The Hidden (1988) under the pseudonym Bob Hunt, Dana Olsen writer of Joe Dante’s excellent The ’Burbs (1988) and the less-than-great Inspector Gadget (1999), and most notably David Greenwalt, writer-producer-director on seminal shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel as well as the more recent fairytale-themed Grimm, Wacko is a predictably hit-and-miss affair. Its humour wavers from riotously funny into the downright surreal including a frankly unsavoury running gag wherein doting dad George Kennedy - in a dry run for his role in The Naked Gun (1988) - keeps spying on his scantily clad daughter, Mary. Indeed the film displays a troubling prediliction for scenes with middle-aged men leching on teenage girls as Detective Harbinger indulges in a steamy clinche with a nymphet played by prolific voice-over actress E.G. Daily in the midst of a high speed car chase!

Other memorably bizarre moments include the doo-wop chorus that inexplicably accompany school stud Tony Schlongini (stand-up comedian Andrew Dice Clay, in his film debut), the mad scientist named Dr. Moreau (Victor Brandt) who transforms the school football team into snarling beast men and the Vice Principal (another stand-up comic, Jeff Altman then fresh off the infamous J-pop variety show Pink Lady and Jeff!) who acts like a televangelist. For all the jokes that drop like lead balloons, there are enough to amuse jaded horror fans such as the moment one suspect remarks: “So this is the classic throw suspicion on the perverted gardener scene?” Sitcom stalwart Julia Duffy makes a delightfully daffy heroine but there are memorable moments from co-stars Scott McGinnis (whose Norman Bates performs a ventriloquist act with his mother’s mummified corpse!), the aforementioned Elizabeth Daily (in a ridiculous stalking scene),Charles Napier (as Harbinger’s flustered superior), Stella Stevens (as Mary’s mom), and Clu Gulager. Look out for former child star turned exploitation regular Darby Hinton in a small role as a sarcastic cop. The finale goes wildly off the rails (what is with the talking elephant?) but Mary’s absurdly prolonged cat-and-mouse with the Lawnmower Killer is pretty funny (“You asshole, why can’t you stay dead?”).

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2083 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: