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  Aerobicide Deathcerise
Year: 1987
Director: David A. Prior
Stars: Marcia Karr, David James Campbell, Fritz Matthews, Ted Prior, Teresa Van der Woude, Richard Bravo, Dianne Copeland, Laurel Mock, Lynn Meighan, Teresa Truesdale, Denise Martell, Michael Beck, John Robb, Joel Hoffman, Larry Reynolds, Deborah Norris
Genre: Horror, Action, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Valerie returns home to her house and starts to prepare her evening meal as she listens to her answering machine messages, but the second one stops her in her tracks: it's a call from her manager telling her she has that modelling job for the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine she has been wanting. She is so excited that she forgets about the meal and heads off to the sunbed salon to top up her tan, but when she does, calamity strikes: once inside her bed of choice, it malfunctions and catches fire, trapping her inside as she is burnt to a crisp! Some time after, at a nearby health club, Jaimy (Teresa Van der Woude) is meant to be conducting an aerobics workout for the patrons, but she's late and her boss Rhonda (Marcia Karr) has to take over...

Just before they made the camp favourite action movie laff riot Deadly Prey, the Prior brothers conjured up this slice of indigestible horror trash alternately called Killer Workout and the more imaginative Aerobicide, with director and writer David A. Prior taking most of the blame and his sibling Ted Prior, so memorable running about semi-naked (or nevernude) in that muscular exploitation effort as well as to purchasers of Playgirl in the eighties, shouldered the role of an undercover detective who tries to work out at the club. No, I mean, tries to work out who is the killer at the club, for this was one of those slasher movies so popular with low budget moviemakers and rather desperate frequenters of video rental stores seeking entertainment when all the better known films had been taken out.

That murderer's weapon of choice was possibly unique in the horror movie world, as it came across as if Prior was a bit stuck for a novelty death-dealing instrument so looking about his kitchen drawers one day he happened upon a safety pin and thought, ah, what if this was very far from safe? Whatever his processes, that's what is used to stab the victims to death, a safety pin with the point protruding, something you would surmise might well take a fairly long time to do any damage, even if it was a larger than normal safety pin; that said it's not as if it was two feet long or anything, it was more two and half inches of thin steel, if that. If this sounds underwhelming compared to something like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, well, you wouldn't be wrong.

Something else which had influenced our auteur was the preponderance of workout videos popularised in this decade, so in a style reminsicent of Jane Fonda's multi-million dollar physical fitness franchise, he treated us to regular exercise sequences apropos of nothing. Not nothing, exactly, as they were plainly present to get the temperatures rising in the viewer as they feasted their eyes on toned bodies indulging in repetitive actions decked out in figure-hugging leotards and legwarmers, though Jaimy might as well have been wandering around in a tiny bikini for all the coverage her attire offered her, as if she planned a trip to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro shortly after her working day was done. No wonder grumpy Rhonda likes to slag her off, a friction that could point to either one being the murderer.

The odd thing about all these gym sessions is that they continue no matter what has happened in the plot - you might consider putting the business on hold after the customers have a habit of ending up slaughtered, Rhonda, but it never puts anyone off attending, not even after they've been killed such is their dedication to the body beautiful (characters appear in the workout sequences after they've been offed, bizarrely - or shoddily). Ted's tec had a habit of getting into carefully choreographed fistfights with suspects, or at least one suspect Jimmy (Fritz Matthews) offering Aerobicide the look of an eighties cop show such as T.J. Hooker almost as much as it looked like an aerobics video. But this was a mere apéritif to the revelations of the final half hour where the identity of the criminal was exposed, connected as you may have suspected to the tanning incident which opened the movie, though still seeing most of the cast of characters well and truly snuffed out. Only most continued their workout in a sort of keep fit Valhalla, a multitude of soundalike eighties pop tunes tinnily playing.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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