BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Mutilator (1985)

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By Nick Durham

The Mutilator is one of those slasher flicks from the 80s that you may kind of remember, but if you do, you don’t remember it too well. Chances are you know the title at least, and yes, that is a great title for a piece of slasher trash. Funny enough, the original title for the film was Fall Break, which actually makes more sense considering the story revolves around a group of college douche bags on their fall break, and the film even has a fucking theme song entitled Fall Break. Oh well, a lot of films of this type in the 80s had at least two different titles at some point, so this actually isn’t that much of a surprise.

The Mutilator, as I said already, revolves around the typical brand of 80s college douche bags (and we know they’re douche bags because a couple of them wear sweaters tied around their necks or draped over their shoulders) who decide to take a trip to the beach house of owned by the father of our lead Ed Jr. (Matt Mitler). Thing is though, Ed’s father went a little off the deep end some years back when young Ed accidentally killed his mother with daddy’s rifle. Throughout the years, Big Ed has hunted a lot and made trophies of his kills, and now he has his sights set on his son and his friends.

The film’s flimsy plot isn’t done any favors by the laughably bad acting peppered throughout The Mutilator. In fact, the film as a whole seems really fucking amateurish in terms of its direction and technical aspects. This isn’t really that much of a big deal, because in the mid-80s, everyone and their mother was making slasher flicks in their back yards with camcorders they rented from the local video store. Where The Mutilator shines though is with its gore effects. For its time, they are really fucking good, and even though it takes us a while to get there, the gore shots and kills are worth the trip.

Arrow Video has done another fine job crafting a great Blu-ray set here. They’ve remastered the film in 2K, and somehow actually managed to piece together this rarely seen unrated version of the film as well. Somehow, someway, Arrow has managed to not make this movie look like shit. There’s a few different commentary tracks featuring writer/producer/director Buddy Cooper, as well as star Matt Mitler and female lead Ruth Martinez, and a new documentary featuring interviews with them and more besides. There’s a look back at the splatter effects of the film, screen tests, trailers, original and instrumental version of the film’s funky ass theme song, and a retrospective about the film’s super weird musical score (seriously, it’s weird). As usual, Arrow really packed in the goods special feature-wise.

So yeah, The Mutilator is an often forgotten 80s slasher trash fest that is gloriously awful, yet somehow endearing. It’s enjoyable in its badness though, and the film’s ending is a total hoot to say it lightly. Go check it out if you’ve never seen it before, and if you have seen the film before and have fond memories of it, pick up Arrow’s Blu-ray while you can.

Rating: 3/5 (film), 4.5/5 (special features)

Posted by Alan Smithee

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