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A lunatic runs around an apartment complex, apparently home only to attractive flight attendants with a tendency towards exhibitionism. While there, the lunatic tries to kill all the tenants with the contents of a toolbox. Based (probably quite loosely) on a true story. Written by
Chris Holland <email@example.com>
A sequel was planned for a 1986 release but never finalized. See more »
Both times that Vance carries the supposedly unconscious or dead Debra, when he puts her down she very obviously is gripping his arm or shoulder to prevent herself from falling onto the floor. See more »
This was a film that my girlfriend and I rented because it said on the box that it had been "banned for 14 years", or somesuch sensationalist tag. We expected, rather naively, a powerful, shocking attack on society a la Texas Chain Saw Massacre. What we had was some bloke in an unfrightening woolly hat going around and, yep, you guessed it, killing people with a variety of tools. Of these, the initial murder with a drill is the most unpleasant. As the film goes on, however, it clutches at straws, ultimately having to resort to that oh-so-scary object of carpentry, the chisel.
Unfortunately, entirely pointless deaths only account for about half the film. Where it really goes wrong is when it begins to justify these with some bizarre "taking revenge on the evils of society" explanation delivered by the one character we were really certain WASN'T the killer, by virtue of his being such an obvious candidate.
But for all its faults (and there are many), The Toolbox Murders remains compulsively watchable. This is because its hack dialogue and direction are so unbelievably bad that the viewer is left wondering just what god-awful impersonation of dialogue or technique is going to crop up next. Whole chunks of background information go effectively unexplained, phrases are repeated by characters unnecessarily, and one scene goes on so damn long you can't help thinking it might be a deliberate Chain Saw Massacre-style experiment on the viewer's nerves. But no, it just goes on too long.
Two-out-of-ten stuff, then - but one way or another, you won't hit the stop button before the end.
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