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The Toolbox Murders (1978)

R  |   |  Drama, Horror, Thriller  |  March 1978 (USA)
5.2
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Ratings: 5.2/10 from 2,157 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 75 critic

Ski-masked maniac kills apartment complex tenants with the contents of a toolbox.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Vance Kingsley
Pamelyn Ferdin ...
Laurie Ballard
...
Kent Kingsley
Nicolas Beauvy ...
Joey Ballard
Tim Donnelly ...
Detective Jamison
...
Joanne Ballard
Faith McSwain ...
Mrs. Andrews
Marciee Drake ...
Debbie
Evelyn Guerrero ...
Maria
Victoria Perry ...
Woman in Apartment
Robert Bartlett ...
Man in Apartment
Betty Cole ...
Middle Aged Woman
John Hawker ...
Middle Aged Man
Don Diamond ...
Sgt. Cameron
Alisa Powell ...
Girlfriend
Edit

Storyline

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 <stomptokyo@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Bit by bit..By bit he carved a nightmare!

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

March 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Na Senda do Crime  »

Box Office

Budget:

$185,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A sequel was planned for a 1986 release but never finalized. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where we first see Laurie Ballard tied up in the bed and Vance enters the room, the shadow of a boom mic is clearly visible on the wall behind them. See more »

Quotes

Joey Ballard: I'll be home for dinner. What are you fixin'?
Laurie Ballard: Ah! La specialty of the house; chicken à la TV dinners.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Chainsaw Sally (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Carolina in the Morning
Sung by George Deaton
Music & Lyrics by George Deaton
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Somewhat overblown exploitative slasher effort
9 June 2015 | by (Los Angeles, Ca) – See all my reviews

Following a spate of brutal murders, a young man and his friend set out to find the culprit in the crimes when his sister gets abducted by the maniac and held hostage to prevent her from following in the victims' footsteps.

On the whole this was a decidedly disappointing effort that doesn't really have all that much going for it. When this one was right, it's unbelievably effective and grisly which is what basically amounts to the first few minutes here which is about as prime exploitative fodder as can be expected at a time like this as the series of kills in this section is outright brutal and shocking. The chase around the apartment with the drill that cuts up her arms before finally delivering the knockout blow to the back of the head, the shockingly casual scene of another victim is knocked out and carried into a stairwell where she has her head smashed in with a claw hammer, dragged back into her apartment when a friend finds the body, tries to flee but is grabbed, bashed to the floor, and has a screwdriver slowly pushed into her. That all these murders happen with absolutely no let up is what's unbelievably shocking about these, letting the gore flow freely and easily here through the merciless scenes before getting to the infamous assault on the nude bather who traps her in the apartment and dispatches her with utterly cruel and deadly nail-gun shots that show truly exploitative full- frontal shots with a relish for the more exploitative aspects of the victims' suffering. The pedestrian-like nature of these kills is such that it really does feel that the psychotic handyman is going about his everyday duties, humming peacefully as he goes, and nothing is out of the ordinary. Sadly, this is the first half-hour of the film and from there the film goes so down-hill the drabness that follows slows the film down to such a crawl that barely anything here is worthwhile. The fact that the torture scenes are incredibly tame and result more in his sweet-natured disposition to the situation of having her tied up that the torture actually comes from his rather lame singing and actually holding her hostage while none of whatever else happens to her is all that terrifying. Likewise, the slasher movie elements end and settles into a police procedural rut with a subplot between the lead detective and her mother which ultimately goes nowhere as her brother plays amateur sleuth when he agrees to clean the crime scenes, ultimately turning up evidence in the case but is altogether ignored with most of his findings being dismissed until the finale when it becomes altogether obvious. As well, despite the one murder it's not really all that nasty as the action is handled listlessly, being brutal but with zero suspense that they actually have little real impact. This really could've been something special but otherwise it's pretty drab overall.

Rated R: Full Nudity, Graphic Violence, Language and strong scenes of female masturbation.


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Closing credits said it was based on a true story. rachaela
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