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Berserker (1987)

R  |   |  Horror  |  July 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 3.9/10 from 273 users  
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Six young adults in the woods run afoul of a berserker, a viking warrior who dons the fur and snout of a bear, and are slain in turn by him.


(as Jef Richard)


(as Jef Richard) , (story), 2 more credits »
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Title: Berserker (1987)

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Joseph Alan Johnson ...
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Officer Hill (as John Goff)
Pappy Nyquist


Six young adults in the woods run afoul of a berserker, a viking warrior who dons the fur and snout of a bear, and are slain in turn by him.

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slasher | See All (1) »


It's too late to run. There's no time to scream... Just close your eyes and pray to die. [video cover] See more »




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

July 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Berserker: The Nordic Curse  »

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User Reviews

Fabulous Viking Horror Guilty Pleasure Hacker
24 September 2006 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

Sure, this movie sucks, but it is a deliberate exercise in bad taste that revels in it's awfulness. Six unlikeable dimwits go up to a secluded camping lodge in the north country for a beer, pot and sex fueled romp at a vacation resort one of them had visited as a kid. Now he is all grown up into an obnoxious, beer-swilling jerk who's lack of personal charm is only matched by the sheer crappiness of the music he blasts on his boom box while everyone else is trying to sleep. People ask me why I have no interest in attending high school or college reunions, the answer is that from my recollection they were all jerks just like him, which also explains why I have developed a taste for low-rent 80s teen horror: Watching the bastards get killed in horrible ways that don't actually require me to do anything that might result in a prison term.

The crew and I have the formula down pat: I get my hands on some grubby old rental tapes of movies you can't rent on Netflix, rustle up a case of beer for Friday night, maybe a bottle of the old sauce and some snack mix. At 10pm we get started with a round-robin discussion that usually devolves into people shouting at me about how much Bush sucks, how evil Bush is, all of the current Bush scandals and outrages, how much Bush has ruined the world, and what a dimwit I am for not seeing through all of the Bush lies, Bush conspiracies, and Bush tyranny that have turned this world into such an awful place. If you ask me the it's always been a sewer. By then we are primed for some serious drinking and it's time for a movie or two we can laugh at together, usually with some common unifying theme. This weekend it was Viking Horror, and by god if BERSERKER with it's stupid, rampaging Viking bear wasn't the more enjoyable of the two, primarily because it had no greater aspirations than to deprive it's female cast members of their clothing, kill the cast off in reverse order of likability and provide a couple of belly-laughs at it's empty headed, vacuous and mercifully quick runtime. The fun is in using our belladonic hazed imaginations to establish how the characters in the film embody traits of those we have left behind us in our journey through time since school: The Jerk, Mr. Popular, his girlfriend Ms. Popular, the Ditz, the Simpering Queer Guy and the Snooty Bitch getting prominent attention in this one. Oh yeah, we knew them all, and waited twenty years to finally get to see them die in a horror movie. "Pass the snack mix, please."

For some reason the lead jerk in the film decides to trick everyone into staying at the exact cabin he bunked at as a kid, thumbing his nose at the kindly old Swedish guy who runs the place and annoying everyone within earshot with his crummy synth metal arena rock. This naturally causes the re-incarnated spirit of a long dead viking warrior to issue forth from his grave in the form of a giant bear -- played convincingly by a giant bear -- who then proceeds to stalk down and tear the girls limb from limb when they venture away from their boyfriends to take potty breaks out in the woods. The bear creeps up on them, startles them, chases them for an arbitrary period of time and then mauls them to death, repeat and rinse. For variety in addition to the Jerk and his buddy Mr. Popular we get the class closeted Simpering Queer Guy complete with his lisp and pink button up shirt. He still gets to score with one of the girls but that's OK, just as long as the Jerk doesn't get any we are happy.

If none of this sounds original or inspired you are absolutely correct and probably touching on the main reason why these movies can be so much fun -- It is reassuring to know that things will pretty much work out the same over the course of 90 odd minutes of the familiar garbage, which of course is endearing now in the age of truly annoying populist junk like CHAOS, WOLF CREEK and HOSTEL who's sole purpose seems to be to mortify those who's remaining pustules of humanity have not already been punctured by five years of the War on Terror. BERSERKER by contrast was made at a time when horror movies were still made to titillate and provoke, and the film's most provocative imagery involves Beth Toussaint (who played Tasha's absolutely gorgeous hot nerd goddess babe sister on STAR TREK: TNG) doing full frontal nudity and screwing like a cowgirl out in the woods under the full moon as her friend is torn apart by the bear during cross cutting editing.

So sex and violence mixed with violence and sex, edited together into some sick montage of orgasms and suffering in case you are too thick skulled to get the point on your own. We watched this as a double bill with the genuinely unremarkable Viking HIGHLANDER ripoff horror opus THE RUNESTONE, which was a better made, classier production that did not have one memorable scene in it's overlong 97 minute runtime. This one clocked in at about 85 minutes and generated belly-laughs all around: It was cheap, sleazy, lurid, entertaining, hilarious, stupid, unassuming, fast and worthy of a second viewing once the hangover had departed to find out just how the movie ended, because like any good party I could not remember how things worked out in the end other than I still had my shoes on when regaining consciousness. Always a prime indicator that you may not have accomplished anything but can rest assured that you had a good time, and in a town like this that is the more important consideration.


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