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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Watchable shot on video horror film...

4/10
Author: jade1-1 from LA
10 August 2001

This is a mediocre horror movie. It's very cheap, has acceptable (Sandy Brooke, Ted Prior, Linda McGill) to downright bad (George Eastman, Steven Wright, Tim Aguilar) acting, standard direction, poor screenplay, and okay photography.

It is about a woman and her lover who is killed by her young son(looks about seven years old, kinda young to be insane). Ten years later a group of vacationing teens (they look like their in their 30's, serious!) show up looking to have a weekend full of sex, booze, and fun. Their fun turns to sheer terror as their weekend is interrupted by the raving maniac's spirit.

It was directed by David Prior (KILLER WORKOUT, LOST PLATOON, MARDI GRAS FOR THE DEVIL) who does an okay job with the camera (for being a video movie) and creates a real film feel but when the action starts, he results to too many slo mo shots. Sandy Brooke is the most capable actress in this film, she gives real feeling to her character. Too bad she was in this movie.

It was shot on video before "BLOOD CULT" though and is wwwaaayyy better than W.A.V.E. Exploitation/Horror videos (At least SORORITY SLAUGHTER 1 & 2). Since IMD doesn't have a cast list I will supply one.

CAST

JONIE....LINDA MCGILL

CHUCK....TED PRIOR

JOHN.....JOHN EASTMAN

MARY.....JANINE SCHEER

JIMMY....TIM AGUILAR

CAROL....SANDY BROOKE

JOEY.....STEPHEN WRIGHT

LOVER....MICHAEL SHANAHAN

MOTHER...MARY MENDEZ

THE BOY (young)....JUSTIN GREER

THE BOY (older/spirit)....DOUG MATLEY

THE DRIVER....RAY LAWRENCE

All in all an entertaining if not throughly enjoyable genre piece stricken by poverty ($40,000 U.S. dollars).

5/10 (based on shot on video horror features)

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Guilty Pleasure Cheese

5/10
Author: acidburn-10 from United Kingdom
16 June 2013

"Sledgehammer" is another one of those forgotten 80's slashers and yes this one isn't less cheesy than the others and okay it's not perfect or great but what I found is that this movie was quite fun and has heart, which is very much rare these days.

The beginning kept me interested where we have a small boy cruelly locked in a cupboard by his mother so she can carry on with her lover and then things get out of hand and the boy finds a sledgehammer and dispatches his mother and her lover. This yes was predictable but really set the tone for this movie and what's to come. Then fast forward 10 years and we get a group of 30 year old teenagers partying at that same house and well you know what's gonna happen next.

Sledgehammer doesn't rank as one of the finest slasher movies from this period there are quite a lot of flaws, but despite that this movie is a lot of fun, the killer is very menacing and creepy and the kills are quite effective despite lacklustre effects. The setting itself was rather dull and tame, too much white and made this movie look dull and this movie holds the distinction for being the first shot on video slasher and it shows, like the shaky camera work and the supernatural angle just didn't work for me and the slow motion scenes were pretty annoying and overused.

But despite these flaws "Sledgehammer" does deliver entertainment in some departments, the acting was pretty bad but I've seen a lot worse, they were still quite likable and the party scenes were quite fun and when the killer shows up ready to dispatch the cast, these scenes are quite tense as the killer does seem quite impossible to get away from as he's literally everywhere which was a definite highlight.

All in all Sledgehammers is by no means memorable or a cult classic, but a competent effort dripped in pure cheese and definitely a guilty pleasure.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The most surreal slasher film ever made

Author: michaelmonterastel from United States
2 November 2008

This is a homemade 80's slasher film that appears to have cost about 14 bucks to make and looks like it was shot on a VHS camcorder (I'm not kidding). It was shown at a theater in L.A. recently as part of a homemade horror video festival and I still can't get it out of my mind. The film begins with an abused child being locked in a closet while his mother has a drunken fling with a character referred to in the credits as the "Lover". Before the affair can commence a giant masked maniac armed with a sledgehammer beats them to a bloody pulp. A title card (old ass 80's camcorder text) tells us it's 10 years later and we are introduced to seven potential victims as they go for a weekend retreat in the home of the previous murders where they are systematically stalked and killed by the same sledge wielding madman. OK, I know it all sounds very derivative and there are much better, more professional cheap ass slashers out there, but this movie is "special" in a lot of ways. First off, the low production value and it's cheap, home video quality cinematography actually enhance the film a lot. That combined with a simple, yet effective, bass heavy synthesizer score, an amateur cast made up of muscle bound jocks and big hair bimbos, and a freakishly tall killer who wears a clear plastic mask and is genuinely creepy looking make this movie transcend into a weird kinda art piece. It's like if Pinter made a slasher movie at a friends house one weekend for beer money on his home video camera. There is also an unexplained paranormal bit where the killer can physically change back into the small child from the beginning so I assume the kid is the killer and he's a shape shifter. Huh!? This effect is handled with an old fashioned dissolve. There is a completely inappropriate food fight that is extended for so long it becomes almost disturbing on a sociological level. The killer is SO big he barely clears the hallway's ceiling as he chases a victim and he holds his sledgehammer in one hand the way most normal people hold a regular hammer. Freaky. This whole films visual style is unnerving and escalates it into something much more than what was probably intended. David Lynch meets The Slumber Party Massacre. If you can get a bootleg dub somewhere, get high and drunk with as many friends you can find and toss it on the old VCR. The 80's never seemed stranger.

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If I had a Sledgehammer, I'd Sledgehammer down the director…

1/10
Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
9 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Sledgehammer" is more than just a lousy and nearly insufferable early 80's slasher flick! This milestone in its own league marked the debut feature of none other than David A. Prior! Who? The name might not ring a bell to cinematic value seekers, but since more than three decades straight now, Mr. Prior is one of the most over-active and prolific trash directors in the business. Nearly forty bad films in thirty years, that's what I call perseverance and dedication! And David doesn't operate all by himself, in fact, since practically his entire repertoire stars his hunky beefcake brother Ted. The two heroic brothers started out with horror flicks ("Sledgehammer" and the equally horrendous "Killer Workout"), but then quickly turned to jungle adventures and Vietnam action vehicles probably because they realized Ted's posture is more fit for that type of movies. Their absolute highlight inarguably remains the phenomenal 1987 "Deadly Prey", which is – I believe – a movie that everybody in the whole world needs to watch.

But back to David & Ted's first venture into the movie industry, entitled "Sledgehammer", which is … a lousy and nearly insufferable early 80's slasher flick! This shot-on-video project simply oozes amateurishness, ineptitude and total helplessness. We're talking horribly weak camera-work, a complete lack of editing, pathetic stereotype characters, limited set-pieces, atrocious acting performances, zero attempt to build up tension and/or atmosphere, insufficient plot material to fill a long feature film (resulting in a dreadful amount of irritating padding footage) and laughable gore effects accomplished with kitchen equipment! A bunch of idiots invade a countryside mansion for a weekend of booze and childish fun, but during the opening sequences we witnessed already how a woman and her lover were "brutally slain" with a sledgehammer in the same house one decade earlier. The woman's 8-year-old son vanished after the murders, but local legend states that he's still dwelling around in the area. Following the worst amateur-séance in history, the group members are butchered one after the other by … a guy with a sledgehammer! Now, who might he be? Although I probably shouldn't waste any further words to this awful stinker, I would still like to highlight two elements in "Sledgehammer": the characters and the padding footage. Ted Prior is quite embarrassing as the "leader" exposing his muscled torso the entire time, but strangely enough he still is the most authentic masculine character. There's a dude called John, who looks like a wardrobe closet and doesn't have more than 2 brain cells (1 for beer, 1 for food). Whenever he kisses his girlfriend, he practically eats her entire face! Another guy, named Jimmy, clearly struggles with his sexuality. Also, his mullet and porno-mustache are hilarious. The script is extremely anti-feminist, since the three girls in the cast hardly say or do anything of significance. 85% of the film's content is pure filler, without exaggerating. Exterior shots of the house last for approximately 30 seconds, unloading the van upon arrival at the house takes up about five minutes and there's a truckload of sequences illustrating empty stairs and empty rooms. There's a pointless "we are walking in the garden together" collage (in slow-motion!) and the absolute masterwork of stretching time is a pitiable food-fight sequence. Heck, even the sole sex sequence in "Sledgehammer" is dull and overlong!

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A shot-on-video pioneer (is that a good thing?)

3/10
Author: Sandcooler from Belgium
30 March 2014

Ted Prior was a Playgirl Playmate trying to get into acting, his brother David uhm, just owned a camera I guess, and so a fruitful collaboration started that has been going on for more than thirty years now. Their absolute masterpiece is probably 1987's "Deadly Prey", a complete and utter rip-off to "Rambo: First Blood" that is just irresistibly entertaining in all its wrongness. That one I can really recommend, but "Sledgehammer" is a whole other story. This thing is one of the most boring slasher films I have ever seen, it's clear the dynamic duo still had lots to learn when they made this. For example, David Prior hadn't figured out yet how to turn off the slo-mo effect on his camcorder. He uses slo-mo for the most random things. Some slo-mo in the grand finale, makes sense. Every single death scene in slow-motion, that's pushing it but fair enough. But why would you use it when the scene is just people walking around in a garden or sitting on a couch doing nothing? Is this young David Prior's creative force kicking in and not having a clue what it's doing? Not that the movie would be any good at a normal speed, but at least it would be lots shorter. Occasionally there is some almost-suspense (the clichéd slasher scene where one character tells the killer's legend isn't bad), the opening scene is also quite atmospheric, but as a whole "Sledgehammer" just doesn't bring much to the table to keep you entertained. It also doesn't help that you'll constantly have to yell "just get out of the house!" at the screen, my throat is still sore from yesterday. If this led the Priors on the road to "Deadly Prey" I appreciate it exists, but that's the nicest thing I can say about it.

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A choice crummy chunk of vintage cheapo 80's slasher crud

8/10
Author: Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
24 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We all know the drill: A young boy murders his abusive mother and her smarmy lover with a sledgehammer just as they are ready to get down to business. Ten years later a gaggle of obnoxious teenagers crash at the house where the killings occurred and not surprisingly the graphic carnage begins anew. Man, does this gloriously ghastly shot-on-video micro-budget train wreck possess all the right wrong stuff to qualify as a real four star stinkeroonie: hopelessly all-thumbs (mis)direction, a droning and redundant hum'n'shiver synthesizer score, hilariously horrible acting from a lame no-name cast, ugly fuzzed cinematography complete with primitive fade outs, tacky freeze frames, and clumsy excessive overuse of strenuous slow motion, cheesy excessive gore, a meandering narrative that plods along at a gruelingly sluggish pace, the tried'n'true have sex and die cliché, zero tension or spooky atmosphere, annoying one-note characters, loads of needless filler (the ridiculous messy food fight set piece is especially extraneous), rusty tin-eared dialogue, dumb false scares, a downright surreal last third, and the inevitable "it ain't over yet!" sequel set-up non-ending. An uproariously atrocious howler

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Awful & thankfully long forgotten 80's horror item!

Author: Prolox from Canada
22 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In 1973, a young boy murders his mother & her lover with a sledgehammer. 10 years later, some college kids rent the place for the weekend & fall prey to the maniac who does them in with a knife & as the title clearly states, a sledgehammer, with the remaining people trying to figure out a way to stop him. Having read a negative review for this movie in an old film review text, I was interested in seeing SLEDGEHAMMER, the way the plot was brought around in the review sounded creepy & interesting, I figured the film wouldn't be a masterpiece, but would be at least must be a slice of good old 80's horror movie cheese & boy was I ever wrong! After securing a VHS copy of the film (as far as I know, I don't think this film has a DVD release yet & hopefully will stay that way!) I couldn't believe how boring this movie was! The film was shot on one of those old VHS camcorders, with the usual title cards that you could make on them at the time as film credits. The director was David A Prior who unlike a lot of 1980's slasher directors, who made one or two films before disappearing, actually continues to work in the B movie field (probably his most memorable film is MUTANT SPECIES with WILFORD BRIMLEY & DENISE CROSBY) however after seeing this movie you wonder how David ever got work after this at all! Now granted, David's direction here was pretty decent for the most part & despite it being shot on video, the film is well lit (some scenes in the film, you can see a purplish tinge to the picture) than most shot on video efforts, so the look of the film isn't to bad. But his pacing stinks, nearly the whole movie up until the last half hour is sheer padding with unnecessary long shots of the cabin, outside during the day & night (which must run at least a good two or three minutes each, with nothing happening), countless shots of every room & hall in the house & scenes where people have a food fight, drink, sit & talk & one scene has a couple walking in the field in slow motion with really corny music for the scene playing (it must have ran a good five minutes!) & scenes that could have been suspenseful or scary (most notably the séance scene) is telegraphed in advance when one of the guys gives his buddies the go ahead to go hide in a room & play scary music & voices on a tape recorder, to creep the friends out downstairs, who think the voices are real. But perhaps the biggest mystery of all is the killer, who is now a ghost carrying a sledgehammer & (are you ready for this?) can disappear along with his weapon! in fact he can also change himself into a little kid again & even make his dead mother & her dead lover re-appear (still dead of course) at a table! that & even the living can disappear & re-appear into the next room! But the film never answers the question of, how did the killer die? it's never mentioned in the film. Did someone kill him? did he die of starvation? did he kill himself & come back as a ghost? The hero of the film who eventually causes the ghost to bleed! & eventually manages to kill the ghost, with his own sledgehammer (yeah I know, I never knew you could kill a ghost or make them bleed either)! is a muscular guy who has trouble keeping his shirt on. No suspense, no scares & fake gore, make this one of the worst horror films to emerge from the 80's. A deservedly forgotten horror item, with the usual clichéd characters who do stupid things like deciding to sleep out in the living room together instead of running out of the house to get the cops etc after they see their friends murdered. The audio is also muffled & the acting & dialogue is some of the worst you'll ever hear (in one scene a couple who get murdered with a sledgehammer don't show any shock or surprise as they see the killer about ready to do them in!). Even if you are a 1980's horror movie junkie, avoid this film at all costs. I can't imagine anyone (not even bad B movie fans) giving a film like this a good review. Saved from my zero rating due to the professional lightning set ups & direction for such a low budget, shot on video film. But question, on IMDb it says the budget for this film was $40,000 but since none of these actors are well known or professional & considering the fact that it was shot on video & not film, nor does it have any spectacular special effects or stunts, but is mearly a group of people running around a shabby looking house, where did the money go?

PROLOX TRIVIA:

If you are unfortunate enough to stumble upon this film & rent it, check out the scene where the girl is going to take a shower, on the wall you can see the shadow of the boom Mic.

* star

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Half and Half movie!

Author: cyco7410
1 May 2004

I am a fond lover of the horrible straight to video shot on camera horror movies of the eighties but this one was just UNWATCHABLE. Well first it starts off with this mother locking her son in the closet so she and this guy can do the naughty but I guess as any normal person would the kid does not like this and comes out and kills his mother and his mothers "friend". Well over the next years a group moves in and...you can pretty much guess what happens later on....the son is somewhat older and kills the people off. The worst thing about this movie is that the director shows the same scene for a good 10 minutes and it gets just a tad bit boring. This is the same director that made the awesome "Killer Workout" so I cant call this movie a complete waste of time but I know for sure I won't take another hour or so to watch it again. This movie makes bad movies we love horrible. 3 out of 10

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

this quite literally has to be one of the worst movies ever made

1/10
Author: Lee Eisenberg (lee.eisenberg.pdx@gmail.com) from Portland, Oregon, USA
19 December 2010

With any slasher movie, you have to understand that it was never intended as the next "Citizen Kane". But even with that in mind, "Sledgehammer" - whose title basically explains the entire plot, if you can call it a plot - is truly the bottom of the barrel. For starters, it's obviously shot with a video camera, and probably a hand-held one. But even worse, the movie contains long stretches where NOTHING happens. They put up $40,000 for THIS?!

Look, don't make me waste your time trying to explain how awful this movie is. It's not even entertaining. Just avoid this grade-Z atrocity at all costs.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Sledgehammer will fall.

6/10
Author: HumanoidOfFlesh from Chyby, Poland
19 October 2010

"Sledgehammer" is a SOV slasher flick which tells the story about the slowest serial killer in the history of hack'em up genre.The killer uses sledgehammer to murder his victims.He is plagued by traumatic past because he was locked away by his mother during his obviously unhappy childhood."Sledgehammer" oozes machismo.It stars Ted Prior of "Deadly Prey" fame as one of the main characters and is filled with a lot of annoying slow-motion scenes.The pace of "Sledgehammer" is decent and there is some cheap gore.The location sets are laughable:the action takes place inside this barren house.Upretentious in its cheese "Sledgehammer" by David A.Prior is worth checking out for slasher completists.6 sledgehammers out of 10.

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