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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Killer Instinct" stinks, but in a stupid, fun, 70s drive-in kind of
way. It's a "sins of the father are visited upon the son" type of
slasher flick, with a bunch of teenagers who try to spend a night in an
abandoned asylum (while on a scavenger hunt for each other's underwear
-- don't ask).
Dee Wallace (ET) stars as a realtor/business tycoon trying to buy land upon which a secret crime was committed long ago. As she spends the night researching the town history, the teens meet grisly fates elsewhere. To be honest, it feels like Wallace's role occurs in a completely different movie -- she only brushes with the main plot at the very end. The script was penned by Wallace's late husband -- some say it was the last thing he wrote before he died.
Another trash luminary appearing in this flick is Corbin Bernsen, whom many remember best as The Dentist.
"Killer Instinct" reminded me a whole lot of Roberta Findlay's solo work ("Blood Sisters" especially), with a dash of "Kolobos" for good measure. It ranged from feeling like a cliché parade to being surreally illogical/improbable. Every teen cast member is an idiot (they even "split up"). Allow me to outline the high/low points (minor spoilers):
* The beginning makes no sense, and folks who worked on the film claim it was heavily edited. The movie opens with a blood-drinking psycho, and a subsequent lynching by the townsfolk. The screen reads "11 years later," which is followed by ...
* ... A COMPLETELY GRATUITOUS SEX SCENE-- replete with BARE BREASTS -- five minutes into the film! No one dies - -it's completely pointless.
* A bunch of teens spend a night in an abandoned asylum that looks like an ordinary house ... wait, didn't MTV use this same tired premise to launch a TV show? And guess what? They get locked in. Ooh -- and there's a killer who watches "McGuiver". Cue the lightning! Cue the thunder! Cue the rain (until said rain could be used to extinguish a fire)!
* A weird GROUP UNDERWEAR FETISH is introduced for no good reason.
* Foot fetish introduced for no good reason.
* A silver vibrator is also introduced for no good reason, and it isn't even exploited as a lethal weapon later :(
* A guy is hung by his feet and locked in a room with a poisonous coral snake!
* There's a perky, chubby chick with no detectable acting ability ... to such an extreme that the viewer can tell she's only in the movie to flash her breasts.
* A quasi S&M scene, followed by a shower scene, ends with a bound teen boy getting impaled by giant shards of glass.
* Some moron is boiled to death, though it's not clear how. There's a silly beheading, too.
* Plot holes all over the place -- to a painful degree. At least three half-developed subplots are left unresolved.
* Dee is in a different movie, I swear.
* The killer wins at the end (no, I won't spoil the 'twist;' it works very well).
The main GOOD thing I'd like to point out is that, unlike the "Scream" genre of self-aware teen slash-em-ups, this was no Gen X fest. It was a traditional 70s/80s "hunted teens flick," with a few known veteran character actors and a bunch of fresh-faced unknowns willing to get splattered/go topless to star in a movie. All parties involved should be proud of their work; this is a rare modern example of classic, low-budget exploitation.
There are actually some good ideas buried in here, ideas that, if focused on
and properly executed might have resulted in a fairly interesting movie. But
as it is, this is a really bad movie. Among other complaints:
(1) The tired and offensive stereotype of the token black member of the group being the first victim
(2) Repulsive protagonists, who come off as utter jerks. Not just jerks, but stupid jerks, making mistakes like wandering off alone, etc.
(3) A cheap and shoddy look. Now I know this was a low budget direct-to-video movie, but that's no excuse - I've seen other low budget direct-to-video movies that managed to look very slick
(4) No scares, no suspense, not even good splatter
(5) Two separate storylines that really don't fit together well.
By the way, despite what's pictured on the front and the back of the video and DVD box, there are NO skeletons to be found anywhere in the movie!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
College student members of the "dare club" break into an abandoned
asylum to have a scavenger hunt using their own underwear. No one has
as much as a backpack on them, but suddenly about five thousand candles
appear all over the house to illuminate their fun and games and right
when you get into double digits counting the fake slap-on-the-shoulder
scares, a psycho pops up to plant lethal booby traps everywhere.
**SPOILERS** (If you've never seen a horror film before)
The victims turn out to be the children of lynch mob members who hung a man outside the asylum 15 years earlier, who've been lured there and trapped inside. Meanwhile, name value stars Corbin Bernsen and Dee Wallace Stone sit around a lot and talk about the deed to the place, the murder and other things. Attempts at characterization include a black guy who dies first and a sexy/tough lesbian who masturbates while watching another couple have kinky sex through one-way glass.
One interesting touch has all the women outliving the men, but that's probably only because they're slightly better actors and willing to go topless once in awhile to relieve several boring stretches where nothing of plot relevance is happening. I give this film a little credit because it DOES pick up a bit by the end, but otherwise it's typical slasher nonsense, done with little creativity and flair.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
****SPOILERS**** Uneven revenge movie that tries very hard to be
effective but ends up empty and unconvincing in trying to make any kind
of sense and by the time the movie ends it makes you even more confused
then you already were before.
The movie "Killer Instinct" is about an event that happened in the small town of Perrystown some fifteen years earlier. Matthew Hackett, Gregory Wood, a inmate in the towns Braxton Asylum broke out and murdered eight people until he was caught and lynched by a number of the towns outrage citizens. The revenge for Hackett's killing came fifteen years later with a fiery holocaust at the very same asylum that Hackett was a patient in. The movie starts off like a teenage slasher flick with a number of Perrystown teenagers partying and getting drunk then breaking into the long closed Braxton Asylum with the thought of spending the night there.
Like in all these slasher movies the very over-sexed and drunk or high teenagers get killed off one by one but unlike in these movies there's no one of the teenagers around to be a hero and kill the unknown and unseen killer at the end of the film. There's also a parallel story in the film about the danger of the town's local meat plant, the Meadow Meat Packing Plant, being gobbled up by a big food conglomerate, Ornell Food, and costing the jobs of hundreds of Perrystown workers.
The president of Meadow Meats J. W. Wilhite, Corbin Bernsen, as well as his companies majority stock-holders are dead set against selling out to Ornell Food and they tell the Ornell Food rep. Sarah Fairchild, Dee-Wallace Stone, that in no uncertain terms. Fairchild becomes a real pain in the neck when she tracks down a story about Matthew Hackett being railroaded into the asylum, where he really became insane by being abused there, by the asylums founder Dr. Braxton where he escaped and killed eight people and then was captured and killed by a lynch mob. It turns out that Hackett owned the land where the Meadow Meat Packing Company was later built on. Even more surprising is that the mob that lynched Hackett was non-other then P.W Wilhite and the people who founded that plant! On top of all that the teenagers killed in the burning down of the Braxton Asylum, that night fifteen years later after all this happened were the children of,yes you guessed it, P.W Wilhite and those who lynched Hackett.
I could not for the life of me understand the part of Sarah Fairchild in the movie. She acted like a hard-nose private investigator instead of a corporate representative. Tracking down the truth about Hackett's death the president and co-owners of the Meadow Meat plant tried to murder her before she wrecked everything that they worked, and killed, so hard to get.
The big and brawny P.W Wilhite looked and acted ridicules as he tried to kill Fairchild in her motel room only to have, the small and fragile looking, Fairchild kicked the hell out the him. Fairchild is also very unbelievable in that after she was attacked she still stayed in Perrystown and didn't even bother to call the police for help! Even though she knew that her life was in danger.
Very off-the-wall ending with Fairchild getting together with the teenagers killer to screw J.W Wilhite and his cohorts in crime out of their meat packing plant. Thus punishing them for their crimes by having then work for the minimum wage for the rest of their lives. Which was nothing for, at least, Fairchild to brag about in seeing that justice was done. Since that was her plan, the takeover of the Meadow Meat Plant Company, in the first place before she ever knew about the crimes J.W Wilhite & Co. committed.
Group of teens holed up in an abandoned house conducting a scavenger hunt
are murdered off while drinking and having sex. Dee Wallace Stone thinks
house has something to do with a past murder and a respected town citizen
(Corbin Bernsen). Wallace still looks good after all these years and it is
nice to still see her working, but this flick is just terrible. The ending
is a complete mess and the teens are of your typical garden variety. A bit
more violence and sex then usual however.
Rated R; Strong Sexual Content, Graphic Violence and Profanity.
I must say that my main motivation at first for renting this flick was to see the locations in and around my hometown forever immortialized on celluloid. But as I was watching the film, I soon saw that it was a very well done film and genuinely scary. If you enjoy this movie, be sure to visit the Chef's diner in Downingtown, PA (which was also the location for the 1958 classic 'The Blob')
This steaming turd of a `film,' scripted by a TV writer whose only other credit is `The New Lassie,' and directed by truck driver-cum-director, Ken Barbet, with all the subtlety of. well, a truck driver, gives soft-porn thrillers a bad name. A group of attractive young people - four boys and four nymphets - play a game of `find the panties' in a deserted insane asylum. They take off their clothes, have sex, take showers, and - Horrors! - get picked off one by one. Turns out that they're all descendants of a mob that, years ago, lynched a man who escaped from or owned (I kept dozing off) the very same insane asylum. Dee Wallace and Corbin Bernsen slum in this absolute waste of time, presumably for a paycheck.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Your typical teen-aged horror flick follows the same formula:
1. A murder occurs at some location many years ago.
2. Next, we move to the present time where a bunch of oversexed teenagers whose sex drives are inversely proportional to their intelligence, decide to party at that same location.
3. One by one, the teenagers meets a violent death.
4. The situation gets really horrifying, so horrifying, in fact, that the remaining teenagers decide that perhaps it might be a good idea to re-frame from the sex and the booze and try to survive the horrifying ordeal.
5. Because nobody has thought of simply jumping into his/her/the parent's car and simply vacating the premises as fast as possible, the casualty count of beheaded teenagers, continues to increase, until...
6. A lone surviver, usually a female, emerges, alive, but totally out of her mind.
KILLER INSTINCT pretty much follows this same formula, but with a few twists and turns that actually make this movie one of the better horror flicks.
For starters, the insane asylum was not haunted nor was there any "Jason"-like predators who allegedly return to the scene of the crime on the anniversary of whatever took place. The asylum was closed down but not abandoned. And the mysterious malicious person who remained hidden, closed the windows and locked all the doors before the body count takes place. When it became apparent that something was wrong, the teenagers actually decided that the sex and the booze would have to wait. First thing on the agenda was to get the hell out of that asylum, easier said than done.
the movie did not end with a lone survivor. It ended with a shocking proposal.
The big problem with this movie is it takes it self seriously and the
acting is pretty good.
That puts it in a category like "ghost ship" and this just does not compare.
The Special effects are few and far between and with the exception of a pretty cool bed death scene, all the special effects were cheaply done. Very little gore, the 18A is for titties.
Corbin Beansen is still good looking and can still act, but see him in "The dentist" not this very average slasher movie.
On a positive note, the one dimensional story has a nice end twist.
Killer Instinct opens with a horde of vigilantes chasing a bloodied someone
through some smartly lighted woodland. After he stops off to stab an
unfortunate fellow that has his back turned, they eventually catch up with
him and quite literally bundle him! (I was actually expecting one of them to
shout Bundles!') He must've really upset these townsfolk because out comes
the noose and the man is hung by the neck until the screen fades. Clichés
abound when the words 15 years later pop up on the screen and we're
introduced to a troupe of banal teens that discuss a massacre that occurred
as many years earlier. (Round a bonfire no less!) Meanwhile, the backdrop
gives us a subplot concerning a businesswoman (Dee Wallace Stone) who wants
- or is trying to purchase - some property from a played to be' sadistic
Corbin Bernsen. Anyway back to the teens, who are now (extremely
unoriginally) talking about spending the night in the abandoned asylum where
the slayings took place. Their posse consists of the all the typical
ingredients that are now solidly encrypted into the slasher movie guidebook.
Annoying guy, slut, randy couple and girl that can sense the danger that
lies ahead, you know the drill! Surprisingly however, I hadn't yet picked
out an obvious surviving heroine'; none of the offerings were shy,
reclusive or virginal. Hmmm! They finally make their way into the desolate
building, which really looks a lot more like a normal house. It's also worth
noting that for a place that has been left to rot for fifteen years, it's
extremely well preserved! There are no light bulbs so an unusually large
amount of candles give us our lighting (but where on Earth did they get
them?), meanwhile unbeknown to them, their chances of leaving have just
taken a downslide due to the doors and windows locking mysteriously. Before
long it's decided that a game is in order, preferably one that'll split the
group up so they can wonder off to their doom! They choose to take off their
underwear and put it in a bag so someone else can hide them around the
location, before they all separate to search the garments out (seriously!).
But before they leave, Wendy (Paige Moss) digs through the briefs and shows
them off so that everyone can have a giggle at what their friends were
wearing (I'm not kidding, I swear!) It's hardly shocking when we learn that
a masked killer seems to think that their numbers need trimming and sets
traps so that they stumble on to their impending fate!
Killer Instinct boasts some competent photography and lighting and the darkened set locations manage to look fairly spooky. The methods of murder are authentic and also pretty interesting. My favourite was when a guy lying on a bed was showered with broken glass from a trap door above him, one piece slicing straight through his stomach and is next seen sticking to the floor below the mattress! There was also a smart decapitation and the use of a venomous snake, which is at least, a new one on me. When the killer is unmasked at the end, you'll be fairly surprised at the conclusion. I must admit that it wasn't one that I'd have immediately guessed. But it has to be said that it was rather impossible for him to commit the murders before changing clothes inexplicably quickly so as to keep up the appearance of innocence. Credit should be given to the director for killing off the most annoying character first. If we'd have had to suffer his painful gurning any longer, I'm sure pressing the eject switch would've become a glaring temptation.
`Every cliché has a grain of truth in it.' Mouths one dim-witted character, which could only have been included in the script as an attempt to excuse the director's blatant purloining from previous genre pieces. Here it looks like he's been watching the housebound slashers of yesteryear like House of Death and House on Sorority row, using them as subject matter for this obvious amalgamation. The cast is just what you've come to expect from this grade of movie, lame, untalented and uninspired. Page Moss was probably the most convincing, but she was still fairly weak. She did manage to prove to be the best looking of the bunch, which really wasn't a tough challenge. Bernsen and Stone were equally unconvincing, really slumming it and adding yet another nail to their rapidly closing career coffins. There's a large amount of nudity that'll please younger teenagers, but here it looks especially gratuitous with one girl giving an orgasmic performance that could keep Jenna Jameson checking her shoulders!
The film's main flaws are its horrendous lack of pacing and equally poor efforts at generating any kind of interest. The two separate plot lines seem as if they have very little in common with each other and I found it hard to keep track of the names of any of the characters, because they were so instantly forgettable. I really couldn't find anything to be excited about in either the gore-less murders or the leisurely paced showdown. At one point the house caught fire, which sparked some amusing shots of a scaled model burning that were so obviously fake, it was pitiful! Offerings as mediocre as Killer Instinct are killing off the slasher genre. Although famous for its staggering repetition, the loveable sub-category needs ambition and reinvention if it's going to survive many more years. I bought this because I read somewhere that it was gory with a healthy production, but it's not, it's just lame.
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