Polite and soft-spoken roving serial killer Roy Thompson fancies himself as an old school cowboy. Roy stops off at a sleepy small town in the Midwest and starts bumping off the locals. When...
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Polite and soft-spoken roving serial killer Roy Thompson fancies himself as an old school cowboy. Roy stops off at a sleepy small town in the Midwest and starts bumping off the locals. When the police prove fail to effectively handle the situation, various quirky residents band together as a vigilante posse and hunt Roy down. Written by
In the 1970s, drive-in movies were all the rage. Movies were produced cheaply and titillated their audiences with guns, half-naked women, and a lot of squinting. Blood flowed freely. People didn't expect much, so they were happy with what they got. All they wanted was background noise while they got busy with their significant others.
Cowboy Killer might have fit okay in that era. Might have. It's cheaply made, with plenty of fake-looking blood, a threadbare script, and performances that range from wooden to hamminess. People could pull up in their Chevy Novas and smooched while this junk played on the big screen. But here in the 2000s, it's just a crappy horror film that looks like it was made in someone's basement with a legion of blowup dolls. It's the kind of movie that telegraphs a flashback scene by dissolving a scene into and out of pure white.
Now, there were movies in the 1970s that were so bad that one could almost enjoy them ironically. Many of these movies were directed by legendary schlockmeister Al Adamson, a man who gave us such classics as Blood of Ghastly Horror and Angels' Wild Women. Those movies were really, really bad, but compared with this one they were hotbeds of hilarity.
Don't believe me? Here's a sample quote: "You crossed the line like a cow out of order!" Makes no sense.
So some cowboy is running around a small, podunk town killing people for no good reason. A couple of cable guys (!) are trying to find him, because apparently he didn't pay his bill. (Really.) The cops can't track him down; the sheriff fires two of them when they insist on following up on slim leads (yes, he asks for their guns and badges). The town drunk knows all about the killer, but no one believes him. The town's resident psycho killer wants to glom onto the cowboy's fun and games. And there are multiple trips to strip clubs.
But none of this is ironic. This is all straightforward. So either it's an extremely subtle, clever joke, or it's really, really awful. Stupefyingly awful. I posit that the former is a theoretical impossibility, because there's not one ounce of cleverness in this picture. There's even a character named Jeffrey Dalmer. Yes, Dalmer. Again, either the makers of this film were riffing off Jeffrey Dahlmer, intentionally misspelling the name, or they simply had no idea how to spell it. And considering the lack of wit throughout the movie, I'll wager on the latter there.
Movies that are cheaply done can still have some chilling effects - see The Blair Witch Project, for instance. You can do a lot with a little. But not here. In one scene, the killer slams a car hood on a victim's head. Immediately - the first slam! - the woman is dead and a bloody mess. Look, he's not that big; a slam would have knocked her out, perhaps. And not once does she even cry out. And this is after she stupidly put her head under the hood to check her dipstick, on account of the cowboy didn't want to get his hat dirty. Oh boy.
I also love how the cowboy's "western" accent comes and goes. It's there when he says "podner" and "ain't," and that's it.
This movie is almost exactly like pro wrestling, except with less blood and less-intricate story lines. It's as if the director just followed some people around and told them to improvise every scene, but no one had ever had an acting lesson but thought they were the greatest since, like, Coolio, or something.
Apparently the movie had a budget of $50,000. I spent the entire movie trying to figure out where that money went. It's not in the acting, the directing, the filming, the soundtrack, or the effects. Maybe they blew it all on whoopie cushions and trips to the strip club.
Here's another sample quote: "I'm gonna set his horse on fire and then eat it!" Is that supposed to be a threat? To the horse, maybe.
I don't know what else to say about this movie. It's an interminable bore, not dumb enough to be funny and not smart enough to be interesting. It's not even smart enough to know it's not very good; it looks like it desperately wants to be taken seriously, but it's not pretty enough for the Westminster Show, let alone the prom.
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