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Blackface Killer (2009)
"The Minstrel Killer" (original title)

 -  Action | Crime | Horror  -  21 August 2009 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 44 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 5 critic

When a series of haunting murders plagues a small Texas town, law officers Tex Holland and Pike McGraw lead the investigation. The murders turn out to be the most shocking and vile acts of ... See full summary »

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Title: Blackface Killer (2009)

Blackface Killer (2009) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tex Holland
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Tyrell Jones
Eric Andersen ...
Pike McGraw
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Carol Holland
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Brady McGovern
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Klutch Hitherton
Michael Nosé ...
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Cobb Johnson
David Lambert ...
Joel Hitherton
...
Ted Whirly
Brian Levy ...
Earl Whirly
Jessica A. Caesar ...
Annabelle
...
Harold Thompson
Ronni Valentine ...
Beuhla Thompson
Jacqueline Tribble ...
Suzy Lancaster (as Jacqueline Delamora)
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Storyline

When a series of haunting murders plagues a small Texas town, law officers Tex Holland and Pike McGraw lead the investigation. The murders turn out to be the most shocking and vile acts of sadism to ever hit the once peaceful community. With a dangerous killer on the loose re-enacting slave punishment on his victims, the cops must face their own personal demons as the murder spree throws them into a dangerous world of mercenary hillbillies and inbred cannibals. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

murder | texas | mercenary | cannibal | racism | See more »


Certificate:

R
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Details

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Release Date:

21 August 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blackface Killer  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A animated shot of the Minstrel Killer walking across the screen with an ax was cut from the opening credits. See more »

Goofs

Microwave visible during the tracking shot in Tex walking through his house in the 1970s. See more »

Crazy Credits

The Minstrel Killer can be seen at the end of the closing credits in an eerie banjo scene. See more »

Connections

References The Six Million Dollar Man (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Independent Horror/Expolitation Film That is Actually Quite Effective
22 February 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

An ultra-low budget film, The Minstrel Killer is a homage to 70s grindhouse pictures and the brainchild of Michael Fredianelli, who starred, edited, directed, co-wrote, and co-produced it under his Wild Dogs Production banner. While more of an exercise in exploitation than the horror film it appears to be, it should be noted that while not being horrifying it is suspenseful, amusing, and true to the spirit of the exploitation films that inspired it. It's Texas, 1978 and a young girl has been murdered by a black-faced killer (Michael Nosé). Texas "Tex" Holland (Fredianelli) is called in to lead the investigation, with the help of local sheriff Pike McGraw (Eric Andersen) with only a couple of "backwoods retards" as witnesses. Meanwhile, as more young girls turn up dead, Tex must deal with his own troubles at home where he's racked by insecurity over the knowledge that his wife Carol (Vanessa Celso) cheated on him with a black man, adding a socially conscious element to the story. But, this is an exercise in exploitation after-all so not everything is as linear. Committed to solving the case, Tex falls into the company of Klutch Hitherton (Isaac Wade), the patriarchal figure of a clan of cannibals. Adding the racism element of the story, Tex meets a black cop named Tyrell Jones (Anthony Spears) who becomes his new partner. It's not perfect, but you can hardly expect it to be. What really impressed me about is how well it works with what little it has. It's been digitally aged to recall 70s exploitation cinema, more-or-less the same technique used by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino to make Grindhouse. Fredianelli's makes it gritty and effective enough to make exploitation-hounds proud. Besides these digital additions, it does effectively capture the feel of an exploitation film through the cinematography by David Brashear (also the co-writer) who does a fine job of capturing the feel but actually delivers good cinematography too despite the limited tools available. Exterior shots are quite picturesque and much better than most people with a few thousand dollars and a camera could capture. The murder scenes are never unnecessarily gory and effectively shot with an ominous score (by Aaron Stielstra) that heightens the suspense. Some scenes are actually genuinely suspenseful and well-executed. Tex's run-in with a cannibal clan wasn't working for me, but the action that spawned from it was actually a tense, exciting scene and I commend Fredianelli for handling it so well. Finally, the editing is very coherent, with several nods to grindhouse cinema. Fredianelli is a director with obvious talent, who could be very effective with a bigger budget. The script isn't perfect and some of the acting leaves something to be desired, but it's clear that Fredianelli did his best with what he was given. The main issue I took with the script was weak, but colorful dialogue. The script makes heavy use of stereotypical backwoods Texan's, but some obvious lines of dialogue referring to Alfred Einstein and one character not being a "rocket surgeon" were just so obvious they took away from the scenes. However, minutes after a female character says "I ain't a rocket surgeon," her husband tells her she looks like "a dog's c**k," which redeems the scene significantly. The script has themes of racism and police corruption that it doesn't completely see through, but I don't completely attribute this to poor writing. With more experienced actors to convey these themes through their characters, I think Fredianelli could've used these themes to elevate his material. With all that said, the script has a terrific, unexpected ending that would no doubt be very controversial if this film had wide exposure. The ending is exploitive, but it's very effective and I thought it complemented the film nicely. To emphasize how fond I am of this ending, I want to say that the ending actually increased my appreciation and rating of the overall film. Now when it comes to the acting, some actors are better than others but even the worst actors don't give a performance as atrocious as someone in "Troll 2" or "The Room." Also, I've realized that many of the actors are regulars in films produced by Wild Dog Productions and it's possible that they are solid actors and I'm just not well-acquainted with their acting style. Performance-wise, the most effective actors are Fredianelli, Spears, Celso, and Nosé. Many of the smaller roles are equally solid, but I was frustrated by Eric Andersen and Isaac Wade. I didn't find Andersen very convincing, although he was likable. Meanwhile Wade, as the patriarch of the cannibal clan, I found very ineffective. I just didn't find his portrayal frightening, thrilling, or even remotely good. To call something "an effortless performance" is usually a compliment, but it just appears Wade put no effort into this role. I don't want to bash the guy though, as suspension of disbelief is already difficult to maintain when a character is introducing his sons and they all look the same age or older. With that said, this is the first film I've seen under the Wild Dogs banner and as a homage to 70s exploitation I could be missing something. Wade may have been directed to act like he did by Fredianelli, in which case I simply missed the point. With a bigger budget and more experienced actors, I have no doubt that Fredianelli could have made one hell of a movie. As it is now, even while working with volunteers and with a budget less than the average cost of a house, he's made a (very) independent exploitation/horror film that is actually better than most mainstream films that attempt to capture the same tone and atmosphere. Even more remarkable is that Fredianelli has done it with no nudity and little gore. I'd be interested to see more of his work and watch his skill as a filmmaker progress, because "The Minstrel Killer" was actually quite the pleasant surprise.

GRADE: B-


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