The bus transporting a schoolgirl choir breaks down in the woods at the same time a quartet of maniacs has broken loose from their LSD “dream therapy.” Those maniacs become very happy to have a nice cache of nubile victims since the dream therapy was presented to them as a way that they could satisfy their desires and, thus, heal their various psychoses….
A dual review by Shuizmz and Perfesser Deviant.
When a film provides nudity first few minutes, it’s rarely a good sign. When a meat delivery bus – I mean, a bus full of schoolgirls – appears on the verge of breaking down, we know things are not going to turn out well. Finally, when we are given four sadistic, murderous sexually perverse psychopaths who are completely disinhibited on the lamb, things look very grim indeed. Toss in one three-legged dog – who I’ll call “Skippy” – and you have the stuff from which trash classics are manufactured.
Killer’s Moon really makes for a blood-soaked slasher film and feels very inviting for cult fans all over. British Director, Writer, and Producer Alan Birkinshaw (‘Confessions of a Sex Maniac’, ‘Ten Little Indians‘) really made a film that for the late 1970s, was very reminiscent of the American slasher films of the 1980s, but fitted with a unique and pleasant musical score accompanying it, as well as some outlandishly entertaining dialogue throughout the whole film. The movie rolls along at a quick and witty pace, full of humorous and sharp lines of dialogue courtesy of Fay Weldon, and a certain charm and look that reminded me of the film ‘Vampyres’ (1974), in regards to the lighting, how the shots in the woods were filmed, and the soft tones of the image, as well as both films hailing from the U.K..
The psychos (David Jackson, Nigel Gregory, Paul Rattee & Peter Spraggon) are unpleasant sorts who like to kill animals, women, and otherwise be rowdy. In between raping and murdering, they wonder at how vivid this dream is and discuss how they must keep doing their vile business because the doctor told them to. Their ends are suitably horrid as one is chewed up by Skippy, another burns alive, the third is sickled by one of the girls, and the fourth is left all alone with only a surrogate Mother Bates for company.
The four escaped mental patients have been compared as having some resemblance and traits of the droogs from ‘A Clockwork Orange’, but I really did not see anything in common except their affinity for raping young women. The four psychos also had some really trippy dialogue spoken by them, possibly due to the LSD treatment the hospital administered to them. It makes for a somewhat interesting premise and plays on the perversions of the men and their lusts for rape and debauchery. They keep telling themselves, “It’s only a dream…”. With names like Mr. Muldoon (Paul Rattee), Mr. Jones (Peter Spraggon), Mr. Trubshaw (David Jackson), and Mr. Smith (Nigel Gregory), one can’t help but crack up at the whole absurdity of it all. The film is a trashy bit of cinema, and I immediately felt that it carried a cult-like appeal to it and can be enjoyed far more in present times than it probably was enjoyed when it came out in 1978.
Each of the psychos’ deaths is supposed to be meaningful in the poetic justice sort of way. The dogmeat guy is the one who maimed Skippy in the first place, he also chopped the tail off a cat for some reason. The crispy guy was very religious in that dangerous sort of way and thus believed that everyone else was doomed to hellfire. The guy who was harvested by one of the girls was an unrepentant rapist, so naturally he had to be penetrated roughly by a pretty little thing – the girl, not the sickle, it was rusty. Because they will no longer be a threat to society, it can be said that the therapy was successful, even if it was more “the rapy” than therapy.
Towards the end of the movie, the insane patients’ nursery rhyme dialogue just started to become tedious. I think that if they had incorporated more nudity, blood, and debauchery, the film would have at least succeeded on some sort of depraved level and I, personally, would have enjoyed it more. There is one scene in the film where one of the schoolgirls is running from Mr. Smith and her white nightgown gets torn on a nail from a bridge, ripping her gown completely off and exposing her goodies – it’s scenes like these that should have been abundant throughout the whole film, not just sparsely littered around here and there. Luckily for these schoolgirls, Pete (Anthony Forrest) and Mike (Tom Marshall) are there to save the day. The two campers take on the “droogs” of LSD and give the best acting performances, along with the nutty escaped patients. I don’t know why, but those pure white, over-sized nightgowns sure are sexy! I really can’t blame the psychos for wanting to brutally act out their carnal desires upon these schoolgirls.
The various girls, including Julie (Jane Hayden) a girl who worked at the hotel, are far from innocent. They are bitchy, whiny and generally annoying and are not shown to be particularly pure as they gamble and have vivid rape fantasies. Agatha (Georgina Kean) – the one who gets ‘sickle’ of the psychos’ games – seems to be the lead choir girl in that she’s resourceful and doesn’t resort to screaming helplessly as things go bad; she even seduces one of the psychos to help some of her friends escape. Sandy (Alison Elliott) – the black-haired beauty who goes for help – is a nice girl who does her best to help and manages to be pretty brave throughout the whole ordeal; of course, it’s easier to be brave when you spend much of the film hiding on the soundstage that stands in for the campground for some reason. The only girl who actually seems innocent is Mary (Jo-Anne Good) who comes complete with teddy bear and serves as more of a pawn than anything. The remaining girls serve mostly as victims, which is a good use for choir girls.
The non-psychotic adults of the piece include the chaperones Mrs. Hargreaves (Jean Reeve) and Miss Lilac (Elizabeth Counsell) as well as the hotel manager Mrs. May (Hilda Braid) and the two strapping camping hero lads Pete (Anthony Forrest) and Mike (Tom Marshall). Mrs. Hargreaves is the kind of woman who would never use the toilet as that would be rude, her death is welcome. Miss Lilac faints an astounding three times, avoiding most of the horror aside from having her wig stolen for the pseudo-Mother Bates. Mrs. May is a nice old lady who gives the meat – I mean, choir girls – shelter when their bus breaks down, so she must die as well; but older women don’t fare well in this sort of film as bad psychology requires that bad men want to kill their mothers, or a reasonable facsimile. The boy heroes are Pete the brunette and Mike the blond – who bears a striking resemblance to Klaus Kinski! Why he’s not also raping the girls is unclear as the Kinski Kurse means he should be a maniac or something, whatever – they save the girls because the psychos appear to be stupid in addition to being crazy. They’re not too stupid to use the shotgun that the boys left lying around though.
One of the funniest parts of the film was the fake backdrop that was used for where they camped and had their tent in one scene, campfire blazing. It looked utterly ridiculous and after using non-studio shots only moments before on the film, I found it painfully obvious in this scene. The film certainly moves along at the pace of your average slasher fare and really gives one nothing much more than many of the psychopath films of the late 70s and early 80s that were full of sleaze and cheap titillation. The film may be lacking in script, profound dialogue, and an intricate plot, but it sure has some delicious eye-candy, bouts of breasts and nudity, and some blood and gore, albeit fairly light.
The piano, especially, paired with the rest of the musical score really reminded me of some of the score from 70s television dramas that I used to watch as a young boy. As for the blood and gore, our first shot of carnage is a dog that has gotten his leg cleanly sliced off (we are led to believe by a hatchet) and comes across some campers, a girl and two boys, that are out in the middle of a field away from civilization. After tossing in a decent pair of breasts, the film really takes no time in starting the action. Killer’s Moon really relies on an off-beat pace and a good mix of music and sound effects to present a story in which you really won’t know what is going to happen next. Except that heads are gonna roll.
So, the various schoolgirls find that demented men are not the best sexual partners as they tend to prefer rape; of course, considering how responsive English women are in the sack, perhaps rape is just an aphrodisiac. Three of the young women are violated in this film, one of them then killed after the set conspires against her when a nail tears open her nightgown. In a moment of sheer head-scratching fury, one of the girls tells another, “Look, you were only raped, as long as you don’t tell anyone about it you’ll be alright. You pretend it never happened, I pretend I never saw it and if we ever get out of this alive, well, maybe we’ll both live to be wives and mothers.” Wow.
The dialogue for Killer’s Moon was written by Fay Weldon and originally the girls’ were ciphers and when she gave them characters, this turned the movie into a cult film. The witty dialogue from the four escaped mental patients was quite humorous at times, and was the huge saving grace in the whole film. Speaking of witty dialogue, the same line as above had me rolling in laughter: “Look, you were only raped, as long as you don’t tell anyone about it you’ll be alright. You pretend it never happened, I pretend I never saw it and if we ever get out of this alive, well, maybe we’ll both live to be wives and mothers.” I believe that any strong-willed women and feminists alike may take great offense to this particular line of dialogue. Hell, it even pissed me off somewhat! Do yourself a favor and find this cult classic Redemption Films has put out and given the all-star treatment. Included on the disc is an interview with the director, Alan Birkenshaw and actress Joanne Good.
At the end of the day, this is nothing more than a sleazy little film that exists mostly to show terrible things happening to nude women. While this is an admirable and lofty goal, this film doesn’t achieve more than basic seediness through its generous use of day-for-night shooting and convenient nails that rip open schoolgirl nightgowns. Still, I’ll take a seedy British film over part of the Carry On franchise any day.
Perfesser Deviant‘s Rating: