Killer Workout (1986)

Originally published in Bleeding Skull! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey.

A woman has been chosen to appear on the cover of Cosmopolitan. Therefore, she needs a tan before the photo shoot. We see her breasts, but not her face. She enters a tanning bed. It goes haywire and burns the shit out of everything.

Another death at an aerobics gym. “Rhonda’s Workout” is now open for the bizness.

Spandex. Sweat. Open mouths. Headbands. Leg warmers. Formidable synth-pop (“Animal Workout”, “Woman On Fire”). And hundreds of boobs, asses, and crotches in the throes of sexually suggestive aerobics. If you’ve seen David Prior’s Sledgehammer, you understand that he is not one to shy away from a great party. After viewing Killer Workout, you will never forget this fact.

While the ladies do their thing at Rhonda’s Workout, a killer wielding a gigantic safety pin wreaks havoc in the locker room. We meet Rhonda herself, who is universally super-pissed. We meet a detective wearing a Members Only jacket who looks like Frankenstein’s monster. We meet TED! PRIOR! as he pumps iron and abuses a mean uppercut and an even meaner mullet. Despite murders at her exercise palace, Rhonda does not shut it down. The asses keep shaking. The synth-pop keeps ruling. Eventually, the entire cast gets snuffed out. But, they all return for another workout scene over the credits. Dead or alive.

Killer Workout is unequivocally awesome. Ultra-cheap, immersed in continuity errors, and straining to make sense of events that require no explanation, the film is a benchmark of what passed for “entertainment” in 1986. Prior even forgets to show us how a few people get killed. They just disappear. The entire experience can be summarized thusly: women aerobicizing, kill scene, women aerobicizing, kill scene, bodybuilder brawl, locker room sex, women aerobicizing, kill scene, bodybuilder brawl, surprise ending, women aerobicizing. That is a lot of aerobicizing. I could have used more.

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