Killer’s Moon (1978)

Viddy I-wasn’t-sure-at-first-but-now-that-I-think-about-it-I’m-feeling-kinda-well, my brothers.

I don’t want to mislead you. Killer’s Moon is not a strict derivative of A Clockwork Orange. At least, not in the meta-enhanced sense that emboldens Eloy de la Iglesia’s Murder In A Blue World. No, Killer’s Moon is simply tangential. How so? Well, a gang of rape ‘n’ kill-happy deviates are decked out in white medical suits. One of them wears a black bowler hat. And their current sleaze-spree has been spurned by governmental fiddling — “lysergic acid in conjunction with dream therapy,” to be exact. That’s it. So, if we apply great concentration, we can imagine that Killer’s Moon is a dumber, cheaper, and frumpier UK slasher variant on Stanley Kubrick’s finest aboveground, subversive-art icon. Awesome, right?

Right. For the most part. As long as we concentrate.

A bus full of schoolgirls breaks down in the middle of a beautifully dreary British pastorale. At the same time, a three-legged dog visits the campsite of some freewheeling dudes. One guy has sex in a tent with a woman. The other wears sweet Addidas sneakers. Through the magic of intercuts, we learn that four LSD-enhanced psychopaths have escaped from a local asylum. And they believe that they are dreaming. So anything goes. The girls and their headmistresses find their way to a nearby mansion. The campers go about their business. As for the maniacs? They stick to the shadows. They axe the bus driver. They knife the caretaker. Abruptly, in a gentle surge of sex-violence chaos, a door is kicked in. An entrance is made.

Killer’s Moon is neither cohesive nor unhinged. It’s somewhere in the middle. Make no mistake — the film is rife with tastelessness. But the even-tempered presentation discourages several primo opportunities for elevated strangeness. In tone, it feels like a nonchalant soap opera. Syrupy orchestration. Sitcom emoting. Questionable organization. All of this can be considered a hindrance. But why bother?

This film plays a gratifying trick — it seduces through ambiance. The landscapes are beautiful, icy, and menacing. And their affect flourishes. Desolation prompts genuine creeps. A parting haze dissolves inconsistencies and boredom. Before you know it, you’re caught up in the unassuming brutality, the first-rate plagiarism, the hilariously plastic psychology. And then, someone says, “Look. You were only raped. As long as you don’t tell anyone about, you’ll be alright.” And that cinches it. Killer’s Moon forges a unique personality through shameless exploitation. That’s what gets me. It’s the spice of life — ill-appointed trash meandering through cheap thrills and laughable sincerity and crude balladry. All while moderately ripping off a film that should have been fully ripped off much more during the late 70s and early 80s.

Then again, maybe it was. And I just need to concentrate more.

Killer’s Moon will never be exalted. What you imagine it to be may, quite possibly, overshadow what appears onscreen. Yet, that’s not a bad thing. The film absolves its weaknesses while our imagination picks up the slack, making for an agreeable, semi-stylized joust between vulgarity and hilarity. Plus, if it wasn’t for the existence of Killer’s Moon, we’d never taste the fruits of a junky-ass permutation on A Clockwork Orange. And that would be viddy-fucking-tragic, indeed.

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