Killing Spree (1987)

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

”I’m always ready for some hot action — on the job or off.”

After sharing that bit of insight with us (and bedding a housewife), the TV repairman proceeds to establish his mastery of the roundhouse kick.

HOT ACTION. Let’s have it!

After DIY warm-up Day Of The Reaper and the surprise home video success of Truth Or Dare? A Critical Madness, eighteen-year-old director Tim Ritter was ready for round three. But how do you follow up a hit? The legacy. The fans. The pressure. It’s enough to quell the aspirations of any self-styled creative. Truth Or Dare had made some waves. People liked it. So, why not make the same movie again?

Killing Spree follows the precedent set by Tony Malanowski (Night Of Horror, Curse Of The Screaming Dead): Take the plot of your last film (in this case, wife cheats on husband, husband kills everyone), add some more crazy stuff, and make history. Therefore, Truth Or Dare’s motifs — adultery, death, goofy faces — are recycled for this 16mm follow-up. And multiplied. Meaning that sometime in 1986, Ritter may have spent an evening with Microwave Massacre and Three’s Company to come up with a film that’s basically a blowjob gag and a misunderstanding.

This is a backyard gore-comedy about male insecurities and the extreme manifestation of said insecurities. The visuals are uniformly gray. The tempo is a mess. The camera sits still while people read magazines or stand in a foyer. So far, so good. But then, Killing Spree asserts itself. Nihilism is exchanged for “la haute comédie.” Colored lights on faces! Bug-eyed shouting! A maniacal leading man whose name is actually Asbestos Felt in real life! This film is cheaper, yet more ambitious, than Truth Or Dare, and it’s not as engaging as Ritter’s surrealist debut, Day Of The Reaper. But there is a plot-summarizing rap song over the end credits.

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