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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sledgehammer(1983)


In my previous review, I was discussing my dislike of of SOV films. It's not like I dislike them because they are cheap, and don't have big budgets. It's that most of them that I have seen are so inept that the $375.00 it took to make it seems ridiculous. I know most of my horror brethren worship at the altars of Boardinghouse and The Last Slumber Party, but those are a chore for me to get through. They are actually more in line with the comedy genre than the horror anyway. I will have to say though, that Sledgehammer holds a distinct honor for me. In all my years of watching and obsessing over rare slasher films, I have never had to fast-forward through a film. That is, until I watched Sledgehammer! Man o' man, this movie is an endurance test!
In a plot lifted lifted from several other slashers of the day, a young boy is locked in the closet by his mother, while she gets busy with her lover. The young boy, obviously enraged beyond mental capacity, breaks out and kills the pair with the titular tool. 10 years later, a gaggle of thirty somethings(although I think they are supposed to be teenagers)rent the same house, for a weekend of partying. Then the sledgehammer boy appears(and then disappears) and kills them off one by one. Although the acting is really horrible, that's not what kills Sledgehammer for me. First, the plot holes are ridiculous, the boy, when he commits the crime can't be any older than 7. That would put him at 17 at the time of his rampage.....this killer looks at least 35! Also, the director decides to make the killer, and the sledgehammer, disappear and reappear at will, with no explanation at all. The exterior of the cabin looks like a tiny dwelling on the outside, but in all of the interior shots, it looks cavernous(except for the hallways). He also uses the worst shots and annoying effects throughout it's duration. I should have known I was in trouble, with then opening scene dwells on the exterior of the house, for about 3 minutes, it feels like an eternity. He does slo-mo shots so much it makes my head hurt! I am sure that he was doing this to pad the run time of this enormous turd, but it only detracts from what could have been a cheap, fun slasher. In one scene, a couple who are having some relationship trouble, take a walk through the fields, and the director does slo-mo walking shots, with horrible music for 10 minutes, it's fucking unbearable.
I usually can find something redeeming in any horror film, but I am having trouble doing so with Sledgehammer. I will say that the director made one of the most "what the fuck" horror films that I have ever seen, and that is saying something. But I am a guy that worships The Prey, and I don't find that annoying in the least bit. So when I call Sledgehammer and endurance test, you know it has to be bad! I have heard that this is a rarity among collectors, but I would kick myself, if I would have spent any cash on this "shit pickle". I will have to say that this must have credit for the first SOV horror film. Most claim that Blood Cult was the first, but this predates it by 2 years, so I say this is the victor. Am I correct? If any of you guys know for sure, lemme know.

2 comments:

  1. I'm pretty sure Boardinhouse was the first. Or maybe it was just the first SOV to get a legit theatrical release. I think Blood Cult came along farther into the 80s.

    Blood Cult stands out to me for having murders slightly remniscent of the Gainsville Ripper, but of course, before the Ripper attack. I always found it odd. And creepy. But yeah, it's not very good. The sequel, Revenge is a bit better but really only because it's shot on film and because Patrick Wayne is bangalicious.

    Boardinghouse is definitely more of a comedy, but it's kind of jaw dropping and that's what makes it so fun. And the girls are HAWT... Also another horror/comedy I adore is Woodchipper Massacre... It's a hoot!

    I like Sledgehammer mostly because the killer is actually kind of creepy.

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  2. You know, I didn't even think about Boardinghouse, I have probably have blocked it from my brain! I know that seems that I am hard on SOV films sometimes, but like I said, I havent really seen many that I cared for. Oh, and you are right, the killer is creepy in Sledgehammer, those clear faceless masks always scare the shit outta me. Probably from seeing Alice Sweet Alice, at such a young age!

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