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  • I like this film, and am not afraid to admit it. In fact, it ranks among my favorite slasher flicks of the 80's. Note, I didn't say the BEST of the 80's-I said one of my favorites.

    In my mind, this film captures perfectly the essence of an 80's slasher film! Violent, over the top gore, cheesy dialog and acting, and an ominous setting all make this film stand as a model for a decent slasher flick.

    In an unique plot, a young boy accidentally shoots and kills his mother on his father's birthday. The father never forgives his young son, and years later, he sends him a letter telling his son that he needs to go to their beach house to close it down. The son decides this would be a good getaway for him, his girlfriend, and two other couples. Unbeknowst to them, the father is waiting at the beach house with an array of garden and fishing instruments ready for use on the teens.

    To get the full effect of this film, you HAVE to see the unrated version. This is crucial, as the rated R version cuts out much of the gore and the lighting is terrible. To say this is a gory movie is the understatement of the year. The unrated version holds nothing back, and this film contains one of the most disturbing deaths (the fishhook!!) in slasher flick history. I also like the dark, foreboding mood of the flick. The deserted beach fronts makes for a spooky, tense setting.

    This film is often criticized for the acting and cheesiness of the dialog; in my opinion, those things come with the genre. Overall, I would recommend this flick to any horror fan, particularly younger ones who have been turned on to the genre by recent flicks such as "Hostel" and "Wolf Creek." You will see where many of the current slasher flicks got their roots. My bold rating 9 out of 10.
  • My guess is, if you're reading this review, you're already aware of those movies that are indeed so bad they're actually quite enjoyable. Well, THE MUTILATOR is a prime example of such a flick, at times comical and on the odd occasion impressively gruesome.

    It opens grimly with a tragic and fateful accident. A young boy - who we later find out is called Ed - who's cleaning his father's rifles, accidentally fires one of them, killing his mother instantly. Daddy arrives home , and lets just say that he doesn't seem like the forgiving type! He slaps the kid round the face and points a loaded shotgun at him forcing the petrified child to flee from the house. We are then left with an effectively chilling scene showing the dad looking clearly disturbed, pouring whisky into the corpse's mouth before downing some himself. Fast forward ten years and Ed is now a wise-cracking teen. To make matters worse he's made himself some stereotypically cheesy early eighties friends that all look like they make up the perfect ingredients for a good old fashioned blood bath! Before long they're all of to close down Ed's dad's secluded beach house , and guess who's ominously creeping about armed with a chainsaw and watching them...

    Ok, ok so there are certainly no Oscar nominees here (Watch out for Mike played by Morey Lampley, he's a real budding thespian!), and at times the film can seem to drag a bit - mostly in what seems like hours of character building. But what saves this surprisingly gory (in it's uncut version) little flick from becoming a total loss is how at times it manages to generate a genuinely macabre atmosphere. This is most evident when the maniac dreams of slicing his infant son's throat with a battle axe, or when he impales the heads of his victims on to spikes in a rack as if they're some kind of trophy. All the other trademark cliches are included: the clearly asthmatic killer (heavy breath, a virgin final girl, a dopey sheriff, an axe, chainsaw, pitch fork and even a giant fish hook! Mark Shostrom's gore is also a lot more visible now (in the UK prints) thanks to VIPCO's extreme version and a much more lenient censor!

    So all in all not brilliant but not rubbish either, a worthy rental for a night of harmless and memorable cliches!
  • Every once in a great while I absolutely agree with IMDb's rating of a movie...this is one of those times. The Mutilator isn't particularly bad. It's not particularly good. It just sort of is. I know the holiday/sleepaway camp slasher flick was a staple of '80s horror, but some added a little something different to distance themselves from the pack. Unfortunately this isn't one of those movies. This movie kind of has the look and feel of the first Evil Dead movie but without any of the things that made Evil Dead really stand out.

    Just looking at the cover of this I was kind of hoping for a real exploitation flick...the kind of movie that uses the story only as a vehicle for more gore. Sadly, no. Oh sure...there's some gore but it's pretty limited and only really comes into play towards the end. For the rest of the movie we're forced to watch a very poor attempt at character development which ends up with you still not giving a crap if anyone lives or dies. And far be it from me to split hairs, but I kind of expected a movie called "The Mutilator" to feature some...oh, I don't know...mutilation. No such luck. Instead it's just a guy killing some of his son's friends in a (I can only assume) drunken rage for an accident that happened 10 years earlier. Can this guy hold a grudge or what? Oh's not exactly time wasted, but there are much better films of the same era/genre out there.
  • Buddy Cooper's "The Mutilator" is just another decent slasher film.Of course the acting is completely awful and the film is extremely predictable and unoriginal,but the gore effects made by Mark Shostrom are excellent.There is a bloody decapitation,a pretty good pitch forking and death by chainsaw.The scene where the girl is impaled with a huge fish hook through the crotch is pretty nasty and gruesome,but not particularly explicit.Overall,I enjoyed "The Mutilator" and you should too,if you like gory slasher films.My rating:7 out of 10.Check it out.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Right off the bat, it's important to note that a film like this needs two ratings. If we're judging The Mutilator solely on its merits, then the 2 I've given it is actually quite generous, because this is about as thoroughly awful as films get. However, for those who love thoroughly awful cinema, The Mutilator earns a richly deserved 9, because this is truly a shining example of film so stupid and laughably inept that it ends up being amazing.

    With that in mind, I'm not at all sorry that accidentally purchasing a Region 2 copy of this movie is what ultimately led me to buy an all-region DVD player.

    To start identifying all of the nuances that make The Mutilator such a gloriously wretched mess, you need only to consider the premise, which centers on a group of college kids heading down to the beach for "Fall Break". You know, Fall Break... The break that happens at the same time that school starts. There's even a song about it during the opening credits, which immediately sets the tone for the mirthfully awesome journey to follow. Even before that, we're treated with a scene in which a man discovering his wife's dead body reacts as most sensible husbands would: by dragging her corpse into the next room and pouring Jack Daniels down her deceased throat. This happens about two minutes into the film, and it marks the precise instant that we know we're in for something truly special with The Mutilator.

    Surely, anyone who has watched a slasher film understands that top-caliber acting ability isn't a prerequisite for being cast as an unwitting victim. However, The Mutilator features perhaps the most deliciously bad acting ensemble ever assembled. Even if there is another film I haven't seen that deserves this dicey honor, I can say with absolute certainly that Morey "Mike" Lampley is most assuredly the worst actor to appear in any movie EVER. Even a simple line like "what is this?" becomes comedic gold with Lampley's stunted delivery, and watching him pretend to have any sort of grasp on the complicated art of, well, talking, is a joy to behold. You can't help but like the little guy for trying, and each time he successfully completed a line, I found myself wanting to tell him "Good Boy" and throw him a cookie.

    Most of the dialogue in the film is so pointless and banal that it seems to exist solely because writer/director Buddy Cooper figured that the rules of film-making dictated that characters are supposed to say stuff to each other. This is an actual exchange in the film:

    Ed Jr.: "Do you see them?" Pam: "I saw something." Ed Jr.: "Miiike?" Ralph: "Do you see them?" Ed Jr.: "Pam saw something."

    Most slasher films require the audience to suspend their disbelief and accept even the most absurd plot elements, but The Mutilator practically encourages the audience to find all the things wrong with it, and that actually becomes the funnest thing about viewing the film. For instance, consider the scene where Mike and Linda go swimming (in a pool conveniently located on the beach, naturally). While Mike frolics in the water a few yards away from Linda, our killer is able to disrobe, sneak into the pool, drown Linda, then climb the pool ladder with her corpse draped over his shoulder... All without Mike noticing anything is amiss.

    I mentioned two rating systems, so it wouldn't be fair if I did this entire review without discussing the actual horror elements in the film. There's certainly no suspense to be had, since we're plainly introduced to the killer before he actually kills anyone. Unlike most films in the splatter canon, our psycho here doesn't wear a mask, isn't deformed or burned, and in fact doesn't have any sort of gruesome trait that makes him anything more than a creepy middle-aged man who sleeps with a battle-axe. (That's not outdated slang for "his wife", by the way... the killer is actually shown cuddling with a battle-axe).

    The splatter effects are gory enough, but the execution isn't anything spectacular. However, the most notable kill in the film, in which one of our heroines unwillingly makes love to a very large fish hook, is a very nasty bit indeed. This gruesome scene almost seems out of place in the midst of such a funny film, but at least we can give Cooper credit for throwing something unexpected at us.

    Of course, we can't ignore the "Special Appearance" by Ben Moore, who plays "Cop". As soon as I figure out who the hell Ben Moore is, I'll be able to better explain why this film was graced with his presence, and why this was worth noting so prominently in the opening credits. However, considering how silly The Mutilator is as it stands, I shudder to think of what this movie would have been without Ben there to class up the joint.

    Nothing in The Mutilator elevates it out of the realm of "whoops, I accidentally made a comedy", but judged from that standpoint, the film is tremendously enjoyable and can easily be recommended to anyone who appreciates the absurdities inherent in that dubious sub-genre. Quite simply: If you love bad movies, you have found your Casablanca, my friend.
  • AChantry18 May 1999
    This film is many in a line of trash horror films. When I first read the back of the video box I laughed, six teenagers going on their summer vacation. Cliche? If you are a fan of rubbish horror films then you'll love this, the acting is so bad it's good. The characters begin to get on your nerves eventually with their pole up their backside style acting, and you begin to wish for them to get killed, which in turn makes the film even better as you egg on the killer, "go on ram a knife through his all American face...go on...go on...YES!!!" If you watch this film expecting Oscar winning performances then you'll be sorely disappointed, having said that, if you watch this for any kind of performance whatsoever you'll be disappointed. The violence is over the top and it's great. It's the only saving grace of the film. However, all this aside, if you don't expect too much, then you'll be rewarded.
  • OK, pickypants, which slasher flick HAS a good plot/acting/script? Well, I'm waiting.... Yeah, that's what I thought. This is a straight up old-school stalk-and-slash entry with(imagined)child-killing, unrepentant nastiness, bad hair, and all of those things that made 80's slash-fests so bad they were good. This didn't have the budget of "the Burning" or "the Prowler", but it is an impressive effort nonetheless. Quintessentially American, by-the-numbers slasher that delivers the (gore)goods. ALL of the versions available are video-to-DVDR bootlegs, so don't spend a lot of money on this until(or IF...are you listening, Blue Underground? Synapse? Somebody?) someone comes up with a digital transfer. If the "fishhook(gaffe, actually)" scene lasts more than a few seconds, you are seeing the uncut version of this worthy entry into every gorehound's library. We're going' on a fall break(fall break)! P.S. why did they go swimming in a pool when the ocean is right there? who cares, "the Mutilator" rules!
  • Slasher movies are of course awful, the trick is to find examples of the genre that are aware of that and have fun with the knowledge that when all is said and done, the worse the better. The more gore, lurid sleaze, trashy garbage and splattered boobs the better. A sick sense of humor also helps, and Buddy Cooper is one sick bastard by the looks of his film.

    THE PLOT: A loser 12 year old kid accidentally blows his mom away on his dad's birthday after managing to find that one gun on the hunting rack left loaded by mistake. Pop's response is to silently plunk down in a chair, crack open a filth of Jack Daniels, pin a birthday note on his wife's corpse, and start pounding the sauce. Flip forward ten years or so and the loser kid has now blossomed into a full blown preppie dork, has a bunch of cretinous, loser friends equally worthless as himself, a girlfriend who can't seem to figure out how to start a car when someone is trying to chop her head off, and the Popster hands over the keys to a beach-front house just perfect to stalk, torture, kill, and mutilate people inside & around of. The idea is that the doofus will go "lock up for the winter", but in reality it's a set-up for the old man to ... well, kill everybody. Is it revenge? Is it for kicks? He never says, and that's one of the things that makes the movie work. I don't want to get to know my serial/spree killers as Jasons or Freddys or Mr. Meyers', I want to watch the carnage and then have them perish horribly without uttering a single word to explain their actions. SCORE!!

    If you think I am spoiling the fun you have about seventy-four thousand movies to catch up on: The structural needs of a Slasher/Hacker flick are quite minimal -- Select a group of tight panted coeds & their dislike-able idiot boyfriends, part them from society some place where the can't get help, give them unlikeable qualities so we won't feel bad about their being killed, and have some drooling, sadistic, half-retarded barbarian mutant psychopath chop them into bits. Considerations like character development, plausibility, skill in film-making and a story that will resonate within viewers are usually hindrances with this formula (THE BURNING being a major exception) and Mr. Cooper does not waste a single frame of celluloid trying to do anything more than put a group of dingbats into harms way, arm some wacko with a razor sharp ax (as well as a giant fishhook, various handyman's tools and what appears to be one of those Roto-Rooter tools) and let him start swingin'. Allow 6 to 10 minutes for some nudity and or sex, add stuff like irresponsible drinking, off-color humor, pathetic acting and plenty of pulsating blood and we have ourselves a minor classic.

    A really awful theme song ("We're Gonna Have A Good Time") only helps matters, and actually is at odds with the usual fare in this kind of a sewer. We're used to those droning synthesizer scores pulsated by the sound of a knife swishing through the air but instead, we get a Huey Lewis & The News ripoff. The film also has an odd predilection for having it's male cast members tie their sweaters around their necks like nobody I ever knew in 1985 ... Actually, we'd beat preppie idiots like that up for being powder-puff losers, so it goes without saying that one of the pleasures of watching this film is the vicarious pleasure of seeing all those Izod shirted jerks from the 10th grade -- and their annoying but nevertheless attractive girlfriends -- lose various limbs, heads, and other appendages. Bonus points for having the prom queen popular girl pick up the giant fish hook and ask "What's that?"

    "Well honey, if the perverted maniac making this film has his act together, we will get to see you skewered on it like a guppy."

    Mr. Cooper does not disappoint, and the version to seek out is a German made DVD from Dragon Films which contains the entire film's uncensored length, complete with an over-the-top finale that is Grand Guginol in it's perfection. I will admit that the first thirty minutes or so will test the patience of anyone with a shred of intelligence who does not follow Slasher/Hacker epics & revel in how utterly insipid of an art form it is, but stick with this one!! The production standards may not be up to the Freddy Kreuger variety of mass manufactured Slasher baloney most people are used to, but the film is as brutal, degrading, luridly perverse, entertainingly trashy and admirably scummy as any of them, and far more imaginative than most.

  • Red-Barracuda4 December 2013
    A man goes psychotic as a result of an event that occurred a decade earlier, where his son accidentally killed his wife when cleaning a gun. The boy, now a teenager, is invited by his dad to take a break with his friends at his father's seashore house. Once there, the homicidal dad starts picking them off.

    You would have to say that The Mutilator is a pretty run-of-the-mill mid-80's slasher film. Like most, it has almost no story and the narrative is merely a means of linking one gory murder after another. But it does seem to me like this is one of the slightly better examples of the genre from that time in that the carnage is quite varied and it doesn't really drag too much. It knows what it is and just sticks to genre conventions but does so with enough over-the-top violence to ensure it never gets boring. There are several memorable death scenes sprinkled throughout and overall it's passably good stupid fun.
  • ...because nobody else wants to sit with it.

    This movie was BAD, and I don't mean it in the 'Man, that chick that beat you up and stole your Pez dispenser was BAD' kinda way. I mean it in the 'Man, that's BAD, a chick beat you up and stole your Pez dispenser!' kinda way.

    I tried to remember that 'The Mutilator' (originally called 'Fall Break') was made in '84 or '85 while I was watching it, but that didn't ease the pain much. Terrible acting, stupid lines, and death scenes that can't compete with the average Bazooka Joe comics.

    And what the hell was going on with Bill Hitchcock's character? Even twenty years ago Laurel and Hardy imitations were out of date, whose idea was it to throw that in? Especially pay attention to his actions after he knocks the books out of the cheerleader's arms when he's coming out of Hallock Hall. That was way more PAINFUL than any of the deaths I saw. Sorta reminds me of how I acted in high school...

    Just exactly how frightened can I be of a killer who spends quite a bit of his time asleep in a closet, clutching his battle axe like it was a teddy bear? In fact, had he been beating people to death with a teddy bear,I could have gotten in to that.

    But I knew this movie was bad before I bought it because sadly, I saw it in the theater when it originally came out. So why did I buy it?Mainly because it was made in the city I live in. And the kid, Trace Cooper, who plays the little boy that shot his mom was in my seventh grade class. I remember him passing out autographed pics from the movie, although I didn't get one.

    Perhaps I'm still bitter.
  • I remember this movie clearly. The gory posters with the tag line "by pick, by axe, by sword, bye bye". What ever happened to BOLD independent HORROR movies? They don't exist any more, especially on the silver screen. Every horror film of the current crop is poorly distributed on home video, ignored by the press and shunned by the critics. By the time the film is actually released on home video everything scary or violent has been spliced out of the film in order to get the film actually into stores due to the hostile climate by the MPAA towards the horror genre, unless of course the film stars Anthony Hopkins, then you can show all the gore you want and get a theatrical release.

    I suggest anyone who is young and did not witness the independent horror boom of the 70's-80's to get out there, track down all the great titles like The Mutilator, and see what I'm talking about. The Motion Picture Association Of America in combination with the 5 remaining movie studios Disney, Sony and Universal) have created an enviornment so hostile to no-holds-barred REAL horror movies, that there really is not HORROR anymore. If you call Scream or Valentine a REAL horror movie take a trip back in time and see what BOLD daring film-makers were doing 20 years before the internet and digital effects age. They were making kick ass GORE movies. All we have now are sarcastic teeney-bopper films that insult the great films of the 70's-80's, meanwhile there is not one American filmmaker who has made a REAL horror film since maybe 1989. when was the last time you were shocked or horrified in the theater? Unless your in your late 20's or older, you were NEVER SCARED IN A THEATRE. In the post-Colombine massacre age making an actual HORROR film is strictly Taboo to the studio executives who decide what you actually see. If they can't sell Mcdonald's cups with the movie name on it, the film is not worthy. When they actually do put out a HORROR film, it's more about marketing the pathetic Industrial-Heavy metal soundtrack, than the movie itself!

    The Mutilator does not have any of those sad attributes of the current crop of films, therefore it is a worthy entry in the golden age of horror. Made to shock not to sell music C.D.'s and merchandice, The MUTILATOR is more worthy that ANYTHING put out by American studios in the last 11 years.

    Long live the 70's-80's and everyone who reads this can make a change by boycotting today's lame horror movies, and by calling up studios and telling them, if it's not a REAL horror movie WE DON'T WANT IT!!! I'd rather never see another horror movie made than having to suffer with another Urban Legends or Bless The Child.
  • The plot of the movie isn't too good - a boy accidently shoots his mom while playing with his dads guns, the dad comes home and is really mad ya think?? Then the story takes place some ten years later when the kid is now in college, while sitting in a bar with friends he gets a note to call his dad, wanting him and his friends to clean up and close the summer beach house, Take a wild guess what happens. Note please mute the fall break song I still have it in my head and it won't go away. There is also a r and unrated video. The unrated shows more color to the killings than the r rated which is kinda dark.. I give it 6/10 because of the gore. The acting is pretty lame but gore fans should like it
  • Everybody knows Friday the 13th and Halloween and Prom Night but if you really want to know what slashers are about you have to go down a bit deeper.

    This is one of my favorites from growing up. The thing that makes this different than those other Slashers is by how brutal it is. Like when you think of Slashers you always picture gross kills and nudity and bad music and bad acting and this weird feeling all around it. Those earlier movies I said don't have that. They are actually pretty well made but The Mutilator isn't and it becomes kind of scarier because of it. Like you don't know what's going to happen. I love Ralph too!

    Find it and watch!!
  • THE MUTILATOR is just another slasher in the endless number of slashers made during the 1980s. This one is particularly tacky. The acting is bad (some more than others) and the story is as complex as a Bazooka bubble gum joke. The only redeeming aspect of this horror flick wannabe is the gore. Though not always convincing, the gore is much more present than most slashers of the same period. This includes a blond guy (really bad actor) who gets a chainsaw in his stomach or a girl getting a huge fish hook through her crotch. Ick. Aside from the gore, the film is totally unremarkable. There's a scene at an indoor pool, which is drawn out and not very satisfying. And the ending is more funny than shocking. The beginning of the film, with the boy killing his mom by accident, is probably the only original aspect in the entire film. But just after that, when we see the title of the movie (red and dripping like blood), we hear a typically bad 1980s pop song as the opening credit roll. Well, that really sets us in the mood for a horror movie...not! Compare this tacky credits with the one in HALOOWEEN and it's obvious to see that the folks who made THE MUTILATOR knew very little about horror.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In my perfect world, the name Buddy Cooper would be mentioned in the same breath as other 'so-bad-it's-good' geniuses like Ed Wood and Herschell Gordon Lewis. And like these misguided visionaries, the "masterpieces" they left behind set new standards in bad cinema that the likes of Troma have since tried to replicate. In short, 'The Mutilator' is to 80's slasher movies what 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' was to 50's sci-fi.

    The story is not an original one: a group of teenagers on fall break, (which was the original title of the movie – keeping with the tradition of naming slasher movies after public holidays) stay at an isolated beach house were they're stalk by the psychopathic owner. In this case, the owner is father of Ed, one of the teen victims. As we are told in the films opening scene: while cleaning his father's rifle for a surprise present, the gun accidentally goes off and kills his mother (who just happened to be passing by). This sends the father around the bend and craving revenge on young Ed ("Sure dad will let us use the beach house").

    Words could not express how bad this film really is (and for a slasher movie, that's saying something). Every aspect of this oft forgotten gem is bad: the acting, direction, script even the films title theme, an upbeat little bubblegum pop tune called "Fall Break" has cheese appeal. We don't get any sane expiation on why Ed is taking his friends to his deranged fathers holiday house. This just aids to the films aimlessness as it throws in every slasher movie cliché in the book. This is topped off (via some extreme violence) with a strangely upbeat credits sequence complete with the 'Fall Break' pop song and "hilarious" outtakes!!!

    Recommend for any slasher or bad movie night, it's a classic!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    (** out of *****)

    The goofy opening credits sequence (and the cheesy `Fall Break' theme song that plays over this sequence) almost tricks you into thinking this is just another one of those cheapo ‘80s teen comedies where a bunch of dumb kids go to the beach and screw around. But don't be fooled -- this is actually just another one of those cheapo ‘80s teen slashers where a bunch of dumb kids go to the beach and screw around and get brutally slaughtered by a homicidal maniac. You see, one of the dumb kids (Matt Mitler) accidentally shot his mother in the back with a shotgun when he was a little boy and his alcoholic, big-game hunter father (John Chatham) never forgave him for it. So, ten or so years later, the dysfunctional old man asks his son to lock up the beach condo for the winter, but only so he can take out his revenge on his son and his son's friends with antique battle axes, big fishing gaffs, chainsaws, butcher knives, etc. (talk about holding a grudge!) There is some mild suspense here and there, but the only things that really distinguish this overly familiar killer thriller are some pretty graphic gore effects. Otherwise, the directing and editing are poorer than usual, and the acting is not quite on the same level as, say, `Glengarry Glen Ross' (but, I suppose that's to be expected, right?) It starts to pick up quite a bit in the climax, with the mad dad still chopping away at state troopers with his ax -- even with the lower half of his body missing! They actually have a bloopers reel running during the end credits (like in the "Cannonball Run" movies).

    Lowlight: In one scene of such artistic beauty and vivid cinematography that it rivals anything by Bertolucci or Herzog, a female victim is hoisted up by a steel hook through her crotch and savagely beheaded.
  • ianmutimer3 March 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    Once again i have let myself down by being duped into watching another horror movie of this quality. I was duped by the amount of people on the internet that have included it in their 'Top Ten Best Horror Movies'. I am glad the people on here see sense and gave it an average of 3.9 - damn straight! I don't think it was lame enough to be funny.

    So this kid accidentally shoots his Mum, fair enough, it happens. But his Dad comes home and starts beating him without even asking a question then he gives his dead wife a drink of liquor...OK?! The acting is about as good as the storyline - some guy is hiding in a garage and kills a bunch of kids staying there. In this movie the word 'mutilated' means the killer starting up a chainsaw and then the victim jumping up and down on the spot for a minute or chopping a head off a blatant crash test dummy that looks nothing like the real person). The actors sometimes say something and then just stare into space like there's another line coming...only there never is, which is quite amusing. One of the characters is the usual 'I'm the funny man' guy who tells the same stupid jokes, which are simply mimicking people in a high pitch voice. Oh once last thing - when they go out in turn looking for one another - by themselves, naturally, they all make a beeline to look for them in the garage, even though there is nothing to suggest anyone is in there? After the guy has killed everyone, he then gets decapitated himself - then the main character sees him and shouts 'Dad!' - that struck me as somewhat belated seeing as this malarkey had been going on for a few days? Watch if you want. My advice is DON'T. Watch 'The Burning' - best 80's horror i have ever seen. No kidding.
  • Originally entitled "Fall Break" but changed due to marketing advice based on the time of its release, The Mutilator is a Slasher, like others in the sub-genre that has generated a cult following. The film's director, Buddy Cooper, wanted desperately to make his own film – he did not have any prior film-making experience. Initially working with a budget of $80,000, he soon realized that money was disappearing quickly so he worked with the bank and took out another loan in addition to maxing out two credit cards. The grand total that was spent on the film would tally up to $450,000, giving insight to fans of cinema on how much time and money goes into making a movie. It's a shame that the outcome of The Mutilator isn't more memorable. In my opinion, it becomes lost among several of its kind. The short answer lies in the fact that Buddy Cooper did not undergo a mission to produce a horror movie in particular; just a movie in general. It seems as though the genre as a whole is a playground for inexperienced individuals. It's no surprise that the Slasher genre most of all is a wasteland of excuse- to-make-a-film entries.

    The story opens with a young boy named Ed, who, for his father's birthday, takes it upon himself to clean the gun cabinet. After removing one of the rifles from the protective encasement, Ed aims it at the kitchen door and pulls the trigger; blasting his mother in the spine, resulting in a fatal injury. Shortly thereafter, Ed's father comes home and witnesses the accursed scene – slapping the boy across the face. He proceeds to sink down upon the floor while staring out blankly until the police arrive. The film shifts focus to many years later during Ed's college years. Ed and a group of friends are looking for a good time during Fall break until an opportunity arises – Ed's father notifies him after several years of estrangement to meet up at a secluded beach house. Ed and the gang embark on a journey to spend a couple of fun-filled days at the house but reality's grim expression rears its head – Ed's father suffers from psychological issues pertaining to the death of his wife many years earlier. He has chosen to blame Ed for the accidental shooting and viciously murder his friends singlehandedly.

    It's fitting that we should discuss the opening credits early on in this review – they're uninspiring. This is compounded with the visage of a hideous-looking, color-by-numbers title card. The affair reminds me of the opening segments of an episode of Bosom Buddies or some other comparable '80s sitcom. At one point there's a freeze-framed shot then quickly snapped back into action as one of the characters mouths off a funny one-liner. Oh, that Ralph! He's so zany! This probably stands as one of corniest methods to a horror film that I've ever seen. It goes to show Cooper's inexperience as a film director to think that this sort of cheese would fly. The opening song is entitled "Fall Break" for reasons listed above – it exists in limited copies on record that are currently collecting dust in Buddy Cooper's garage.

    The death sequences are largely looked at as being original, credited to the various murderous devices. I've seen far too many Slasher films from this era to praise this film for any sort of ingenuity. The lead special effects makeup artist on the set, Mark Shostrom, displayed his talents wonderfully despite how unoriginal the death sequences are. Shostrom has an impressive resume and his relevance and contribution to horror is equally praise-worthy.

    The players in The Mutilator were unknown semi-professionals in 1985 and currently still are (in terms of acting, of course). The film was shot on location at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina so some of the acting talent was picked up locally. The lead actor who plays Ed, Matt Mitler, is easily the best one of the lot but the span of his acting career was a short one. The biggest issue I had was how ridiculously over-sold the death pantomimes were…they are truly appalling. One character in particular is surprised by a chainsaw and shredded by its rotating blades. His death rattle and violent seizures are spastically similar to a drunken bar patron riding a mechanical bull. Essentially, the crew of The Mutilator would go on to have successful careers…while the actors, and especially the director, would fade into obscurity. A similar fate besieged numerous fledgling thespians at the height of the Slasher era.

    I had the pleasure of watching the unrated version of The Mutilator; a copy that is highly sought after because a censored version, known as the VIPCO copy, is still running amok in the horror card catalog. According to an interview I watched with Buddy Cooper, conducted in 2008, there are several segments of cut footage that do not exist on any known copy. Code Red, a film distribution company, has announced a few years ago that a new DVD release is in production. As of 2010, fans of The Mutilator are still waiting.

    What's left to be said about The Mutilator? The first half of the film is paced so dreadfully slow that no amount of gory pay-off is worth the trouble. The carnage is well done for what it is; a sentiment that should repeat itself for miles. Unfortunately Cooper and the gang managed to output another typical, clichéd, re-hasher, that's only likable to the underground crowds who fully acknowledge that it sucks - which, if you think about it, seems a lot like showing interest in something only because it seems cool to do so. The Mutilator is garbage… top-tiered garbage. If you enjoy trash for what it is like other "Fall Break" supporters, you may find what you've been looking for.
  • This isn't my first review for "The Mutilator", in fact. I wrote one in 2004 already, but after reviewing the film (in far superior picture quality) last weekend, I decided to delete my previous comment and write a new one. Partially because my writing style was quite amateurish and embarrassing in 2004, but primarily because my rating and judgement for this slasher favorite were far too low and negative. "The Mutilator" pretty much emphasizes why we love horror slashers, those of the 1980s in particular! Maybe I'm embittered by the lack of quality and entertainment value in nowadays horror movies, but I feel that the spontaneity and cheesiness of films like "The Mutilator" deserve better ratings and more appreciation.

    The joyfulness already begins with the director's name (Buddy Cooper) and the catchy opening credits song "Fall Break". Oh yes, "The Mutilator" is straightforward, unhinged and sheer entertainment! It was the early 80's and anyone capable to come up with a nasty title and a handful of dollars was given the freedom to produce a slasher. Buddy invented the title "The Mutilator" and made his lifelong dream come true. Good for you, Buddy! The whole thing doesn't make much sense, as the intro depicts how a young boy accidentally shoots his mother in the back on his father's birthday. It's supposed to drive the father crazy, but all he does is remain stoically calm and pour himself a drink. Several years later the father asks Ed Jr. to go up to their family beach house and close it for the summer. Considering it's also fall break, Ed and his friends, six dim-witted teenagers in total, see this as the ideal occasion to spend a little holiday. Little do they know, of course, that Ed Sr. arranged for his son to come to the cabin and kill him. Now lucky Big Edhas six teenagers to annihilate! "The Mutilator" is full of memorably nonsensical moments, like nude swimming parties, dull games of Monopoly and endless supplies of beer coming out of the rustiest refrigerator you'll ever see. The acting performances are stupendously terrible; - most notably the tall blond guy and the obligatory practical joker-guy. Our over-enthusiast director Buddy Cooper also knows all the cliches and he's not afraid to use them! Virgins have a fair chance to survive ordeals like these and the killer's dead body will have vanished when you turn on the car's headlights! Finally, the obvious reason to adore a film like "The Mutilator" are the vile and uncompromisingly gross slaughtering methods, as well as the unsubtle and explicit make-up effects. Apart from a couple of commonplace murders, executed with pitchforks or shiny axes, this genre gem features a rather unique speedboat-engine kill and a truly cringing scene involving a fishing hook and a young lady's lower regions. Auch!
  • The Mutilator (1984)

    ** 1/2 (out of 4)

    A young boy named Ed is cleaning his father's gun for his birthday but while cleaning it the thing goes off killing his mother. From this point on the father has nothing to do with Ed. Flash forward several years and Ed is in college when he gets a call from his father out of nowhere. The father asks for Ed to return to a beach front property and close it down for the winter. Ed takes along his girlfriend and four other friends but soon they start to get violently murdered.

    THE MUTILATOR has a pretty big following among people who enjoy the slasher boom that happened from 1980-84. I'm a major slasher fan but for the most part there were a lot of movies that were made to try and get some of the box office dollars. More times than not these films were poorly made, poorly shot and featured very little gore. They were just cheap C movies that were thrown into theaters for a quick buck. THE MUTILATOR isn't one of those movies as it's fairly well-made, features a nice cast and best of all is that it actually delivers on the gore.

    One thing that did surprise me about this film is that it really doesn't try to play up a mystery aspect. We're pretty much told from the start what to expect and we see who the killer is pretty early on. The screenplay spends way too much time with the characters as the murders are spread out quite a bit and there are some logical issues but I guess this here is to be expected. I think the film really benefits from the six main characters being likable and you at least don't mind hanging out with them while you wait for them to be slaughtered.

    Of course, when it comes to a slasher the most important thing is the actual kills and THE MUTILATOR is a major success here. In fact, I'm really surprised that these effects got past the MPAA because they are rather graphic and gory. This includes a decapitation but the highlight of the film involves a hook. I'll just leave it at that but it's certainly very cringe-worthy and contains a great amount of blood. THE MUTILATOR certainly isn't a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination but it's a good slasher.
  • Despite it's catchy theme song, The Mutilator is, without a doubt, one of the lesser slashers of the 80s and, not surprisingly, one of the final ones to be released before the genre and audiences moved on to the "rubber reality" that was so popular in the later part of the decade.

    A bunch of college friends head to one of their beach houses for a much needed fall break and find themselves picked off one by one by the guy's psycho father. No, that's not a spoiler. The Mutilator never really tries to hide this very much, which is one of the reasons why it's a fairly dull affair.

    None of the characters are terribly interesting and the admittedly moody synth score and top notch gore effects can't help the sluggish pacing.

    For some reason, The Mutilator has become something of a cult favorite in the last few years thanks to a bang up restoration from Arrow Video. I'm starting to feel like anything can be considered a cult classic if enough time has passed.
  • Let me begin by saying, I love the "it's so bad it's good" genre, but this film is utter rubbish, a real chore to sit through. From the horrible dialogue to the atrocious acting There is nothing redeeming in this film. I watched this film on a recommendation, and also the reviews here on IMDb. I was sorely disappointed. So if you are a glutton for punishment (like I was).....go ahead watch this trash. But, you have been warned.
  • The Mutilator sums up its contents pretty well in its title! This trash bag is directed by Buddy Cooper (who is he?) and guess when? In the early 80's when all kind of sick and violent slasher films were made in order to cash in with the success of Friday the 13th and other box office hits. The Mutilator is one of the better achievements because of its incredible trash values that have no equal pretty easily. The prologue is very promising and believable and thus we know exactly what to expect from this film! The story involves again some bunch of stupid and loud teenagers who go to some vacation in the beach house and so on..Soon people start to miss and chainsaw sings and stage blood is let loose.

    The scenes are hilarious! The chainsaw murder scene is among the most stupid I've ever seen! How can he act so badly and the whole scene look as realistic as throwing some ketchup on guy's shirt! There are more similar scenes, but at least one murder is very nasty, too, as one of the females is killed with huge fishing hook in very disturbing manner..So this is also nasty slasher but has more turkey elements than nasty elements. The end scene is again unforgettable and the axe comes almost out of your television! The similar kind of unforgettable ending is also in Juan Piquer Simon's immortal classic Pieces aka Chainsaw Devil!

    I recommend The Mutilator to all you (and we) trash fanatics out there because this film has lots to offer for you! Strong stomach is of course required, as always in these films, because after all these were made to shock, and even Mutilator manages to do so, occasionally. But this is not as "serious" slasher film of the 80's like The Prowler, The Burning or Maniac, which are real horror films and great pieces of the genre.

    But I give The Mutilator 7/10 due to its great trash values and exploitation merits! Fans of this genre will understand what I mean and thus why the rating is so high!
  • Yawn. A kid accidentally kills his mother and ten years later, Pop goes nuts and starts killing teens. Mostly unoriginal as most of these films are, it does have one particularly gruesome killing, where a poor young woman has a giant fish hook shoved... well, I'll leave that to the imagination. I'm actually surprised that the cast went nowhere since they were decent actors. But the story is an atypical yawner as was every slasher after Friday the Thirteenth. At least the killer wasn't indestructible.
  • meathookcinema5 October 2019
    This movie was on my 'must see but haven't got round to yet' list for the longest time. But whilst other titles on said list turned out to be great (take a bow Pieces and Madman) can the same be said for The Mutilator? Can a movie with such a great poster and tagline live up to expectations?

    This was originally released as Fall Break. The MPAA found the film so violent that they were ready to slap an X rating on it. Whilst there was no problems with the film's distributors booking the movie into theaters in the big cities those in Middle America refused due to the X. Hence the movie was re-edited and rereleased as The Mutilator.

    Skip forward to the ever great Arrow Video finding an uncut print when it was called Fall Break and releasing it with a wealth of extras.

    The plot concerns a young boy accidentally killing his mother as he cleans one of this hunting obsessed father's guns. Years later we see the young man now at college and going to his father's beach condo (I'm taking it that the obligatory cabin in the woods was already booked) for some R&R. But someone is watching them and picks them off one by one.

    It's all pretty generic- even to the point that it's so routine that it almost feels like it's a spoof or send-up.

    Even gory kills don't make up for a massive lack of suspense and innovation.

    In the words of Simon Cowell- distinctly average.
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