Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sledgehammer (1983)

Maybe it's a coincidence, but I can't get Sledgehammer out from my DVD-player. It took me four days to watch it, not because it was bad, but because I just started to watch it in the last minute before doing something else. And now it's stuck. It's sitting there like a damn Jimmy Hoffa, frozen for eternity in cement. I have a feeling it want to be loved, it want me to respect it. And dear Sledgehammer, don't worry. I like you - more than you think.

The first movie from cheapo director David A. Prior, Sledgehammer actually quite well fits in to the rest of the slashers being released around the same time. The only thing that differs it from the others is that it's cheap. Very cheap. Shot on some kind of video camera in David A. Prior's apartment - with exteriors shot somewhere else. Starring friends and - as usual - his brother, Ted, in one of the leads. Most of the time it looks like a porn movie, especially a gay porn movie because all the male actors are muscular hunks or with massive moustaches - I would say we have one muscle daddy in the making there also.

The story is like everything you seen before: ten years ago a little boy killed his mother and her lover (she giving him a blowjob of course) and then disappeared. Now a bunch of nice young people with fluffy hair cuts and pulsating biceps decides to spend a night in the house - why? To drink, have sex and walk around aimlessly in slow-motion of course. But then hell breaks loose when the ghost (?) of the little boy comes back in the form of a grown man and starts killing them with a big (well...) sledgehammer!

Ah, the glory days of slashers. So easy to write a script. Nowadays they want twists, a little bit of character development and shit like that. In all honestly, Sledgehammer is actually not bad at all. Sure, it's very cheap and even more stupid, but David A. Prior manages to create an OK atmosphere (...and some truly odd editing choices - just wait until you experience the looooong slow-motion walk outside. Never seen anything like it...) and a couple of graphic gruesome deaths. I'm not sure I can find ANY competent acting here, but all the actors all look good in front of the camera and probably also generated some sexual tension between each others during the shoot. But that's just my imagination.

The gore is cheap, but I've seen more famous and more respected "gory" slashers with less gore. It does the job well without being overly spectacular or fantastic. I didn't know the whole movie was shot in Prior's apartment, so I bought the concept that this was an old farm house - just very simply furnished and with white, boring walls everywhere - and no windows. And just totally different than a big, old-school farm house. But I'm easy to fool and that makes me a good audience.

If you're ready for zero budget trash, shot-on-video and with amateurish acting - Sledgehammer is something for you!

(and the disc is still stuck in my player...)


Scumbalina said...

Great review! And odd timing, I was planning on reviewing it myself sometime this week. Even referenced it in a recent review for another movie put out by Intervision. I love Sledgehammer's hazy atmosphere. It feels so removed from reality that it's hard not to just fall in love with this movie. Also notable, the main actor, Ted Prior (probably the director's brother) was in an amazingly bad action movie called Deadly Prey. If you haven't seen it I think you'd dig it. Like A LOT.

Anonymous said...

"Ah, the glory days of slashers. So easy to write a script. Nowadays they want twists, a little bit of character development and shit like that."

Yeah...that´s the problem with this genre now....the audience demands more surprises....Oh have you seen the corman doc yet..?

I saw the other day...pretty ok...some flaws but a true celebration of Corman and a crying Jack Nicholson!

Phantom of Pulp said...

Fine review. Good to see the slow motion walking getting recognized for its brilliance.

It's obviously stuck in your player because it likes it in there. Warm and tight.

That's enough from me.