Killing Spree ~ 1987, Tim Ritter, USA
The man, the myth, the legend- ladies and gentleman, I give you the star of Killing Spree, Mr. Asbestos Felt.
Before we go any further, I need to describe the Asbestos Felt approach to acting. My chosen method for doing this is to use Car metaphors, but full disclosure; I know nothing about cars. OK, so here we go:
In the world of actor/car analogies, Robert DeNiro is sorta like a Rolls Royce. George Clooney would be a Mercedes Benz, and Clint Eastwood is some sort of bad ass Cadillac that still understands how America works. Asbestos Felt, however, would be a Dodge Gremlin, the interior would smell like urine, it would have no doors, and a shattered windshield. It would also be missing three tires, the one tire it did have would somehow be taken off of a monster truck, and the engine is whatever the fuck they put in Indy Cars. Also, the whole car would probably be filled with possums, all of whom are on fire. Simply put, Felt goes fucking hard. While he can’t give you what you need, he can give you a manic, irrational enthusiasm which is almost certain to leave a trail of broken victims in its wake.
Just look at him! He looks like a scarecrow who found a magic lamp, and it’s first wish was to be human, but its second and third wishes were both just for heroin.
But, he’s our boy, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Killing Spree is a true experience, and while it starts so slow that you’ll find yourself expecting it not to live up to all the hype, by the end of the film, it fucking delivers… and then it keeps on delivering, long after your mangled corpse has been abused past the point of recognition.
The Plot: Tom and Leeza are a happily married couple- If by “happily married” you mean inexplicably mismatched and terrifyingly dysfunctional. Their problems all stem from one single root cause; Tom’s old fashioned views on gender equality- and by old fashioned, I mean sociopathic/amish. Leeza isn’t permitted to work. Or really do anything but stay at home. Toms been burned before, you see, so he’s not open to giving Leeza a fucking ounce of freedom, for fear that she’ll up and leave him, and he doesn’t exactly keep a cool head about the whole thing. Even in the face of this controlling, revoltingly unfair treatment, Leeza remains loyal, calm and compassionate, for reasons I cannot begin to imagine. This is not an evenly matched marriage.
Just look at the love.
I mean, WHY would Leeza stay with Tom? She’s utterly gorgeous, and in addition to being controlling and manipulative, Tom looks like a homeless muppet that survived a tornado. What’s the fucking deal?
I mean, level with me; is THIS what women want?!
So, things get worse from here. Despite Tom’s best efforts to Rapunzel his wife away, hidden from the world, he begins to suspect her of infidelity all the same, and his suspicions wind up being aimed at literally every many he can reasonably assume she’s has had contact with ever. This includes a gardener, about a hundred friggin’ repairmen, and even his best friend (a charming old man who’s also a total sleaze-ball).
He’s also a statutory rapist, so maybe doubting his loyalty isn’t such a crazy thing to do after all.
To be fair, Tom’s got his reasons to be suspicious. You see, while lounging about the house one day, our boy finds what he believes to be a journal written by his wife- outlining numerous graphic, sexual encounters between herself and… Well, basically every dude who dares even to approach her. Yep. Pretty damning evidence, I know I’d feel uncomfortable. What he doesn’t know, however, is that this is not a journal, but rather a series of erotic short stories, written by Leeza as a means of exercising her creativity while she’s bored as fuck, toiling away in her house all day. It’s not just for fun, either, Leeza plans is to sell these to an interested publisher, thereby secretly adding an additional income stream to the household, which is meant to help out after Tom’s pay is slashed due to corporate mismanagement. In truth, she is 100% faithful to him, aside from her insistence on bringing in a little bit of money, and what she does she does for the good of their marriage. See, this is why communication is so important in a relationships, without it, blood spattered rampages are almost unavoidable.
This is just a screen grab from the Asbestos Felt episode of MTV Cribs, it’s not even in the movie!
Tragically, Tom would not wait for all the facts before putting into motion his plans for revenge… Awesomely creative revenge. He starts small, but by the end of it he’s kind of the Rembrandt of killing people in broad daylight. It goes without saying that these scenes are the strongest bits in the movie, but there’s other good stuff, too, Like when we get to learn the mysterious origins of a man called “The Stew-Master”.
That’s right, folks, the epic tale of The Stew-master can finally be told.
Who is he?! What does he want!? How could he have come by such a unique accolade? Well, turns out he’s just some dude, and the reason they call him “Stew-master” is because he’s really good at making stew. Yep! It’s pretty much exactly what you’d assume, and it never comes up in the movie again, so the inclusion of this scene defies literally all rational thought. Typically when you’re writing a script, you make it a point to cut out all the stuff that doesn’t make sense, serve the story, or which kills the pacing… but not with this script. If we were to cut out the bits that didn’t make sense, Killing Spree would simply cease to exist at all. And we can’t have that.
Now, while it’s certainly wacky as fuck, up until this point, Killing Spree has operated more or less within the confines of the revenge/serial killer sub-genre, albeit an atypical one. It would be logical to expect it to continue upon its established trajectory through it’s final act as well, and that’s the biggest reason why you should probably expect it to switch shit up immediately. And it does! In it’s third act, Killing Spree suddenly embarks into uncharted territory and serves us up a helping of zombies, more or less completely out of nowhere and with no explanation. These ghouls (who come with their own enjoyably funky music) are the inexplicably reanimated corpses of Tom’s many undeserving victims, now back from the dead and hungry for vengeance. Oh shit! Hens come home to roost, boys and girls. So, what happens next? Well… I recommend you check the film out and see for yourself. I’ve been told to stop spoiling the end of these movies, so this is all you’re gonna get from me.
Okay, I’ll give you this, too. Spoiler alert- whatever the fuck this is happens. Apparently.
Killing Spree is not a technicality impressive movie. It’s also not an attractive movie… or even a competent one. Does any of that matter to you? This is a splatter film, and the degree to which you enjoy or despise it is entirely dependent on your openness to that brand of low budget, run and gun, shot on video storytelling. Think about it like sushi- if you don’t like sushi, don’t eat it. If you do eat it- I’d imagine you’re not going to like it. Meanwhile, there are plenty of people out there who DO enjoy sushi, and they don’t need to hear you bitch about how gross it is (Full disclosure: I don’t eat sushi. It is gross.) If you’ve managed to stumble across my writing, then odds are you already know how you feel about movies like this, so I suggest you proceed according. For splatter enthusiasts, however there’s a whole second world of options to explore and enjoy, and Killing Spree is a fantastically fun and entertaining example of what’s out there. Every flaw in it is like a generous gift to openly ridicule and enjoy, and these flaws are plentiful, friends. Killing Spree is satisfyingly violent, and frequently hilarious by reason of insanity.
How far away could the next house possibly be that this isn’t going to draw some suspicion?
This movie was re-released by some unscrupulous distributor with the title I WIll Dance On Your Grave: Killing Spree, in an evident effort to suggest that it was part of the Dance On Your Grave series, themselves something of a degenerate spin-off franchise meant to follow the legendary Video Nasty I Spit On Your Grave. This association is dubious as balls, ladies and gentlemen, and even worse is the tagline on the poster they used, which read: “Better Run For Your Life, There’s A Babe With A Knife!”
…Yeah… And that babe is this guy:
“You just got Felt, bitches!”
Anyway. The posters for the Dance On Your Grave release of the film are still pretty solid.
Something about this does appeal to me more than Asbestos Felt does, if I’m being honest.