The Toolbox Murders (1978)

Article 4545 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-27-2014
Directed by Dennis Donnelly
Featuring Cameron Mitchell, Pamelyn Ferdin, Wesley Eure
Country: USA
What it is: Nihilistic gore

Someone is using various appliances from a toolbox to murder women in an apartment complex. One woman has not been killed, but appears to have been kidnapped. Police investigate. The brother of the kidnapped girl goes on his own investigation.

I suspect that this unpleasant and bloody piece of mayhem will mostly appeal to gorehounds and fans of nihilism. The first third of this movie will mostly appeal to the former; most of the murders occur during this segment, and for a while it looks like it will rack up one of the higher body counts if the genre. When describing the movie, most of my sources like to give away the identity of the killer, but the movie isn’t quite as cut and dried as all that; truth to tell, I’m not sure who killed the women during the first part of the movie. My problem is with the script; there’s a lot of clutter and unnecessary scenes (especially in the middle third of the movie), and there are times where I feel the movie is being made up as it goes along. In the end, I’m not sure that the movie makes much sense, especially once you realize that you’re dealing with two psychos, and the nihilism feels mostly like a convenient way to end the movie. The ending crawl reveals that this is based on a true story, but I never take comments like that at face value, and even if it was, that doesn’t mean that things played out just as they do here.

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