SLEDGE HAMMER (1983)
Article 5092 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by David A. Prior
Featuring Ted Prior, Linda McGill, John Eastman
What it is: Low-budget slasher film
Ten years ago, two lovers were beaten to death by a sledgehammer-wielding psychopath in a remote cabin. Today, partying teens are staying in the cabin. Will the psycho return?
The special effects in this tiny-budgeted shot-on-video horror movie are credited to “Blood & Guts”, which is about as blunt a title as you can get, but then, what do you expect from a movie called SLEDGE HAMMER? I will give the movie credit for having a claustrophobic and surreal vibe to it, much of it probably due to the fact that it was made with an extreme low budget. Beyond that though, it’s the usual compendium of slasher cliches, badly acted and with a truly annoying slowness to the proceedings. The latter condition seems to be the result of the fact that though the copy of the movie I saw ran about 84 minutes, it looks like only about 65 minutes of footage was shot. The movie pads itself out by repeating scenes (the opening scene is almost repeated in its entirety during the middle of the movie), throwing in static shots of the house at random, and the truly excessive use of slow motion; every chase and murder just seems to drag on forever. There’s only one thing this movie does quickly, and that is it makes you hate the partying teens so quickly that you’re eager to see them offed as soon as possible. And all the cliches aren’t from slasher films, either; it’s willing to borrow from the seventies as well with a “lovers romping through the field to romantic music” sequence (in slow-motion, of course) that features such romantic acts as the boy balancing his can of beer on his girl’s head. I wish I could say that scene was intentional parody, but given that would be the only such moment in the film, I’m rather doubtful. A five-minute ending credits sequence also stretches the movie out, but if you reach that point, you may want to keep your eyes open; some of those names look highly suspicious.