Tuesday, May 26

Day of the Reaper (1984)

Directed by Tim Ritter
75 Minutes / Sub Rosa Midwest (issued in 2002) / Letterboxed

A psycho adorned in a black executioner's mask and bloody apron escapes from an institution to slaughter some '80s babes.

Tim Ritter's (Truth or Dare?, Killing Spree) first feature-length outing shot on Super8 for a cool $1,000 in Florida. This is going to be a short review since this is damn near unwatchable. There's some semblance of a threadbare Halloween-influenced slasher plot, but the film looks absolutely terrible with equally abhorrent post dubbing, nearly no sound effects, and a constant Casio keyboard-helmed score. The several do-it-yourself gore effects are welcome, but you're likely to get a low grade migraine from trying to look through the incredible amount of video haze and massive damage. It should also go without saying there's the required gaping plot holes, run-on exposition, and endless scenes that last ten minutes too long.

Thankfully, this tape has an interesting inclusion, a running trivia sentence track along the bottom letterbox matting written by Ritter himself. He points out the standard stuff like influences, locations, connections with his future work, and problems encountered with shooting. Though he pokes fun at his work as well and throws out amusing anecdotes like closing a cassette deck for the sound of a car hood or chomping into a Big Mac for the effect of munching on a severed arm. Also this VHS transfer was created by taping the film projected out of a shoebox onto a wall...so you can only imagine the picture quality. For Ritter fans, this is essential, but everyone else should be as cautious as you would handling a rabid beaver with only latex gloves.

Film: -4/10 (but as Ritter asserts, get "something" made at all costs, hard to seriously condemn that gumption)
VHS Picture & Sound: 1/10

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