Sunday, October 14, 2012

AKA Home Sweet Home: "Slasher in the House" (1981)

This silly slasher flick is notable only for exercise guru Jake Steinfeld's awful turn as the killer...this whole review is a spoiler, by the way...

In an isolated ranch house, a group of friends gather for a big meal. I see turkey, I see cranberry sauce, but no one ever mentions the word "thanksgiving." The characters include a Mexican singer, her blustery boyfriend, a little girl, a record exec, his girlfriend, another woman, and a golden blond couple who are the obvious heroes. Oh, yes, I forgot the exec's son- a talking mime who plays an unplugged electric guitar. You want him to be the first to die, but we don't get everything we wish a decent film. Everyone is dispatched one by one in the course of the evening, until just the killer and the heroine is left. In the middle of the chase, she suffers a fainting spell and the police bail her out of trouble, guns blazing. While car trouble has long been a staple of this type of film, "Home Sweet Home" is not satisfied with just one breaking down. Here, we have TWO cars not start, meaning the victims, I mean occupants, must get out and walk and die.

Everyone is killed by Jake, who sports David Hasselhoff's Knight Rider era hair and a great big knife. All the gore consists of fake blood, liberally spilled. Not only is the production amateurish, so is the post production, as most of the dialogue, and Jake's maniacal laugh, are poorly dubbed.

The silliest aspect of the entire film is the amount of characters who go "looking" for other characters. Half the cast leaves and is killed, and the remaining living come up with the worst excuses for where they could be. How many Thanksgiving meals are interrupted by trips to the local bar to watch the big game?

If you want to pity anyone (besides me for sitting through this), pity the little girl who at one point is abandoned in a dark room with killer Jake. Only after the heroic couple vacate the premises do they decide they should probably try to retrieve the defenseless child. It is this kind of stupidity that takes even the smallest amount of campy fun out of this effort.

In the end, Jake is unkillable because he is on PCP. At least it wasn't because of something dumb. "Home Sweet Home" is one unwelcome guest, skip it. (*) out of five stars.