Films don’t come much loopier than this 1987 low-budget effort from Tim Ritter, the man who introduced us to the masochistic “Coppermasked Madman” in the TRUTH OR DARE? Trilogy. Once more featuring a man driven to kill due to a partner’s infidelities, KILLING SPREE tells the tale of Tom Russo (Asbestos Felt), a man with little trust for his wife, Leeza (Courtney Lercara) and even less for his hairdresser. They move to a new suburb and meet pensioner Ben Seltzer (Raymond Carbone) who boasts of his amorous encounters with local ladies, the latest being an 18 year old punkette who carries an iguana around everywhere and sports a dreadful mohawk.
Tom’s previous woman had cheated on him with his best friend resulting in Tom developing an unhealthy paranoia when it comes to trusting people. Not only is Leeza forbidden from taking a job, in case she shacks up with a male colleague, he hates to see her talking to anyone. When old lech, Ben, is caught giving Leeza a friendly hug, Tom kicks him out the house, thinking the couple were trying it on behind his back. Further animosity with his wife develops when Tom decides to look at her diary and comes across entries relating to various sexual encounters with members (no pun intended) of the community. Whether the amourous activities are just figments of Tom’s paranoia is left unclear, but pretty soon he believes all and sundry are slipping his wife one, behind his back.
Our frothing madman decides to put his own “tools” to better use, in a series of outrageous killings, that get decidedly gorier as they progress. Ben’s girlfriend is decapitated and Ben is beaten to death with her severed head, an electrician has the top of his head sliced off via the rotor blades of an overhead air-fan, another guy is buried up to his neck and treated to a face-over with a lawnmower, a Ron Jeremy look-alike (who fondles his crotch) has a screwdriver dropped onto his head from a great height, another handyman has his guts pulled out, and the prying old woman has her neck torn apart with a claw-hammer. Unfortunately, for Tom, the accused aren’t happy to take things lying still, and return from their garden graves for revenge.
As well as featuring plenty of plugs for FANGORIA, and cementing the image of the “gore obsessed fan boy” as “sexually repressed nerd” (with crap hair-cut), this hilarious feature was always destined for cult status amongst clamourers for zero-budget horror films. The make-up effects by Joel Harlow (BASKET CASE 2 and TOXIC AVENGER 3) are inventive and bloody, and the performance from Asbestos Felt suitably manic; at times his enraged face, one eye screwed, and unkempt hair and beard resemble Clint Eastwood auditioning for the role of Catweazle. In fact all the cast could do with looking the word "barber" up in a dictionary, but hey, maybe they all had side jobs in the porn industry. A pity that no-one else can act, although I did enjoy watching Raymond Carbone rant on and on about his young bit of muff – mind you, so would I if I were still shagging permanant ID carriers at his age.
The film takes about 45 minutes to really get going and then you’re facing the demented set-pieces, not exactly good filmmaking, but enjoyable if you like your entertainment via the Tromaville style of filmmaking.
Carl T. Ford
Directed by Tim Ritter
USA / 1987 / 88 minutes.
SPECIAL DVD FEATURES
A Sub Rosa Retro DVD
All region. NTSC. Stereo.