Saturday, February 23, 2008


Tim Ritter, the videotape era's answer to Herschell Gordon Lewis and best known for TRUTH OR DARE: A CRITICAL MADNESS, followed up that slice of shot-on-video dementia with this 1987 tale of jealousy and revenge. Now, it's been a long time since I've seen TRUTH OR DARE, but even with the unreliable nature of memory it's hard to believe both features were made by the same person. Short on ingenuity but unrelentingly long on tedium and wasted opportunity, KILLING SPREE manages to cram an entire half-iota of story into 85 minutes.

Asbestos Felt--love that name--stars as Tom, an average schmo undergoing a little marital strife (though Felt's not a completely abysmal actor, he resembles more a roadie for the Allman Brothers Band than your typical everyman). See, Tom's a wee bit on the insecure side; not only does he not like the idea of his wife having a life outside the home, he tends to get insanely jealous--literally--when it comes to other men. When Tom finds his wife's diary, filled to bursting with purple-prosed descriptions of her fantasies of every male in the neighborhood, he finally snaps and embarks on the titular spree, setting up a dry, by-the-numbers series of increasingly asinine murders complete with buckets of cut-rate gore.

Formulaic plot aside, Felt's character is so hollow and one-dimensional that it's impossible to muster any concern ot sympathy. He's pushed into madness with no real motivation other than plot necessity, leaving his actions without emotion or impact (nor does it help that Tom's "tortured" voice-overs are too overwrought to be anything but mockable). Throw in some lengthy, pointless conversations, a couple of idiotic dream sequences, and some so-called comic relief (in the form of a constipated old lady who steals Tom's Fangorias) and you've got youtself one seriously interminable yawnfest.

And zombies? Yeah, they're here, appearing about fifteen minutes from the end as Tom's victims return from the dead to exact their predictable revenge, spouting inane puns and posing as a gimmicky plot contrivance.

If your cinematic tastes run toward the home movies of the criminally depraved, you might be able to tolerate KILLING SPREE. Those more attached to their wits will want to look elsewhere.

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