Starring: Sybil Danning, Eric Brown and Andrew Prine
A film of mixed bags and gags, They're Playing with Fire (1984) fuses Private Lessons (1980) -style erotica with campus slasher tropes, a sleazy make-out session accompanied with hack-and-slash sensibilities that did quite lost in itself around the first running hour or so.
That is until somebody else finishes the job. Someone in a balaclava and white sneakers, and have the guts to blow up a couple of old crones' heads with their own rifle. Now it could have been good news for the conspiring trio if they knew who it was, thus their trust is now tested as more people gets involved in their trappings. Could the killer be Jay's ex-girlfriend? Or Micheal in a psycho-turn? Or could it be the creepy gardener? One of Jay's friends? In this web of intrigue, who can be trusted?
As mentioned, the slasher elements of this film got a little lost between all that cleavage and drama until it somewhat makes full force return around the last half hour. Til then, we got this murder mystery soap that has the characters trying to sort out who's who doing the killings and the only hint given is that it's someone with personal issues and talks the cooky crazy talk like Billy from Black Christmas (1976), spatting out nursery rhymes, drawing on walls, and dressing up in various suits for his murder spree.
It's bound to distaste some fans as it mostly left out the systematic teen-kill and, at the same time, their marketing may also misguide those looking for a sex romp comedy. "His English Professor is giving him a real education" is hardly a tagline that screams hack and slash, and neither does the cover art of Ms. Danning giving ole Eric Brown the footsie! But, for its efforts, it does make a surprisingly unique film for genre collectors. I mean, you can't blame them for trying to whip out something new, even if it had to come from stitched-up remnants of something old.
1 elderly female rifle shot in chest
1 elderly female rifle shot in head
1 female beaten to death with baseball bat
1 male repeatedly stabbed on the back with knife
1 male had his neck hacked and cut with machete
1 male shot in chest with rifle