Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"The Most Atrocious Crime in American History": The Toolbox Murders (1978)

The Toolbox Murders (1978)
rating: **1/2
starring:  Cameron Mitchell, Pamelyn Ferdin and Wesley Eure

Okay, I never knew the 70s version of this movie was this bad but I have to admit, it does have its moments.

The Toolbox Murders had itself deemed infamous thanks to its depiction of graphic murders towards sexually fueled ladies residing in an apartment complex early on the film's run, just a few frames away after the weird looking opening credits (with added first bodycount).

The killer, as the title suggested, carries around a toolbox full of various hardware appliances from a nailgun to a powerdrill, easily makes tidbits out of the scantily clad cats and does it, one at a time, for the next half hour or less. So early on, we get five grisly misogynist-toned murders and, in between them, us watching them girls take a shower and/or bubble bath.
Who knew seeing Mariane Walter gets nailgunned while
prancing naked can be a changing experience?
The second half of the film had us going through a police-drama of sorts, wherein a sixth girl was kidnapped and psychologically tortured by the killer and two of the girl's male friends doing their own amateur investigation seeing that the cops aren't doing better.

Personally, the whole rating you see above comes a majority from the opening and the rest is from it's finale. The opening slaughter, which might as well be the whole movie itself, had the stalk and kill antics done with much exploitative nature and mean-spirit despite lacking much of the needed impact and tension. He ho-hums his way to the next apartment without much thinking whether is previous attacks would had alerted the neighbors, as if he is used to doing these crimes. And then at the end, he even tried to comfort his captured lass of the reasons of why he's doing all this, though judging from her reaction that didn't do too well for his part.

The finale was a messy one in terms of direction but at least it goes to say, it didn't lost the energy just as the movie did at the middle where it had us tediously watching at bumbling detectives trying to coin out our killer; the finale featured another twist in the story with an outlandish cheesy sub-plot that had us wondering if anyone would care.
The Broken Object. By Vance Kingsley
Much to the psycho-drama antics of The Toolbox Murders, it didn't fail to deliver one of the most unusual structure for a slasher film and, much like on every attempt to do something different, it has its pros and cons. You can regard it as misogynistic trash but you can't deny the guilty pleasure of a deserving Video Nasty.

1 female seen killed in car crash
1 female powerdrilled on the head
1 female repeatedly brained with hammer claw
1 female stabbed to death with screwdriver
1 female shot on the head with nailgun
1 male doused with gasoline, set ablaze
1 male knifed on the gut
1 male stabbed with scissors offscreen
total: 8