THE MUTILATOR (1984)

Directed By: Buddy Cooper & John Douglass
Written By: Buddy Cooper 
Cinematography: Peter Schnall
Editor: Stephen Mack

Cast: Matt Mitler, Ruth Martinez, Bill Hitchcock, Connie Rogers, Frances Raines, Morey Lamplay, Jack Chatham 

A college student, who accidentally killed his mother as a child, decides to take his friends to his father’s fishing cabin during fall break, not knowing that his crazed father is stalking the place.


This is another film from my youth whose poster/box art I remember from video stores. That always captured my imagination but I was too young and scared to ever watch. That has taken me this long to find and watch. 

I can remember the details and colors of these images from the posters. That even if the film isn’t so great the artwork will oversell it. As a poster for a better film or the one, you imagine in your head. Luckily this film lives up to the box art. 

Is this a good movie? no. is it entertaining? Yes, if 1980’s style horror films are your thing. They are for me so I thoroughly enjoyed the film. No matter how ridiculous it got or went.

The film starts off with a shocking scene of violence. Then it proceeds to play like a college coed comedy. While it sets itself and the characters/future victims up. At least as far as the opening Credits. 

Though it even has silly sight gags in the middle of the film after the killings start. 

This is pure 1980s slasher horror film bliss with questionable acting. Questionable character decisions that are obviously only there for the set-up. Scenes where the camera lingers too long. Leaving the actors feeling performative, stranded, and stiff. They also come off as false. Not to mention for a film where half the characters are obsessed with sex. There is surprisingly little nudity or sex 

The film has a strange innocence. As it never takes itself totally seriously and has good practical effects. At times it can be slow-paced and feels odd. 

The film follows the basic horror film rules. As it was made when they were still writing and defining them. 

The film offers no false advertising. It lives up to its title and even uses the weapon long-promised on the poster eventually. 

It feels overwrought at times like it takes too long to get to the point in scenes and the film I just under 90 minutes.

The killer’s motivation is somewhat understandable though you wonder what took him So long to snap.

One of the characters distractingly has the same shape of chest hair that Steve Carrell has after getting partially waxed in THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN. 

The soundtrack choices feel and seem wrong yet fun. At times too silly Or energetic for the tense mood, they are involved. 

The ending is ridiculous and does offer some jumps and seems to try to lighten the mood again once we get to the credits. 

GRADE: C

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