BUTCHER BAKER, NIGHTMARE MAKER (1981)

Directed By: William Asher 
Written By: Stephen Breimer, Alan Jay Glueckman & Boon Collins 
Cinematography: Robbie Greenberg 
Editor: Ted Nicolaou 

Cast: Jimmy McNichol, Susan Tyrell, Bo Svenson, Julia Duffy, Bill Paxton, Britt Leach, Steve Eastin

Since the death of his parents fourteen years ago, Billy Lynch has been raised by his overprotective aunt Cheryl. But once he turns seventeen, he is soon set on planning his life…without her. He’s planning on going on to college and is dating local girl Julie. None of which sits well for his aunt, who’s lost everyone else in her life and now with her nephew ready to leave, ensures she starts on a campaign to keep him with her…forever. But as her plans misfire she becomes swept up in a cycle of psychosis and frenzied violence all being blamed on Billy by everyone else…including a homophobic detective, whose anti-gay prejudice is steadily reaching its zenith…leading to an unforeseeable outcome.


This film feels silly even for the time when it was released. Watching the film is a fun experience in its awfulness.

It’s entertainment is marred by its characters’ homophobia. This is disappointing as it easily could have been an unintentional camp classic. Surprised it hasn’t been embraced by a cult audience of not for anything at least the performance and gusto from Susan Tyrell.

The lead performance by Susan Tyrell gives it her all and goes way over the top. So unhinged In one of her rare leading roles.

So unhinged that as the movie moves along even her look begins to deteriorate. She is obviously wearing a wig and once her character cuts it she goes further off the deep end. It ends up being her real hair.

Revealing the killer wept on makes the movie more suspenseful. Especially as the film goes along, there ends up being few choices as to who it could be and where the film can go. 

The film has Bill Paxton in an early role as a jealous bully. Not to mention Julia Duffy as the teenage nephew’s love interest.

The film ultimately revolves around a serious obsession between the aunt for her nephew. Which also makes the film feel more suited for a drive in a movie theater. 

The movie’s special effects, the few that there Are, are so bad they become laughable especially when it cowls to stabbings and dismemberment. 

Memorably bad but the film Means well and tries hard. So that it is more entertaining and fun than scary. If this is a genre you particularly like.

It can be understood that homophobia was the Mood at the time. The film tries to justify that mood as evil by having one fo the good characters be gay. But also at the end, most of the characters with that discrimination end up dead. 

This is a film you look for more for fun than necessary thrills or any kind of horror 

GRADE: C

CRY BABY (1990)

cry-4

 

Written & Directed By: John Waters
Cinematography By: David Insely
Editor: Janice Hampton 


Cast: Johnny Depp, Amy Locane, Polly Bergen, Ricki Lake, Traci Lords, Susan Tyrrell, Troy Donahue, Willem Dafoe, Patricia Hearst, Iggy Pop, Joe Dellasandro, Darren E. Burrows, Mink Stole, Joey Heatherton, Kim McGuire, Stephen Mailer, Kim Webb, Alan J. Wendl, David Nelson

Allison is a “square” good girl who has decided she wants to be bad and falls hard for Cry-Baby Walker, a Greaser (or “Drape” in John Waters parlance). Spoofing Elvis movies and Juvenile Delinquency scare films of the ’50s, this movie follows the adventures of Cry-Baby who, though he is sent to juvie, is determined to cross class (and taste) boundaries to get Allison back.

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