THE MUTILATOR (1984) Reviews and overview

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‘By sword. By pick. By axe. Bye bye’
The Mutilator is a 1984 American slasher horror film written, directed, and produced by Buddy Cooper, and co-directed by John S. Douglass.

The special makeup effects were provided by Mark Shostrom, Anthony Showe and Ed Ferrell.


The movie stars Matt Mitler, Frances (aka Francis) Raines (Breeders), Ruth Martinez, Morey Lampley, Bill Hitchcock, Pamela Weddle Cooper, Connie Rogers, Trace Cooper, Jack Chatham and Ben Moore.

While cleaning one of his father’s rifles as a birthday surprise, young Ed, Jr. accidentally shoots his mother. Ed never forgives his son for this, and the two become estranged.

Years later, while Ed and his friends are trying to think of something to do for their college’s fall break, Big Ed calls, and demands Ed come to his beachfront condo, and close it up for the winter.

Ed’s friends convince him to accept the job and take them with him, so it will be finished quicker, and they can spend the rest of their break hanging around the condo.

mutilator still 4

Ed’s group arrives at the condo, where Big Ed is passed out drunk in the basement, having dreams about killing his son. After dinner, everyone goes for a walk on the beach, and Mike and Linda go skinny dipping in the pool.

Big Ed discovers the two, drowns Linda, and uses a trail of her and Mike’s discarded clothes to lure Mike back to the condo, where he disembowels him with an outboard motor. A police officer stationed on the beach then stops by the condo and is killed when Big Ed decapitates him with an axe…

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:
“Kills in The Mutilator impress with the ingenuity and intense levels of gore. A wall lined with human heads as trophies even manages to spook a little. Otherwise, this is standard heavy-breathing POV stalk-and-slaughter moviemaking.” Mike “McBeardo” McFadden, Heavy Metal Movies

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“The death scenes are a decent mix, some are off-screen but the on-screen ones make up for it, including a pretty fun decapitation of a would-be red herring and the infamous gaff hook scene (which includes another decapitation).” Horror Movie a Day

The Mutilator is a rather savage entry in the 80s slasher canon, as it lives up to its name by showcasing some tremendously realistic and grisly gore effects. One of them is a bit undercut by the silly reaction of one of the victims, but, otherwise, The Mutilator is the real deal for gorehounds.” Oh, the Horror!

The Mutilator may be profoundly lacking on the surface (and truth be told unwatchable for many) and yet somewhere in its murky crevices strongly beats the heart of genuine horror. Hollywood can throw as much money as it wants at a project, nothing beats the power of one possibly insane but obviously sincere creative mind.” Kindertrauma

“All in all, whilst it may not be the most satisfying of slashers, Cooper deserves praise for adding such sadistic kills into his movie, whilst the special effects (courtesy of Mark Shostrom, who would work on A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge’s impressive transformation scene the same year) steal the show. The Mutilator is a sick and twisted little gem and one that every slasher fan should enjoy.” Retro Slashers


” …the set-ups for the murders are wonderfully stupid (“Come on you guys, quit messin’ around!”) and a few of the kids are in the habit of incessantly thinking out loud, the attack sequences are imaginative, with impressive make-up effects. It really ticks all the boxes for a fun old slasher movie…” UK Horror Scene

Choice dialogue:
Ralph: “So my philosophy is, let’s have some beer.”

Blu-ray release:
On 15 February 2015, Arrow Video released The Mutilator on Blu-ray + DVD in the UK, and on February 16, 2016, in the US, with the following extras:
Brand new 2K restoration of the unrated version from original vault materials
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original mono 1.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Introduction to the film with writer-director Buddy Cooper and assistant special make-up effects artist/assistant editor Edmund Ferrell
Audio Commentary with Cooper, Ferrell, co-director John Douglass and star Matt Mitler
Audio Commentary with Buddy Cooper and star Ruth Martinez Tutterow
Fall Breakers: The Story of The Mutilator brand new feature-length documentary on the making of the splatter classic featuring interviews with Cooper, Douglass, Ferrell, Mitler, actors Bill Hitchcock, Jack Chatham and more
Mutilator Memories special make-up effects artist Mark Shostrom looks back at one of his earliest projects
Tunes for the Dunes composer Michael Minard reveals how The Mutilator s unique score was created
Behind-the-Scenes Reel
Screen Tests
Alternate Opening Titles
Trailers and TV Spots
Fall Break Theme Song (Original and Instrumental Versions)
Opening Sequence Storyboards
Motion Stills Gallery
Original Fall Break Screenplay (BD/DVD-ROM content)
Reversible sleeve featuring two original artworks

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Filming locations:
Atlantic Beach, North Carolina in 1983.

Film Facts:
The film was originally titled Fall Break.



The Mutilator betamax tape sleeve

The Mutilator Video for Pleasure VHS

Fall Break aka The Mutilator 1985

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