Monday, November 5, 2012

Slasher VHS Week: 'Fatal Games' (1984)

By Ryan Clark

Since it's election week, I have decided to post a new slasher film review every day.  Actually that has nothing to do with the fact that it's election week; I just wanted to check these movies off my list.  So I'm going to call it Slasher VHS Week, because none of these seven movies are available on DVD.  I won't be watching them on VHS, though, due to the fact that I haven't owned a VCR for years.  So downloaded versions will have to do.  Anyway, on with the review...

I like Graduation Day, but after seeing Fatal Games I'm pretty sure I've had my fill of athletic slashers.  Between those two movies, what more could the sub-subgenre have to offer?

A bunch of teenagers who are preparing to try out for the Olympics – and one girl presumably trying out for a Linda Blair look-a-like contest – are murdered by an insane javelin thrower.  That's it, really.  I'm shocked that it took three people (including the son of Luis Buñuel!) to come up with the screenplay, because there's nothing more to it.  The girls spend a lot of time naked in the locker room; so much so that I began to wonder if they live there.  Each of the kids are impaled by the javelin, so the kills get rather repetitive, though they are shot with some flair, which is more than I can say for the rest of the movie.  The majority of the movie is filmed like a bad high school play – poorly framed wide shots and lighting that's overly bright – and the synthesized soundtrack sounds like it was composed by someone who doesn't know how to play the instrument.  The filmmaking improves somewhat during the chase and kill scenes, with more creative angles and lighting, but first and last time director Michael Elliot clearly had no idea what he was doing.  I mean, this thing makes Pieces look downright stylish.

This is one terrible slasher, and not even the copious nudity, Sally Kirkland overacting and massaging naked girls (in the locker room), and the insane Girls Nite Out-esque ending can save it.  I can't bring myself to write much more about it; there's not much else to say other than Fatal Games is bad, bad, bad and not in a good way, because it's BORING!  It was kind of fun to see The Boogeyman's Nicholas Love in another movie, and there was one interesting scene where a character discovers the corpses of his friends stuffed in a row of lockers – a falsetto "ahh!" shouts on the soundtrack as he opens each door – and, as I said, the ending was sorta cool, but that's all.  Stay far away from Fatal Games unless you have a very high tolerance for inept slashers and you absolutely must see every one you get your hands on.  Quite frankly, it deserves to languish in obscurity.

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