Tim Ritter’s Killing Spree is a product of the mid 80s to early 90s splatter boom where anyone who owned a 16MM or a shitty video camera was trying to get in on the action by making a no-budget homemade horror flick. These films were usually of the “so-bad-it’s good” variety, the only redeeming values were their unconvincing yet insanely OTT gore FX. This era churned out such crappy classicks as Splatter Farm, Video Violence 1 & 2, Woodchipper Massacre, Ghoul School, etc. (all of which, as well as this film, have recently been re-released on DVD by Camp Motion Pictures as part of their Retro 80s Horror Collection).
Tom Russo (Asbestos Felt) is a little insecure and really overprotective of his new wife Leeza (Courtney Lercara) because his ex-wife was a whore who used to sleep around. When his best friend Ben comes over for dinner, Tom catches him and Leeza getting a little too friendly and that night he has a surrealistic paranoid nightmare in which he sees his wife deepthroating his friend Ben’s “head”. Later on the next day Tom finds his wife’s diary which she stupidly left out on the coffee table, he reads it and discovers his wife has been keeping a detailed journal of all the random men she’s been fucking behind his back, including delivery men, electricians, plumbers and yes, even his best friend, Ben. Tom promptly looses it and goes on a psychotic KILLING SPREE, hunting down all the men named in his wife’s diary and dispatching them in various ultra-gory and highly inventive kill scenes.
Since these splatter set-pieces are pretty much the whole reason Killing Spree exists (and probably what the bulk of the films minuscule budget was blown on), I’ll give a quick rundown on some of the best ones here: one chick is decapitated then her head is thrown at her boyfriend and kills him, a ceiling fan with machetes for blades lops off the top of some dudes head, one poor guy is gutfucked with a chainsaw then has his intestines unraveled and attached to an electrical appliance, another unlucky fellow gets a screwdriver in the head (“you screw my wife? I’ll screw your head!”), one dude is planted in the ground then mutilated with lawnmower, and in the films most impressive gore sequence, an annoying nosy neighbour has her head caved in and hollowed-out with a claw hammer.
Killing Spree is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it kinda film, its amateur (over) acting, limited set design, $2 SFX, tacky synth soundtrack and flimsy plot will probably turn a lot of people off but I highly enjoyed it. It has a certain “ambiance” or “charm” about it – similar to HG Lewis or Doris Wishman’s films – that immediately drew me in. Sure it gets off to a slow start, but about half an hour in, when Tom finds Leeza’s diary and Asbestos Felt’s acting goes right off the deep end as he chews up the scenery looking like some kinda blood-crazed hobo / hippie, I knew this was gonna be a winner.
I highly recommend Killing Spree to all you gorehounds and bad movie aficionados out there. There’s plenty of ultra-violence (sadly lacking in nudity though), hilariously bad acting & dialog, and an insane twist-ending that needs to be seen to be believed. A perfect example of zero-budget ’80s splatter made by fans of the genre, for fans of the genre.
Camp Motion Pictures has done a fantastic job with the DVD transfer, considering the film was shot of 16MM, there’s minimal grain and scratches and the mono sound is pretty decent. Plus there’s a shitload of extras
- Commentary with director Tim Ritter
- Commentary with Asbestos Felt, Joel Wynkoop and RM Hoopes
- Blinded by the Blood making of doco
- Killing Spree investor reel 1986
- Killing Spree video test shoot 1987