In this episode of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks, I talk about an infamous, regional slasher from North Carolina – The Mutilator (1984)!
Filmed in Atlantic Beach and Morehead City, NC, The Mutilator stars Matt Mitler, Ruth Martinez, Bill Hitchcock, Connie Rogers, Frances Raines, Morey Lampley and Jack Chatham. It was written, produced and directed by Buddy Cooper.
The kills in The Mutilator are quite impressive and realistic, largely due to the gruesome effects work by Mark Shostrom. Shostrom would go on to design or create the effects for a number of horror classics, including A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985), From Beyond (1986), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), Evil Dead II (1987), Phantasm II (1988), and many, many others.
The plot is not too dissimilar to many other slashers you’ve seen: A group of teenagers retreat to a secluded beach condo, and one by one get hacked to pieces by a deranged psycho killer. The killer here is a hunter and a fisherman who dispatches his victims with a variety of fishing instruments, not unlike that other North Carolina slasher movie with a killer fisherman – I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997).
What sets The Mutilator apart from the rest is 1.) the aforementioned kills (which are fantastic), and 2.) a goofy and innocent tone. The movie is almost sweet and tame at times… when it’s not garishly brutalizing the young cast, anyway.
The Mutilator (aka Fall Break) manages to be cheesy and innocent one minute, and then suddenly incredibly brutal the next. It’s a good combination and one of the reasons the film has endured all these years. It definitely deserves its reputation as a regional cult classic.
If you’re looking to watch something both fun and intense this Halloween, put your eyes on The Mutilator. It’s an atypical slasher with an impressive spattering of guts and gore, and a mostly likeable cast. I love this movie and rate it 7/10!
Look for new episodes of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October! You can watch past episodes HERE.
Ryan Stockstad is a Los Angeles filmmaker with a passion for horror, documentary and experimental cinema. He has written articles for HC Magazine, Mostly Harmless Magazine and various blogs and websites. He has lectured on topics as diverse as low budget filmmaking, short story structure, and the influence of the Spanish Civil War on surrealist cinema. He hosts new episodes of Pop Culture Beast's Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October.