Well, here we are! The end of the 1982 section of Census Bloodbath. This has taken a little longer to get to than one may have hoped (we finished 1981 a cool four years ago), but I'm really trying to buckle down and see if I can't finish this whole thing before it becomes a decade old.
The sub-subgenre I was most excited to pick up on in 1982 was what I dubbed the "women's picture slasher," slasher stories with female heroines at the helm that were more than just plain old Final Girls. They dealt with traditional women's issues (be it domestic or in the workplace) in the style of a Lifetime movie, but with a lot more murder. I'd like to believe this was a response to the outright misogyny the genre had displayed up until this point, but it's probably just because a lot of them were TV movies, and those tend to focus on the female demographic a lot more. Nevertheless, I'm grateful that films like Fantasies, Exposed to Danger, Hotline, The Seduction, Visiting Hours, and Early Frost were put out into the market, even if I'm only a particular fan of about half of them.
As I've started to notice while this project goes on, there's no way for me to ever fully claim to be done with a year. After I'm finished somebody may unearth some long-lost film reels that I'll have to hunt down after the fact, or a film that originally didn't end up on any of my resource lists will suddenly be reappraised as a slasher movie. That has already happened with 1980 and 1981, and I'll be adding some posthumous reviews to those years, probably once I finish 1989 and can swing back around the horn towards the end of... 2022, at a conservative estimate.
And I also haven't even seen every movie on my original list. The following titles have proven impossible for me to hunt down using all my Internet powers. They are either floating around on VHS somewhere that I can't access, or maybe just lost to time: El Cepo/The Icebox Killer, Till Death Do Us Part, and Devil Returns. If you happen to know a reputable source where I can get my hands on a copy of these movies - physical or digital - drop me a line, won't you? But for now we're as finished as we can possibly be. And hey, 48 films is nothing to shake a stick at.
The Five Best Slashers of 1982
#5 The Clairvoyant
Even though it has absolutely nothing to do with superstitions of any kind, Superstition does have everything to do with an ancient witch ghost fucking up a bunch of people in wild, entertaining ways.
#3 Exposed to Danger
Exposed to Danger is unlike any other slasher I've ever seen (except for the final 15 minutes, which are exactly like Friday the 13th). Part meditative seaside character study about a woman released from wrongful imprisonment and trying to rebuild her life, part out-there stalker movie that involves a child eating a spring roll filled with shards of glass, this film pulls no punches.
#2 The Slumber Party Massacre
An absolutely magical slasher perfect for slumber parties. It's a pared-down, elemental story that delights with the wacky vestiges of its original parodic script and feminist subtext (the word "phallic" was invented for this movie).
#1 Visiting Hours
The Five Worst Slashers of 1982
#5 Death Screams
Nothing happens for twenty minutes, and then nothing happens for fifty minutes, and then the kills are either offscreen or so choppily edited they make no sense. What is there to like?
It's bad because it's a boring movie with characters that are basically anthropomorphic sex dolls who don't even have the decency to be murdered. But it's worse because it's clearly the writer-director-star-probably-caterer's exercise in hiring himself a bevy of girlfriends for a couple weeks under the guise of making a movie.
#2 National Lampoon's Class Reunion
#1 Trick or Treats
1982 Body Count: 372 (16 decapitations and 11 slit throats)
Highest Body Count: 17 (The Scorpion with Two Tails)
Lowest Body Count: 1 (Hotline)
Five Best Kills
#5 The Alley (He Lives by Night)
#3 The Car (The Clairvoyant)
#2 Phone-splosion (Murder by Phone)
(only watch until 4:40 on that clip by the way, as if you needed my prompting)
Best Decapitation: Superstition
Three Best Final Girls
#3 Carla Webber (Fantasies)
#2 Deborah Balin (Visiting Hours)
#1 Trish, Courtney, and Valerie (The Slumber Party Massacre)
Three Worst Final Girls
#3 Jamie Douglas (The Seduction)
#2 Joan Barnard (The Scorpion with Two Tails)
#1 Clarissa Jane Louise 'Keegan' Lawrence (Deadly Games)
Four Best Killers
#4 Paul Foley (Blood Song)
#3 The New York Ripper (The New York Ripper)
#2 Aunt Cheryl (Night Warning)
#1 Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th Part 3: 3-D)
Four Worst Killers
#4 Harold (Hospital Massacre)
#3 Madman Marz (Madman)
#2 Marion (Unhinged)
#1 Daddy (The Forest)
Handsomest Lad: John Jarratt (Next of Kin)
Handsomest Lass: Linda Hamilton (Tag: The Assassination Game)
Best Location: Cannes, The Last Horror Film
The Last Horror Film was shot guerrilla style during the 1981 Cannes Film Festival, and while the plot is fun on its own, the magic comes from the glamorous on-the-ground look at a film festival it's likely none of us will ever get to go to in person.
Best Title: The Dorm That Dripped Blood
What could be more simple or evocative? It gets extra points for being mentioned in Randy's "college movie" monologue in Scream 2.
Three Best Costumes
#3 Black Boots (Shock: Evil Entertainment)
#2 Mountie Uniform (Pandemonium)
#1 The Dancing Bear (Girls Nite Out)
Best Poster: The Incubus
OK, we all secretly know that Visiting Hours has the best poster (in fact, it's hanging up in my bedroom, looming over me as I type this). But we've talked about that movie enough. And The Incubus almost redeems its abject terribleness with this incredible The Thing-esque design that makes it seem like a sci-fi pulp novel from the 70's rather than a disturbingly rapey John Cassavetes slasher with a good monster for seven seconds.
Best Song: "Midnight" Quintessence (Midnight)
This comes from the Last House on the Left school of juxtaposing hideous violence with peaceful folky music rather than my usual go-to of "there's a party scene with an awesome band," a category which almost had Wacko in the lead, for the record. But this song has been on replay on my iTunes more often than I'd like to admit. It's a surprisingly pleasant melodic tune that is one of the few redeeming factors in a movie I more or less hated.
Best Score: Tenebrae
Elite Champion Dialogue: "The most beautiful thing in the world is smoking pot and fucking on a water bed at the same time." (Pieces)
Word Count: 2944