Killer Workout (1987)
WRITER: Ted A Prior
DIRECTOR: Ted A. Prior
STARRING: Marcia Karr as Rhonda
David James Campbell as Lieutenant Morgan
Fritz Matthews as Jimmy
Ted Prior as Chuck
Teresa Vander Woude as Jaimy
Richard Bravo as Tom
Dianne Copeland as Debbie
Laurel Mock as Diane
Teresa Truesdale as Rachael
QUICK CUT: People learn about the dangers of exercising too much at Rhonda's gym!
Rhonda - The owner of the gym where all the shenanigans are going on. She's your typical boss; a little pushy, but all for the betterment of the business
Lt. Morgan - A hard nosed cop who doesn't take any crap, and is determined to figured this case out. He's surprisingly effective for a movie detective.
Jaimy - The most prominently featured employee in the movie. She's a sweet kid, seems a little naive, while also being painted as very promiscuous.
Chuck - The mysterious new employee who is a mystery to everyone.
Jimmy - I'm not sure if he works at the gym, or is just a patron. But he's your typical big guy that has a bit of a mean streak in him.
THE GUTS: Welcome back, Triskelions! It is March, spring has sprung, and it is time to start getting back in shape after a long winter's hibernation. So what better time to take a look at the slasher flick from the 80s, Killer Workout?? Or Aerobi-cide as the title card in this version says... Both are really good names. The movie is brought to you by Ted Prior, whom some fans of these sorts of films will remember from stuff like Deadly Prey. But we're here for excersie, so let us get ready to pump...YOU up!
First of all, the music in this is all so wonderfully 80s, as it should be. It's got that rockin' synth pop vibe of good workout music you would hear back then.
We watch as a woman named Valerie comes home, hears she got a modelling gig in Paris, so rushes off to get a tan. And the movie is conspicuously not showing her face. Hmmmm.
Anyways, she climbs into the tanning bed, it has a major malfunction, and is engulfed in flames. Take THAT, Final Destination! Killer Workout cheated death and did it first!
We then cut to some time later, and find ourselves at Rhonda's Workout gym. And get comfy for a lot of aerobics, because we gotta sit through a whole bunch of people working out!
And you just know this was clearly done for titilation purposes, the entire premise most likely. Because there is a metric buttload of footage of women in spandex and their boobs and rears.
Anyways, plotty things finally kick off as Jaimy shows up late to teach her class, and Rhonda is not happy about it. This seems like a constant problem, and oh yeah, there is a menacing shot of Jimmy after he flirts with Jaimy. Suspicious??
Fortunately, the movie does reward us for all this sitting around watching aerobics by tossing in a death rather frequently. Look, here comes one of them now!
The ladies from the class wash up and leave, but Rachael takes her time in the shower, which is never a good idea in horror movies.
It's not too long after that the lights go out, and a black clad figure shows up to do the woman in. With, and I am not saying this lightly, one of the most unique and improbable murder weapons I have ever seen; a giant safety pin.
Anyways, Jaimy - Ugh, no, I am never going to get this right. I hereby dub her J. Anyways, J spends the night cleaning up after the gym closes for the evening. I guess that's her punishment for getting there late. As an aside, if you show up to work five minutes before the place closes, why even bother?
She ALMOST stumbles on the murderer disposing of Rachael's body, but gets distracted. Instead, she continues cleaning, opens a locker AND...we get a really great fakeout as someone planted a fake arm to pop out and scare someone. Who? Why? How? I don't know, but it is a solid jump scare that isn't overly blown out of proportion.
It also relieves the tension so when she causes the NEXT locker to open and Rachael's actual body falls out, it lands all the better. The uh...the moment, not the body.
The cops are immediately called, and we meet the lead investigator, Lt. Morgan. Sadly, this is neither Dexter nor his hot sister. Not even his dad. Oh well.
McGruff the crime dog interviews J, and he presents Rhonda with a bloody knitting needle. Oh, nice touch to throw the cops off the scent by leaving a fake murder weapon.
He asks about Debbie, the woman whose locker Rachael's body was found in and that makes her a choice suspect.
I appreciate the movie wasting no time. We've got a body, peak corpse is already achieved, the cops are on the case, so it must be straight up investigatin' from here on in!
Some of the dude patrons whisper about the murders, as people tend to do in the aftermath of lurid events, and we also meet new employee Chuck. Hmmm, a new employee, right after a murder? Suspicious and suspiciousier!
Anyways, Chuck gets sent to take out the trash, and runs afoul of Jimmy almost instantly, with their alpha male bullshit. There's a brief fight, and Chuck easily takes out the trash while taking out the trash!
He then instantly hops in a car with Debbie, and drives off. This is not how to make a good impression on your first day at work, dude!
So we've got Debbie the sultry siren suspect seducing Chuck who maybe lures people to their doom. You've got Chuck, the creepy new guy suspect. I'mma spoil things right now...neither of them did it. But I love the movie playing with expectations.
But all this sitting around and talking is making me flabby, so it must be time for more exercise!
A random girl hits on Jimmy and he rebukes her, but creepily stalks her after the gym closes. She heads home to her epileptic seizure enducing lighting. Gah.
Suddenly, Defective Morgan shows up pounding on Diane's door since she owned the knitting needle.. Banging and yelling and not announcing you're a cop, to someone who knows there's a murderer around, is not a good way to start a visit.
But the real threat is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE as Diane turns around and gets stabbied with the infamous safety pin.
Morgan busts in, and the killer dives out through the window, shattering every bone in their legs, and making it easy to capt...no wait, they're fine and runs away.
Elsewhere, Rhonda is cleaning up her place when Jimmy spooks her and has the oh so ominous on the nose line, "Relax, I'm not some creepy killer!" Not the line to use when there actually is one around!
Meanwhile, some punk kids are spray painting up the joint with "Aerobicide" and "Death Spa". No no, Death Spa is a whole other movie, and one I want to get to myself, someday! Don't ruin this for me!
We then get treated to watching as each of the vandals get hunted down and savagely murdered. I guess the safety pin stabber does not like vandals.
At least we do get some variety as the killer uses a KNIFE to kill the last one, first slicing through the hood of her car, and then poking her right in the brains.
I also love how every single death is followed up by two guys from the medical examiner's office coming along and zipping the corpses up in body bags. Those things are going fast, and these two guys are almost in the movie more than anyone else!
But after all that murder, I am just so full of energy, so you know what it's time for, MORE AEROBICS!
Fortunately, the movie does not keep us waiting on more murder, as someone gets the long long overdue expected death you must have in a movie centered around a slasher in a gym; clubbed in the face with a dumbell.
Another guy stumbles upon Brad's body and gets a safety pin of his own to the face. I swear, at this point, we're just killing random people to kill random people.
Seriously this movie is pretty much summed up as "Aerobics Followed by Random Murder: THE MOVIE". Granted, since it is called Killer Workout, it does exactly what it says on the tin.
This all makes it really, quite the perfect drive in movie. It's got titillation from all the aerobics and occasional nudity, as well as all the lurid deaths out of nowhere.
Anyways, Chuck comes along and sees a guy I mistake as Jimmy standing over the bodies, and knocks him right out, despite claiming he didn't do it.
Defective Morgan shows back up, and is of course suspicious of Chuck just showing up. He may be a bit of a blunt instrument, but he's actually a pretty good detective.
Speaking of titillation, NotJimmy apparently got punched in the face SO hard, that he's fantasizing about J having sex with him. And then fighting himself, because why not have a weird Dagobah like dream sequence at this point?
But yeah, actual Jimmy is alive, creepy, suspicious, and showing up at the boss's place while she swims around her pool. But it's okay! Because faster than you can say GYMKATA! Chuck is also there attacking him and protecting Rhonda.
Anyways, Chuck is a private investigator, hired to look into things separately from the main plot, Jimmy is just a creepy stalker with a ton of photos of his boss, so that's what's going on here. It is easy to see why Chuck would think he's a bit of a killer though.
It's been too long since anything murdery has happened however, so Debbie wanders around looking for J, and finds her! Just uh, just hanging around. Literally. This place is quickly running out of employees AND patrons.
But Rhonda's Workout is undeterred, and somehow is still able to put on aerobics classes! And look, if you're gonna do that, maybe not have the workout music be a song saying "Aerobicide". It might scare off the few people you have left!
Meanwhile, Chuck has cleaned out his locker, but Jimmy isn't done with him yet. He's not happy about the beating, and runs him down as Chuck is leaving the gym. He also proceeds to stab him with an ice pick. Eh, close enough.
While the premeditated homicide is going on downtown, McGruff heads over to Rhonda's place, and calls her...VALERIE. Yes, that's right, Rhonda is actually the woman who got barbecued at the start of the movie. She covers it up well, and rather than being a random twist, it is absolutely set up well.
McGruff explains how Jimmy might be a suspect, but his motives are all wrong, since the victims had two things linking all of them; they frequented her gym, and they were all pretty people. Which...is such a stretch? I mean, sure. Most frequent gym members are gonna reach some level of attractiveness.
But short version, it all adds up to the horribly burned Rhondalerie being jealous and taking it out on her own patrons and employees. Is this a sudden snapping? Are there victims from the last five years we don't know about? The plot weirdly makes sense and doesn't at the same time, Mostly, it just needs more fleshing out, so I am pretty okay with all this!
Just as he's taking Valerhonda in though, he gets the call that people saw Jimmy making stabby with his ice pick, so it looks like she's innocent! There's a grand chase, and it eventually boils down to no, Jimmy is trying to take the fall because he knows Val did the deed, and is in love with her, so he's trying to help Rhonda by trying to take the blame.
Jimmy escapes though, and we watch Rhondalerie stare at her face, and pull a Joker smashing a mirror. Jimmy McLimpsalot shows up, to let her know she's in the clear, but Rhonda helps herself, shooting him dead instead.
So it all works out! Jimmy looks like the killer, he had a reasonably accurate weapon, and came upon Rhonda and it looks like she killed him in self defense. That's pretty sqawkin' clever.
But Morgan, not about to let that go, takes Rhonda out for a chat. In the deep empty countryside. With a shovel. He's planning to kill her, a little vigilante justice like all good Morgans do, and gives a great speech about right and wrong, and how his father did the same thing with another murderer that got away with it. However, she gets the upper hand and kills him instead, and she drives off into the sunset, free and clear.
Video: Looks okay for a no budget 80s flick.
Audio: Room for improvement, but perfectly serviceable.
Sound Bite: "If he doesn't have that report in 30 minutes, I'm gonna come over there and do an autopsy on his face!" Do NOT mess with Lieutenant Morgan.
Body Count: So many bodies...
1 - Four and a half minutes, and it appears that Valerie dies by tanning bed!
2 - Death by giant safety pin for Rachael.
3 - Another safety pin death for Diane.
4 - Spraypaint kid gets a safety pin of his own.
5 - Spraypaint girl gets her neck sliced open.
6 - Spraypaint girl #2 gets a knife in the head.
7 - Guy clubbed in the face with dumbell AND safety pinned.
8 - Another guy stabbed in the forehead with a safety pin.
9 - Now it's NotJimmy's turn for the safety pin of doom!
10 - Jaymi gets hanged
11 - Jimmy stabs Chuck with an ice pick
12 - Rhonda helps herself by killing Jimmy
13 - Lt. Morgan gets shoveled in the face.
Best Corpse: The original pinning of Rachael's is probably the best of the bunch.
Peak Corpse: Almost immediately as Rachael's body is found and the cops are instantly brought in.
Blood Type - C+: There's a decent amount of blood, but still sparingly used.
Sex Appeal: Plenty of boobs though!
Things I Learned From Killer Workout: Never turn your back on your murder suspect when a shovel is nearby.
Drink Up! Every time an aerobics scene starts.
Video Nasties: An example of how to do a great jump scare.
Movie Review: Keeping in mind this is an 80s slasher movie, it's pretty well made. The plot is solid enough and makes sense, it's creative, and it's shot decently enough. The acting isn't great, but it gets the job done. Three out of five safety pins of exaggerated size.
Entertainment Value: The kills are repetitive, but still plenty of fun. The detective work is solid. The movie is a great mix of boobs and blood, for a really fun drive in experience. It is VERY 80s and just a lot of fun. Four out of five workout montages.