Triskaidekafiles

Triskaidekafiles is a love letter to cheesy cinema from the 80s and 90s, with the occasional dip into other eras.  if you're a fan of MST3K, Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, or just bad horror movies in general, Trisk is the place for you.

Mutilations (1986)

MUTILATIONS

WRITER: Lawrence Thomas

DIRECTOR: Lawrence Thomas

STARRING: Al Baker as Prof. Jim McFarland
    Katherine Hutson as Ann Bennett
    Shelly Creel as Libby Jones
    Bull Buckner as Buck Jenson
    Harvey Shell as Charley Hill
    John Bliss as Oliver Matson

QUICK CUT: A group of students head on a field trip to learn some local history from farmers, and come back changed.

THE MORGUE

    Professor Jim McFarland - A good-natured professor who has an interest in the paranormal and conspiracy theories.  He's a bit of an aw shucks! kinda guy.

    Ann Bennett - Jim's assistant, but could she be something more?

    Oliver Matson - A real conspiracy guy, who makes Jim seem quaint and normal and just curious.  Oliver is a true believer, and will rant at length about the aliens.

    The Students - They barely get names, they don't even get credits.  If the movie can't be bothered, neither can I.

 Clearly the name of a fun, family friendly movie!

Clearly the name of a fun, family friendly movie!

THE GUTS: Welcome back, Triskelions!  April is here, and it is April 1st.  I have no major joke review like last year's AvP: Requiem, but I do have a reeeally cheeseball affair for you to enjoy.  It is very in the same sort of line as Beasties.  So strap yourselves in, watch out for the stop motion, and let's dive into Mutilations!

After a great opening synth score, we get a rock or a ship or a comet flying through space or whatever, but it is so totally a road flare someone waved at the camera.  Far less interestingly, is Professor Jim McFarland, narrating about the galaxy, as he introduces Ann to his students.  Credited largely as simply "the students".  If the movie doesn't wanna name them, nor do I!

To say that Professor Jim is not the best actor is an understatement.  To be fair, he's also given a pretty long, dry chunk of dialogue to boot, but they so clearly just left in him trying to remember his lines.

 You say students, I say canon fodder.

You say students, I say canon fodder.

But then someone runs by with another road flare, and one of the students nerds out, flailing wildly and shouting, Look!  Look!  This is his entire character trait; nerdy looky guy.

Look!  We're cutting away to another scene of a bunch of drunks around a fire, because we need to make things interesting!

Look!  They're talking about cattle mutilations being eaten by aliens!  Look!  It's a spaceship!  No wait, that's actually serious.

Two of the drunks rush to check it out, and we hear their screams.  The third who couldn't be bothered decides that FINE he'll check it out himself, and meets pretty much the same fate.

 CAP: Remember kids, mark your office door with comic sans, for that ultra professional look.

CAP: Remember kids, mark your office door with comic sans, for that ultra professional look.

Meanwhile, Professor Milquetoast is giving a speech to his class about the possibility of alien life, and the history of UFO sightings, and what it could all mean.  A young Fox Mulder runs out of the room to join the FBI.

Oh, and there's also a plot point that Jim is taking Ann and The Students up into the country side to see about those alien encounters, and mutilations.  So we're moving things along at least.

Look!  Look!  They're piling into the van, and driving off, to see what they can see!

Look!  There's something by the side of the road!

We catch a glimpse of this flailing, meaty thing, sounding like it's mooing, and as they gather around it, they ask Looky Lou how he's feeling.  "I saw something horrible!"  Yeah, we all did, it's right there!!

 Mmmm, spare ribs for dinner.

Mmmm, spare ribs for dinner.

Yes, we get treated to a claymation flailing cow stripped of it's skin and horrifically crying out.  I would be more horrified by this, except Professor Jim points a Geiger counter at it to tell us it's a cow.  It's not a bovine detector!

"Is it dead?"  Susan, the thing is flailing and screaming, NO IT IS NOT DE...oh okay, now it is.  But not when you asked!

They drive off and LOOK!  A flying saucer is chasing them!  And zapping them to no effect!  But even better is Looky Lou who gives the best line delivery since Troll 2's "Oh my goooood."  They manage to escape by driving, and stop at a local diner.  Because a car can outrun an intergalactic craft.

 Oh no, did I somehow start watching Girl in Gold Boots again?!

Oh no, did I somehow start watching Girl in Gold Boots again?!

Our zeroes catch their breath and some burgers, while the locals fill then in at the Exposition Diner.  They also send them off to the old hermit in the distance because he's got his own theories about the occurrences.

As one of the locals tells his story, the music builds, with appropriate stings, but then all of a sudden, "You owe me fifteen dollars...DUN DUN DUNNNNN".  That...that was not necessary.

They leave "EAT" and go on their way, but not before a dramatic push in on...the deer head on the wall?!

As they drive out to Old Man Matson's place, LOOK!  What's that??? They come across a giant fire in the fields and decide to check it out.

They stare at a spot of burned field, so it must be a landing site for a UFP.  But LOOK! professor, LOOK!, there's a storm coming in!  Let's hurry on up to Matson's farm for more backstory!

Once they meet Matson, he's as charming as you would expect a hermit in the boondocks to be, but he lets them in with the storm coming.  And he's loaded with all the usual conspiracy theories.

 Special guest star, Harlan Ellison

Special guest star, Harlan Ellison

Matson's story builds until he declares they'll be coming to eat humans next, and hopefully they don't share recipes with Hannibal Lecter.

We sit around for far too long hearing this, until LOOK! there's something outside! and a spacecraft descends on wires and crashes into Matson's farm and home.

The damage takes out a randomer than most student, and Matson himself.  Jim declares that he at last will know peace.

 "I believe he has finally found peace for himself."  With that face?

"I believe he has finally found peace for himself."  With that face?

Eugene can't handle the light blood and death, and feels sick, rushing off to the kitchen to throw up in peace and quiet.

LOOK! one of the alien creatures arrives to say hello, and check in on Eugene!

Look!  It's grabbing Looky Lou's face and draining him of all his vital essence!

Look!  He's leaving nothing behind but a puddle and glasses!

 Goo-gene

Goo-gene

The gang finds themselves trapped and surrounded by aliens.  The front door is blocked by the spaceship, I guess?  The creature that killed Looky Lou is still in the kitchen but they didn't see it, and there's no other way out.  All the doors are blocked, and the creatures are lurking at every window, there is absolutely no way out of this absolutely 100% blocked off house!

OH WAIT we found a door to the basement.  (And plenty of windows, but the basement works too.)  And boy, is it the cleanest basement ever.  But there is a handy table with potential weapons they can grab, so there's that.  It's dangerous to go alone, take the harpoon!

One of the creatures reaches around the door and gets stabbed for it, retreating.  This is of course a sign to one of the girls to declare as she stands in front of the door, "I think we finally scared them off!  They weren't expecting us to fight back!"  Aaaand she dies when the alien punches through the door, through her back, and out her stomach.  If you're looking for the quickest way to her heart, you missed it by THAT much!

 She'll be fine!

She'll be fine!

But oh no, they're trapped in the basement now, with no way out!  They moved from one locked room to another locked room that now traps them with the added difficulty of being underground.  There is absolutely no way out!

OH WAIT this place was also used for bootlegging so we just found a convenient door that was hidden until we needed it that leads into some tunnels!

So they enter the bootlegger tunnels and oh gee, a cul de sac, they're trapped.  AGAIN.  This is just one long series of going to a place, being utterly and hopelessly trapped...until the plot demands them to not be.

They sit down to talk some more before the aliens come along again and wonder what the aliens want.  I think we made that abundantly clear in the first two thirds, FOOD.

Roger heads back in the tunnels to see if they're being followed, and says he'll give a signal if they're not being followed.  After a bit, he lets out a scream, and um, is that his signal??  No?  Oh, he's being killed.

And they may be trapped, but OH WAIT they find another tunnel, because if these were bootlegger tunnels, there MUST be a way out somewhere!  Fortunately, the aliens show up for a hilarious mismatched stop motion, rear projection fight of everyone swinging at things that are not there.

 This is what I live for in bad movies.

This is what I live for in bad movies.

The aliens seem to have the upper claw, at least until one of The Students flashes a light on it and we learn they are sensitive to light.  Because why not?  Makes as much sense as being vulnerable to water.  It would work better if the bad sets weren't so brightly lit, but oh well.

Our zeroes kill a few of them and run off to the next little section they're likely to be trapped in for no good reason.  And while we wait, the remaining people start hitting on each other.  This is REALLY not the time for flirting, gang.

They limp along for a bit until, "Let's stop for a second..."  MUST WE?  MUST WE REALLY?

Jimbo actually finds a way out and sends the others on their way, while he remains behind.  They run into one of the creatures outside, of course, but fortunately the gang from EAT show up, because they were worried about their safety.

 Did I blast six zaps, or only five?  Do you feel lucky, glorbzats?

Did I blast six zaps, or only five?  Do you feel lucky, glorbzats?

Back in the cave, Indiana Jim discovers a convenient box of dynamite?  Because why not at this point!

He fights off one of the creatures just off panel, because they can't pair up the models and the humans, while the EAT Squad keeps the creatures busy outside.

Anna takes a gun for herself and runs back into the cave to save Jim, and badly shoots at the creature in a most hilarious way.  But it dies and they all run out before the tnt explodes the caves and the ship, because why not.

Good thing that one explosion killed all the remaining aliens, and not a single human, I guess.

"Well, everything will be all right now!"  Wouldn't there be more ships?  Are these the only guys doing intergalactic take out?  Sigh.

 Excuse me, this is a non-smoking farm.

Excuse me, this is a non-smoking farm.

AUTOPSY REPORT

Video: It looks pretty cheap, but it's supposed to.  It is very pink and purple, however.

Audio: Half the time it sounds like they rerecorded the entire movie later.

Sound Bite: A special treat in video form!

Body Count: On the upside, bodies.  On the downside, non-characters.

1 - Preceded by a few screams, but the first actual death occurs after 7:30 minutes when an alien chomps down on a drunk.  As you do.
2 - And I'll count his two buddies, whom we don't see and only hear, but are clearly dead.
3 - Matson dies when the ship crashes into his shack.
4 - One of the students is impaled in the wreckage
5 - Look! guy gets drained by the alien.
6 - Another student gets her stomach punched out through a door.
7 - Another students finds an alien in the basement.
8 - And a bunch of aliens along the way.

Best Corpse: This has to be the draining of Eugene, and bonus video of the silliness!

Blood Type - C: Not a lot of blood, but there are moments.  I am giving many bonus points for an interesting monster and fun use of stop motion.

Sex Appeal: Noooope.

Drink Up! every time they get trapped.

Video Nasties: Fun times with stop motion animation and rear projection glorious silliness.

Movie Review: In truth, this is kinda terrible.  The production values are low, the plot is thin, and the constant, "We're trapped!" moments are just so silly and delaying tactics.  The acting is silly, the action is mismatched, but they tried.  Two out of five looks!

Entertainment Value: I do honestly love the aliens and fight scenes.  They DO try, and it almost works.  I give a lot of credit for honest attempts, and that buys this movie some good will.  Eugene's death is goofy and gory all at once.  This scratches all my faovurite Trisk silliness buttons.  Four out of five harpoons.