Review: Murder Weapon

Directed by: David DeCateau
Category: Horror

I first became aware of this obscure little Low-Budget film when a horror fan, filmmaker, and collector posted a very enthusiastic video review of this on Facebook. His enthusiasm for this film sold me right from the start, and I had been on the hunt for it off and on ever since over the past year or so. But somewhere in that time I had forgotten the title, which made it even more difficult. It's almost too common a title, and it's one that could certainly fit in a number of different genre's, so my efforts were pretty much dead in the water so to speak. After months of digging and searching, I finally discovered the title, and subsequently, the tape itself on the VHS market, but it was always incomplete. You see, it's only ever been released on VHS and Laserdisc. I could never come across a VHS with a cover; it was always just the tape or the a cut box up for grabs on eBay for a hefty sum. The only Laserdisc I found went for $25, not the type of sum I'm willing to spend on a film I wasn't even sure was going to be good.

But then something amazing happened. An eBay seller was offering a lot of 6 VHS tapes with a starting bid of $1. None of the names were in the title of the listing, just basically saying it was a lot of 6 random films for sale. I immediately saw the Murder Weapon cover in the picture, as well as another low-budget revenge flick I'd been after, and jumped on it. I put my $1 bid, and 5 days later, was shocked to learn that I won the lot! For a $1! A week later I received the package and was further shocked to see that all the tapes were in near mint condition. I mean, it just doesn't get any better than that folks. Stoked is putting it lightly. So was Murder Weapon worth all the effort?

Weeeell......yes and no. This is easily one of the weirdest movies I've ever seen. Nothing turns out the way you expect it to, with so much of this film in general being so uneven on practically every level; the production, the acting, the tone, the story - it's hard to even know what to actually call it. While the cover leads you to believe that it's some sort of action thriller, it's in fact not. If I were to call it anything, I'd call it a slasher film that takes place entirely in a house. Of course, you'd never guess that simply by judging from the title and cover. But it is indeed a slasher. Yet it doesn't look or feel like any one specific type of film so often that it's utterly confusing. I remember looking over at my girlfriend in disbelief and we kept asking each other "What kind of film is this supposed to be?". For the longest time, we couldn't tell. At times it looked and felt like a Made-for-TV Lifetime movie, and others it felt like a low-budget sex romp. Then it would be a straight-up slasher film, but then things would take a turn for the bizarre and you're again left asking the same question.

When two mental patients return home, they decide to invite their past boyfriends for a night of fun. Only they have something else in mind, and the boyfriends last hope may be each other.

Directed by David DeCoteau, under the alias Ellen Cabot, Murder Weapon is a "must see" if you're in the mood for something odd and terrible, yet highly entertaining. With 118 films to his credit as director, you'd think this was his very first film because nothing about this production lends any credit to the fact that he'd ever made anything before; every single frame and every second of film feels completely amateurish. It's as if he'd never directed a film before. Hell, I've seen better camera work, cutaways and editing on a PBS program. He shoots nearly the entire film using extreme closeups, and rarely does he ever deviate from the camera setup he established at the beginning of the sequence. Not only that, the editing is atrocious and hilarious at the same time. You just have to see it to believe it.
The 2 tapes from the VHS lot that caught my eye
Linnea Quigley, who also serves as producer, has never been more unsexy and terrible. Sure, she's naked an awful lot, but good gawd is she lousy in this. Even her sex scene is laughable and kinda hilarious. Has she never had sex before? You'll seriously be asking yourself that very question after watching this. I don't know if it's just the film's terrible script, but her line delivery was so gawd-awful that I cringed every single time she opened her mouth. Maybe she was doing it on purpose, but either way, she was horrible. In fact, every single actor in here was awful, with the only exception being Lyle Waggoner, from The Love Boat, The Carol Burnett Show and Wonder Woman. He was good, natural, and how he ended up in this piece of trash, I'll never know. I kind of felt sorry for him. While his presence in here is minimal, he seems so out of place compared to all the other non-actors who struggle to deliver their lines or even come off as natural.

It may seem like I'm complaining, but in reality, its's all these things that make this film so great. Murder Weapon really is one fucked up piece of WTF? Trash. It's terrible from every angle, and that's what makes it so damn entertaining. It's constantly shifting tones and just when you think you've got it figured out, it does a complete 180 and you're left blindsided out of nowhere, especially when the kills come into play. These kills are the meat of Murder Weapon, and it's a shame more people don't know this. Every time someone gets knocked off, it's in such a gruesome and over-the-top way that you're left shocked and somewhat dazed. How the hell did a movie this shitty accomplish realistic and gory as hell death scenes this intense? I don't know, but they did, and it makes up for most of what Murder Weapon ends up lacking.

Unfortunately, this film suffers from a severe number of problems. Some can be overlooked because they're quite entertaining, but others make the experience so difficult to sit through. For example, the film is a short hour and 15 minutes, even though the tape says 90 minutes. I kept an eye on the timer, and it was not 90 minutes. But the problem we found was that so much of the film drags on and on with boring dialogue that has nothing to do with anything, other than to fill up space in an already short run-time. None of this is more obvious than in the entire first half of the film. But it's made all the more unbearable by Linnea Quigley and Karen Russell's terrible acting, and these are the two that are given long stretches of dialogue that add nothing to the table. As tedious as these long stretches of uninspired ramblings seemed to go, Murder Weapon could easily have benefited from at least 30 minutes cut to help things run more smoothly, but then that would make it a helluva lot shorter than it already is. Honestly, that wouldn't be such a bad thing.

If you love bad entertaining films, I suggest seeking out Murder Weapon. While it doesn't quite reach the level of Bad Movie Night material that would work well with a large crowd, it's definitely worth a watch if it's just a few of you, the type that enjoy this kind of sub-genre of terrible filmmaking at it's worst. It's worth a watch if just for the kills alone if you're a fan of gore and sleaze. If I had any way of making some changes, I would love to have seen much more gore and more kills, and a LOT of the dialogue severely cut down because it's boring, tedious and literally goes nowhere. Even the many dream sequences seem to stop everything dead in it's tracks just when things start moving along. But you can tell they had little to work with, especially in the very first 10 minutes when we're treated to a woman applying lotion to her body while sunbathing by the pool. A full 10 minutes of watching her apply, and reapply, and reapply (sometimes recycling the same exact footage) lotion when you just saw her finish and put the bottle down. Yet the very next scene is showing her applying it all over again like she hadn't yet done it! Gotta love it.

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