Bad Movie Night Review: Mankillers

"Where 12 hot and hardened criminals train for a few weeks in the wilderness to take down a sex and drug trafficking rogue CIA agent dressed like they're heading to a Playboy photoshoot"

By: Jason E. (robotGEEK)

1987 was undoubtedly David A. Prior's most successful year in his decades long career. Prior, a low-budget B-Movie king, wrote and directed some of the most legendary Bad Movie Night classics ever made, and though he would continue to make films for a total of 32 years, he actually never got any better at it. But I'm glad he didn't, because that's also one of his films most endearing qualities, and partly why they're so great in the first place. They're bad, but in a very enjoyable way, with a handful being some of the most unintentionally hilarious movies ever made.

Which brings us back to 1987. In this year alone, Prior created 3 of his best cult classics; Deadly Prey, Killer Workout, and Mankillers. While Deadly Prey and Killer Workout have gone on to legendary cult status infamy, Mankillers is less well-known, which is criminal, and just as difficult to get. You see, none of these 3 films ever received a legitimate DVD release in the U.S. As far as I know, VHS was the only format you could find these on. And the VHS collectors market being the way it is, they're not cheap, with Deadly Prey pretty much being the Holy Grail and most sought-after tape for most collectors of these kinds of films. In 2015, Olive Films and Slasher Films teamed up to correct that mistake by releasing all 3 of these films, including the Deadly Prey sequel Deadliest Prey (which is great!!) on DVD "and" Blu-Ray for the very first time, making it a whole lot easier for fans to finally get their hands on these films for their collection, and for some, being introduced to these classics for the very first time. I finally added the Mankillers DVD to the collection, completing my David A. Prior/Olive-Slasher Films classics releases. So let's dig in.

When a rogue CIA agent (a hilarious William Zipp) has turned into a sex and drug trafficker, undercover agent Rachael McKenna (Lynda Aldon) is brought in to infiltrate his camp in the wilderness. To do so, she needs a squad of mercenaries. Her solution? Train a dozen of the hardest female criminals currently incarcerated to do the job, thus guaranteeing their freedom if they complete their mission. 

Mankillers was a blast, plain and simple. Much like his other 1987 efforts, Mankillers is filled with unintentional hilarity, gloriously 80's hot women wearing next to nothing, and a neverending onslaught of action and violence B-Movie-style. In short, Mankillers delivers the Bad Movie Night goods like a true champ. And what is is that makes it such a classic? Where do I start? It's literally a film about a dozen half naked women running around the woods shooting guns, kicking ass, spouting off ridiculous dialogue, chasing a cheesy looking mullet-wearing villain that looks to be in a constant angry roid-rage every second he's on screen and it's hilariously awesome. Every second of this film is oozing with 80's nostalgia and if you just love cheesy movies, then this one will satisfy that craving because it's nearly impossible for David A. Prior to make a film and have it "not" turn out cheesy. That's what makes them so special, and Mankillers isn't any different.

The whole premise of this film is absurd, but it's in it's dead-serious approach that sells it, even though it's funny as hell by accident. Prior has never been one to write believable dialogue, or even characters for that matter, but that's not what you go into these movies for in the first place, because if you are, you're looking in the wrong places. Prior has maintained a sort of cult status credibility for 3 decades writing, directing and producing low-budget trash, usually with his brother Ted Prior starring, that dig into every genre. The quality of these films vary greatly, and to be honest, most of them are terrible, but early in his career he was knocking classics out left and right. Mankillers deserves equal celebration alongside Deadly Prey and Killer Workout, because it's just as good and just as entertaining. Here's to hoping that Mankillers gets the credit it deserves as a Bad Movie Night masterpiece. If you haven't seen it yet, then you need to fix that pronto. Lucky for you, it's a whole lot easier now.

The Olive/Slasher Films DVD and Blu-Ray Release:

The Olive/Slasher films DVD release from 2015 offers a decent presentation. Being that this film was shot on film and ultra-low-budget, the quality is already going to be low. And it's not sourced from an HD master. Using the various materials and film elements available to them, namely the PAL Beta SP, they were able to offer a transfer that is a step above VHS, but still not DVD quality. But that's okay. The film isn't that kind of film that needs that type of transfer. In fact, the occasional scratchiness and scene jumping from the bad source material only adds to it's character. It's also in full frame, just so your aware. I don't think we'll ever see any of Prior's early films in any other format than full frame to be honest, because I don't think they exist.

Sadly, there are no special features included other than the trailer (which is hilarious because they give you virtually the entire film in that trailer, spoiling any of the surprises that are to come if you actually watched the film), and a photo still gallery. Still, the DVD, or Blu-Ray (if you go with that), is cheap and it's a must-have for your Bad Movie Night collection. No question.

Mankillers is available on a number of online retailers, where the DVD and Blu-Ray goes for roughly around $15, which is really a great price. The DVD will usually run a bit cheaper than the Blu, and truthfully, it's not the kind of film that begs to be seen in Blu, given the source material isn't all that great to begin with. So the DVD will suffice if you're looking to save a few bucks. Whichever way you do choose to go, just grab it, invite a few buddy's over and enjoy the absurdity. It's glorious.

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