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Sweet Sixteen - Blu-ray review
By James Whittington, Wednesday 18th April 2018

Sweet Sixteen

88 Films

Certificate 15

Another rarity from the 1980s slasher boom courtesy of 88 Films, this time around its Jim Sotos' Sweet Sixteen. To be brutally honest it's not aged very well but for completists out there I gather that this will still be a must.

Starring Susan Strasberg, Bo Hopkins, Dana Kimmell (straight from Friday the 13th Part III), our very own Patrick MacNee and Don Shanks, who would go on to play Michael Myers in Halloween 5, this is a tale of childhood trauma that crafts a whodunit mystery around a small Texas town where there's mysterious disappearances and a stack of dead bodies. Is the perpetrator male or female? And just what is going on with the boy-baiting Melissa? She's a mysterious and alluring presence who turns the community upside down with her sudden appearance and every time she's with one of the town's boys they end up dead!

This is your typical slasher from the early 80s, which means there's plenty of blood, some bare female flesh, slo-mo kills and clunky dialogue with the bonus of a true star in the cast. The rednecks are truly racist and bigoted, there are some moments where the actors seem to be searching for something to say, and then there's the infamous song "Melissa", it truly is a toe-curling moment but something that I still have rattling in my head! Even more bizarrely this ended up as a single!

Underneath these negatives we have Bo Hopkins as the sheriff, not exactly playing against type but he brings the movie up to speed and injects some necessary seriousness and the twisty ending is more unpredictable than you would give it credit for. The effects are good and the director doesn't shy away from seeing the red stuff being spilt.

The transfer here is nothing short of stunning. The bold, summer colours stand out against the dusty backdrop, the uncompressed audio has little noise on it and the dialogue remains clear throughout. Extras wise there's an interview with Legacy of Blood author Jim Harper and an audio commentary from the Hysteria Continues Podcast Team as well as a reversible sleeve.

Even though this is not the best slasher ever it still has some inventive set-pieces offer, boasts an excellent transfer and will appeal to fans of this horror genre.


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