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By James Whittington, Monday 18th January 2021 Darkroom 88 Films Certificate 15
88 Films continues to search out for forgotten shockers for their Slasher Collection and this time has unearthed a truly cheesy piece from 1989, Darkroom. Being produced by Nico Mastorakis, the guy who gave the world the censor bothering shocker Island of Death you'd expect it to be a wild and unflinching slasher. Instead, we get an above average slice and dice flick with plenty of set-ups but more considerate on the bloodletting.
The film begins with a brutal double axe slaying by an unknown murderer but who could this mad killer be? Why does he photograph his victims as they die? Most of all, what drives them to kill?
Director Terrence O'Hara, who would later go on direct episodes of The X-Files, JAG and NCIS shows confidence in this, his first ever feature keeping the pace of the story going without lingering too long. The story naturally develops and though some will know who the killer is way ahead of the characters it's a fun, retro journey to a time when the slasher genre was just starting to go out of vogue with horror film fans.
The cast play it as straight as they can with some dodgy dialogue and questionable plot points but that doesn't spoil the fun of the piece. This seemed to be designed to go direct to VHS and aimed directly at that market but what's not to like?
As I said before, the kills lack gore but are still pretty violent and the sequences where a young girl is tied up are pretty unnerving to watch but this is not an exploitation picture, something which you'd expect from Mastorakis. I need to warn you there that there is an abundance of "mullets" on show which some people may find disturbing.
Transfer is nice and sharp with colours looking natural and detailed which is matched by the clear soundtrack and score which, from Jerry Grant who must have used as many synthesizers he could get his hands on!
The extras include interviews with cast members Aarin Teich and Jeff Arbaugh who both reflect warmly on their time on the shoot, a stills gallery and the original trailer.
This is another solid entry into 88 Films Slasher Classics Collection and is number 48 for those who like to keep count!
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