Mild mannered church counselor by day, culler of the ol’ hooker herd (not to mention a few other rando ladies as well) by night (well to be fair he strangles the ever-loving hell out of ’em during the daylight hours too), and owner of a sweet AF ‘stache all of the time; Steve Belmont is one conflicted dude. In other words, we got your classic serial killer scenario here, but what else does Murderlust offer us? Hmmm, well, Stevie rides around in a shit brown Chevy van… he argues with his cousin a lot…umm, he has a few sweet black light posters with knights and junk…yeah…
As you can surmise from my awe inspiring sinister synopsis above; Murderlust isn’t exactly swingin’ for the fences with its complex and nuanced plot; but let’s be honest: in a fright flick like this it doesn’t really have to. What it does need to have is the unholy trinity; boobs, blood and bad guys (at least in my outre opinion); and on two out of three of those points it (basically) delivers.
One would imagine, a film about a psycho giving hoes the cobra clutch would be drenched in naked flesh and maybe a splash or two of the ol’ red sauce; but one would be taking a one way trip to Wrongsville; population one. There was a nude scene. One. As for blood; this flick is almost a barren plain (until the very end of the last reel); not unlike the Mojave desert where our “hero” tosses his victims once the dealings done. What it definitely does have is a bad guy…a real bad guy. Steve is an unlikable, self-serving, murder machine – and he is who we spend all of our time with. We see his daily life, his crimes, his scrap booking; all as he goes around feeling zero remorse with absolutely no one trying to stop – or even knowing about – his kill crazy antics. To give credit where it is due; Eli Rich is really strong in the lead role, alternating from lazy douche to pious to full on lunatic in the wink of an eerie eye, which makes the whole affair pretty damn watchable.
While the feature is grim there are a few laughs to have among the lacerations including: a kill scene that is scored to what sounds like the end results of the producers trying to secure the rights to Styx’s “Too Much Time on My Hands” but having to settle for the local bar band that once got to carry in Tommy Shaw’s gear for their gig at the Felt Forum in ’82, two victims (in two different scenes) wearing the same damn outfit, and an abrasive synth score that would give the demo key on a Casio a real run for it’s money.
But what of the extras on this here release I hear you ask (well I think that’s what I heard…there’s a lot of voices bouncing around my heinous head after all). Well; you get a dry but informative commentary with writer/producer James C. Lane and a trailer. What really needs to be addressed though is that another flick by Murderlust‘s director, Donald M. Jones, is also included; and let me tell you creeps; this is a way better feature than M.L.! Titled Project Nightmare, the flick concerns the adventures of two campers that begin to experience some weird crap™ and then decide to hole up in a remote cabin where things get even more surreal as crazy nightmare logic, synthy goodness, and lazer things ensue. Trust me; this film is more than worth the price of admission (there’s also a partial commentary for the film by Lane as well). Though I’m not reviewing Project Nightmare it would easily get a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating in case you were wondering.
All in all; if you dig on more true to life serial killing shenanigans, Murderlust would make a nice companion piece to the more graphic Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer as it’s nihilist fun for the whole family – but that’s not really my bag baby. I groove on the surreal and bizarre, so Project Nightmare was the real winner here for me (and Intervision are top geezers for providing a bit of Column A and Column B for lovers of off-kilter sin-ema)!