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The Forgotten Slash: Body Count (1987) Review

This is a new series I'm starting in which I dig up some lost slasher clascs (by lost I mean MIA for thirty years and such) and review them. My sole goal with this is to see how many obscure slashers I can find, and I'm bringing them all to HorrorBid for your enjoyment (or frustration, depending on the film).

I figured I'd start this off with a film that I highly doubt anyone has ever seen, a little film from 1987 by the name of Camping del Terrore, or Body Count. It's also a funny story of how I came to discover this film. So here we go: I'm at Barnes & Noble, checking out the latest crop of horror magazines, and, of course, I have to buy the latest issue of HorrorHound (my favorite horror publication), issue #27, to be exact. As I was checking it out, I saw news of a book called Teenage Wasteland: The Slasher Movie Uncut, which featured great cover art of a masked figure holding a knife. I don't know why, but that image really piqued my interest, and I tried to find the film which was used on the cover. I couldn't find it, so I gave up and assumed it was new art commisoned for the book. Well, as I was watching a video counting down the best horror themes, I saw the same art used, and the film was called Body Count. Well, as you can imagine, I tracked it down, watched it, and here it is:

Body Count 1987 Review

So we kick off the film with a great theme by Claudio monetti, and then we witness the first murder of a couple who came up to the woods for some sex. Then we cut to xteen years later and a group of "fun-loving" teenagers are headed up the woods for some camping, sex, and an all-around good time! They also meet up with Ben, who is returning from war to vit his parents, who own the forest and the camping grounds. There's his father, Robert (David Hess), and his wife, Julia (Mimsy Farmer) who is cheating on him with the sheriff (Charles Napier). Well, as you can guess, a killer wearing an Indian shaman mask begins killing them off one by one. Who is the killer? What is his motive? Can he be stopped before it's too late?

Yet, despite all those aspects, there are some genuinely good parts to it. The acting trio of David Hess, Mimsy Farmer, and Charles Napier was great, with stand-out performances by Hess and Napier. The killer's appearance was unique and cool, the gore effects were decent enough to be believable, and I actually got the feeling that these people were friends, and not just actors and actresses. The film sets up atmosphere quite well, and the score by Claudio monetti of Goblin is one of the best of the sub-genre. However, these good parts are almost obliterated by the laughable bits, such as: After two of their friends haven't been seen for over twelve hours, the group just assume they're getting laid. A girl being chased by the killer hides inde a log. Said girl's boyfriend hears her screaming for him to help her and he responds by slowly following her voice and saying things like, "Are you putting me on?" A boy getting attacked by the killer decides he can prevent his death by grabbing the blade of the knife. And, of course, the big WTF ending that is just begging for either a sequel or a prequel.

Body Count may be just one digit in the everlasting line of slasher films released in the 1980s, but rest assured, it's good fun. While it drags in certain places, it's mainly good-ol' hack-and-slash that's rarely boring. The acting is poor and the dialogue is the worst, so fans of bad movies will love it for the sheer joy of laughing their asses off, while it also has a wonderful score, the late and great David Hess doing an exceptional job once again, really nice gore effects, and a twist ending that you won';t see coming, but it doesn't make any sense, either. I will congratulate anyone who manages to find a copy of this on VHS, as it is a rarity that pops up on the internet every now and then, and if you find it at a reasonable price, don't hetate to buy it. I don't know what Ruggero Deodato was aiming for when he made this movie, but I sure enjoy it.

The Verdict: Hilariously awful with some genuinely good elements, Body Count is cheesy fun for fans of old slasher flicks. Don't trust my judgment? Here's four other opinions:

Hysteria Lives DVD Retribution Quiet Cool Bleeding Skull
ObscureCinema101 Saturday 11/05/2011 at 09:13 PM | 86523
I'm in.
the_vengeful_machete Sunday 11/06/2011 at 02:33 PM | 86561