The Mutilator (aka Fall Break) is a 1984 slasher film directed by Buddy Cooper and John Douglass. It might not be one of the genre’s best entries but it has a few good moments to keep old-school schlock fans happy though the casual viewer might be bored by the dearth between the deaths.
Matt Mitler is Ed, a college student who inadvertently killed his mother years before during a freak gun cleaning accident. He goes to his father’s (Jack Chatham) beachside home with his friends over the fall break. Things turn bloody when Ed’s father goes on a killing rampage that turns their weekend break into a living hell.
Cheesy in many ways, The Mutilator is the type of horror that finally helped kill off the slasher film cycle of the 1970s and 1980s. It has all the right elements but it’s missing excitement and real horror. Every so often you get a bloody kill to keep you interested though there are a lot of long moments where little happens. This just doesn’t have the finesse of John Carpenter’s Halloween or the visceral psychological terror of Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The cast aren’t up to much and the acting swings between TV Soap ham and amateur hour (they’re also about ten years too old for the roles they are playing). Having said that, I doubt the majority of viewers for a movie called The Mutilator care about the Stanislavski acting system. It’s all about the gore and to their credit Cooper and Douglass up the ante every-time – there is an onscreen kill, with the last death being particularly gruesome.
A so-so 1980s horror, The Mutilator doesn’t offer anything other than a few gory deaths.
The Mutilator might not be a great film, but Arrow Films has delivered a package that surpasses even the wildest of expectations. This unrated version of the film is digitally restored and it comes with an introduction by directors Buddy Cooper and John Douglass and it comes with a full-length documentary titled Fall Breakers: The Story of The Mutilator. This blu-ray release also includes two commentaries and chats with special effects artist Mark Shostrom and Michael Minard. Normally that would be more than enough but you also get behind-the-scenes material, trailers, screen tests. alternate titles, a stills gallery. storyboards and the annoyingly catchy theme song. On top of all that, is the screenplay on BD/DVD-ROM.
You’ll find yourself enveloped by the extras despite the fact that the film is lacklustre.