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Schlockateer John Eyres, responsible for the direct to video biggies like SHADOWCHASER, MONOLITH and RIPPER in the 90s (down in back please) and beyond, got his start with a strange entry into slasherdom that managed to garner my attention. What did it do to stick out above the myriad of derivative, though many times entertaining, shards of hokum that flooded the shelves at the mom and pops throughout my adolescent years? Eyres did it with what was unabashedly one of the most over the top first 3 minutes in a cheapie horror film that I think I have ever viewed. Anyone one willing to open their film with a Priest strolling down a sidewalk, near a school during recess, casually stroking his rosary beads before murdering a young, sensibly bedecked school teacher with a foot long butcher knife and then brandishing a .38 caliber handgun and wiping out 5 school children on the playground and wounding countless others before holding one little girl at point blank range nuzzle to forehead, right between the eyes, deserves at least a mention here at the sub-sewer confines of Brains on Film. Holy fucking shit, and it looks as if Eyres used a film stock, akin to the sensitivity of ½ inch video to capture it all. The opening of GOOD NIGHT, GOD BLESS is one of those moments of pure genre bliss, where the shit happens the way you want it happen. Eyres spares those too weak in the stomach and brain, the squibs attached to the children getting laid to waste, but he ups the anty by filming the children being executed in blurred, almost handheld chaotic form, somewhere between an art film and rank amateurism. I found myself forced to rewind the tape to see if I had actually seen what I though I had. I had. GOOD NIGHT, GOD BLESS blows an early load, can it live up in the next 97 minutes to the blow out beginning?

The plot picks up as the little girl held at gunpoint, Mandy, may be the only person who can identify the assailant. It's not apparent why Mandy was not shot. Scotland Yard is brought in. The "chief" puts displaced American Dick Joe Yamovich, who just happens to be working in London, on the case. Joe is accompanied by his London counterpart, John Brett. Joe and John begin the process of their investigation. Beginning at the school, where they learn about Mandy, they learn the teacher had no enemies and they learn that even though the victims were running everywhere their bodies fell perfectly in a nice little semi circle that fits perfectly in Eyres frame. Okay, they didn’t learn that, I did. Look it's a low budget picture learn to skip some details already.

John and Joe visit Mandy at her house. Her mother, Lisa, the ever protective, dooting type, warns them not to get her upset, she's fragile after all. Mandy manages to get out that the man looked "weird" she hates him, he killed her best friend, that will be enough for today I guess. But Joe notices a violin case and asks who plays, "Your husband," he asks. Lisa replies, "He’s dead, Mandy plays" Before long Mandy is inviting John to a concert the next night with her and her Mom, Joe is accepting and our killer in stalking a couple who have just left a cheesy disco that Eyres has used to pad a good minutes of movie with. After the girl refuses the "Travolta" (she actually condescendingly refers to this schmuck as Travolta) he splits and she begins her walk home. The classic slasher shot of two sets of feet walking, then stopping, then walking again lead us to the quick startle when the girl runs into a Bobby on patrol. She continues her walk until of course she greets the Priest. He dangles his rosary over her before thrusting his blade into her. The Priest in never shown from the neck up unless it’s from behind as it seems that Eyres is trying to stage a sort of whodunit for us. The problem is he doesn’t really introduce us to anyone who looks like they could be a suspect. In a sloppy plot glitch, a front page of the paper exclaims that the police are looking for a man of the cloth. Not one soul has shared that information with the police and the latest casualty was alone and died form his hand so she didn’t tell a soul. There I go again trying to bring logic into play. Lisa, Joe and Mandy got on their “date.” Lisa and Joe hit it off but Lisa refuses a late night kiss, "it's been a long time," she tells Joe. Joe the ever-sensitive American, understands and they agree to spend the next day in the country padding the film with a music montage at a amusement park and petting zoo. When they return home this time Lisa gives in for a spit swap and Joes leaves the mother and daughter for the evening. Lisa is enjoying a smoke and some TV when she hears something, then the phone rings, there is no one on the line, then she sees a shadow outside, then tries to use the phone again, it's dead. Must of the drama here is orchestrated like any number of 80s slice and dicers. But the editing is quite sloppy and the blocking horrid. Eyres has Lisa linger in front of the window, telegraphing the staple violin screech broken window neck grab to everyone. Lisa stabs the culprit in the arm, again Eyres lingers too long on his arm and Lisa just leaves to run to Mandy's room, there the two wait as the killer siddles upstairs. When he comes in the room with his knife in hand Lisa throws a lamp hitting him about waist level but it knocks him to the floor somehow and allows both she and Mandy to run down the hall to the bathroom instead of down the steps to the street. The killer then skulks to the bathroom door which is locked and Eyres again, blocks the scene haphazardly, showing a wide shot of the bathroom and both Lisa and Mandy lean against the door, waiting for a now classic (and overused) Shining-style weapon through the door. It happens, his knife stabs through the door well above Lisa's head, her and Mandy jump to other side of the room and wait to see what happens next. Jump cut. Joe is there, hugging the two of them in the bathroom floor. Joe came back to bring Lisa's purse she forgot in the car, I guess the killer heard the car and left out the back or something. Joe sobs opening with the pair. I laughed. This is the main problem with GOOD NIGHT, GOD BLESS, Eyres needed an editor, all the shots that he needs are there, just cut them right. The music is good, the performances not great but decent and the creepiness is in tow, just build the fucking scene John, but he doesn't.

There's a subplot of Joe's Americanism being an issue at Scotland Yard. He is harassed continually by a big Brit, who asks "are all American cops are on the take?" The Chief refers to Joe as a "hothead" though Joe barely raises his voice, the more mealy mouthed detectives seem more interested in practical jokes with the office girl than actual detective work. I'm not sure what all of this is doing in the film. It's neither offensive to me as an American or really could it be to the British, and it seems a sort of lamely explored bit of politicizing. Nonetheless, it serves as a reason for John to question Joe's closeness to Lisa and Mandy and whether his judgement might be blurred or as John puts it, "are you too close to this one?" The killer continues to kill, and Lisa and Mandy continue to be terrorized. Joe puts a police guard at the house, he's killed. Joe puts the gals in a hotel, with two police guards, they are killed. You get the picture, this guy wants Lisa and Mandy. None of this is necessarily bad, it's just served up buffet style with no clear vision or dramatic style. The cat and mouse came is more just mouse. You're led down one path with a guy who dresses as a Priest who pulls a knife on someone, but you never believe that they got the right guy and you just know that Lisa will end up bound up with tape over her mouth while Joe tries to get to her before it's too late. At this point most of us have seen these scenarios done and in a few cases done so well that we actually care what happens to all involved. Try as he might, Eyres doesn't exploit Mandy's cuteness enough and Lisa seems more annoyed by Joe’s constant "kissing" than actually to be falling for the probiscusly endowed Joe Yamovich. My point, you don't feel as connected as you should. Eryes tries hard to get you into a Jamie Lee Curtis if she was in love with Donald Pleasance dynamic but it plays a little more like your neighbor across the hall and her Tuesday night date with the guy you recognize as the gangly pharmacist at the Rite-Aid where you get your CentrumTM. You know them, but you could hardly find yourself caring about their lives.

Lisa, is portrayed by British actress Emma Sutton. She's not unattractive, not horrid, just sort of stale and well, British. Miss Sutton, I just saw in the wretched THE LEGEND OF SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT which is making it's rounds on one of the movie channels. That film is notable because it featured a then 70-year-old Peter Cushing in a small role as Seneschal. I love many of the knight's tales sort of films, this one gets high marks as a out and out lame entry, even going as far as somehow making Sean Connery as the Green Knight seem like a mistake. I'm sure he considers it one.

Joe, well, Joe is not very good. His sobbing in the bathroom floor as he chokingly mutters "I'lllhll proteehect yoohoo!" reminded me of the sobby bastard in BLOOD FEAST with the bandages on his head, melting away bawling "I DOHON'T KNOOHO!" Brought into being by Frank Rozelaar-Green, Joe, plays tough guy, American dick with a passion for crime solving but he comes across as a somewhat vulturish goof with a bald spot in the back of his head who’s trying to hook up with a single mom. When a couple of cockney toughies try and shake him down for his wallet in a men's bathroom, he undresses them down to their underwear ties them up in the bathroom and writes "Have A and Nice Day" collectively across their two side-by-side asses. Huh? Us Ugly Americans I guess? Rozelaar-Green has had bit parts in a couple larger pictures mostly for British companies, he is either a displaced American actor or he might be a Brit who was playing a hard-boiled US detective, albeit rather over-easy.

GOOD NIGHT, GOD BLESS, ties up about like you expect, the cops don’t seem to have a handle on who this killer is and Eyres does very little to convince you that it is anyone you have seen. Mandy lives, Lisa lives, Joe lives, but there is a final epilogue that throws a nasty inexplicable twist to the whole fucking film then ends in a freeze frame. Both on the screen and in your brain. I don't want to give it away, but it’s is so far-fetched and comes out of the field so far left of the left field that I was caught wondering if it was an afterthought or if the whole movie was based on this premise but just horribly executed. It's not for me to know or you for that matter. Seek this one out, it was also released cut of course to Great Britain audiences as LUCIFER, avoid that one it's missing nearly 30 seconds of the opening which no matter how weak the rest of the film seems will still make this little rarity a "gotta fucking see." I should mention that Eyres film takes place 10 year’s before what is commonly referred to as the Dunblane Massacre, a Spring day when Thomas Hamilton, a disgraced former Scout master turned a gun on himself after killing or injuring all but one of a class of 29 five- and six-year-olds and their teacher in a small Scottish town. All said 16 children and the teacher died. Scotland revamped gun ownership laws after it was revealed Hamilton had a police history as a pedophile who was obsessed with young boys, and amazingly, hated rejection. The opening to GOOD NIGHT, GOD BLESS sure didn't have much on the melee Hamilton brought down. But it's the best you’re gonna do if you like watching elementary kids getting gunned down. See this one, I got mine at Video Screams.

London aafter dark.

Dead children, this isn't even the high school kind.

Well, I guess it doesn't pay to hate us Americans doesn't there old chap?

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Why waste good production budget on a title sequence I always say. I don't know why I say that..

Chris Wayne
Mandy, spies the good Father coming to vist the playground.

This might be teh best look at our killer. Right before...killing.

See I told you he was going to do some killing.

And some more killing...

Call me old fashioned but you just don't see scenes like this much anymore.

There's a little school carnage.

The priest watches the news while reading about himself. Sheesh, what an ego.

London's "Starsky and Hutch" as they are referred to, Joe and John.

HThis asshole limey doesn't like Americans much...

I can almost see why.

Guess what happens next.

Joe gets his sob on with Lisa and Mandy, totally heartfelt shit.

How's that for symbolism at the old pep rally?

Crafty camera work, but this nice shot lasts less than 2 seconds.

Lisa, get the point?

Dead cop, definitely no donut.

You'll just have to see the movie to figure this shot out...
Brains On Film 2004