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
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
|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?
Gestapo Black Exploitation?
From Tobacco Row It's Good!
Squad Join Today!
Meateater Do Not Touch!
Stranger Run Run Opie!
House On Hwy 5 Sheesh!
Locked Doors It's Dirty!
Massacre Some Like It.
Pussy It had to be done
Alley It is Rock.
Woman Truck. Woman.
Freak A Classic for You!
Geek Bigfoot Porn
School Ghosthustlers Wow!
Island You Must See!
Not that kinda Cock!
Alienator Feeling Alienated?
Island Vanity and the Beast
Spree Tim Ritter's $0 budget wonder
Prof. Tread still can't sleep.
Tramp She is sumpin' else.
Footmen Tire You...? Heavy religiosity!
Knievel Evel of Course!
Killing Of A Chinese Bookie! Smart Guy.
Pink Angels Gayness, and Bikes
Burning The 80's, ahhh the 80's.
- The Winged Serpant! Larry Cohen rules!
For Your Life! WARNING Racist content
Tall Buford Pusser in the Hizouse!
Camp Internet Geeks Unite!
Losers Ya Loser!
of the Mutilated Bro. George gets busy.
Me An Angel Gal Biker and more.
Grim Reaper Reap on.
One of William Girdler's triumphs.
At Dawn A Modern Classic.
Boy Carradine, Dress, Dourif!
Hollywood Rape-Slaughter Rare expose'.
Savage Weekend. Take
Dead and Buried.
A Should-be Classic.
Summer In Barefoot County. PeeUww!
Night Train To
Terror Choo Choo!
Drink Your Blood Glug, glug!
Russ Meyer and breasts!
Stop Women Honnnk HonnnnK!
Deadly Darling! Pigs!
the Germ Fighter! Clean up!
Doesn't Cathy Eat Breakfast? Why?!
County Express! Glug, Glug!
The Night God Screamed!
White Dog Racists
City Slickers get offed!
Times Five Sean MacGregor's Titantic!
at the Red Wolf Inn Burp!
Eyes See It
Greatest Sinner One of the best!
Baby! Goo Goo!
Camp Nightmare Viva the Revolution!
of the Beast Creatures Booga!
Play Dead Incest craziness!
of Death Vacation madness!
Come, Evil Go! Bye, Bye Sinners!
Strutters Get Black Sucker!
Pretty Eddie Deep South Craziness!
Golem Jewish Folklore or what?
NYC Apartment Blues
To Kill A Clown
Alan Alda Vietnam Vet!
Spook Who Sat Next To The Door Booya!
Woke Up Early The Day I Died Mr. Ed Wood.
Mutilation Man Andy Copp goes arty on us!
People Across The Lake Good TV!
Woman Hunt Load Up Gents.
Devil At You Heels Daring Devil.
Are The Damned Dammit!
Farm TV movie Classic!