BUTCHER, BAKER, NIGHTMARE MAKER (aka Night Warning) (1981)

BUTCHER, BAKER, NIGHTMARE MAKER (aka Night Warning)

1981, USA

Starring:  Susan Tyrrell (Cheryl Roberts), Jimmy McNichol (Billy Lynch), Bo Svenson (Detective Joe Carlson), Julia Duffy (Julie Linden), Bill Paxton (Eddie)

Director: William Asher (Michael Miller, uncredited)

Music: Bruce Langhorne

Viewed:  35mm / Aero Theatre Horrorthon

Print Quality: Not great, but watchable

butcher baker

I remember the chills that ran down my spine the first time I dropped the needle on Mercyful Fate’s first EP and was totally blindsided by that blistering guitar solo that opens “Corpse Without a Soul.” I mean the song opens with the fucking solo! Thirty years later, my experience watching the opening scene of Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker was almost exactly the same. The first 3-minutes of this film are just so intense that it leaves you wondering where can it possibly go from here.

Turns out that one of the things that make that opening sequence so distinct is that it was born of a different director and cinematographer. Apparently, Michael Miller (Jackson County Jail) shot that bit with Jan Du Bont (Private LessonsDie Hard) but both were fired and replaced by veteran TV show director William Asher and Robbie Greenberg (Lucifer’s WomenSwamp Thing) to finish it out. Somehow the final product works, though…and then some!

But then again, how could it go wrong with the brilliant casting of Susan Tyrrell (Forbidden ZoneAngel, Open All Night) and Jimmy McNichol (those fabulous McNichol’s) in the leads and Bo Svensen (The Inglorious BastardsInglourious Basterds) as the pathologically overconfident homophobic detective thrown into the mix.

It’s difficult to summarize much of the story without ruining half the fun, but I assure you Tyrell delivers and absolutely crushing, must-see performance as Aunt Cheryl, whose incestuous lust for her nephew Billy (McNichol) leads to some delightfully insane and ever-escalating consequences. William Asher deserves equal respect for his perfectly paced slow burn of Aunt Cheryl’s unraveling that builds to psychotic crescendo that is purely unforgettable cinema. Kudos, too, to the anachronistically positive portrayal of homosexuality embodied in Billy’s basketball coach Tom Landers played by perennial TV actor Steve Eastin. This film was truly ahead of its time.

For me this was the real standout in the Aero Theatre’s Horrorthon line-up this year and immediately skyrocketed to the top of my list of must-see movies to recommend.

It’s just nuts that this film still flies somewhat under the radar almost 40 years after its release.

(DC)

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Nate Wilson: NW  Devon Cahill: DC  Matt Average: MA

KILL THEM ALL AND COME BACK ALONE (1968)

Kill Them All And Come Back Alone (1968)

Directed By Enzo G. Castellari

Starring Chuck Connors, Frank Wolf, & Franco Citti

Viewed On Amazon Prime- Good Transfer

“You know, captain, as a Southerner you made me sick. But as a Northerner, you make me vomit. “

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Here at Bad Transfer we love Chuck Connors.  Check out Devon’s review for the Mad Bomber.

I was super excited to view Kill Them All… both because of Connors & Enzo who directed Keoma, Street Law,  High Crime, The Inglorious Bastards,  A Few Dollars for Django, etc.  A total legend in Italy.  On top of that the title of the film is brilliant.  

This is a Western about a group of Confederates who try to steal a treasure of gold from Union Soldiers in 1864.  

Theres a ton of action in this movie.  So much so that it borders on ridiculous.  I sometimes felt like I was watching a kung fu movie from my youth.  Not only did the fight scenes have that vibe with dudes flying all over the place, but the subtitles were way off.  I have no idea what translation/dubbing they used for this one.  At any rate there is a really great underwater scene toward the end which is really fun to watch.  All in all I was sorta disappointed in this film maybe just due to my expectations based on KeomaKeoma is a top 5 spaghetti Western in my book.  (NW)

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NW: Nate Wilson    DC: Devon Cahill   HR: Heath Row   MA: Matt Average