Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheerleader Massacre (2003)

Directed by Jim Wynorski
Starring Charity Rahmer, Tamie Sheffield, Summer Williams, Lunk Johnson
Rated R
“This pep squad has nothing to cheer about!”

Mcpherson (John Colton) is a ruthless, serial killing beast of a man running loose in the ‘woods up north’. Bodies are piling up in the campgrounds and the sheriff is on the hunt. Meanwhile, a group of jiggly 29-32 year old high school cheerleaders are getting picked off, Slumber Party Massacre style, in their own locker room. And if that’s not bad enough, they are headed - you guessed it -up North.

But first, an ass-first shower scene to get the juices flowing.

Written by longtime Wynorski cohort LennyLunk JohnsonJuliano - AKA annoying reality show host/perv Cliff Probate from Bare Naked Survivor - and littered with Wynorski’s usual gang of booby girls, Cheerleader Massacre is theoretically the fourth film in the Slumber Party Massacre series. Hence, the SPM poster redux, and the opening locker room kill scene, which pays homage to Brinke Stevens’ similar demise in the 1982 original. Stevens even returns as her original character in a brief, witless cameo. However, there is no slumber party. You’d think that would be the first plot point you’d write in. Perhaps that’s why the title changed midstream from “Slumber Party Massacre IV” to “Cheerleader Massacre”. Of course, that title is a little misleading as well. The main characters are, theoretically, cheerleaders, but they don’t have uniforms, and they never actually perform any cheers.

But, you know, let’s not get bogged down in ephemera.

Detective Demarco (caustic Lusty Busty Babe-a-Que host Melissa Brasselle) peers at a Fresno map (fun fact: Cheerleader Massacre was actually shot in Alaska) and promises the chief that she’ll get her man by the end of the day. Meanwhile, busty hiker Debbie (Nikki Fritz, Bikini Drive-in, Evil Toons), still rocking an ‘87 era Walkman as she strolls the woods, gets a frantic phone call from her mother about the killer in her midst. Mom wants her to hoof it home the short way - via the rickety rope bridge. Against her better judgment, top-heavy Fritz does exactly that, but is undone by McPherson, who cuts the rope and sends her sailing to her death on the rocks below. This effect appears to have been achieved by tossing the camera off the bridge.
Buzzy (Juliano) has foolishly agreed to drive the cheerleader squad to their game up north. Clearly, his intentions are carnal - he figures if her plays this right, he can score with the fetching Coach Hendricks (knockout Tamie Sheffield, who is not only a former cheerleader, but attended Fresno State University - clearly, she was born for this role).

Unfortunately, his boner parry is put on hold when the van is stopped at a highway roadblock.. Seems there was a nasty accident, so he’ll have to find an alternate route. Luckily, he knows a shortcut - right through the woods, naturally.

There is a lot of police procedural bullshit in this movie. You should probably know that up front. Half of the movie is dudes in rented cop uniforms getting in and out of their cars. This is a shame, because there’s a whole van full of superhot girls (Charity Rahmer, April Flowers, Erin Byron, Summer Williams) who could be taking showers or lez-zing out, instead.
Speaking of which said van runs out of gas before the crew reaches the highway, forcing them to brave the cold and snow (Is Fresno in the arctic part of California?) on foot.

One of the rangers figures out that the murders at the high school and in the woods are all related. Basically, Mcpherson is responsible for every murder in California, including several of the cops who are chasing him around in the woods. He even steals a cop car. Holy smokes.

The ranger heads over to see Linda (Brinke Stevens), Mcpherson’s first victim from Slumber Party Massacre. She clearly died in that movie, but whatever. At least it affords us an opportunity to watch a five minute clip of the first film. Ah, remember production values? After the flashback, the ranger splits. Did we learn anything? No. Well, we learned that Brinke Stevens is pretty far away from her shower scenes days at this point. That’s about it.

Rahmer, Flowers: "So, we can't find a phone...but we did find some board games!"

So, the cheerleaders stumble upon sheriff Monty’s cabin. Monty is the one who caught Mcpherson in the first movie. He’s not the same actor, though. Neither is Mcpherson. Anyway, he’s not home when they get there, so they guzzle his booze and play Scrabble.

46 minutes in, Wynorski awards you for your patience with a glorious Tami Sheffield shower scene. It’s as if he knew that you were about to shut this drivel off to surf Tube 8. Jim Wynorski knows what he’s doing, man.

Slasher movie hijinks ensue. Former porn starlet Flowers has a pretty good sex scene and then a headless guy knocks on the door, prompting the girls to find whatever weapons they can and prepare for a battle to the death with the crazed killer from 1982.

You know the rest, right? No need to belabor the obvious. There’s a goofy twist and the inevitable sequel set-up.

Cheerleader Massacre is a slapdash slasher with no gore to speak of, bizarre seasonal changes from one scene to the next, no real connection to the films it’s supposed to be following up, and a look that suggests consumer grade camcorder. In other words, just another lost weekend in the wild, wild world of Jim Wynorski. Trash fiends will dig its junky flavors, Fritz's prat-falling, and Sheffield's breathtaking rack. Anyone expecting anything featured in the poster, however - chainsaws or cheerleaders or an actual massacre - are in for a disappointment. You’ll get over it, though.

Clip: Cheerleader Massacre trailer!

- Ken McIntyre

PS: Late breaking news: Cheerleader Massacre 2 will be out soon! And it's X-rated!

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