Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


THE TOOLBOX MURDERS (1978). Director: Dennis Donnelly.

A (not very well) masked man goes through an apartment complex murdering women he sees as immoral with a variety of tools. The Toolbox Murders is typical of a type of "horror" film made in the seventies, although it is not as graphic as some, but it has supposedly become notorious, a reputation it doesn't quite deserve. The picture is produced on a professional level, with an okay score and crisp lensing, but if anything puts it over it's the acting. Cameron Mitchell [Blood and Black Lace] is excellent as the owner of the complex, who lost his beloved daughter in a car accident and has become unhinged. Pamelyn Ferdin [The Beguiled] also turns in a strong performance as a young lady who is kidnapped by the killer, and Aneta Corsaut is also fine as her mother; she looks sexier than she ever did on The Andy Griffith Show. Wesley Eure is also good as Mitchell's strange nephew, as is Nicolas Beauvy as Ferdin's brother, who pays a terrible price for trying to find her. The script is illogical at times, thrown together, and there isn't enough real suspense to make this memorable. Various recordings are used as back drops for the murder scenes, which include death by hammer, power drill, and nail gun. Donnelly mostly directed television episodes. Remade by Tobe Hooper in 2004. 

Verdict: A couple of stand-out performances amidst the gristle. **.

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