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leecw

"The Thrill Killers"

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I just re-watched Ray Dennis Steckler's late 60's exploitation shocker "The Thrill Killers" today. It's available on DVD from Shriek Show, a division of Media Blasters. Like Steckler's previous outings "Wild Guitar" and "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies," "The Thrill Killers" has a crazy, off-the-wall premise and features bizarro, madcap characterizations. But there the similarities end; "The Thrill Killers" is pitch black, no-holds-barred in its odyssey of psychos on the loose in swinging 60's L.A. The only moment of comic relief comes in the last scene of the movie, which feels tacked on but still works.

 

Two scenes in particular stand out:

 

1) Steckler, acting under the alias Cash Flagg as Morgan 'Mad Dog' Click, brings a dime-a-dance girl back to her apartment for some, uh...dancing. Soon after, however, he's menacing the terrified woman with a pair of scissors, playing with her like a cat with a mouse before he tires of the game and stabs her over and over as a neon sign flashes off and on outside the window, plunging the room into and out of darkness as the killing occurs.

 

2) A young, soon-to-be wed couple visit an isolated old house they're planning to fix up and set up house in. While touring the place they stumble upon three escaped homicidal lunatics, including 'Mad Dog' Click's brother. The young man is decapitated with an axe right in front of his fiancee, who flees in terror, only to be surrounded by the three men and chased into an empty room. One of the loonies listens to a DJ tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf on a transistor radio as, off camera, the woman is assaulted and decapitated like her fiancee.

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