Plot: Steve (Eli Rich) is a drunk, mad at the world loser who hates his job as a teacher at a local church. After all, he has a college degree! He is tired of being pushed around, even his students make fun of him and refuse to respect him. An occasional outburst happens, like when he tells a young girl she is just a whore, but Steve usually saves the real inner rage for the women who walk the streets. He hunts for just the right prostitutes, then strangles them and dumps the bodies out in the desert. He also argues with his cousin about towels, enjoys wearing tight undies, and dislikes paying his rent. His life is turned upside down when one of his potential victims winds up as a romantic interest. Can Steve give in to true love or is he destined to be limp like a wet noodle?
Entertainment Value: Murderlust is all about Eli Rich, who brings to life the film’s strange killer and church counselor, Steve Belmont. The film centers on Steve and his twisted mind, so Rich had to deliver with his performance. He is able to seem just like the guy who has the nice facade, but is a total nutcase underneath. His interactions with people are hilarious, whether he is arguing with his cousin about dirty laundry or guiding a girl during a blowjob at gunpoint. The rest of the cast isn’t given a lot of screen time, but I think Steve’s cousin has some great moments. The movie has a serious tone, but the dialogue is so strange it rarely has genuine tension. A few scenes are more sinister, but usually there’s a dark humor present, intentional or not. Murderlust is a strange ride, worth taking for Rich’s often unhinged performance, the wild dialogue, and the just “something is off here” vibe the movie gives off. If you’re into 80s horror or just offbeat cinema, Murderlust should be on your list.
The movie does provide some breasts to soak in, but just one scene, so not much nakedness. By the same token, Murderlust has some violence involved, but there’s not much bloodshed. The lack of blood and tits is likely to cause some to not check out the movie, but that’s just stupid. Murderlust might not have those elements in spades, but it has other traits that genre fans can appreciate. The dialogue is so odd in this, especially when Steve has to be social with others. He seems to have a reputation as a nice guy, but he shows nothing besides a quick temper and no self control. He goes from concern to dismissive anger at the drop of the hat, which yields some terrific exchanges. A highlight reel of Steve’s lines in this would be epic, just wildly entertaining stuff. As far as insanity, the movie just has this odd texture that permeates the experience, mostly due to the dialogue and Rich’s bananas performance. It isn’t over the top like other horror or exploitation films can be, but Murderlust is just so weird in other ways, you know you’re watching an odd duck of a movie.
Overall Insanity: 8/10