Plot: After his parents were killed when he was a child, Billy (Jimmy McNichol) was raised by aunt Cheryl (Susan Tyrell), a strange, but loving woman. Her world revolves around Jimmy and when he announces he plans to attend a distant college, her mind begins to bend even more than usual. Desperate for some attention and affection, she has a repairman come over and throws herself at him, only to be rejected in brutal fashion. She doesn’t take this well and stabs him to death, then claims he tried to rape her and with Jimmy’s help, formulates a story that backs her up and should protect them both. But detective Carlson (Bo Svenson) doesn’t believe it for a second and after some digging, he is convinced that Jimmy killed the repairman in a lover’s quarrel. Carlson learned the victim was a homosexual and lovers with the local school’s coach, but he thinks Jimmy is also gay and involved with both men. Meanwhile, Cheryl continues her descent into madness, Jimmy struggles to make sense of anything, and tensions mount across the board. As this group of on-edge people are pushed closer and closer to the brink, how will it all turn out?
Entertainment Value: This is a wild one, a movie filled with memorable characters, sudden bursts of violence, and an unsettling, unhinged vibe that makes it seem like anything is possible. This is a tense, always on the brink of insanity horror/thriller that starts with a jolt and never eases up. The tone is dark and even cruel, led by some fantastic, memorable performances. Susan Tyrell steals the show here as the insane Cheryl, turning in a performance that stuns and stands out as one of the best genre efforts I’ve seen. I have watched a lot of actors play crazy characters, but very few are as eerie and effective as Tyrell here, in a turn that just feels totally off the rails and has a palpable level of madness. Add in Bo Svenson as a mean spirited, prejudiced lawman who has little to no respect for anyone or anything, in a role that is bound to shock and repel most viewers. The movie is just creepy and unnerving throughout, with spikes of violence and craziness that never relent, so you never know when one will happen or what depths might be explored next. A lot of movies have reputations as dark or off the rocker, but Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker meets and exceeds the hype. If you’re into dark, twisted horror, this is a must own for your collection.
This one has a lot of sexual vibes, but not a wealth of naked flesh. A few topless scenes can be found and some man ass during a shower sequence, but that’s all the actual nudity on showcase. But Cheryl’s bizarre behavior offers more sexual weirdness, especially in regard to her relationship with Billy. This one has some fun blood, like the brutal decapitation scene early in the film. That is a wild shot and gets a replay later in the movie, so you can soak it in again. The other violence includes stabbings, slashing, lopping off a hand, gun shots, and more. A lot of crazed violence in this one and it produces some solid bloodshed. The dialogue is insane, between Cheryl’s craziness and Carlson’s dark persona. Susan Tyrell is almost hypnotic in her madness, rattling off lines that seem normal, but she soaks them in the dysfunction of the role. Just a crazed effort that really makes the most of the dialogue. Svenson’s Carlson is a smash mouth cop that has a lot of personal prejudices and doesn’t even try to hide them, so his lines can be quite offensive. In terms of craziness, this one is loaded for bear. Cheryl alone would earn a ton of points, plus we have Carlson, strange twists, rampant violence, and just a texture of unsettling grime throughout.
Overall Insanity: 10/10