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March 10, 2013

Movie Review: Sledgehammer (1983, Intervision)

The folks over at Intervision have tackled some eclectic titles over the past couple years. Their line of oddities includes some of the craziest shot-on- video epics ever made. The Canadian flick Things is one film (err video) of note that made me question a lot of “things” about myself. First and foremost, why am I watching this fucking movie and why am I enjoying it.  B-movie maven David A. Prior (Killer Workout, Future Justice) started his storied movie career off with his take on the slasher genre that was huge in the early 80’s with Sledgehammer. Intervision has some obvious love for the movie and just like with Things has released it onto DVD with all the trimmings.

A mother is shown abusing her young son by locking the moppet in a closet so she can get busy with her boyfriend. The kid’s a crafty fellow so he’s able to MacGyver himself out and track down mum and her beau before they can even get sticky. Junior grabs a hold of a sledgehammer and plants the tool in the back of their melons in cheesy but gory fashion.

Fast-forward several years later, we’re at the same house where these gory murders took place with some new inhabitants.These new folks are an excitable group of middle-aged college kids, raring to get their drink on, and party till they break a hip.  Next to Buddy Cooper’s slasher The Mutilator this is the oldest group of “young” partiers that I’ve seen.  It’s not long before the vacationers decide to do a séance in the house to channel spirits – after that all hell (and hammers) break loose.

After its highly enjoyable opening, Sledgehammer drags to the point of tedious…but wait…hang in there because good things come to those who wait. Once the group gets settled in the house and the slow-motion shots of 47 year-old teenagers running through dandelions stop, Sledgehammer hits hard with a neato body-count and much unintended hilarity - which carries Prior’s ridiculous film to its final mind-numbing moment.

If you nitpick on quality don’t expect a gorgeous picture for the DVD as this was shot on VHS, but expect a better picture than what you may have on your out of print VHS. The extras are very nice as we get a commentary, some trailers and even an amusing interview with David A. Prior. Prior doesn’t appear to be that into horror films. One big indicator was that he doesn’t even know the name of the movies he’s ripping off. He’s still entertaining and has some nice stories. Besides action was more his thing, so I’ll give him a pass.

Sledgehammer is an ungodly atrocity, but it has a charm that slaps you around for 90 minutes until you like it. It’s an unusual power, but for this movie it works. Recommended.
Big thanks to Rock! Shock! Pop! for the screen-grabs.

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