The Merits of Sin: Twisted Nightmare (1987) (USA)

It’s 1987 and slasher flicks are nearing the end of the boom period. Various killers and horny “teens” have met and all sorts of sharp objects have done ungodly things to human flesh. It’s been done. That is why I can forgive people for brushing off Twisted Nightmare. Young(ish) folks head to a camp and an unstoppable killer does what unstoppable killers do. Yeah. You’ve seen it, but let me tell you something; this flick should not be slept on. No sir, there’s a lot to love in this little nugget. I mean, if you’re into the kind of films I’m into.

He gets it

If Friday the 13th (the franchise) was an actual entity, imagine said entity smacked its head and concussed the hell out of itself. Now imagine this entity never went for help or did anything to fix the brain damage and just went on with its life. If this were the case you’d have Twisted Nightmare. It’s like The Burning‘s little brother who was born with a third copy of chromosome 21.

We’re all God’s children

A group of old looking twenty-somethings receive invites to Camp Paradise, a place they used to frequent as teenagers. The group has drifted apart because of a tragic accident that happened at the camp two years ago. Laura’s mentally handicapped brother came into contact with some sort of ancient evil (represented as a blinking red light) and soon the young man was set ablaze. Although the body was never found, everyone just assumes he died. And as the old saying goes: never assume, because you’ll soon find yourself confronting a crispy killer with supernatural powers.

Fortunately, he went up in flames wearing protective goggles

There’s a vast variety of idiots all gathered at the cabin, happy to reconnect and get their drink on. Even Laura has shown up with her new boy toy and everyone seems to be having a good time. Well except for Dean, Dean is some sort of alpha douchebag and generally has a problem with everyone. There’s also a caretaker named Kane who doesn’t want the idiots around but you can’t really blame him for that. Anyways, the partying is commencing and beer is flowing. It doesn’t take long for the herd to start being thinned down.

Cup Party

Kittens in the barn separate the first duo of morons. Soon they’ve been sent to whatever god they worship. Convenient excuses disassemble the group into tinier subgroups, far easier to knock off. Buff weapons enthusiast Tak takes Laura’s guy hunting, a quartet of dummies go off to the camp sauna (two of those sentient pieces of dead meat wander off to bang under a dangerous old farm tool), Dean and his (probably) abused girl try to leave but have to walk back after their car dies and so on and so on….

We’re doomed

There’s a whole bunch of meat on the butchers block and thankfully the deaths are spaced out enough to keep your mind from wandering. The killer is mostly some burnt hulk with super strength (he shares more than a passing resemblance to Bollywood Freddy Krueger Mahakaal) who likes to get his hands dirty. I say “mostly” because there’s a few scenes where the large maniac is portrayed by a completely different actor who more so resembles a timid goth kid. Emoting is none of the actors strongpoints so you get a lot of robotic dialogue…it adds to the charm!


There’s some fun violence thrown in (an elderly sheriff gets his head ripped off, a throat is slashed by the killer’s claw) but most of the damage goes down off screen. There’s plenty of memorable characters (beef boy Tak, dickhead Dean, budget store Madonna, crazy eyes Laura, and some dude who looks like an Eric Roberts action figure got left out in the sun) to enjoy at the slower points. Something this lazy should not be this good. But much like all it’s emotionless actors, it sits comfortably in some sort of trash world where talent isn’t at all necessary for entertainment. Good gawd! It’s a grand low rent slasher! 8/10

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