Film Review: Sledgehammer (1983)

Also known as: Sledge Hammer (alternative spelling)
Release Date: 1983
Directed by: David A. Prior
Written by: David A. Prior
Music by: Ted Prior, Marc Adams, Philip G. Slate
Cast: Ted Prior, Tim Aguilar, Linda McGill, Sandy Brooke, John Eastman, Janine Scheer, Stephen Wright

I & I Productions, World Video Pictures, 87 Minutes

Review:

Sledgehammer came to me via Joe Bob Briggs’ show The Last Drive-In. It was paired with arguably the worst film ever made, Things.

Since this movie was shown first, it did leave a bad taste in my mouth but seeing Things directly after Sledgehammer, made me appreciate Sledgehammer for not being a steaming pile of crap covered in ghost pepper sauce and forced down my gullet.

This was actually David A. Prior’s directorial debut and it’s also the first slasher film shot on video, as opposed to traditional film.

I’ve reviewed some of Prior’s other films but this one doesn’t really live up to his other work that I’ve seen, which are also bad pictures. But he had to start somewhere and learn the ropes before making cult classics like Deadly Prey and The Final Sanction

The real problem with this movie was the cast. Prior told them to always be over-the-top and always having a blast in every scene and man, they really pushed it to an ungodly level of cringe. Nearly everyone has a can of Budweiser in their hand in just about every scene.

Don’t even get me started on the endless food fight sequence.

The plot is bonkers, as it’s about a slasher that kills with a sledgehammer, as opposed to a slashing weapon. He also appears out of thin air and is a large man with a creepy mask. However, we discover by the end that the big killer is actually the ghost of a little boy.

In the end, this is a harmless, stupid film that helped pave the way for one of the greatest schlock directors of his generation. Although, I can’t really recommend this as anything more than a cinematic curiosity.

Rating: 2.75/10
Pairs well with: other really, really bad ’80s movies filmed on video. Also, other films by David A. Prior.

Film Review: Deadly Prey (1987)

Release Date: November 7th, 1987
Directed by: David A. Prior
Written by: David A. Prior, Richard Connell
Music by: Tim Heintz, Tim James, Steven McClintock
Cast: Cameron Mitchell, Troy Donahue, Ted Prior

Action International Pictures, 88 Minutes

Review:

“Suck this!” – Lt. Thornton

If you’ve never seen a David A. Prior film, you’re probably a fairly normal person. If you have, you’ve probably been changed by the bizarre insanity of his work.

The only Prior film I’ve watched in recent memory was The Final Sanction, which I also reviewed. Other than that, I haven’t seen any of these in a long time. Deadly Prey, however, is probably Prior’s best known picture and even spawned a sequel that was made just a few years ago.

This movie stars Ted Prior, David’s brother and a ripped, blonde mulleted badass. Most of David’s movies, at least all the ones I’ve seen, feature his hard bodied brother.

Like other Prior movies, this is a violent spectacle that features bad acting, crazy situations but just enough heart and charm to make it something that’s better than just a forgettable pile of shit. The Prior boys put their souls into these movies and Deadly Prey is probably their magnum opus. Everything in it just feels right for the type of picture that this is.

The story in this one is about this private military group that trains its killer elite by kidnapping real people and staging manhunts somewhere outside of Los Angeles. This time, they kidnap the wrong guy, as he’s a super soldier that was once trained by the same commander that leads the psycho commandos. What we get is one man’s war against a corrupt commander and his super solider mercenaries.

I once used this movie as a test with some girl on a date. We never dated again but I had to know if she was down to get dirty or just some chick that would make me take her to Kate Hudson movies. Better to learn these things sooner rather than later.

Deadly Prey certainly isn’t a movie for most people or those who think they have taste. Taste is subjective anyway and usually what’s considered the the most tasteful films are really just dumpsters overflowing with overrated garbage.

The only thing this movie needed for an extra edge was some Robert Z’Dar.

Rating: 5.25/10
Pairs well with: Anything else from David A. Prior

Film Review: The Final Sanction (1990)

Also known as: The Final Battle (Brazil)
Release Date: November 30th, 1990
Directed by: David A. Prior
Written by: David A. Prior
Music by: Garm Beall, Tim James, Steve McClintock
Cast: Ted Prior, Robert Z’Dar, Renee Cline, William Smith

Action International Pictures, 90 Minutes

Review:

“C’mon, you big ugly fuck! I’m gonna kick your ass!” – Sgt. Tom Batanic

I love bad movies, that’s no secret at this point. David A. Prior used to crank out shitty action pictures faster than a rabbit dropping deuce pellets. His movies are horrible but they are the sort of horrible that I can get behind. I’m not sure how much or if any of it is intentional but he did have a style to his movies at the height of his run and it’s possible that he is actually an auteur. Assuming one can be an auteur of awful. Still, the man had his own style, that’s undeniable.

This film sees Ted Prior face-off against Robert Z’Dar. Both men were synonymous with bad action movies, so seeing the bulk of this film being their one-on-one war against each other was pretty entertaining.

Prior is an American while Z’Dar is a Soviet. The two are the best of the best and are pitted against each other in a “kill or be killed” survival game. The premise is hokey as all hell but these films don’t work because of realistic plots. The nonsensical nature of the narrative and the actions of the characters are why this turd is special.

I like Ted Prior because of his involvement in David Prior’s movies. Between this, Deadly Prey and the others, he has earned a place in my mental ’80s B-action hall of fame. Robert Z’Dar, on the other hand, is a superstar when it comes to these sort of films. The fact that he plays an insane Soviet hulk and throws little shovels like throwing knives is friggin’ incredible.

This isn’t a movie to sit down and watch with your girl. It is something to sit down and watch with your boys, considering you have boys that like living vicariously through cheesy ’80s badasses. Sure, this came out in 1990 but it has so much ’80s cheese, that it could fill the world’s largest quesadilla and then still have some left over for a giant plate of nachos.

The Final Sanction, despite my weird love for it, should be ran through the Cinespiria Shitometer. The results read, “Type 5 Stool: Soft blobs with clear-cut edges (passed easily).”

Rating: 4/10