Thursday 17 October 2013

The Las Vegas Serial Killer (Wolfgang Schmidt, 1987) Review

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Just like with The Hollywood Strangler Meets The Skid Row Slasher, Ray Dennis Steckler is under the guises of Wolfgang Schmidt and Sven Christian as Director, Cinematographer and Editor of this sketchy 1987 follow-up, which continues in much the same vein as its predecessor.

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“Garbage. Die garbage!” Pierre Agostino returns as the strangling-obsessed serial killer 'Johnathon Klick' (he's a photographer, get it?) in an initially confused time-line of events that sees him quickly dispatching another lady of the night, winding up in prison, but only serving six years after the parole board deems his talk of multiple murders fanciful. Released from a Nevada prison, he quickly returns to his old ways – endlessly stalking the streets looking for victims and choking the life out of his chosen few.

“They're all wacko.” Muddying the waters however, are hap-hazard crime/sight-seeing duo Clarence and Jack, two low-rent thugs who decide to hit-up the city of sin for all its worth in stolen purses. Initially you might think they're bounty hunters on Klick's trail, but instead their crime spree ends up providing ample distraction for the authorities so that the strangler can continue about his business – as relayed in numerous (sometimes repeating) radio broadcasts.

“I'd like to take pictures of her.” One again filmed silent and then roughly dubbed-over in post, gone are the inner monologues of madness, and in their place is very little of interest. With bog-standard dialogue to paste over surreptitious-looking footage of Vegas visitors going about their lives, Klick is reduced to little more than grunting “Die garbage!” over and over again as he meanders around the neon-lit streets of Las Vegas. He even takes a job as a pizza delivery man to potentially fulfil his murderous urges, but at least that leads to a briefly buxom interval in a rather familiar back yard pool. Finally though, the urges are just too strong, and burlesque dancer Kat Carson's future isn't looking too bright.

“Hi, pizza man!” This movie's precursor might have been decidedly rough in most respects, but at least it was fast-paced in its factory line of titillation, nudity, and serial murder – the same cannot be said of The Las Vegas Serial Killer which, particularly in the first half, is more content to stand around watching Clarence and Jack go and see the sights at a parade, an air show, a rodeo, or whatever else happened to be taking place during the production schedule. These repetitively boring interludes dull the pace and water down the mean-spirited exploitation of the original film.

“They waddle like a duck, quack quack.” Minutes-at-a-time is spent just watching people literally walk around the streets – this movie is chock-full of filler – but mercifully it does sporadically get back onto (very relative) form. One darkly comic scene sees gorgeous models going one-by-one into a house only to come neck-to-hands with the near-silent strangler.

“Goodbye.” Limping towards a body count of nine (compared to The Hollywood Strangler's impressive total of fifteen) over a lengthier running time, The Las Vegas Serial Killer is ultimately a sloppier retread of the first movie, supplanting frequent exploitation with frequent tourist videos. The ending tries to aim for something higher, even going so far as to close on a freeze-frame of a gun in children's hands accompanied by “Fin???”, but like the majority of the flick it feels slap-dash. As cheap exploitation film-making goes, this is one of the cheapest examples. It does carry over that time capsule sensibility from the first with innumerable candid shots of the Vegas of 1987, but there's little else to recommend it. The first movie got away with some of its sins, but all over again a second time around is a disappointing cheap shot for this cobbled together sequel.

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