Sunday, 16 December 2018



Two more titles knocked off Shock Xpress's list of the Fifty Most Boring Movies Ever Made: zero-budget junk titles that have still not had any kind of legitimate, certified release in the UK and exist solely in that grey limbo of YouTube uploads. In a thoroughly unsurprising development, neither of the two movies are any good at all: basic entertainment value is pretty much as low as it can get and, despite one of them being on the legendary Video Nasties list for some gratuitous splatter and nudity, there's not a shred of fun to be had.

In addition to being an entirely pointless exercise, working out which of the two film is actually worse is like working out with which foot you'd rather step onto an upturned electric plug. Neither is significantly better and both are painful. Psycho From Texas carries a copyright date of 1981 but was apparently made around six years earlier, when it was called Wheeler: the titular psycho has drifted into town to carry out the kidnapping of a local businessman. The plan goes wrong, leading to an endless chase through drab woods and swamps in which the nutter henchman can't catch the escaping hostage when [1] the hostage doesn't know the territory, [2] the hostage is about 60 years old, and [3] the hostage has lost his glasses. Meanwhile Wheeler himself is racking up plenty of witnesses who can place him a long way from the kidnap...

The highlight, if one can grace such a repugnant and sordid moment with the term, comes when the charmless Wheeler terrorises a barmaid (Linnea Quigley's film debut, and only from the perspective of Psycho From Texas do Creepozoids and Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers look like any kind of career progress) by forcing her at knifepoint to dance naked for him and then simulate sex with the body of a man he's just killed for no reason. Other than that, it's got nothing going for it at all and eventually it stops.

Mardi Gras Massacre is also criminally dull, padded as it is with travelogue footage of New Orleans, romantic montage, striptease and disco scenes and clumping reading-out-loud dialogue. A madman is on the loose in the French Quarter, butchering naked women in honour of an Aztec deity in the hope of receiving occult powers. We get three extended sacrifice scenes where he rips their hearts out (which is almost certainly why the video was banned in the UK), but we also get acres and acres of tedious prattle, all filmed in medium shot from a mostly static vantage point: Jack Weis is not a director who favours close-ups or actually moving the camera about.

Uninteresting on every level, be it artistic, technical or emotional, both movies are sleazy, grubby exercises which take way too long to do way too little and must surely have been underwhelming even in their natural home of grindhouse double-bills thirty or forty years past. Is there even a market for them any more? Mardi Gras Massacre might have its official obscenity cachet to warrant a DVD release (assuming the BBFC didn't interfere, which feels unlikely), while Psycho From Texas can't even claim that. Best to let both languish in post-VHS limbo and murky YouTube streams.


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