Wacko (1982)

Wacko (1982)

Released: 1982
Genre: Comedy, Genre, Horror
Director: Greydon Clark
Starring: George Kennedy, Stella Stevens, Joe Don Baker, ,
Run time: 90 min
IMDb: 4.9/10
Country: USA
Views: 191180


Thirteen years after the “Lawnmower Killer” killed her sister, high school student Mary Graves and obsessed detective Dick Harbinger are on the lookout for the killer to reappear during the annual Halloween Pumpkin Prom.
User Reviews: During the early 80s the slasher film had already become a genre ripe for parody. "Student Bodies" and "Pandemonium" are two more of the well-known examples. This one wasn’t always terribly funny, in this viewers’ humble opinion. It tried so hard to be funny, but didn’t always hit the mark. Still, there’s an agreeable amount of goofiness and enough good laughs to make it tolerable for an admittedly well-paced 87 minutes.

Joe Don Baker is at his most slovenly as a dedicated police detective who’s determined to prove that the dreaded Lawnmower Miller, who last terrorized his city 13 years earlier, is due to return. One of LMs’ previous victims was the older sister of virginal Mary (‘Newhart’s’ Julia Duffy), and since she witnessed it, she carries deep emotional scars that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

Among the four credited writers are Dana Olsen ("The ‘Burbs") and Jim Kouf ("Stakeout"), and in the directors’ chair is prolific B filmmaker Greydon Clark. They take aim at a variety of horror films, from "Psycho" to "The Omen" to "The Island of Dr. Moreau" to the run of slasher pictures of the period. Oddball characters include Mary’s brother Damien (Michael Lee Gogin), and the obligatory Red Herring Gardener / Creep (the great character actor Anthony James).

Andrew "Dice" Clay makes his screen debut (without the "Dice" nickname), playing a somewhat Travolta-esque character, and he’s reasonably amusing. But he’s just one of a number of familiar faces that appear. George Kennedy plays Mary’s dad, a voyeur who tries to explain away his creepiness with the repeated refrain of "just mowing the lawn". Stella Stevens, Scott McGinnis, Elizabeth Daily, Sonny Carl Davis, Jeff Altman, Charles Napier, Darby Hinton, and Jacqulin Cole (the directors’ wife) are all present and accounted for. But it’s Baker who comes off the best. A total slob, his is a character who REALLY can’t live without his coffee. He even has a brief scene after the closing credits, if you wait for it.

Overall, a fairly funny comedy, but "Student Bodies" is the best of this genre at the time, at least according to this viewer.

Six out of 10.

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