Movies Review

Bad Movie Monday: Houseboat Horror

Best read with knockout Brian Mannix song hits.

You’re at home.

Bored.

You want to watch a horror movie that you don’t need to concentrate on. You want the blood and gore so tame you can tell it’s tomato sauce. You want bad acting. REALLY bad acting.  You want the suspenseful synthesizer music so bad, it makes any song the the 1980s sound beautiful.

And you also want the odd nude scene.

Welcome to Houseboat Horror.

Our eyes feast on the beautiful pleasant countryside. Cue synth drums. A van is driving along with 1 guy and 2 girls, who straight away establish that they’re going to the country to film a music clip. There’s hints of some murder afoot by the characters picking up a hitch hiker, and a reference to Summer Of Sam (Sam I Am). Even the girl in the back set picks up a wrench and says that this is the fictitious murder weapon. Could she be the killer? The hitch hiker recognises the guy from the band. Could he be the killer?

The van reaches the hitcher’s destination, and the camera zooms back. We see a mysterious four wheel drive, and we can only see the arm of the driver. They are watching the hitcher being dropped off, walking through bushland. The hitcher looks around, feeling like she’s being watched. She approaches her campsite, and finds her tent abandoned. Next to it, she finds the body of her friend “Gazz” mortally wounded. Suddenly, the vision of the killer’s legs appear and the hitcher runs off. The killer gives chase, and seems to have lost her, until the hitcher stops to rest. Just when she thinks everything is okay, the killer uses a machete and stabs her. Cue psycho synth keyboard.

Then we’re introduced to the movie!

We then meet the film crew who pull up at a petrol station to refuel. The owner is a little annoyed that they’re going to disrupt the peacefulness of the area, and warns them to behave. We see one of the film crew members reading a horror book. Could he be the killer? The Park Ranger watches on from inside the station, then comes out after the crew leave. He comes out to chat to the owner and shakes his head in disgust. Could he be the killer?

The music video Director Grant Evans (Alan Dale) and his wife are racing in separate cars, while talking to each other on mobile phone bricks, spinning up the road. They accidentally nearly crash into another car coming head on. Driver shakes his arms in anger. Could he be the killer?

At the boat shed milk bar, we meet their ‘celebrity’ cameo, John-Michael Howson. He’s there on holidays, checking out the store. He talks to Merde, the sales assistant. Merde assures John-Michael that even though there will be a film crew, he can enjoy his holidays. John-Michael drops a horror book on the counter, and picks up a hunting knife. Could he be the killer?

Grant and his wife turn up at one of the houseboats that will be used. More crew turn up, and Gavin Wood looks through his binoculars, from one of the houseboats. The killer’s legs appear again, hovering around the four wheel drive cars, with suspenseful music. Later on, Hey Hey It’s Saturday‘s drummer Animal makes his appearance as the drummer of the band, piss-farting about. Good ol’ 80s. Then there’s about 5 – 10 minutes of the film and video crew settling in for what will be a long week of partying and filming.

Before the crew head off in the houseboats, the Park Ranger tries to explain that there’s an urban legend, but is interrupted by party noises. So he gives up and watches the crew cruise away, from the distance of the hills. Suddenly, the killer attacks the ranger with an axe to the head.

Cut to the sophisticated crew member reading a horror book. Grant and his wife are chillaxing. Then, Gavin coins the now infamous catchphrase that comedian Tony Martin has made popular:

“Hey Guys! Girls! Party time!… Come up here the… bah.. aww! The view’s magnificent you’ll bar up! *nods* you will!”

The rest of the film goes to shit after that.

As the boats reach their destination, Animal yells “PIRATES!” for no reason. I think it was meant to be a joke. I just had to point that out.

The suspense continues with crew members pranking each other, with the camera having a POV of who you may think the killer is, but turns out it’s a film member looking for a cup of tea.  The next day, we see the killer in their shed (still can’t physically see the killer’s face). They are sharpening their machete. We know it’s the killer as there is a newspaper article on the bench, in which is stabbed by a sharpened knife later on. Day One on set, and filming commences. The band mimes to shithouse 80s synth music, and Animal just doesn’t even bother. It makes Video Rodney sound like Beethoven. A montage of the video goes on for the whole song, then they wrap up for the day, to party on into the night.

As they wind down, one of the dancers goes to feed the cat, only to discover the gruesome entrails of an animal, smeared on the wall. Gavin explains it best to us:

“Oh shit! What sort of arsehole would do that?”

He says what we’re all thinking.

Night time approaches, more bonding over beer and a jam session over a campfire. Two crew members walk off to find some wild mushrooms to get high on, and reveals a syringe. One of them hears a twig snap, and runs off scared.  The killer comes up behind the film member left behind, and slashes his throat. The surviving film member thinks he’s safe, until the killer catchs up with him and stabs him in the face with the syringe, then with the machete. Oblivious to what has happened, the other band and film members continue to drink over the fire. A psychotic woman appears from out of nowhere and explains she could hear the noise. Also there’s more hints about the urban legend.

Later on, after the crew goes to bed, we see the mysterious feet again, walking to the smoldering campfire. There’s flashbacks of the horror that possibly was from the killer’s past, having dealt with fire. Thinks bad shit. While the crew sleeps, the killer sneaks in to the communications houseboat and disconnects the CB radio, and pushes the small boat into the water, to cover up for the 2 murdered crew members. The next morning, there’s gratuitous nudity. Animal thinks he’s hallucinating and speaks again. He has a huge vocab.

The hunt is on for shooting locations, so the crew members split up. Two of them end up scouting out a barn. The guy goes upstairs, then gets knifed by the killer. It turns out to be the killer’s shed. The girl downstairs cops dripping blood from the body, and runs away, only to be killed with a horseshoe to the eyeballs. While the killer is still unseen, the psychotic woman appears, and talks to the killer, staying they have to now clean up and do something about the mess being left behind. Mystery…

Night falls, more partying continues, with the band head to the pub to party, while the film crew remain, which ends up being slaughteriffic. The killer sneaks in to the houseboat and throws the mobile phone in the water. More gratuitous nudity with a shower scene, only to be murdered on the top bunk from the killer below. Gavin Wood is about to have sex, so as he prepares his doodle to stand up straight, he’s killed with a harpoon. Best murder scene ever. The girl is wondering why he’s taking so long, and find him dead. Killer… kills her too. Outside, there’s someone on the jetski – killer shoots him with a harpoon gun.

The surviving film crew get together in another houseboat and lock up. They decide to untie the boat, but realising they have to unlock the door. Grant opens the door, and is attacked by the killer – in which we see his disfigured face.

A fight breaks out with Grant and the killer, in which Grant cops a machete to the head. The last remaining guy fights it out, but get stabs in the stomach. Two girls remain left. The blonde is found hiding in the shower and gets strangled. The brunette escapes the boat and runs to land, while the killer goes after her. He catches up but he cops it in the twigs and berries. Meanwhile, the band who are at the pub get bored and decide to come back to the houseboat. Also, it turns out the 2nd guy who was stabbed in the stomach is still alive, who manages to untie the houseboat to escape.

The girl makes it back to the boat, and they get away. Hours later, the engine dies. Just when they think they’re safe, the killer has actually made it on the boat and attacks them. The girl creates a makeshift flame thrower on the roof, while the guy throws fuel at the killer, who is then set alight and falls into the water. She checks on the guy who looks like he was burnt, but ends up waking in the back of an ambulance. The Ambulance driver then states that she’s lucky to survive and wanted to know what the hell happened out there.

Did you get that? I got REALLY confused – where did the guy go?

Back to the band members, they turn up to the set a day late. The houseboats are gone. That’s when they meet the psychotic woman for the first time, who is vague on what has actually happened when asked where the film crew were. She invites them back to the house, but they need to visit the barn first… with a sly grin. Would you trust this woman?

Just when peace and quiet comes back to the area, an epilogue appears.

OR DOES IT?

This 1989 film was a direct-to-VHS feature, so it was hard to find a trailer. So instead, I’ll leave you with a Gavin Wood montage (which is possibly the best of the film) and Tony Martin from The Late Show doing a review on this Undiscovered Masterpiece of Cinema from 1992.

This week’s review head is brought to you by Gavin Wood’s favourite friend from Countdown: Molly Meldrum.

Remember, the more shithouse heads, the better.

/5

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Matt
Owner and Operator of Wireless Fodder. Lover of Australian pop culture, comedy, and obscurities. Works in Australian media, enjoys a beer or three. Happily married to an American.

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