"The workout will kill you!"
directed by: David A Prior
starring: Marcia Karr, David James Campbell, Fritz Matthews, Ted Prior, Teresa Van Der Woude, Richard Brand, Michael Beck, Ellen Cole Denise Martell, Lynn Meighan, Deborah Norris , Larry Reynolds (II), Teresa Truesdale
(back of video blurb):
"Beautiful young girls in skintight leotards exercising at Rhonda's workout club are meeting a bloody end at the hands of a pin wielding maniac. Also known as Killer Workout, Aerobicide is written & directed by David A Prior (Mutant Species, Good Cop Bad Cop) and stars Marcia Karr (Maniac Cop, The Night Stalker). "
"Just relax, I'm not some crazy killer."
- said the red herring
[review by Erik Threlfall]
Oh where to begin?!!! The leotards! The legwarmers! The headbands! In a tale of carefully choreographed aerobics and death by safety pin. It's as if someone melded an 80s slasher with an 80s dance movie and created 'Flashdance the 13th'. It should have been a marriage made in heaven, but sadly it falls short of being a trash classic.
AEROBICIDE starts off with a model called Valerie who skips around her apartment at the news that she is to appear on the cover of Cosmopolitan. Eager to look her best, she heads straight down to the local gym to use the sunbed. For no apparent reason, the darn thing malfunctions and poor Valerie gets fried. We then cut to several years later and the first of many funky aerobic dance sequences. This involves pounding 80s hi-energy music (complete with thought provoking lyrics like "Hey baby, you look sexy"), very skimpy day-glo leotards and over enthusiastic instructors counting up to eight.
Next, we are introduced to our main characters. There's strict gym manageress Rhonda (Marcia Karr), her carefree employee Jaimy (Teresa Van Der Woude) and local tough guy Jimmy (Fritz Matthews). Rhonda appears to be jealous of Jaimy for some reason and tells her to "just teach the class and stop showing off your tits and ass…", something which is obviously unavoidable when it comes to mid 80s gym gear (skimpy would be an understatement). However problems increase for Rhonda when a girl called Rachel gets stabbed in the gyms showers. Jaimy meanwhile is busy sneaking around in the boys locker room, going through their lockers and waving jockstraps in the air (no, really). Her underpant antics are brought to a halt when Rhonda sneaks up behind her for a good old fashioned slasher false scare. However, a real fright follows shortly for Jaimy when Rachel's mutilated corpse slips out of a locker.
Lieutenant Morgan (David James Campbell) is brought in to investigate and interviews the staff. Rhonda then finds a man going through her drawers (oo-er missus!) in her office. This turns out to be Chuck (Ted Prior, presumably related to the director and for once, not a bad actor). He claims that the senior partner of the gym hired him. The mullet clad chap doesn't make a good first impression as he gets in a fight with Jimmy in the parking lot. However, his physical prowess does impress a girl called Jenny who invites Chuck back to her place. Jenny tells him that she used to date Jimmy but that she found him to be weird because he "likes to tie girls up and stuff", setting him up as a possible suspect. Chuck is too distracted by Jennys, ahem, large assets to care and they end up snogging whilst another 80s number plays in the background ('She's a knockout, better look out, she'll take you out !').
More murders occur at the gym and some pesky kids spray graffiti like 'aerobicide' and 'death spa' on the windows. (Incidentally, a companion film of sorts came out the following year called DEATH SPA aka WITCH BITCH, but that's another story). Needless to say that the kids meet a sticky end shortly afterwards. And so the bodies keep piling up, Chuck is revealed to have a hidden agenda, Rhonda gives out sinister looks and most of the other main characters are set up as potential killers. Yet, fitness enthusiasts still seem to flock to the gym (perhaps all that tight lycra has cut off the oxygen supply to their brain).
But who is the safety pin wielding maniac? Well, I'll leave that as a surprise (as if anyone cares). I don't think I could tell you what happens in the last 10 minutes anyway as the audio on my original copy (on the UK 'Satanica' label) is so poor. On far too many occasions the dialogue falls to inaudible levels. 'So turn it up you daft beggar', I hear you cry. Well yes, I tried that until I deafened the entire population of Dublin when the music kicked in at 80 million decibels! What I can tell you is that there are a couple of twists in the tail and a few unsurprising surprises. I just hope you can hear it all better than I could.
Despite my love of 80s horror and 80s dance movies (yes, you'll find DIRTY DANCING, FOOTLOOSE and other cheesy dance-fests alongside my HALLOWEEN collection) I'm the first to admit that AEROBICIDE isn't a particularly good movie and is a typical example of a mid 80s slasher. I get the feeling that I've made it sound like there is a lot of plot to the film but believe me, there isn't. The main players are unusually competent for a film of this kind but have precious little to do as their roles are wafer thin and overshadowed by the fashions. Too often throughout the film, background characters appear from nowhere, utter their one line of dialogue and then get done in. The emphasis seems to be more on embracing current trends than generating suspense. We get luminous leotards & headbands, big hair, more cleavage shots than an entire season of BAYWATCH and deliciously absurd electro pop music but all at the expense of genuine scares. However, it's these hilariously dated fads that make the film watchable. But just remember, to avoid fainting, keep repeating to yourself 'I never used to dress like that….I never used to dress like that……..'.
BODYCOUNT 11 female:5 / male:6
1) Female stabbed to death in shower
2) Female stabbed to death with safety pin
3) Male stabbed to death
4) Female with big hair has throat slit
5) Female stabbed in head with knife
6) Male bludgeoned with weight
7) Male stabbed in head with safety pin
8) Male stabbed with safety pin (offscreen)
9) Female found hanging
10) Male stabbed with screwdriver (offscreen)
11) Male shot several times