"A TERRIFYING THRILLER OF A PSYCHOPATHS (sic) BLOODY TRAIL OF MURDERS WITH AN ENDING THAT WILL LEAVE YOU STUNNED CHILLING BUT IMPULSIVE QUEENS N.Y." (I know, didn't make a great deal of sense to me either!)
From what I can gather this obscure little flick has something of a following - not much of a following, mind, but, according to some of the comments on the IMDB, many regard this as the hysterical bees-knees of slasher trash. Now, it's plenty bad - bad enough for at least a couple of belly laughs it's true, but it also happens to have a sleazy, sensationalist side which, despite the general level of ineptness, manages to conjure up a certain air of grubbiness, which lingers even after the VCR spits out the tape in disgust just after the credits have rolled.
The 'Butcher' of the (alternative) title is a drifter by the name of Wheeler (John King III); a nasty piece of work with the worst hairdo since Sonny & Cher split. The film wastes no time showing us what a certifiable nutcase he is: after being turned down by an understandably lukewarm waitress in a burger bar ("What are you doing tonight?" - "Whatever it is it won't be with you."), he has a moment of rage (signified by the first of the film's "Booooiiinng!" type sound effects and a close up of his knotted brow; we then see a flashback to his silhouette in a darkened room, wiping a knife, besides a bed where the bloodied body of a naked woman lays (accompanied by the sound of a flushing toilet - a scene which has a certain grim resonance, and goes to show where the film makers were coming from I guess).
Next, in a perhaps unwise attempt at social commentary we are treated to yet another flashback: this time to Wheeler as a small child playing bat-and-ball with his Mother, whose idyll is interrupted by the arrival of a man, with a certain lavacious look in his eye and silk stockings in his hands. The kid (who wins this year's HYSTERIA! award for overacting child) has his day further ruined by watching them go at it hammer-and-tongs (and then some) in the bedroom - and, later, we see him getting soundly beaten for daring to interrupt them. All of which is overshadowed by an undoubtedly sincere but thoroughly ill-advised country-trash ballad with eardrum imploding lyrics like: "Yesterday was a long time ago Yesterday did not understand Now he's learnt how to hate and rape ".
Wheeler's one fucked up son-of-a-gun - now, that we can be sure of. However, this isn't any ordinary stalk-n-slash epic - in-fact it's barely a slasher movie at all, rather more a violent crime flick with vague horror undertones.
At the beginning of the film we see Wheeler arranging a job on the phone (which it turns out is the kidnap of a wealthy retired businessman, Mr. Phillips (Herschel Mays), whom, ironically he befriends before he knows his true identity). The old man, who was organising the engagement party of his daughter Connie (Candy Lee), is unceremoniously whisked away to a remote cabin and has to put up with mucho teeth grinding and eyeball rolling by his captors as they spit out dialogue such as: "You give me any trouble old man and I'm going to get rid of you reeeaal fast like", all in a near impenetrable Southern twang (and often accompanied by the seemingly random "Boooiiinnng!" or "Wooo-whhhoooo" noises on the soundtrack).
Wheeler gets the old guy to write out a cheque and hotfoots it into town so he can cash it and score some grass, leaving Slick guarding Philips. Philips, however, makes a break for it resulting in, perhaps, the longest chase scene in movie history - through swamp and over hill they go, over and over, on and on. Just when you think Philips has given his captor the slip up he pops (he was either psychic or had early GPS capabilities). Meanwhile, Wheeler trundles round town and in-between visiting Kentucky Fried Chicken and various bars decides to look up Philips' "bitch" of a daughter
HATE + EVIL = KILLER is a whole strange kettle of fish. For one, it doesn't fit in with the majority of slashers made in 1981, but, like I said this isn't really a slasher film at all. It's certainly not aping FRIDAY THE 13th (1980) or HALLOWEEN (1978) (as you might expect), like the majority of subgenre films at that time, and that is because it was probably made before them. With most films it's usually quite easy to date them but this is a little more difficult, for some reason - it's listed as being made anywhere from 1974 to 1981, and I wouldn't be at all surprised it was actually made over several years. The only familiar face here is that of future scream-queen Linnea Quigley (who looks remarkably young) as an aloof barmaid; she plays in the film's most infamous scene - where Wheeler makes her listen and dance to country music (which is bad enough in itself) before stripping her naked and humiliating her further by pouring a pitcher of beer over her head, making her dance some more and then forcing her to straddle an unconscious patron in a grim parody of the sex scene Wheeler witnessed as a child (cue flashbacks, as you'd expect). Now, I wonder if that ever turns up on one of those 'Before they were famous' shows? Somehow I doubt it. Actually, the majority of that scene and a fairly crucial bit of a climactic chase is missing from the print under review (I became a little suspicious by a particularly clumsy edit, so I checked a copy of the film I have under the PSYCHO FROM TEXAS title and indeed it had been shorn of about 10 minutes worth of footage!). It's also worth pointing out that the striking image on the cover of this release: of the girl, arms outstretched and screaming over her empty crib, doesn't feature in the film at all - go figure.
EVIL + HATE = KILLER is the kind of film you could imagine playing the grindhouses and moonshine soaked drive-ins of the South, in much the same way Herschell Gordon Lewis' films did a decade or more before (and tailored to a similar audience, no doubt). It has that marathon, slapstick chase (complete with mustachioed villain slipping and falling in pig-shit and mud); a portly black maid, who clearly thinks she's in GONE WITH THE WIND, who, on discovering a half-naked body throws herself into the most over-the-top fit of hysterics I've ever seen; a banjo and country soundtrack that gnaws relentlessly at your sanity; one of the funniest and most blatantly set up cat-jumping-out-of-cupboard peek-a-boo moments, ever; and well, the list goes on.
It has all this but just don't go in expecting many slasher thrills alongside
the demented madcap goings on otherwise you may, ultimately, be disappointed.
BODYCOUNT 5 female:2 / male:3
1) Female seen lying on bed covered in blood (flashback)
2) Male stabbed in the neck with pitchfork
3) Female found murdered
4) Male shot in forehead (only in PSYCHO FROM TEXAS version)
5) Male shot repeatedly with shotgun