First up he interviews a friend of the dead girl, Lee Faulkner, who nonchalantly says, "It's been real sad"; with all the emotion of someone reading a shopping list. Which got me to wondering if this was some kind of subtle clue or she was in fact just 100% wooden- then I remembered what film I was watching and settled on Just be thankful you can't hear the scintilating dialoguethe latter. It also happens to be Lee's birthday, and, revelling in bad taste, she throws a big party that very night, where her guests and us (the lucky viewer) are 'treated' to a interminable magic show (accompanied by a guy playing a cello- like, why?), which makes the one in TERROR TRAIN look positively mind bending in comparison. It's here, also, where we get to meet our superstar to be: no less than Kevin Costner; who's playing Lee's snotty boyfriend (and No. 1 suspect), Jimmy Scott. Jimmy and Lee have an argument, she strops out to go for a night-time and (quelle surprise) topless swim, where she doggy paddles right into the 'Black Angel' (who's obviously seen THE PROWLER). Dead Co-ed No. 2.

        With Lee excused from thespian duties we're (finally) introduced to this flicks final girl- Judy. Ah, yes- sweet Judy. If I thought Lee was wooden I really hadn't seen anything yet- Judy blands her out of the water by Who has the more charisma- Judy or that charming statuette? The jury's still out on that onehaving a slightly quizzical (as she clearly tries to remember her lines), yet empty stare and looks utterly bored throughout the entire running time of the picture. Like a Marsha Brady crossed with Dana Kimmell (on horse tranquillisers, natch) she has a bedroom full of gonks and wears more make-up in bed than out of it. She lives with her hotheaded brother and his wife, and starts getting threatening phonecalls- the voice at the other end of the phone growling, "I'm coming to get you!", which barely causes a raised eyebrow from our girl. In-fact, she's more worried about how she's going to get to see Morgan, her boyfriend with the handlebar mustache, without her over protective brother The 3 faces of Judy: puzzled, puzzled and puzzled.ruining the fun. She don't need no psycho-killer cramping her style. Oh, Judy!

        SHADOWS RUN BLACK is seriously bad. Yet, like most properly bad movies (not those bad purely by their corporate blandness), it makes oddly compulsive viewing. The acting is uniformly dreadful, there is barely any attempt at continuity (supposedly all these girls know each other but we never see them together), characters are introduced and then vanish without any explanation, there's barely any gore and the film makers clearly think they can blind us to the general ineptitude by an almost continual parade of bouncing breasts (practically the only woman who doesn't get them out at some point is an There'll be hell toupee if Kevin Costner hears about this!overweight lesbian; and one victim-to-be does the whole checking out the house thing completely in the buff!).

       Really, the majority of the fun to be had here is to just see, as the film limps on, if it can possibly get any worse. And, by jimminy, it does- what with the cop trying to hold his head still so his syrup-of-figs doesn't slip; the killer's eyeball rolling, teeth gnashing unmasking; Judy's attempts to sneak away from the killer by clip-clopping down an echoing corridor in high heels; and, of course, Kevin Costner's face as he slowly realises that his career could be over before it even began.

      Mesmerisingly atrocious; it manages to get that extra half a star for going that extra cheese mile.

BODYCOUNT 8   bodycount!   female:3 / male:5

       1) Male killed (method unseen)
       2) Female has car hood slammed shut on her (mostly offscreen)
       3) Female strangled in swimming pool
       4) Female stabbed to death
       5) Female killed (method unseen)
       6) Female gets a cleaver to the side of the head
       7) Male shot dead
       8) Male shot and falls to his death