EVIL LAUGH- Dutch video cover
2 and a half stars

"Ten years ago something terrible happened in this house...
This Weekend it's going to happen AGAIN."

directed by: Dominick Brascia
starring: Steven Baio, Tony Griffin, Kim McKam, Jodi Gibson, Jerold Pearson, Myles O'Brien, Howard Weiss, Karyn O'Bryan, Susan Grant, Gary Hays, Hal Shafer, Johnny Venocur, Tom Shell, Dominick Brascia, Donna Nevada

(back of video blurb):

       " ... Anyone? ... My Dutch ain't that good!"

choice dialogue:

"You're miles away from anyone. What better place for a group of young interns to come and relax?"

Says the toupee wearing Estate agent to the young doctor minutes before he's butchered

slash with panache?

        This is another one I'd been warned about, but, in time honoured tradition, I completely ignored the well-meaning words. It was elusive cheese and I was determined to seek it out! And seek it out I did...

        The plot is cliché itself but, hey, I wasn't expecting anything startling in the way of originality. What did surprise me though was just how cheesy this film actually was, reaching a level of fondue frenzy I've rarely seen. There was one "Hey dude, like where do I put  the calf's heart?"more surprise in order but for that you'll have to ..[he mutters cryptically].. wait awhile...

        OK, so we've got this house, covered in graffiti- with the likes of "Stay Away!". Circling is a nervy looking guy in a bad suit, and worse toupee, who turns out to be a local estate agent. He greets a dim looking stoner-esque delivery boy, who's there to stock up the house with grocery's for the arrival of Doctor Jerry and his group of medical graduate friends- who are due to spend the weekend doing up the dilapidated house. Barney meets Jerry in the driveway and gives him the keys to the house. He's the first one there and makes his way to the kitchen to prepare a special dinner, but starts bitching when he finds that the delivery boy hasn't brought the calf's heart he needs. As he gets more irate we see someone (face hidden as per usual) creep up on him with a huge butcher's knife gleaming. Jerry gets the knife buried into his stomach and the killer continues the bloody work until the Doctor's heart lies steaming in a dish. The killer lets out a laugh- an evil laugh (well, actually it was more like a girly giggle, but I'm trying to set the mood here!)

       Unaware of Jerry's untimely demise, his friends make their way to the house- and what a cheesy bunch they make! The soundtrack chugs away with God-awful mid-80's soft rock tosh, with some harridan screeching something The victims to be amass... about being 'overworked' (but after this debacle I bet she wasn't!), as they drive along freeways just long enough to let the credits roll. We've got 3 guys- 2 jocks, Johnny (Steven Baio) and Mark (Myles O'Brien), and a nerd, Barney (Jerold Pearson- who also appeared in the Linda Hamilton 1982 slasher bore, TAG: THE ASSASSINATION GAME), who sits around reading Fangoria (with FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING on the cover). Then there's the two gals in a jeep, the serious looking brunette (and Jerry's (now ex) fiancée) Connie (Kim McKamy- who went on to become pornstar Ashlyn Gere) and the perky blonde and super cheesy Tina (Jody Gibson) (who sadly went on to do nothing else at all!). Then, finally, there's a la-de-DA couple, Sammy (Tony Griffin) and Betty (Karyn O'Bryan)- we know they're extra snobby because they're wearing matching tweed hats!

      The guests arrive at the house to find no sign of Jerry, but are greeted by the estate agent, and his grumpy wife, who tries to convince some of them that the house isn't haunted after they hear a voice barking at them to "Get out!" from a closet. He blames it instead on the age of the house, but that isn't enough to convince Barney who's already a bit creeped out and quips, "These things don't happen in New York!"; before adding, "I just hope a guy in a hockey That cleaning/dance number- just be thankful you can't hear the music! mask named Jason doesn't show up!"

      Once the guests are all assembled Connie organises them into a cleaning frenzy, and in one of the funniest things I've seen in a long while they flip the switch on the handy boogie machine and body-pop, moonwalk and disco dance their way around the house, feather dusters in hand! Really, when it comes to cheesy moments this takes the biscuit- they buff in unison, grinning at each other like the Brady Bunch and then, one by one, slide down the banister in quick succession. And, just when you think it'll stop it goes on- and on!

      Connie eventually breaks up the shin-dig and tells the group that she and Jerry hadn't exactly been honest with them when they invited them up for the weekend. She'd been keeping the truth about the house from them as she didn't want to spook them too badly, so she naturally waits until dark to let them know(!). The house, which they've been buffing enthusiastically, used to be, years ago, a foster home for kids. In one of the more gleefully tasteless premises in slasher movie history, Connie lets them in on the house's dark history. Martin, a mean carer at the foster home had been wrongfully accused by some of the kids of abusing them. Before he could prove his innocence his Father killed himself from the shame, so Martin took his revenge by killing all the kids at the house and then perishing in a fire (which is strange considering the house is still standing!). Anyway, this is enough to send the nervous Fangoria reader Barney almost over the edge with worry- convinced that Martin is going to come back and kill 'em all. However, perky Tina comes up trumps and throwing her head back in defiance says, "No legend is going to scare me off. Just give me some sandpaper and lead me to the nursery!". What a trooper!

     Now, considering this is a cheesy slasher flick- and the emphasis here is on the cheese, what d'ya reckon is likely to It's gotta be something of a firsthappen? Do you think Tina is going to be left to sandpaper herself into a disco frenzy or do you think some psycho in a mask, with a demented giggle, might turn up and put an end to the spring cleaning festivities. Do I really need to ask?

     OK, so EVIL LAUGH ain't no high art. By any other standards it would drive sane minded individuals screaming from the room - and for all the wrong reasons - but as a cheesy slasher movie it's a lot of fun. It's cheap; it's cheerful, and by the end it might have outstayed its welcome, but where else would you get a hilarious nod to Robert Wise's original THE HAUNTING? In an inspired bad movie move, someone lurking under a bed hacks a hole through a mattress and when Tina and Mark get down to some naked rutting a hand comes up and starts fondling Mark's arse. In the throes of passion Mark whispers in Tina's ear about how kinky it is for her to play with his butt; she, in turn, says, "I'm not playing with your butt." And in an inspired parody of the original classic moment in THE HAUNTING , "If I'm not holding your hand then whose hand am I holding?", Mark bleats, "If you're not, who is?!" … It couldn't be any classier I'm telling ya!