HAVE A NICE WEEKEND - Rare UK video cover
1 and a half  stars   
"Savage brutal and horrific."

directed by: Michael Walters
starring: Michael B. Miller, Peter Dompe, Valerie Shepherd, Nikki Counselman, Colette Bablon, Patricia Joyce

(back of video blurb):

"A weekend on an exclusive paradise island brings together a family parted for many years.

Changes of characetr have stretched the family bond further and further apart.

Now only one blood line connects the family - The Blood Line of Murder.

Savage, brutal and horrific are the only words that can describe the murders that surround the family.

Can the murderer be caught before the family becomes extinct.

With a family like this, would you Have A Nice Weekend."

choice dialogue:

"Sandwiches, kind of a one man job."

It's etched on my brain for all eternity

slash with panache?

[review by Justin Kerswell]

As the old saying goes, sometimes it's best to leave some things buried. HAVE A NICE WEEKEND is impossibly rare, but maybe we should count that as a blessing (and a curse on me than I unearthed it!) ...

Chameleons and red herrings ...

A soldier, Chris, returns from the war in 'Nam and phones his Father, Paul, insisting that he summons the whole family together, as he has something to tell them; he also insists that they meet at the old Summer house, even though the Autumn is now in full swing. After speaking to his Father, Chris takes off his uniform, changing into civvies, and burns it in an old oil drum; but not before having a few good old fashioned war flashbacks.

Chris returns to his home, the typical small town Americana, where he meets up with old friend, Frank, the football coach and handyman for the family. He is also greeted by his Mother, Laura, as well as his sister, Muffy, whose back for the weekend with her best friend, Ellen. Together, they get the boat out to the isolated island where the Summer house is located, even though their trip doesn't start off well as the boat driver is literally dripping with contempt, "Off-season you abandon me!", the old seadog grumbles menacingly.

It turns out that there is another couple living on the island, Donald and Joan Crab, who the group invite over for dinner. Curiously, Ellen presents a butcher's knife to Laura at the table as a gift(!); even more curious, Paul, who's about to carve the roast, picks up the knife and seems entranced by it, "My God, what a blade!", he enthuses strangely. Not to be outdone by his parents, Chris smashes the radio, which is reporting on the war, before explaining, "I've had enough of killing!". Understandably, tensions are running a little high, so much so that Laura lets forth a vent at Frank the next morning, "I don't like the way you prepared the rosebushes - it's a disgrace!"; Frank just tells her to get stuffed.

However, someone does seem to have a problem with Frank's topiary, as he is slashed to death as he gradens by an unseen assailant, with the butcher's knife that was used during dinner. His body is found by Ellen (who just doesn't seem to understand that he's dead - perhaps she thought he was having a nap?) and Donald, whilst they are are for a stroll. They summon the group and decide it must be an intruder on the island, but the discovery of the murder weapon seems to point the finger at one of them. Pretty soon fingers are pointing all over the place as red herrings literally come tumbling out of closets and from behind doors - illicit affairs, mental imbalances & boss-eyed arguments - nobody is short of a motive, no matter how dumb. So it isn't long before another body turns up, this time a hoe is used to bash out the victim's brains ...

Hoe, hoe homicide!

HAVE A NICE WEEKEND is a curious one, alright. It's certainly a proto-slasher, mixing in those elements from Agatha Christie's TEN LITTLE INDIANS together with some mild gore murders. Unfortunately, the acting is generally flatter than a pancake, which isn't helped by a stilted script stuffed full of achingly stiff dialogue said without much emotion or conviction. What can I say? It's like a TV movie without any panache - yeah, that does sound bad, doesn't it.

What makes it worse, although the tagline makes it sound like the whole cast will be whittled down, in-fact only three bodies pile up leaving an embarrassed looking cast shuffling back to the mainland just before the killer is undentified in a very unclimactic, headscratching finale; followed by an epilogue, which comes after the legend THE END, which attempts to explain what has just happend.

"Sandwiches, kinda a one man job ..." ... ARRGGGHHH!

There's not a lot to recommend this film, unfortunately. I only watched it a couple of hours ago and I'm already having trouble remembering it (although the intrusive, mock-classical soundtrack gave me a headache)! Some unintentional humourous touches lifted the tedium intermitently, with the household walking round the house eyeing each other nervously, especially in daftly convoluted scenes where various characters happen to be holding a cut throat razor (a woman, no less!), and someone manages to get blood all over their hands after cutting themselves whilst chopping a grapefruit. Also, you'll feel like topping yourself after hearing Joan saying, in monotone, "Sandwiches, kind of a one man job", for the hundreth time, to stop Ellen from helping her make the, er, sandwiches (presumably in case she took a swipe at her with the butter knife). Also, I had trouble keeping a straight face as Ellen affectionately called her best friend "Muff"!

The most interesting thing I can say about this very slight genre peice is that it might have inspired Fred Walton's much more entertaining APRIL FOOL'S DAY (1986): an isolated island and Muffy. Hmmm, I wonder ...

HAVE A NICE WEEKEND was all rainy Sunday and no Friday or Saturday night glitz at all. Avoid.


3   bodycount!   female:0 / male:3

       1) Male slashed to death with a butcher's knife
       2) Male beaten over the head with a hoe
       3) Male killed with a hook