At the beginning of the movie, we see a child murder his mother with an axe for daring to pull him away from a naked-lady puzzle, then gleefully saw her head off and put it in the closet. He then continues to put together his puzzle because…hey! Naked lady! When the cops show up, he hides in the closet and pretends to cry. The cops – finding the boy in a closet covered in blood – assume someone else killed his mother (probably because the cops in horror movies are usually pretty inept).
Fast forward 30 years or so. A killer is running loose at a college, murdering pretty young girls and chopping off body parts with a chainsaw (if I’m not mistaken, the first victim is having a little “picnic for one” and ends up losing her head). These kinds of scenes are interspersed with the killer putting together the naked lady puzzle. We quickly realize that he’s putting together a human puzzle from the “pieces” of the women he kills. A head from one. A torso from another. An arm from another. And so on. So he’s trying to put together a Frankenstein monster, but without the whole “making it come alive” aspect. Since he kept his mothers shoes and dress, it seems pretty clear that he’s trying to put his “mother” back together. Of course, it’s also quite feasible that he just wants a cobbled-together naked lady in his closet. Whatever works, I suppose.
Apparently the cops in this town are all really busy, so they enlist the help of a college student named Kendall (even giving him access to confidential police files, based on the “he seems trustworthy” logic) and a female tennis pro named Mary (who works undercover with the police, and goes into the college under the guise of being a tennis instructor). This leads to one of my favorite scenes in the movie, when we actually see her playing tennis. It looks as though she has never actually played tennis a day in her life. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a clip. But I guess that just means you'll have to watch the movie for yourself to see it. Trust me...it's well worth it.
Mary is also responsible for one of my other favorite scenes in the movie.
her – getting ready to play tennis after a long day of not searching for the
murderer – find another dead body in the locker room (a girl that was cut in
half). This does not make Mary happy. Please watch this clip. Then watch it again. And again.
Throughout the movie, the police just seem mildly annoyed by the murders. Even when they find out who the killer is (and they realize that Mary is over at his house), they do an awful lot of standing around when they should be running. Of course, I guess I shouldn’t be judging their department too harshly. A police department that brings in a college student and a tennis “pro” on to help with a brutal murderer is obviously hurting for funds.
Also, for some reason, a karate guy in a jumpsuit pops attacks Mary in the middle of the movie. There really isn’t any reasoning given for this. Or perhaps there is and I forgot it. Because “random karate guy” is a lot more fun than “explained karate guy”.
The last scene was tremendous. I don’t want to give anything away (apparently I’m loathe to spoil the ending of a movie that came out 30 years ago), but
Kendall makes this
There were so many fantastic characters (the groundskeeper who gives everyone the stink-eye, the professor with the pencil moustache,
nerdy werewolf-mask-wearing best friend, etc.) and a ton of terrific
quotes. Here are some of my favorites:
“The most beautiful thing in the world is smoking pot and f***ing on a waterbed, at the same time.”
“I guess I'm so used to bodies...dead ones...that I'm callous.”
“Professor Brown – you see – is a homosexual.”
This movie was terrible, but very, very entertaining. I loved it. It was pure 80s b-movie schlock, with rampant nudity and gore. And it was wonderful. I can see myself re-watching this many times. It seems like a fun one to sit around and watch with friends.
He looks like this in every single one of his scenes