Honeymoon Horror (1981)

Own it!

review by Scott Hamilton and Chris Holland
See also:

My Bloody Valentine

The Dorm That Dripped Blood

Bloody Birthday

Graduation Day

Prom Night

The Toolbox Murders

Honeymoon Horror

Lava Lamp

Our rating: one LAVA® motion lamp.

Jim found his resemblance to
Michael York a considerable asset
when trying to get girls into bed.
Honeymoon Horror doesn't just fall into the lower tier of slasher films, it whacks its fellow horror flicks on their noodles on the way down and makes a hollow thud when it hits bottom. The film is amateurish, boring, and was obviously made (quickly) only to capitalize on the surprising success of Halloween and Friday the 13th. The only thing that distinguishes it at all is its ineptness.

As you might infer from the title, the movie is about a killer who stalks honeymooning couples. Any hopes that the killer might have some halfway clever motive for doing this dies with the movie's opening scenes. Honeymoon resort owner Frank leaves his wife Elaine at home, but when he comes back early he finds her in a compromising position with local stud, Vic. A fight breaks out and Elaine ends it by whacking Frank over the head with a beer bottle and leaving him unconscious in the cabin when an inconveniently-placed oil lamp falls on the floor and sets the place on fire.

"This is my goal weight."
A year later, Elaine and Vic are married (what happened to Frank was an accident, or so the town believes) and trying to get the resort back up on its feet. Things are looking up because three couples are coming to the island to have honeymoons all at the same time.

The three brides are all members of the same sorority, which brings three additional sorority girls to the island to decorate their cabins. ("People still do that?" asks Vic.) They are also on the island to deliver some ham-handed exposition and to pump up the body count. Oddly, one of them confuses her friends' wedding night with Halloween and brings a paper skeleton cut-out with her. Before their inane giggling and goofy dialogue can destroy too many of the audience's brain cells, all three girls die at the hands of an unseen (and spectacularly sloppy) axe-wielding maniac. This is particularly tragic because they were supposed to give Elaine's maid a ride off an island. The maid, whose laughably fake Cockney accent indicates that she recently left the employ of Ebenezer Scrooge ("This place fair gives me the willies!"), buys the farm offscreen. This left us scratching our heads because not only is her name invoked repeatedly in the expository dialogue, but the characters continue to mention her throughout the rest of the film.

Elaine just couldn't get rid of
her splitting headache.
By this point in the movie, we were so bored that we began singing "Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer" just to see how far we could get before something of interest happened.

The next morning, the three married couples arrive at the honeymoon paradise. While the audience continues its way down the beer-bottled wall, the six giggling idiots profess their awe at the beauty of a tree-covered island and a few ramshackle cabins. Mouseketeer-like, they call out their names to each other and shortly thereafter we learn a few tidbits about each person. Dwayne is a body builder, Sue brought a bottle of champagne to surprise her hubby, etc. Screenwriters call this "character development." We call it "creating dumb facts to provide a way of telling one corpse from another when the movie's over." Linda, by the way, arrives without a suitcase. "Who needs clothes on a honeymoon?" She asks. As appealing as this idea sounds, Linda remains stubbornly clothed for the duration of the movie.

Since when do sorority girls
know anything about virgins?
Thirty or forty imaginary bottles of beer later, the slaughter continues as the mysterious killer wades a bloody path through the blushing brides. A certain level of misogyny is to be expected in most slasher flicks, but it becomes obvious in Honeymoon Horror that the whole point of the film is to depict women screaming and losing body parts. Of the three couples, two of the women die and all the men survive. All of the victims before the final showdown with the killer are women, and even then only Vic dies a rather sterile death.

The killer's identity is supposed to be a big secret, at least judging from the fact that we see the killings from his point of view. Of course, it is brutally obvious who the killer is, even without the picture of the horribly scarred man on the back of the video box.

"What do you mean, 'conjugal visit
time is over?!'"
As with Don't Open Till Christmas, the credits for Honeymoon Horror mention that someone directed "additional sequences" for the film. This of course indicates that the film was probably never completed in its original form, and someone else shot footage to cover what was missing. In this case, the prologue was probably not supposed to be seen as a straight scene. It's sloppily dubbed (even though the actors are heard in the rest of the film), and there is a brief bit where Elaine flashes back to parts of the sequence. In all probability we weren't supposed to get the whole story of what happened to Frank until the end of the film.

"Maybe we can use this radio
to call for a rescue out of this decade!"
The larger portion of additional sequences shot for the film involve an overweight sheriff (reminiscent of nothing so much as Doc Hopper from The Muppet Movie) and his deputy. They drive around dusty roads on "the mainland" providing odious comedic relief. They don't interact at all with any of the main characters until the very end of the film and even then only with one of them. Their scenes scream "tagged on," especially when the alleged "shocking ending" is related to us over the sheriff's car radio. About the most entertainment we get from the sheriff is his determination not to investigate anything. After being told that a fire has been seen near the island resort, the sheriff decides that the guests must be having a bonfire. Later, he tries to contact the island by radio. When he gets no response, he decides that "they've either gone to bed or their radio is on the fritz." Conveniently, this keeps him from having anything to do with the action.

"That's funny... all I can hear are
those kids on the other side
of Crystal Lake."
Besides looking for signs of what footage may have been filmed when, the only other sources of amusement are the 70's fashions still in force when the movie was shot. The house where Elain and Vic live is outfitted entirely in Late American Rumpus Room, with wood paneling on four walls (and possibly the ceiling too, we just can't be sure), plaid furniture, and plywood shelves. If your wife decorated like this, you'd probably want to kill her, too -- even before she whacked you over the head, left you to die in a fire, and married somone else.


Review date: 12/06/2001

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