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  Unmasked Part 25 Friday On My Mind
Year: 1989
Director: Anders Palm
Stars: Gregory Cox, Fiona Evans, Edward Brayshaw, Debbie Lee London, Kim Fenton, Anna Conrich, Robin Welch, Christian Brando, Annabel Yuresha, Adrian Hough, Helen Rochelle, Howard Martin, Lucy Hornak, Steve Dixon, Morie Kelly, Bryan Cornish, Albin Pahernik
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: This couple are heading through the streets of London to a party tonight, and have to admit they're pretty drunk as they stagger along the pavement, but once they reach the house in question a crazy old man leaps out at them and warns of a serial killer who is back in the area. Dismissing him, they continue when male half thinks he hears a sound and goes to investigate - suddenly, a cleaver thrusts out of the gap in a fence and an arm grasps him by the throat! But it's all a joke, a prank played by one of the partygoers...

Although to nobody's surprise except possibly the characters', the crazy old man was correct and there really is a maniac about, seeking vengeance on society for the way he had been treated before he took to putting sharp objects into people, and he's called Jason Vorhees - oh, wait a minute, no he's not, he's called Jackson (Gregory Cox), and he's the main villain in the Hand of Death movie franchise. Which in a postmodern manner is part of the film we're watching, this supposedly being Part 25 in a comment on the enduring nature of American horror series featuring the unbeatable bad guy hacking his way through the cast.

During the eighties, while Britain had been known across the world for its horror movies and its comedies, this crown began to slip, and by the time director Anders Palm and his writer Mark Cutforth were preparing their shocker it was the genre entries from across the Atlantic which were trampling all pretenders underfoot, including what few Brit variations were being made at the time. In an acknowledgement of the foolishness of those slasher clich├ęs where essentially you got a bunch of people in one place and had your bloodthirsty menace bump them off one by one, Unmasked was an enthusiastic spoof of all that from a British perspective.

Therefore Jackson finds that by this point in his killing spree the novelty has worn off and he's feeling down: slicing the unwary up just isn't cutting it anymore, pardon the pun, and he needs something more to his life. The tone of this, far from being wall to wall gags, was all over the place, with some scenes intended to make you laugh and others more mournful as if asking for sympathy for the cartoonish murderer. The jokes were funny because they took ordinary British locations and applied extraordinary events to them, so you had Jackson walking along a prosaic high street in his hockey mask as if nobody would be thinking, what the hell is going on there?

But more than that, Jackson falls in love with a blind girl, Shelly (Fiona Evans), who doesn't seem to notice he's just gorily slaughtered her friends at that party, and they begin to strike up a relationship. Seems the burly baddie simply needed someone to understand him, which he doesn't get from his tramp of a father (Edward Brayshaw, unrecognisable from his time as Mr Meaker in kids' sitcom Rentaghost) who prefers to sling insults and denigrations at him. There are strong hints this is actually Jason from the Friday the 13th movies, except here he's been given a voice, just skirting close enough to parody to get away with the references, and it appears Jackson would rather be quoting Byron than going about his executions, but the lure of the machete proves too much to resist. This leads to ridiculous scenes where he'll discuss his existential angst with the victims before doing them in, amusing enough, but the serious bits did suggest a lack of focus. Music by Julian Wastall.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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