REVIEW: THE TURNPIKE KILLER (2012)

Distribution/Production Company: New York Horror Film Productions
Directed by: Evan Makrogiannis
Written By: Evan Makrogiannis & Brian Weaver
Starring: Bill McLaughlin, Edgar Moye, Lyndsey Brown, Vinny Ward, Ruby Larocca, & Manoush
Running Time: 129 minutes
Rating: Unrated

Synopsis:

In a city that never sleeps, a killer prowls the streets at night. Over a span of ten years, the butchered remains of New York City women have been found dumped along the New Jersey Turnpike. The sadistic fiend behind these horrific murders has been dubiously termed “THE TURNPIKE KILLER.” His search for “The Chosen One” leaving an endless trail of bloodshed and brutality, NYPD Homicide Detective Lloyd is on the case as “The Turnpike Killer” continues to evade capture. Keep off the streets at night, stay out of the tunnels, and avoid the bridges because you can’t escape when all roads lead to terror!

Turnpike Killer Still 1

For the past few years, horror fans have been yearning for a return to the heyday of 80’s slasher/grindhouse fare. This is probably due in some part to nostalgia, but I tend to believe that the horror films you and I grew up with, dear fiendish readers, are simply just so much better than the over-polished tripe that we’ve been fed for decades now. That’s not to say that a few gems haven’t shone through the immense amount of sludge, with even a few studio efforts making the grade. The finest horror fare these days, however, is thanks to independent filmmakers who just couldn’t get enough of the genre classics on VHS.

Some of my fondest memories are of going with my brother and father to the local mom ‘n pop independent video stores and staring longingly at hours on end of that wide variety of titles available with box covers, oven in gruesome blood red color, depicting a taste of what I could expect inside. Upon meeting the director of THE TURNPIKE KILLER, Evan Makrogiannis at a special screening of a VHS copy of the original Mother’s Day, I learned that he too was an independent filmmaker and kindred spirit when it came to the genre we all love and admire. After a brief conversation on the re-emergence of VHS as a popular platform, he produced a copy of his film, THE TURNPIKE KILLER, in, of all things, an 80’s style big-box VHS case. That’s right boils ‘n ghouls, Evan, being a true fan, put so much thought not only into his film, but it’s release as well. Inside I found not only the DVD, but a VHS copy and a signed poster for the film signed by none other than budding scream queen Ruby LaRocca!

turnpike-killer-package

With all of this attention to detail, I couldn’t wait to watch the film (though, admittedly, it took forever to find a VCR because I wanted to see the film in the format it so clearly was meant for as well as the DVD). THE TURNPIKE KILLER is a very strong entry into the genre by a first time filmmaker on a budget. Shot originally on DV, the film was later put through a process to give it that grindhouse 16mm look we all know and love to better match the material within. I’m not talking about the fake pops and scratches Tarantino and co. poorly tried to replicate in his Grindhouse double feature. THE TURNPIKE KILLER looks as though it could actually be a lost film from the 80’s era. With this mood set, I was incredibly excited for the ride I was about to take and I was not disappointed.

CONTINUE READING AFTER THE BREAK FOR THE FULL REVIEW FOR THE TURNPIKE KILLER!

WE’RE BACK!

Ok boils ‘n ghouls, it looks as though the internet is back up and running in the new Backwoods Horror offices and we’re nearly done packing. Time to get caught up on all the horror news, reviews, and everything in between that’s fit to print. We got a blu-ray & DVD of the Unrated Director’s Cut of KILLER JOE in the mail the other day, so expect a review for that film coming soon, along with a review for THE TURNPIKE KILLER, SLAUGHTER TALES, and PROJECT OCTOBER (all three made by local NY/Brooklyn filmmakers, THE TURNPIKE KILLER being produced by New York Horror Film Productions, and written and directed by Evan Makrogiannis – who has a son of oh about 13 or so who also has a werewolf film on the discc I’ll also review…it’s fantastic to see budding indie horror filmmakers). SLAUGHTER TALES, by the way, was made by a (I believe)  15 year old young filmmaker named Johnny Dickie, who also does all the special effects makeup, so it’ll be a joy to see his work.

There is a lot of talent coming out of this area in the indie horror arena. I recently attended a small screening of a few indie horror shorts and a revival of SLUGS (and carried away a signed poster), called the NEW YORK CITY HORROR AND EXPLOITATION FILM FESTIVAL in Astoria. I believe it was the first of many to come and I look forward to being invited back again.

Anyway, that’s all for now. This time of year is SLOW for horror news so it doesn’t look like I missed much, but you can bet your bloody arse I’ll get it up on the site.

Keep it Creepy,

Aaron J. Howell