Sledgehammer (David A. Prior, 1983)

This film deserves to be seen as the ne plus ultra of slasher films not only because of its content (one-note teenager-manqués obsessed with sexing and partying, single-setting remote location whose locale is described via tedious explication, flimsy origin story, gratuitous gore), but in terms of its form. It might be beyond amateurish, but the facts of its being shot on video (complete with inappropriate slow motion, baffling dissolves, and ill-timed freeze-frames), scored with sinus-headache-inducing Casio drones, and punctuated with performances that veer between hysterical and wooden, all add to the deeply unsettling feeling that what’s unfolding is found footage of a lunatic artist trying to create a slasher film having never seen one before, and relying only on the tones, shapes, and voices he sees in his head.

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