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Wacko (1982)

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  • Wacko (1982)

    Title Wacko
    Year 1982
    Rated PG
    Released 07 Jan 1983
    Runtime 90 min
    Director Greydon Clark
    Writer Dana Olsen, Michael Spound, Jim Kouf, David Greenwalt
    Actors Joe Don Baker, Stella Stevens, George Kennedy, Julia Duffy
    Plot Cops try to track down the infamous "Lawnmower Killer".
    Language English
    Country USA
    Awards N/A
    Production Jensen Farley Pictures
    Website N/A
    .................................................. ..........................
    People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

  • #2
    I received my February package from Vinegar Syndrome the other day and realized I needed to start watching the films within or I'll be even further behind on my backlog. I was in the mood for something light so I went with Greydon Clark's Wacko from 1982. I watched Joysticks again the other day so that probably fueled my decision. Some of the cast like Joe Don Baker and Scott McGinnis make their way from the arcade-teen-comedy to this horror parody. IMDB doesn't have much to say about the plot so here's the detailed version from Vinegar Syndrome with some added information--

    Thirteen years ago, at the Halloween Pumpkin Prom, the infamous Lawnmower Killer went on a brutal rampage, murdering several high school students, including Mary Graves' (Julia Duffy, Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker) older sister, traumatizing her for life. Now, after the unexpected escape of a prisoner from the state mental hospital, who may or may not be the killer, it's up to hard-nosed gumshoe Dick Harbinger (Joe Don Baker, Walking Tall) to solve the case before the Lawnmower Killer seeks out a new slew of victims at the upcoming Pumpkin Prom, that is if anyone is able to survive the hilarious horror hi-jinks leading up to it!

    A raucous parody of horror films and teen sex comedies, predating the Scary Movie franchise by nearly two decades, director Greydon Clark's (Joysticks) Wacko features a mind blowing ensemble cast including Joe Don Baker (Golden Eye), Stella Stevens (The Poseidon Adventure), George Kennedy (Charade), Charles Napier (Supervixens), Julie Duffy (The Doctors) and Andrew Dice Clay (Making the Grade) in his first feature film. Elizabeth Daily (One Dark Night), Anthony James (The Fifth Floor) and Sonny Davis (TerrorVision).

    Not the first slasher parody as that would go to Student Bodies from the year before, Wacko tries to encompass the entire horror genre rather than focus on a sub-genre. There are references to The Exorcist, The Omen, Alfred Hitchcock (they love to incorporate his TV show theme), TV's The Twilight Zone, Psycho, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Carrie and Prom Night. I'm fairly certain Andrew Dice Clay's character is modeled after Travolta from Carrie, but his buddy with the glasses reminds me of a character from Prom Night. There are also scenes like the girls in the bathroom that invoke a connection to the disco-tune slasher. I'm not sure if that's because it was fairly recent when this came out or if Clark thought highly of it.

    Since Wacko is a comedy, it comes down to is this funny? At times. Most of the humor stems from Joe Don Baker. It's so easy to think of his character as Mitchell and, in doing so, adds that much more to the humor. He definitely has the best scenes. My favorite is when he's investigating a crime scene and kicks a severed arm out of the way. Later, he mentions how it's the thirteenth anniversary of the killer and Baker's character hasn't slept in all that time. Another character questions this comment and asks "you haven't been to sleep for 13 years" to which Baker replies "I'm 31 years old. You tell me." He also a moment that reminds me of Night of the Creeps in which his detective character has a flashback to that fateful night which changes his life. Except here, he has several flashbacks as he can't recall the truth and one involves him dressed in drag while being whipped.

    Although I find the comedy to mostly be on point with some scenes going on for too long or miss the landing, the murders are incredibly tame and disappointing. After the opening, it isn't until past the hour mark before the bodies start to pile up and most are goofy with tongue in cheek. Expectations should definitely be kept in check in that department.

    Considering the year this was released, a comparison to Student Bodies is inevitable. Which is better? That's a tough call. Student Bodies is the better overall package as it does more with its parody elements and most jokes work while Wacko does little with his parody bits and wants to be wacky without much coherency. Like a less focused Zucker brothers film. However, Wacko has the better moments all thanks to Joe Don Baker. Because of him, I could see myself choosing this over Student Bodies depending on the mood.

    People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."


    • #3
      Growing up, it's possible that I got this mixed up with Halloween III or vice versa.
      Last edited by Bree's Dance; 02-27-2019, 01:59 AM.