Arrow Films, with the re-release of cult 80’s slasher Edge of the Axe, have taken us back to a simpler time. Since the original release of these type of movies, audiences have become more sophisticated and are mostly desensitized to this sort of cartoon violence, but there are a group of 40 somethings who grin from ear to ear when presented with a fiesta of bloodletting like this.
The plot isn’t groundbreaking. It’s very much your normal slasher affair, with the ladies of small town America under threat from a mysterious axe murderer, who’s carving his way through the town one girl at time with a mask bearing more than a passing resemblance to Michael Myers in what is an obvious homage to John Carpenter. But the element I enjoyed the most is the use of computers. The teen element, which is essential in any good slasher, are trying to get to the bottom of the murders, using what looks like a suped-up Commodore 64.
Playing on the paranoia they brought at the time along with the contempt from the older generation, there are serious chuckle worthy moments as they oversell the capabilities of 80’s PC’s, as so many movies did at the time. The dialogue doesn’t age well either, but it does offer a glimpse into another time and some of the acting couldn’t be hammier if they had pigs in every shot. But that’s the appeal. That’s exactly what you want to see and it’s the reason that movies like this have become cult classics. Credit must be given to the location scouts and the cinematographer with some gorgeous locations beautifully captured reminding me of a time in my youth when America seemed far more idyllic.
Cinema like this, is almost a lost art. In a world that takes itself way to seriously, movies like Edge Of The Axe are a welcome break. Thank the maker for Arrow Films who are giving these sorts of movies a new lease of life. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking slice of timeless cinema, then you are barking up the wrong tree. If you plan on opening a few cold ones, ordering a pizza and giving your brain the evening off then Edge of the Axe is the perfect accompaniment. Chris Andrews