Friday, July 8, 2011

Be Kind, Rewind: The VHS Reviews ~ Berserker (1987)

a.k.a. Berserker: The Nordic Curse
"A Campfire Legend of Flesh-Eating Terror!"

Synopsis: According to an old Nordic legend, a Berserker was a bloodthirsty warrior who would feast on human flesh, forbidden a restful death and fated to be reincarnated in their blood kin. Six college students accidentally stumble across the Berserker legend while vacationing at a Rainbow Valley campground, an area settled by Norwegian immigrants. The camp is filled with rumors of a wild bear killing people in the area, including speculation about an old couple who recently got lost in the woods. Is it really a bear ...or is it something much worse?

My Thoughts: Wikipedia claims Berserkers are legendary Norwegian warriors who fought in a nearly uncontrollable trance-like fury. Most historians believe that they would work themselves into a rage before battle, but some think that they might have consumed drugged foods. The Berserkers were known for wearing coats made from the pelts of a bear during battle ...and in this movie, they also wore masks made from the bear's skull and used the teeth to rip open their victims.

Okay, so we have Berserkers, bears, vikings and bunch of annoying campers that are lost in the woods. Sounds like the makings of a great 80's slasher movie, right? Unfortunately, even a really badass premise can't make up for the awful execution of an inexperienced horror director (Jef Richard). The biggest problem I had was the film's pacing. It seemed like every scene would drag on about 10-15 seconds too long. I don't know if the goal was to reach 90 mins or what, but if they cleaned it up a little during editing and lost about 10 mins of useless footage it would really help.

The acting got really bad at times (even for a slasher flick) aside from horror movie vets, George 'Buck' Flower & John Goff who both brought their A-game. The gore was pretty cheesy and there weren't any memorable kills, just a bunch of bloody claw marks. We did get some boob shots, but nothing to write home about. Overall, it was watchable, I guess. It just didn't live up to it's potential. I still thinks it's a cool idea and could definitely use a remake ...a really low budget blood-soaked remake.

My Rating: 5 / 10

Released by Prism Entertainment in 1990. It's a surprising good transfer and unlike most of the 80's 'in the woods' slashers, the night scenes are really well lit. This one will run you about 20 bucks for a used copy on amazon. Is it worth it? Probably not, unless you sick f*#kers got some kind of perverted viking fetish or somethin'.

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