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Film / Sledge Hammer!

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Unfortunately, he does not talk to his weapon.

"Their bodies had been pounded over and over again by a madman with a sledgehammer, until all that was left was a bloody heap of mangled flesh and shattered bones. There was barely enough of their faces left to match their teeth with their dental records. They never found the boy. Some think he just flipped out and ran off, maybe trying to find help in the forest. If so, he probably died. Police say he was probably taken by the killer. In either case, most believe him to be dead. That is, except for some people around here. Folks in this part of the county say he's still out there, in the night. Just watching. Waiting. Waiting for his mother's killer to return. Waiting to take his revenge. The killer was never caught. The prime suspect was of course the woman's husband. There were no charges brought against him. No one knows who did it. No one. He just might come back... tonight."

Sledgehammer is a 1983 Slasher Movie.

In 1973, an abusive woman locks her son in the closet of the secluded cabin she has gone to to rendezvous with her lover, who she intends to leave her husband for; likewise, the lover plans on abandoning his wife. As the two become intimate, an unseen figure (presumably the boy) bashes in the head of the man with a sledgehammer, then beats the mother to an unrecognizable pulp as she begs for mercy.

Ten years later, a group of seven friends (Chuck, Joni, Jimmy, John, Mary, Carol and Joey) acquire the old house, planning to use it to party through the weekend in complete seclusion, with no phones or vehicles (their van having been taken to the shop for repairs). After the initial bouts of boozing and miscellaneous shenanigans, the group leader, Chuck, after telling everyone about the double murder that had occurred a decade earlier, convinces the others to hold a séance to try and contact the spirits of the dead man and woman, to ask them who their uncaught killer was; in reality, the séance is a sham, merely the cover for an elaborate prank Chuck and Joey are going to perform to scare their friends. Unfortunately for everyone, the séance goes horribly right (as they are prone to do in these types of films) and a hulking being wearing a transparent mask and wielding a sledgehammer is brought to the house. Possessing vast supernatural powers as well as inhuman strength, this enigmatic being (apparently the spirit of the child from the opening, whose possible remains are discovered in a sealed-off closet) sets about killing everyone in the house with its spectral sledgehammer and a big old-fashioned knife.


The film's main claim to fame (or infamy) is that it was one of the first shot on video slashers, along with the likes of Boardinghouse, Blood Cult and The Ripper. After languishing in obscurity for decades, the film received a DVD release in 2011, coming complete with special features such as commentaries, making-of featurettes, and interviews with both the director and horror experts.

This film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: The mother from the opening manhandles her son, and locks him in a closet while she goes to have sex.
  • Carry a Big Stick: John grabs a piece of wood (with a nail in it) for defense, but abandons it in favor of the sledgehammer.
  • Closed Circle: There's nothing but forest for miles around.
  • Clothing Damage: When Chuck fights the killer the second time, his bloodied and tattered shirt is inexplicably gone.
  • Deadly Prank: In a way, since the joke séance summoned the killer.
  • Death Trap: Joni rigs one, using wires to electrocute the killer when he grabs a doorknob. It fails to stop him.
  • The '80s
  • The End... Or Is It?: The film ends with the killer (in child form) staring down from an upstairs window at the escaping Chuck and Joni.
  • Establishing Shot: Yes, filmmakers, we know what the house looks like, you can stop showing it to us for inordinate amounts of time.
  • Fade to Black: After the first two murders, the film fades to red.
  • The Faceless: We never see the face of the killer's adult form.
  • Fan Disservice: Carol and Jimmy are naked when they die.
  • Fanservice: Carol and Jimmy's sex scene, and Chuck's rampant shirtlessness.
  • Fetish: John wears a mask during sex... but not on his face.
  • Fight Scene: The killer fights John, then Chuck.
  • Final Girl: Joni (and Chuck).
  • Food Fight: Joni gets food coughed into her face during dinner, and things degenerate from there.
  • Hollywood Satanism: Jimmy and Carol's bodies randomly appear seated at a table, with a pentagram on the wall behind them.
  • Implacable Man: The killer is knifed, bludgeoned, electrocuted, cleavered, beaten, and has his skull caved in.
  • It Is Pronounced Tropay:
    John: "Hey, you wanna hold a scene, go ahead, hold a scene."
    Mary: "It's a séance, stupid."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chuck can sometimes come off as... less than endearing.
    "Now that's my girl. Now do me a favor, will ya? Get this shit outta here, I gotta go get a beer."
  • Just Hit Him: The killer slams Chuck into the wall a couple times, then tosses him aside.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: The killer, in his child form. To give an example, he bitch slaps the muscle bound Chuck to the floor.
  • Public Domain Feature Films: The movie fell into this after three decades without a rerelease due to the director having no interest in it.
  • Revenge Before Reason: After finding John, Mary grabs a knife and blindly rushes towards the killer, and is knifed to death in a few seconds flat.
  • Runaway Bride: Chuck asked Joni to marry him, but has started getting cold feet.
  • Too Dumb to Live: When the others fall asleep, John (who is looking for a fight) wanders off alone.


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