By Dan Kinem
The way we pick movies at VHShitfest is pretty much all over the place. Sometimes we use online randomizers, other times we just glance at the VHS Mountain and pull something randomly. The way we picked this movie is honestly a mystery to me. I am always in the mood for a slasher movie and I had seen the VHS cover posted before on some site, the combination of those two things made me think picking The Carpenter was a swell idea. I’ve never been more wrong, nothing could have been less-sweller.
Let me set the scene for you: Tim’s in his La-Z-Boy chair on his computer, since he doesn’t have to review the movie so that means he’s either going to be surfing the internet or sleeping. I normally am in a chair similar to his taking notes on the movie. Well, somehow in the time from the movie’s start to its desperately-wanted-conclusion I went from being in the chair, to sitting on the ground in front of the TV, to lying on the ground on my stomach, to writhing on the ground in stunned pain. Based on the cover you’d expect this movie to be schlocky fun but what you get is a dull Lifetime movie with about two and a half decent murder scenes and maybe half of a great line. That’s it.
Starring the hilariously named cult film star, Wings Hauser, he plays a carpenter who will not stop working on the house of a freshly released mental patient (she had a “nervous breakdown” though it is clear she is actually just insane). He looks like a mixture of Gary Busey (a little Jake Busey) and a hideous Ben Affleck.
The movie starts with the lead in the nut house. She has dreams that her 900-year old doctor is killing her with a chainsaw yet still somehow manages to get released. Her and her husband decide to move into a new house and hire a group of construction men, headed by Wings. When Wings refuses to leave because “the work isn’t done yet” you know something is weird about him. He also shoots rats with nail guns. Insert Mullet (name I gave to him based on his ridiculous hair) who will not stop flirting with the lead. “Let’s maybe have a little dinner, what do ya say? Huh?!” The wife keeps refusing his pathetic passes at her. Here’s where the Lifetime-like bullshit comes in. The husband is cheating on the wife with one of his students. The wife is raped in a hilariously overacted soap opera performance by Mullet. I mean, why? Did the filmmakers forget they are making a horror movie about a killer carpenter? No one fucking cares about these characters. Not a single thing you could do with these characters would get anyone watching to even blink. Who made them think they were making something beyond a slasher?
Mind you, we are nearly 30 minutes into this slasher at the point of the rape and there have been no slashes! Luckily that changes when Wings come storming upstairs from his wood-cutting and chops both of the guys arms off! “Just gonna have to learn to keep your hands to yourself!” You want to know what the woman does? She stares blankly without doing anything. She doesn’t even blink. This was the point where the movie could have gone two ways, into a fun little horror movie or the boring steaming pile of doo that it had been up until this point. Guess what path it chose?
It thought 20 minutes of shopping for paint would make good entertainment? Luckily Mullet’s goons think it would be smart to break into the house to steal a bunch of tools. Bunch of geniuses if you ask me. And guess who’s working in the pitch black at 2 am? You guessed it, Wings! He drills the men and goes off on a rant about how poor workers these days are. “We don’t have craftsman. They’re soft, scared of work. See look at this.” Then drills the guy’s chest. “See soft.”
The husband’s little girlfriend is pregnant. No one cares. Wife has semi-funny dream sequence where Wings Busey is wearing an all-white suit. “I’ll dig your well. I’ll make you a bucket. Hey Alice, there’s always this.” Unzips his pants and she screams bloody murder and wakes up. Aka the most retarded nonsensical dream ever. More Lifetime elements in 3, 2, 1: Here comes the husband-hating sister!
Next up comes the wife vs. homewrecker confrontation where Wings makes her shoot the student with a nailgun. Martin finds his girl-toy dead. “You dragging her smart ass filth into my house.” That’s when he gets violent and Wings Affleck has to step in. “Mister that is a lady you’re smacking around.” He stabs his hand into the ground and crushes his head with a huge wooden vice and tells him he’s a big brain smart ass. Sister walks in. “Who the fuck are you.” “I’m just the carpenter.” Throws sister. Alice calls him an asshole. Then he breaks down and tells her it’s the house that’s making him act this way. Then she starts hammering away at the house which seems to cause him actual physical pain. “You’re filthy, you’re dead, and you smell bad.” Apparantely he is hurt when the house is hurt? Oh god, when will this fucking end? She lights the house on fire and says, “You should have been more of a gentleman.” Funky end credits song. Over. Too bad the pain it caused me is never-ending.
“How?” “Why?” “What the?” are some of the questions you may ask yourself after it’s over. I have answers to none of them. It’s so dull it hurts. I have never been more pissed at myself for choosing this. This is one of the movies I’d say deserve to remain solely on VHS. It’s only for Wings Hauser completists or Satanists or those looking to commit suicide.