The Majorettes Film Details
Overview: A high school majorettes are being methodically killed by a mysterious masked figure. Meanwhile, a local gang are involved in suspicious activities around the school.
Tagline: Sis, Boom, Blood. You’re Dead!
Review: In my years of trawling through cheap movies, I’ve discovered that there are two varieties of bad films. The first is the ‘enjoyably bad’ movie, which is poorly made and doesn’t work, yet is still fun to watch mainly for all the wrong reasons. You can have a good time watching these kind of movies. The second variety is the ‘just plain bad’ type of film, the kind that rests at the bottom of the pile. I know I always pick on it, but the first film I bought for review was the Filipino atrocity THE THIRSTY DEAD. That’s just a plain, boring, totally worthless bad movie. ONE BY ONE is a film which falls into the former camp of bad movies. Sure, it’s very poorly directed (by Bill Hinzman, the guy who played the famous cemetery zombie in the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD), the special effects are cheap and tacky and the acting is an atrocity in its own. Yet, I found myself glued to the screen, frequently laughing and incredulous at the antics playing out during the movie. You can’t really get any more ’80s than the beginning of this movie which shows a group of cheerleaders dancing to rubbishy music while a geeky photographer zooms in for a closer look. Creepy janitor Harry is also lurking around, pretending to mop the floor but instead getting an eyeful of the girls. He’s the type of character who enjoys watching the girls undress in their locker room – and, coincidentally, the viewer also gets to partake in this activity. There’s a lot of nudity which gives the movie a sleazy, slimy kind of edge. It doesn’t take long before the murders begin, with the beautiful young girls getting their throats messily slashed by a killer in an army costume. The splattery special effects in this film reminded me of the ones in Friday the 13th, so at least they have something going for them, although the majority of the good stuff has been hacked out by the censor’s knives here in the UK. Now, scriptwriter John Russo wasn’t content to have his film that straightforward. Thus begins a complex subplot involving a wicked nurse (who also happens to be the mother of Harry, the janitor), who cares for an elderly woman. The woman’s granddaughter is one of the cheerleaders and is due to inherit millions on her 18th birthday, which is only a week away. When Harry snaps a photo of the killer, his mother blackmails the villain with the evidence and asks him to commit one last crime; namely, murder the granddaughter on her 18th birthday so that her inheritance will pass on to her grandmother, who can then also be bumped off to make way for the nurse to claim the money for herself. Confused? Well, it explains itself pretty well on screen, although you have to admit that this premise is pretty unrealistic. These activities take up the first hour of the film, and while what’s happening up on screen is pretty bad, at least it moves quickly and doesn’t become boring. The acting, as I mentioned above, is dreadful from the cast of unknowns (overage actors pretending to be teens again), with the only familiar face being that of Russell Steiner, a.k.a. the unfortunate Johnny from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. It goes without saying that cronies Bill Hinzman and John Russo also find cameo roles for themselves to appear in. Now, “what of the last half an hour?” you may ask, and “why is this labelled an action film?”. This is where the film gets really crazy. It’s like at the hour mark, Russo suddenly got tired of his slasher plot and switched track into making an urban thriller. Two young innocents, Jeff and Vicky, are captured by a biker gang headed by a drug-dealer who has been turned in by Jeff earlier on in the film. They are taken to a warehouse, where they are beaten until Harry the janitor intervenes. You see, Vicky is THE granddaughter, and if she dies before her 18th, there won’t be any money for his mother. Meanwhile one of the gang members rebels against his leader and violence suddenly erupts, with the rebel, Harry, Jeff and Vicky all getting shot dead. The biker gang flee back to their trailer to hide. Except that Jeff isn’t dead. He goes to his house, grabs his dad’s assault rifle and goes back to the trailer home of the gang…Yep, incredibly this film has now turned into a REVENGE thriller with the wounded Jeff turned vigilante! I really couldn’t believe my eyes as I was watching this film, and the twists and turns the plot was taking. What follows is a highly cheesy shoot-out in the woods, with loads of stuff exploding and people getting shot. Things culminate in a one-on-one with the gang leader in which Jeff shows no mercy. Yes, ONE BY ONE is a bad movie. Yes, it’s also an enjoyable bad movie, worth watching alone for the bizarre plot and unpredictable storyline. It’s amazing the kind of films they make these days…
Country: United States
Duration: 92 min
Genre: Action, Crime, Horror
Also known as: One by One,The Majorettes,Retratos da Morte,Una por una,American Killer,Αίμα στο κολέγιο,Une par Une