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The Toolbox Murders (1978)

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  • The Toolbox Murders (1978)



    I just made mention of this movie elsewhere and decided to make a thread on it.

    Has anyone seen this piece of 1970's exploitation gold? For about the first 15 minutes nobody says anything...barely even screams when the killer walks around calmly killing people and they calmly die. It's a very calm movie...but it was probably terrifying 30 years ago.

    It's worth it just for the sleazy scenes and especially the bathtub masturbation scene.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Dobe Dobe View Post


    I just made mention of this movie elsewhere and decided to make a thread on it.

    Has anyone seen this piece of 1970's exploitation gold? For about the first 15 minutes nobody says anything...barely even screams when the killer walks around calmly killing people and they calmly die. It's a very calm movie...but it was probably terrifying 30 years ago.

    It's worth it just for the sleazy scenes and especially the bathtub masturbation scene.
    That's in the original...HOLY SHIT...I can't believe I thought the remake was good....if that chick on the poster is like that in the film it automatically is better then the new one!!!!
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    • #3
      Her titties are a little exaggerated on the poster, but believe me, it's still hot.

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      • #4
        yeah, a lot of people hate the old one. I didnt think that remake was that great. Maybe if I can get my hands on an unrated print. I thought the original was okay. Nothing great.

        I have never done drugs and I never will. I was even the best student in the D.A.R.E. program back in the 80s.

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        • #5
          I love this film...
          Cameron Mitchell is so creepy in this role... humming along during the first half and then offering lollypops to Pamelyn Ferdin in the second. It's also really strange to see Pamelyln in this role, as she's most known for playing that girl on The Odd Couple. The final scene while the credits roll is great, and really harsh.

          I have to say, I love the music in this film by George Deaton... The countryish lounge tunes are used in a really disturbing way, but they're so amazing! If anyone knows anything about him or his music, please contact me... I'm a bit obsessed because I can't find anything on him, and I looked in many places. I would love to get a copy of the music used in this film.

          I should note that I do have a 45 by someone named George Deaton, but I'm not 100% sure it's him... It might be, but it's more vocal music. It's still good though.

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          • #6
            I liked this one in a sleazy sort of way. Also, if you dug Toolbox, you should check out Don't go Near the House. It's got the same sleazy vibe from it that I got from Toolbox, and the flamethrower deaths are effectively brutal. Oh and there are some awesome scenes of the main charater hallucinating that he's being killed by the charred corpses of the women he's killed. Serioulsy underrated flick.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by decommissioner View Post
              I liked this one in a sleazy sort of way. Also, if you dug Toolbox, you should check out Don't go Near the House. It's got the same sleazy vibe from it that I got from Toolbox, and the flamethrower deaths are effectively brutal. Oh and there are some awesome scenes of the main charater hallucinating that he's being killed by the charred corpses of the women he's killed. Serioulsy underrated flick.
              That sounds neat. I'll investigate further.

              Just looked it up, it's called Don't Go in the House.
              Last edited by Dobe Dobe; 01-16-2007, 07:13 PM.

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              • #8
                I find it a little slow, but it's definitely a worthy flick. I hated the remake. Even taking it as a straightforward horror film it was weak. I always have high hopes for Tobe Hooper but his films rarely live up anymore.
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                • #9
                  I remember watching my dad's vhs when i was 12 and saw bush for the frist time. I got the dvd of it recently and thought it was good, probably better then it really is cause it brings back memories.
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                  • #10
                    I find it funny that this was directed by the same guy who did episodes of "Charlie's Angels" at the same time frame.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by abattoir17 View Post
                      I always have high hopes for Tobe Hooper
                      I can't believe you just said that.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CJ_01976 View Post
                        I can't believe you just said that.
                        ...........

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                        • #13
                          third horror movie i ever saw man!

                          genius! i love it! it must have been crazy when it first started
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by nothingshrtofgod View Post
                            third horror movie i ever saw man!

                            genius! i love it! it must have been crazy when it first started
                            The producers of the film wanted to make a film like TCM, yet somehow the final result is very different. Much more sleazier and less classy... (, tcm=classy? what did I just say...)

                            The film ended up as one of the Video Nasties, and I think it was the poster-film for horror film bashing on television and in the papers.

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                            • #15
                              I just found this really good review- both informative and hilarious.

                              CLASSICS OF CINEMA
                              THE TOOLBOX MURDERS (1978 )

                              On account of The Duke believes his work to be very much a public
                              service type affair, I feel it my duty to offer this here advice;
                              Any and all country records you might own, especially lonesome, my-
                              baby-done-me-wrong numbers like, I dunno, Wichita Lineman by Glenn
                              Campbell or Hammer Smashed Face by Cannibal Corpse, need to be
                              gathered up right about now and flung the hell out the window into
                              some oncoming traffic.

                              If you were maybe thinking of putting on some Charley Pride or maybe
                              a Porter Wagoner duet with Dolly Parton, and then, who knows, maybe
                              you wanna run a bath and have some sexes with yourself, then what
                              you need to do is re-evaluate the situation right the hell now.

                              Like Bob Dylan said; You gotta change your way of thinking,
                              motherfucker.

                              The reason for this dramatic announcement has to do with Dennis
                              Donnelly’s 1978 flick The Toolbox Murders. Seems that the most
                              ignorantly suicidal thing a fella (or more specifically, a woman)
                              can be doing of an evening is putting on a record filled with
                              mournful country music.

                              Dig this shit right here;

                              According to The Toolbox Murders, the airing of some country ditties
                              can only lead to this type a chaos; Claw hammer to the skull, death
                              by daft looking drill, prolonged chasing about the place involving
                              nailguns, interruption of masturbatory sexing. Plenty more of these
                              types a catastrophes.

                              Who would even ever dream of throwing on some Bill Monroe, father of
                              bluegrass, in light of this turn of events?

                              In case you didn’t know, what The Toolbox Murders involves is a
                              fella goes about the place wearing a ski-mask and smashing heads
                              left and right with various DIY implements. Maybe you thought
                              hammers were intended for benign shit like putting some nails a
                              little bit further into a bit of wood, but no, turns out hammers are
                              best put to use as an aid for smashing folks heads.

                              Via some Travis Bickle-inspired driving around at the beginning, we
                              are treated to a radio preacher yacking on about “Sin!” and
                              “Damnation!” and “If a piece of the body offends you, cut it off!”
                              and other loving, tolerant musings. To be honest, that kinda shit is
                              the last thing a fella needs to hear when he’s got a ski mask and a
                              toolbox in the back seat, especially if he’s already a bit up the
                              motherfucking left with regards matters of “filth” and “sluts” and
                              such. The hell this preacher cares, though. He just wants to keep on
                              yacking. “Hellfire” this and “sinful” that.

                              Before anyone has time to even give a flying fuck, folks are being
                              slaughtered in remarkably brutal, crunchy fashion. Not that there
                              are many slaughter techniques that sit especially wide of the fence
                              marked “brutal” in the first place, although the BBFC would have us
                              all believe that a claw-hammer to the head is nowhere near as messy
                              and unpleasant as we might once have envisioned.

                              As is their occasional wont, the British Board Of Film
                              Classification have gone ahead and gotten as maniacal as the
                              reprobate in the ski-mask and thanks to their gallant attempts with
                              the old scissors and glue, the act of, for example, beating someone
                              across the forehead with the most anti-social of forehead beaters
                              seems to be a rather tidy affair. Certainly not as nasty as you
                              possible psychopaths had imagined. Hardly a drop spilled, it turns
                              out. It’s all so painless and trivial.

                              To be fair, I’m not entirely convinced that only the censors are to
                              blame for the mutilated nature of the PAL Region 0 DVD. It’s all too
                              probable that the distributors just submitted whatever shoddy hacked-
                              asunder print of the thing they could burn to a DVD without much
                              fuss.

                              I mean the BBFC passed Irreversible uncut, for Gods sakes, although
                              lets not get too demented about the senses; Irreversible was
                              subtitled, after all, and therefore highly unlikely to be viewed by
                              anyone other than studied, learned, intellectual types who wouldn’t
                              dream of raping or murdering a soul outside of the boardroom.

                              But I digress like a filthy fucking chimp.

                              Producer Tony Dido, who also produced the recent Tobe Hooper remake,
                              was apparently inspired to make the flick after seeing, fittingly
                              enough, Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It wasn’t so much
                              that the film rattled his nuts senseless, but more the fact that,
                              even three years after it’s initial run, it was still packing
                              theatres from here to Pluto. What he did was get a bunch a folks to
                              sit down with the flick about a bunch a hippies get chainsawed up by
                              a big cross-dresser, and then come up with something equally
                              zeitgeist-molesting. To this end, Neva Freidenn, Robert Easter and
                              Ann Kindberg scribbled up the whole debauched tale, and the script
                              was flung in the direction of Dennis Donnelly, who had most recently
                              directed some episodes of The Amazing Spider-Man.

                              The Toolbox Murders, in fact, is the only film Dennis Donnelly ever
                              directed, book-ending this grimy opus with numerous jobs for the
                              telly-shows. I mean come on, 14 episodes of Charlie’s Angels would
                              drive any man to start flinging power-tools about the place.

                              It’s a shame though. Toolbox Murders is really a rather accomplished
                              number.

                              Anyhow, what happens is that some youngster of some kind gets
                              involved in it all, on account of the motherfucker in the ski-mask
                              done kidnapped his sister. Why the hell did he do that, we’re all
                              wondering? Why not just poke some screwdrivers or daft looking
                              drills into her, like he did just ten seconds ago, back when that
                              woman was getting all over-familiar with her hoo-hah in the bathtub?
                              What the hell use does he have for a hostage?

                              Maybe he’s trying to get the attention of Harrison Ford or Dennis
                              Quaid, or those other folks who always end up having to deal with
                              these types a fucked up situations. Maybe even Danny Glover, who’s
                              too old for this shit.

                              After about 30 minutes, when the whole kidnap thing kicks into gear,
                              Toolbox Murders makes a rather jarring leap from claustrophobic,
                              blackly satirical, intensely atmospheric grindhouse horror into a
                              much more mannered “The mind of the killer what did the killing and
                              fucks about with the hammers” affair. That seedy first act, inspired
                              as much by Taxi Driver or Driller Killer as it was by, say, Psycho,
                              gets cast aside like some filthy hoo-hah exploring decadent, giving
                              way to a prolonged second act which seems heavily indebted to the
                              damn-well masterful Boston Strangler.

                              Rearing its filthy ski-mask hidden fizog less than a decade after
                              The Summer Of Love, it’s easy to see The Toolbox Murders as a
                              barbaric, misogynist response to those hippy types with their nudity
                              and their crack ganja and their kissing and sexing on the streets,
                              causing God-fearing pedestrians to slip all over the damn place.

                              What it actually has to yack about, though, The Duke would venture,
                              is how hypocritical those old traditional, reactionary ideas really
                              are; a fella on a hell-bent crusade to wipe out evil indulging in a
                              far more deplorable type of evil himself. A fella who finds himself
                              sickened by sexuality, especially female sexuality, and yet there he
                              is, chasing half naked ladies about the place and thrusting phallic
                              instruments into the most sensitive areas of their bodies.

                              It talks about the fear of change, the inability to cope with the
                              passage of time. I mean, come the hell on, the whole flick hinges on
                              the idea that a fella has to try and recreate something time has
                              cruelly snatched from him.

                              A lot of this stuff seems terribly quaint nowadays, but remember,
                              man, this was way back in 78. In fact, this arrived a full five
                              months before Carpenter’s Halloween. In light of this, that first
                              act seems even more influential.

                              Dig this, too – Toolbox Murders, whilst certainly illustrating the
                              depravity of the nutcase in question, and going to great lengths for
                              to give us a sense of how abhorrent his actions are, still asks us,
                              if not to sympathise with the killer, then at least accept that the
                              fella is, by any reasonable standards, fucked in the mentals. He’s
                              inspired not only by some perverted interpretation of the Old
                              Testament, but also by his own crippling guilt, and an all-consuming
                              grief that penetrates his skull probably deeper than even those
                              swirly-drill things are fit to plunge.

                              It’s nothing incredibly earth-shattering, but it does add a layer of
                              humanity that you ain’t gonna find in, say, Friday 13th – The Final
                              Chapter, even though that flick right there is the motherfucking
                              pinnacle of the Jason’s. Toolbox Murders offers an argument a little
                              deeper than shit about mentally ill criminals are faceless monsters
                              fit only to be burned in a motherfucking cowshed and hit with
                              hatchets.

                              So what it is, is that The Toolbox Murders is a flick of two very
                              distinct halves, and whilst the former is perhaps the more
                              impressive, the intellectual workings of the latter see it elevated
                              rather triumphantly.

                              Anyway, they couldn’t just fill an hour and a half with random,
                              depressing carnage. Folks would be liable to think they’d flicked on
                              the CNN or some shit by accident.

                              Thanks folks.

                              Drop The Duke A Line

                              http://www.mondoirlando.com/toolbox_murders.html
                              ^ This site looks really good too.

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