Tuesday, March 6, 2012

FATAL GAMES (1984) - take it to the limit before you get impaled with a javelin and your dreams crumble into dust

Falcon Academy of Athletics. U.S. regional competition. Brookfall, Massachusetts. An opening montage poses a plethora of daring questions, such as "will you take it to the limit?", and "will you take it all the way?”. Not to mention "winners always take it all" and "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing". While no doubt providing a modicum of inspiration, I think they could’ve done with a few more phrases, such as:

-Don't look back, you have the balls of a machine

-Anything other than first place is pathetic and gay

-Make your dreams come true, or go home and die in a corner

-You better haul ass into oblivion, lest failure catches you from behind and body slams you into a dumpster filled with broken promises

Oh, and by the way, Fatal Games spends the next 80 something minutes subverting this sub-mental horse wind.

Our soon-to-be-dead heroes are Olympic hopefuls in various competitions; swimming, track and field, gymnastics etc. During a banquet, one of our boneheads decides to toss a hot dog into a girl's lap, which I suppose is supposed to represent that the meat industry is living the lap of luxury while exploiting the underprivileged. They also have an impromptu team rope pull (albeit for no socially symbolic reason whatsoever). Being that this is a gym slasher, we get endless training sequences. People swim, work the shit out of the pommel horse, throw javelins around like nobody’s business, and take the shit out of their vitamins. This is acceptable to the audience in narrative terms, being that these activities will eventually end in showering ladies (for the guys), and men snapping towels at each other and playing grab ass (in case Elton John rents a copy of the video).

A group of them decide to go out for a drink after practice, but one girl stays behind to beefily work the free weights, but is promptly javelined to death. Of course, the astute viewer may remember the sequence three minutes earlier where there was a javelin tosser guy who is shown to be a bit of a hothead, and put two and two together, realizing that he is obviously a red herring. Meanwhile, Sally Kirkland learns that the athletes are receiving "retardation injections", which sounds like a really awesome party drug, but is really just a fancy, unappealing name for roids. We are also privy to Sally's apparent homosexual tendencies toward the female athletes (i.e. grabbing the vadge) and mild shame in having to play this part.

One girl is chased by the killer while in the buff (you shoehorn the nudity in wherever you can) through the hallways of the academy before being javelinized. We also get javelin POV shots as others are being scoped out. Our red herring, the javelin tosser himself, is impaled on the practice field from an incredibly impressive 100 yard hurl by our masked maniac. At this point I’m starting to think that the killer is a disgruntled javelin tosser. We then get a short lesbian drama scene (they’re full sized lesbians; it’s the length of the drama that’s compact) between two athletes, which may have been put in to further the stereotype of women athletes being lesbians…or maybe one of them is a man. Honestly, I should pay more attention.

By this point, the staff of the academy begins to get suspicious about all of the missing potential Olympians. However, nothing much comes of it, and we are left with further bits of minutia that further illustrates the Olympic dreams of these characters (like annihilating Bratislava in synchronized swimming, snagging a gold medal, and getting your picture on a box of Hero Flakes). Also, the head of the academy is presented as a suspect, being that he is a bug collector, "impaling" the bugs with pins (a la the red herring in Mario Bava’s Bay of Blood). Lost in all the hustle and bustle of the plot is the fact that Linnea Quigley and Brinke Stevens flashed their asses at some point during one of the shower scenes. This has gone unnoticed by most scholars, but I have the dedication to go through slasher shower scenes frame by frame like it was the Zapruder film (if I can fix my DVD-burner, pics will be coming).

More and more javelin murders ensue, and the ending unsurprisingly involves bodies falling out of lockers and a final girl running around, all the while the score prattles about in the background, sounding like chipmunks being sodomized with a keyboard. In the end, the lesson here is that living life only for athletic victory (and similarly, capitalism) turns you into a roid injecting, transsexual monster; a mad slashing casualty of society. This message may have spread far and wide, but, alas, Fatal Games remains relatively unknown. I think I know why. The title logo uses the same font as Star Wars. George Lucas probably sued the pants off the movie, sold the movie pants, and then told it to go fuck itself.


  1. Is this flick better than Iced? If so, than I will totally watch it.

    Mmmm, white legwarmers... covered with blood!

    "George Lucas probably sued the pants off the movie, sold the movie pants, and then told it to go fuck itself."

    Is that a Mr. Show reference?

    The final girl looks like she's been given Kristy McNichol's haircut and Linda Blair's nonexistent cheekbones.

    You should definitely fix your DVD-burner. You wanna know why? So you can send me a complimentary copy of your English language version of Nightdreams II. ;)

  2. @Yumster
    It is not better than Iced. Of that I am sure. A bit too straight forward (javelin impalement, exercise, shower, repeat). The ending is pretty good, although a bit dark (as in not enough light).

    technically no, but I am always subconsciously influenced by Mr. Show. As the resident Mr. Show historian, I believe these 2 lines were uttered on the show:

    "it'll knock your socks on your ass"
    "we're gonna sue the pants off of them...and then sell them pants!"

    The 2nd I believe was actually a saying already in the lexicon before Mr. Show. I basically just added on to it.

    It's not looking good for my DVD-burner/VHS combo. God knows it's been put to use. When I get a working burner, I'd be happy to send you some stuff. I already told someone I would go through my tapes and burn a couple of things for them, although now it looks like they'll have to wait. I'm sure I have quite a few things you'd be interested in.:)

    P.S. Nightdreams II was rad and as I expected, but it was pretty padded out with repeated footage. It felt like it was only half of a Rinse Dream movie (although a good half).