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Killer's Moon
A UK region 2 DVD review by Craig Snell

As many of us know, the late seventies was not a great time for the British film industry. Although there were plenty of American films being made here (Star Wars, Superman) our only real export was James Bond and even he went off to France in 1979 for Moonraker due to our tax laws at the time. Hammer was only producing TV shows and our only real saviour was Pete Walker with his own particular brand of terror. Enter young film director, Alan Birkenshaw writing and directing his second film.

Armed with a £170,000 budget Birkenshaw along with his cast and crew travelled to the Lake District and produced a film which 30 years later is looked upon as a bit of a cult classic.

Pete and Mike are a couple of city whizz kids taking a well deserved break in the country. Pete on an early morning jog bumps encounters a broken down coach full of school girls on their way to a singing contest in Edinburgh. After helping the driver with his over-heated engine Pete jogs back to his tent where his friend Mike has just finished 'doing the deed' with a local girl.

The coach continues on its journey but soon breaks down on a country road. The coach is populated by the kind of people who only ever appear in 70's British films. We have the driver who looks like he should be in 'On the Buses', two prim and proper school teachers and a group of school girls all played by actresses in their twenties. The head teacher, Mrs Hargreaves decides they should walk to the nearest village and off they trek. Encountering the local gamekeeper, he assists them by taking them to the local hotel ran by Mrs May (Hilda 'Nana Moon from Eastenders' Braid). Mrs May provides them with food and shelter. Prior to arriving at the shelter, the bus driver decides to go back to his coach. That proves to be a big mistake as he meets his maker via a sharp axe from one of four escaped lunatics.

These four lunatics have broken out of a local hospital where they were being treated by dream therapy. All four of them think they are in a dream and therefore decide to live out their fantasies. They are Mr. Jones, Mr. Trubshaw, Mr. Muldoon and Mr. Smith.

Three of them make their way to the hotel whilst the remaining one, travels to the gamekeeper's cottage where he murders his wife. When the lunatics break into the hotel they kill the headmistress and rape one of the girls.

Killer's Moon over the years has gained somewhat of a cult status amongst horror fans and some have likened it to I Spit on your Grave. This comparison is somewhat unfair and quite wrong. Whilst Spit existed as a rather nasty rape and revenge thriller, Birkenshaw's film has some real heroes and some interesting characters if rather diluted. The killers are as you would expect, very unpleasant but you tend to laugh at them at times due to the rather inept dialogue they speak. Unfortunately all the characters suffer from poorly written dialogue. Thankfully many of the actors' performances are so bad that bad dialogue is the least of their problems.

The lake district provides us with some lovely scenery and locations, unfortunately some of the tent scenes early on in the film are so obviously shot in a studio it rather distracts from the rather pleasant photography.

Lets now touch upon the often discussed violence in the film. The rape scenes are unpleasant (which they should be) and the blood-letting to be fair is rather minimal. I myself find it difficult to watch any depiction of rape on screen but thankfully they are not lengthy and not as explicit as other films of this kind. Some of the dialogue is possibly more offensive. "You've only been raped" says one girl to another as they hide from the killers in a basement. I can't ever see this kind of dialogue passing today, but it was the seventies so we will let them off.....but only just!!

sound and vision

Redemption have done a pretty good job on a 30-year-old low budget film. There is a fair amount of damage to the print. This is evident in scratches and specks throughout the film. This does actually make the film more enjoyable as it gives it a '70's cinema' feel and this is championed by the brilliant X certificate card before the film starts. Just a shame we haven't any Pearl and Dean ads before. The colours are somewhat drab and grey. This adds to the film and gives it a nice atmosphere.

Sound wise, we are treated to a two channel mono track which again considering its age is clear and concise. Dialogue is handled well and the very 70's music sounds terrific. I particularly liked the 'piano' parts of the film's score, I wonder if there exists a soundtrack of the score?

extra features

Director's Commentary
Original X rated trailer (2:25)
Original trailer (1:37)

Interview with director, Alan Birkenshaw (14:35)
Interview with actress, Joanne Good (12:13)

Both featurettes are informative and the interviewer asks some very good questions. Both interviewees are very honest with their answers and give an idea on the trials and tribulations of making a low budget film. Birkenshaw himself comes off as a very likeable fellow as does actress, Good.

Trailer of Nature Morte (2:12)
A selection of colour and black & white film stills.


I write this review several hours after viewing Killers Moon. Do I recommend it? Yes and no is the answer. Yes, if you like 70's British horror, corny dialogue and young girls in school uniforms being topless regularly on the screen. No if you hate all of the above. I myself go for the former.

Killer's Moon

UK 1978
90 mins
Alan Birkenshaw
Anthny Forest
Jo-Anne Good
Tom Marshall
David Jackson
Georgina Kean
Nigel Gregory

disc details
region 2
1.85:1 anamorphic
Dolby 2.0 mono0
Director's commentary
Interview with director
Interview with lead actress

release date
30 June 2008
review posted
29 June 2008