Eyes of a Stranger (Ken Wiederhorn, 1981)

posted in: Duane, Jocelyn, Joint Review, Review | 0
A serial rapist/murderer stalking ladies in Miami attracts the attention of a spunky blonde news reporter who is hot on his trail. She’s protecting her deaf/blind sister who she feels she failed in her youth; he’s just a pervert that hates women. Will she crack the case? Why are creepy phone calls from perverts so exciting? Will we get to see Jennifer Jason Leigh’s boobs?
COSDS-Eyes-of-a-Stranger00004Jocelyn:  I was pleasantly surprised by this! Despite it at times having a TV-movie feel, it had enough violence/nudity/blood to prove that it had what it takes to be a notable entry into the slasher genre.  There’s nothing like a good rapist to help set the table in a film. At least with a rapist you have some kind of purpose to the killing vs. films that rely on a youthful injustice that causes the protagonist to act out; meaning is still present, but it’s just so antiquated and boring, ya know? I’d much rather discover some kinky dark secrets and understand why a man hates/loves women to the point of rape/murder. Am I making sense?
Duane: Well who doesn’t hate/love women? And you’re right the rape angle really adds that always welcome extra sleaze element – I jumped for joy the first time I saw this guy on top of some poor slut, beating the shit out of her, and then he undoes his pants. It did at times have a made for TV feel but I think that may have just been the stink of 1981 coupled with the chick from The Love Boat bumbling about. As for your desire for meaning, you will find no purchase here, they don’t really flesh out the killer very much at all. I wanted to know what drove him to commit these crimes, what he did all day long while anticipating coming home to get ready for the night’s exploits. I mean other than the fact that the sluts were clearly asking for it. Also, this movie contains some of the most heinous looking strippers I have ever bore witness to.
COSDS-Eyes-of-a-Stranger00006J:  Uhm what was the fucking deal with the ‘burlesque’ dancer who was dancing so goddamn hard it was like she was doing aerobics? That was insane! There is nothing erotic about watching a woman shake her leg faster than the speed of light. You’re right, we didn’t get a big back-story to define the rapist, although
There were several times this movie could’ve taken the par-for-the-course sexist way out and made the chicks retarded and have them react per ‘Slasher Movie: Damsel in Distress 101’ and they didn’t which I appreciated. I found those first calls to Debbie to be pretty disturbing. As a woman, who’s lived alone for a large portion of her life I can attest to how totally fucking scary that would be. I dug the way the Love Boat chick turned the tables and was calling him, I just wish she had said the same kinds of things, ya know? How oddly arousing and fucked up would it be to get a call from a woman who simultaneously talked dirty and threatened to rape/kill you? I don’t know about you but I think that’s pretty fucking awesome.
I know you’re not wearing any underwear, Razor. I’m going to be inside you tonight. *soft moans/heavy breathing* I hope you don’t mind if I bring my knife to keep you in line, slut. “
Yea. I’m totally surprising you with that some late night.
COSDS-Eyes-of-a-Stranger00014D: Umm, yeah HOT. But to be fair the role reversal there doesn’t really have the same impact. A 300 pound angry bald dude at home alone while some filthy-mouthed woman calls up and makes threats about sexual violence? Yeah, come on over. I’ll get out the lard/spatula. 
 I also LOVED the end segment – how could anyone resist fucking with the blind/deaf girl? And when he sticks his tongue in her mouth? That was fucking AWESOME.
COSDS-Eyes-of-a-Stranger00015My only gripe other than them shying away from showing the actual raping of the girls is that it seemed a bit too short. I could have totally done with an extra 30 minutes of back story on the killer and have that ending not so rushed.
Also worth mentioning are the effects done by the much reviled Mr. Tom Savini. As much of an assclown as he is, he certainly did know his way around in the FX department. Eyes of a Stranger relies more on creep factor than actual gore, but the violence that is there is extremely well done and satisfying to say the least. Also I love all those dark night time shots of women getting stalked and fucked up; that kind of thing really adds to the overall mood/creepiness of the film.
J/D:  This is certainly a yummy slice of early 80s slasher pie; competently directed by the man who helmed such classics as Shock Waves and Return of the Living Dead Part II. If you’re looking for something a little different and have a bit of a perverted streak, do yourself a favor and check out this little gem. You’ll be treated to all manner of zany weatherman antics, 6 or 7 boobs, some grue, some rape, some dirty phone calls and most importantly: the taunting of the handicapped. You gotta keep the disadvantaged in their place, yo.

Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:

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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.

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