The Back Lot Murders (2001) from Tuna and Brainscan

Tuna's comments in white:

The Back Lot Murders (2001) is easily the worst Evil Elvis Impersonator splatter genre spoof I have ever seen. "How many have you seen?", you might ask. Only this one, but I feel confident that, after I have watched dozens, this will remain the worst. The film was written according to the following logic.


In the middle of the second act, several of the women show their breasts, including Angela Little, Nancy O'Brien, and Madeline Lindley.
1) We haven't done horror yet, let's do one.

2) We have the use of the Universal back lot, but always end up redressing the sets to disguise them. Lets use them as is, and try to convince the audience somehow that the motive was something other than laziness.

3) Let's make the slasher the most obvious suspect, and let's put an Elvis mask on him, since the story will be the shooting of a rock video.

4) Let's make it a comedy, because serious splatter film attempts are always laughed at anyway.

The above is taken from the featurettes on this DVD.
A gay director and very butch female manager are shooting a rock video at night. The band is unknown, but one of the members is sleeping with the daughter of a record company owner. Evil Elvis starts killing people, and doesn't stop till he has them all, although the manager has to help finish up, then does in Evil Elvis.
Brainscan's comments in yellow:

When years ago I rented Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, I thought it a fail-safe decision. Sure, I'd heard the movie was bad but it was also parody, and I thought how bad can it be? That's when I learned that even parody, the easiest form comedy, could be god-awful.

Which brings me to Back Lot Murders (2001). This the latest in a string of horror movies I've looked at in which the lack of talent in writing, directing and acting have been glossed over with a patina of parody. The effect would be the same if you used first-class makeup and hair design on Rosie O'Donnell. What you start with matters... ugly cannot be hidden.

The story behind Back Lot is that of a no-talent band filming a music video on the movie lot where Psycho and Jaws and a whole bunch of other classy movies were filmed. I could see the producer's thought-processes here. It's the same thing that goes on when Duke or Baylor or Stanford brings a 300-lb lineman with a 30-lb IQ onto campus. Maybe, just maybe by hanging around the place the lummox might learn something. Never happens, does it?

Everyone in this movie dies and the killer is the smallest person on the lot. That would be okay if said person used high-caliber rifles or RPG launchers to get the job done. But when said person strangles people, including a couple o' really big guys... well that don't make no sense.

Very little about this movie is funny or good. So the answer to elevate the IMDb score from its current 3.5 to a respectable 6.0 was found in Brainscan's first rule: hire Hefmates and Pets and B-movie babes and mega-sexy starlet-wannabees. Actually that's rule 1.0, which the film-makers followed. Rule 1.1, which completes the first rule is GET THEM NEKKID. That, the producers did not follow, at least not often enough.

One former Hefmate, Angela Little (Miss August 1998) does get her top off. But another, Carrie Stevens (Miss June 1997)does not. That's a crime, too, because Ms. Stevens is the Michael Jordan of hooters, with natural gifts that come along once a generation. So to see her do only pokies is like watching Mr. Jordan swing at a Double-A slider in the dirt.

One former Pet is also in the movie, but its a 40-something Priscilla Barnes and all you get from her is pokies, too.

A few other babes also give up some goodies. Veteran Nancy O'Brien shows off her newly installed robo-hooters. First-timer Madeline Lindley shows off her own large, after-market add-ons and an unknown babe gives good tush.

Then there was Heather Tindell and Jaime Anstead (by the way, just when did folks stop spelling it Jamie and start spelling it Jaime?). Miss Tindell is something of a fitness model who apparently had not given up vital goodies before and apparently did not intend to do so in this movie. Problem is the screenplay called for her to be strangled with her own bra... which she was wearing. No worries because bra removal was all done quickly and after a quick cut a white tube top magically appears around her chest (see the bottom right of her second collage). But thanks to the digital revolution, one may see seven frames with some nipplage. No such luck with Jaime. Drat the luck, too, because this woman is one fine babe. You see her mega-cleavage throughout the movie, but I'd have swapped if for a half-dozen frames of real toplessness.

So how wretched is this movie? Well, did you ever see The Navy Versus the Night Monsters? That movie just comes to a halt without the aid or contribution of any of the film's principal characters. Seems the producers just ran out of money so they tacked on some cheap shit to bring it to a close. Same thing here. Damn thing just stops. Maybe it was meant to set up Back Lot Murders 2: The Hits Just Keep on Coming or some such idiocy, but it just comes to a screeching halt with a lame vow of revenge. Lame is the right word. For the vow. For the movie.

The Critics Vote

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The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D+. Nearly the entire film is shot at night, and the few moments of humor and the exposure were nowhere near enough to save this. 

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