Friday, September 24, 2021

The Majorettes

The Majorettes
Bill Hinzman

The Majorettes opening credits are a prime example of the 1980s aesthetic that a lot of modern films try to capture. It features heavy buzzing synths and imagery of the flickering title including a skeleton that occupies the space between cool and hopelessly silly. The film itself never achieves this balance but it does a have few surprises along the way. Are they enough to save the film from itself? That depends on the reason you are watching.

The Majorettes starts out like of the other dozens of slasher movies from the era. There are some horny majorettes and a goof in all camouflage is sneaking around and slitting their throats. Since The Majorettes emerged just as the slasher heyday was crumbling under an onslaught of film censorship, the kills are largely bloodless and that definitely lessens the impact of the horror. There is also the strange choice to have layers of voices making dinosaur roaring sounds while the killer does his thing. A slasher in just a camouflage outfit isn’t an interesting choice, especially by 1987 when we had the likes of Freddy Krueger on the slasher scene.

"No, don't flush the toilet, AAARRRGH!"

Then things take a bit of twist. The killer is revealed well before the end of the film and pressed into service by an evil couple. From this point on The Majorettes becomes an action revenge film complete with a shirtless hero machine gunning his way through bad guys. It’s a weird twist but it does liven up proceedings just a little. The Majorettes performs another genre trick by ending on a final moment that is legitimately disturbing, probably the only real moment of horror in the whole film and they do it through implication rather than yet another poorly edited throat slitting.

Where the film really falls down is in its characterization. I realize this is a low rent slasher film and odds are it never was going to have strong characters, but most of the characters in this film don’t rise above odious. I expect that from the killer and the gang, but the majorettes themselves barely rise above helpless targets. 

This is happens to people who repeatedly pee in the pool.

The soundtrack is a delight, a throwback to earlier 1980s slashers with harsh analog synthesizers. It is far and away the most successful element of the entire film. This feels like the gritty kind of score that a lot of modern synthwave music tries to recapture, but this is real thing. A cheap yet effective soundtrack to a cheap ineffective movie. 

In the end The Majorettes has a lot of elements that just don’t plain work mixed with some novel ideas. Nothing here blends together well enough to elevate the material beyond being a quirky slasher. That’s not to say it isn’t entertaining at times, but there is lost potential to be something so much more than it is.  The whole plot is confusing mishmash of slasher movie, biker film, murder mystery, and T&A exploitation but it never finds its voice.

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