Friday, January 23, 2015

The Turnpike Killer, Horror from New Jersey

There is nothing low-budget about the New Jersey Turnpike...unless we are speaking of the expectations of the motorists who travel on it.  Today we look at a low-budget slasher film from New Jersey, 2009's "The Turnpike Killer" (written and directed by Evan Makrogiannis and Brian Weaver).  Heavily influenced by by the Son of Sam killings, this film will remind the viewer of Lucio Fulci's "The New York Ripper." Complete with a psycho who follows the guidance of the voices in his head, those who lived through David Berkowitz' carnage will be reminded of the reign of teror that engulfed The Big Apple during the Billy Martin-George Steinbrenner feud.  Filmed in a grainy style, this work also has the feel of a late 1970s drive-in horror yarn.
As our story begins, Jon (Bill McLaughlin) is in the midst of butchering several young women in his basement.  After the deed, he will decapitate the bodies and dump the bodies and heads in separate locations.  As we get to know Jon, he is a typical Jersey, working-class hump with the build of a Rutgers linebacker, and a cute charm.  He then meets (stalks?) the beautiful Michelle (Alia Lorae), pictured above.  In a vicious segment of the plot, he breaks into Michelle's home.  As Michelle is involved in a gratuitous shower scene, Jon pummels her fiance.  Our fiend then fetches the naked Michelle from the shower, forces her to beg for their lives, then slits her throat in front of her tied-up boyfriend.  Jonthen guts both of them, draping her organs on the fiance.  The voice inside Jon's head orders these killings for the sake of the purification of society.  The unstable monster sees his women victims as whores and teases.

After some more brutal killings in which Jon initially charms his female victims, he meets Jen (Lyndsey Brown).  The lovely but naive Jen is clean cut, beautiful, and according to the voice..."the chosen one."  Jon has to have her...but for what?  Meanwhile,a wiry NYPD detective (Edgar Moye) is finding the heads oh the women in New York City.  Detective Lloyd believes the Turnpike serial killer is at work....killing in New Jersey, and dumping the carnage in New York.  As Jon closes in on Jen, Detective Lloyd gets closer to solving these murders.  Will Lloyd discover the true killer before Jon makes his move on Jen?
Gory, brutal and hard to watch, all the characters capture the essence of the Jersey persona.  Whatever affection "The Jersey Boys" may have accumulated for The Garden State, Jon dumps it in the river with the heads of beautiful women.  Though much more charming than Governor Christie, Jon is a monster that will horrify.  Reasonably priced on, "The Turnpike Killer" is a jewel for those seeking an ominous, low-budget slasher film.

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