Freddy Krueger didn’t really scare me the first time I watched A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET when I was about 8 years old. I saw Freddy as more of a cartoon character than anything else. Maybe it was because he could change shape and had a wicked sense of humor. Don’t get me wrong, I love ROBERT ENGLUND‘s acting, but I found him funnier than I did scary. There was another horribly-burned mangler that traumatized me, even though I wouldn’t get to see him in action for over another decade, the killer from 1982’s HONEYMOON HORROR.
My parents got their first video rental membership in the late ’80s from a discount drug store called Phar-Mor. They were always trying to find a bargain so we ended up shopping there a lot. Their rental section was tiny, consisting of maybe a few hundred videos, but I remember it was usually swarming with people mainly trying to snatch the new releases. I spotted an empty video sleeve which had an illustration of a couple, in their underwear, sitting on a bed, surrounded by flames, and a guy with a hatchet looming over them. I picked it up and flipped to the back to be startled by a picture of a bald man that looked like the skin on his face was burned away.
I remember it looked like he was in pain, maybe because he resembled a normal person rather than a one-liner spitting maniac like Freddy. I couldn’t really tell from the taglines on the box if this guy was supposed to be bad or good, but I gathered that he was the character with the hatchet on the front. The thought of being disfigured by fire scared me more than anything. Since the couple on the cover were in their underwear, there was no way my parents would let me rent it because that insinuated a possible sex scene or nudity which was off limits. Now if the couple who was about to be slaugtered were fully-clothed, that would’ve been a different story. I was too afraid to watch the movie anyway. I think we ended up renting GHOST DAD that day.
Everytime we went back to Phar-Mor, I ‘d scan the entire section to find HONEYMOON HORROR. I would dare myself to pick up the box and check out the back. Half the time I’d chicken out. So when I found the VHS 12 years later in a bargain bin at a video store that was switching over to only renting DVDs, I was finally ready to face the terror. The movie was a sorry excuse for a slasher and wasn’t interesting at all for the first hour. I fast-forwarded to the last ten minutes to when the scarred killer busts through and shatters a kitchen door to hack some girl up with and ax. Even though the gore effects were laughable, it was worth the 7 bucks I payed for this scene and to have the video box. He then gets his guts blown out with a shot gun by, who I assume was, the girl’s lover. He had also killed a couple of other people before this scene, but his face isn’t revealed until the last ten minutes. The best part is, he sits up and throws a knife into a guy’s back from across the room for one final kill.
I read on IMDB that Sony Home Video bought the movie from its filmmakers’ for $50,000, distributed it, and it made $22,000,000 on rentals world-wide. With the images on the sleeve I can believe it. I’d be surprised if anyone who actually watched it wasn’t disappointed. HONEYMOON HORROR was a nice addition to my little video nasty collection. It’s since been packed away in my Mom’s basement and I haven’t watched it for years. It’s such a terrible film that I’m not sure it’s worth digging up anytime soon.