I’ve somehow been able to elude seeing 1984’s FATAL GAMES for decades. I’ve never heard much praise thrown upon it and I’ve always been turned off by its beyond bland VHS cover art… avoidance has been a breeze. A friend even loaned it to me once and it sat on my T.V. for months quietly gathering dust until I returned it unviewed. Who was I kidding though, FATAL GAMES is an eighties slasher so it was only a matter of time until I broke down. I could run but I could not hide, I had to get it over with. I watched FATAL GAMES and now a new chapter of my life begins…
Overall, FATAL GAMES (a.k.a. OLYMPIC NIGHTMARE) sucked as much as I thought it might but I can’t say it was completely without entertainment value. If it was just a wee bit better it would be a complete and total washout but its perpetual atrociousness makes it strangely worthwhile for those of us with a masochistic need to scrape the bottom of the barrel. I would have jumped off of this maladroit mobile early on but several things kept me clinging. First of all, I owe SALLY KIRKLAND my attention because she was in THE HAUNTED, which rules, second it was nice to see SUZANNA LOVE’s BOOGEY MAN bro NICHOLAS again, and third, I kind of liked the kills, monotonous as they are.
If you’ve seen 1981’s GRADUATION DAY then you’ve run this lap already. A mysterious maniac, instead of killing humans, has decided to kill athletes instead (yes, I suck at sports and don’t act surprised.) This time the killer hides in the shadow of a hoodie, ala URBAN LEGEND, and utilizes a signature pointy weapon, the javelin. I know it’s wrong but even a terrible movie deserves some points for showing people being impaled on a javelin. I have no desire to now own FATAL GAMES on DVD, but I do have a strange desire to go out and buy a javelin, maybe two.
I have a feeling that director MICHAEL ELLIOT had some fun and was enthusiastic about filming the film’s crazy climax and its bizarre deaths but had no love for filming the rest. I say that because it shows. The filler between the mayhem is pretty damn laborious and I’m not a stickler for continuity, but I sure miss it when it’s M.I.A. It’s night, it’s day, they’re in the school they’re not in school, “characters” say they’re going out for hamburgers and then end up in a Mexican restaurant, I don’t get it. Furthermore, plot lines are presented and never followed through with and you have to hear excuse after excuse about why people don’t catch on to the obvious. Speeches about “winning” and being “the best” also tend to make me want to blow my brains out (or at least nose dive onto a javelin.)
FATAL GAMES must have been simply intolerable on release but being from 1984 it does have a great deal of chewy nostalgia to offer now. I know I usually wave an invisible cane and bitch about the good old days but my eyes done been opened. I’m really glad that boys don’t have to wear nylon Daisy Dukes anymore and that women have abandoned the macramé leg warmer. Some people may find it absorbing that, because of the locker room atmosphere, there is a plethora of nudity going down. If you want to see a completely naked lady chased down a hall then you are indeed in luck. Poor me, I was left cringing at dudes in billowing, bloomer-like “tighty whiteys” that looked like they were stolen from my dead grandma’s laundry basket, talk about your double standards and also, blech.
I’m glad I finally did succumb to FATAL GAMES because really the killer reveal is hilariously awesome and the final fifteen minutes or so are almost up to snuff. The kills throughout too, were acceptable for the most part (we even got a traumafession about one of them HERE.) But even I, master Turdpol (stands for turd polisher) cannot pretend that there is much to the rest of the film besides the type of pain you are usually accustomed to experiencing in a dentist’s chair. If you have lots of friends and you are all raging, sarcastic alcoholics who need to feel superior, you should join together one day and watch this one as a group and trade barbs, YOU will have a blast. Don’t be like me and watch it alone during the day on Youtube eating Sour-Blast Skittles, because that may destroy you or at the very least, leave you making a mental note to update your drawers.