Sometimes I’ve duped myself into thinking I’ve discovered a lost slasher, such was the situation with Cardiac Arrest (1980). With a poster like that, how can you go wrong? I suspect deep down I knew it was just a case of Film Ventures International playing up a thriller to the slasher craze, so it wasn’t a disappointment when I chased down a copy of Murray Mintz’s cheese-o-rama. It’s about San Franciscans being mysteriously murdered and excavated as part of a black market organ scheme. A film kept interesting by heavy police procedural (my favorite!) to offset the dopey antics.
On the other end of the spectrum there are times I know damn well a flick ain’t a slasher, but sorely wish it were. Case in point, Rolling Thunder (1977), a Paul Schrader-scripted revenge pic (think Walking Tall by way of The Exterminator). Never seen it. But that poster image of a Vietnam vet and his wicked hook hand coming down in the same way the pumpkin/knife on the poster to Halloween later would – well, let’s just say a very different movie plays in my head.
In both cases though, there are cinematically primal links to the slasher film. Whether it be the serial killer aftermath of the former or the revenge rampage journey of the latter, their poster arts aren’t completely irrelevant after all.