THE HACKERS (1987 US) D: JOHN DUNCAN W: J. SAMUELS
"J. Hacker & Sons, odd jobs, home repairs" are a trio of redneck killers who travel about (and appear to live in) their van. Pa (Howard Coburn) looks after the childlike Arnold (Dale Caughel, who appears to be a genuine hunchback) and his mute brother Eldon (Steve Prichard, with goofy teeth and metal half-mask). A blonde woman (who drives a Firebird) housesitting a remote house they are working on is in danger, and gets the boys all hot under the collar. Compared to the majority of regional shot-on-video dreck that flooded the market through the 80s and 90s, this is pretty entertaining. Fairly slick for the flat S-VHS look, and with some genuine off-beat invention in the killings and plot diversions (I liked seeing Arnold and Eldon enjoying themselves at a kids playground, and annoying a fisherman). I also suspect that the filmmakers have their tongue-in-cheek (although that theme tune is mighty dodgy). Shot around Croswell and Lexington, Michigan. The best parts have a similar vibe to Nathan Schiff's (much better) THEY DON'T CUT THE GRASS ANYMORE (shot in 1985), only with less gore and ambition. Obscure as this is, the filmmakers made the even more scarce BLACK RIVER MONSTER the previous year.

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