31 October 2014

Scalps (1983)
80 min.
Directed by Fred Olen Ray.
With Richard Hench, Roger Maycock, Jo Ann Robinson, Frank McDonald, Carol Sue Flockhart, Barbara Magnusson, Kirk Alyn.
This sluggish, gore-sprinkled horror is a mixed bag.

A group of young (and apparently self-styled) archaeologists set out on a dig for ancient Indian artifacts deep in the desert mountains.

But before long, something seems to have possessed the mind and body of jocular Randy (Hench)...something evil and murderous.

Could it really be the angry Native American demon Black Claw, exacting revenge on the students for their violation of sacred burial grounds?

Low budget effort is often too slow going for its own good, a tedious outing undone by poor acting and saggy pacing (particularly the entire first half).

Still, Scalps does boast a surprising amount of enthusiastic splatter during its final third including a very nasty neck slitting/scalping combo.

Hench's gritty getup as the savage Black Claw actually musters a decently creepy feel.

And while many won't be impressed by any of it, nevertheless Scalps may prove watchable grist for the most ardent horror fans.

Director Fred Olen Ray previously did Alien Dead in 1980 (starring screen veteran Buster Crabbe), and would go on to helm various other horrors, including The Tomb (1986), as well as numerous direct-to-vid efforts.

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