Search This Blog

Sunday, March 05, 2017

The Undertaker (1988) - Franco Steffanino


The Undertaker seemed to be filmed on VHS and low grade film. I expected to see a movie that might serve as the inspiration for the WWE character. It might have done so. The soundtrack has that eerie bell tolling in the intro. But that appeared to be the only connection. The character more closely resembled Gorilla Monsoon. The rest of this movie was garbage. The only vestige being Joe Spinell. 

Some maniac is running around New York City disemboweling women. It turns out that a deranged Undertaker is the one murdering people. Stalking the streets at night. Looking for victims to fill his seedy and lonely funeral home. 

Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way. The dialogue is atrocious. The plot is predictable. It is really clear that this is a poor movie. Do not be fooled. I am also watching an uncut VHS transfer so the quality is really poor. This recording has lost a lot of quality that I assume was never there in the first place. Even though this movie is from 1988 it appears to be from the late 70's. This is just another example of the poor quality. 

It wasn't all bad. I am a big fan of the opening titles. The font is great for the time and type of movie. I know that feature is really exciting. It's also a really sleazy picture so it is going to have a really decent amount of skin. A true grindhouse picture that doesn't kid itself. It's just not executed well.

The other shining light in this fog of crap is Joe Spinell. Spinell was featured in this b-movie as its lead. He did a pretty good job. He is most popular for his work in Rocky, The Godfather Part II and Taxi Driver. However, as seen in this movie, he is a great choice for horror. We have also seen him on Horror Movie Project in Maniac. In both movies he plays nearly the same character. Both are really creepy and really weird. Unfortunately Spinell would pass on in 1989 leaving the horror movie world forever.

I was alarmed to find out that I had watched the uncut version. There is actually a worse copy out there. This movie was hard enough to follow as it already was! Why would they cut more? 

Director: Franco Steffanino
Producer: Frank Avianc and Steve Bono
Writer: William James Kennedy
Starring: Joe Spinell, Rebeca Yaron and Susan Bachli
Studio: Double Helix Films and Code Red
Release date: November 1988
Country: United States
Did ya know: This movie was never released to the public and only existed in an incomplete and pre-released form. The movie is a cult classic as it is Joe Spinell's final horror picture.