Welcome back to another Friday Nightmare Reviews, wherein I tell you what you could be watching instead of weeping over the movie that most recently got its release date pushed back. Too soon?
By now we’re all pretty over this whole pandemic thing and because of the urge that some people feel to go outside and mingle, maskless and in close quarters, we’re seeing that this whole pandemic thing is stretching onward from a summer of sickness to a full scale year of ill. I assure you that I’m as thrilled as you are. But I think that part of that restless feeling is that we’re choosing only to remember how much we miss certain things. Like concerts and beaches and outdoor carnivals and other such fun activities that brought us together in groups. You’ll note that almost no one is talking about missing things like traffic or trying to get to work through a crowded train station or things that were a part of the every day grind that would regularly piss you off. In fact, if you were to focus on the negative elements of coming together in groups, you might be feeling a whole lot better about not being able to. And this, dear reader, is where we are going today. Granted, I don’t know that these were quite at their height of popularity like they were in the 80s but if anything is going to convince you to stay home and keep away from too many people, it’s a horror movie about aerobics classes.
I mean, aerobics class is pretty horrific on its own when you attend real ones, aren’t they? It’s a room full of people sweating and kicking and trying their best to keep up with someone up front who is clearly able to do all of this shit better than you can because they do it all day every day. The idea to get you moving in a way to keep your heart rate up and make you stretch your body, ideally to get stronger and healthier, right? So why is it that it seems like it might actually have been designed solely for the purpose of showcasing your lack of grace and inability to move your body parts in any fashion that resembles coordinated? And you don’t even have to attend a real class to know what I’m talking about either. If you’ve been one of the lucky duckies that has been stuck at home, watching the year pass you by in an alternating state of shock, horror and disbelief, no doubt you’ve kinda not moved as much as you maybe once did. There are some people who’ve kept up the activities but most of us don’t have home gyms or even any gym equipment to use, so we can turn to online aerobics for our needs. I will warn you right now that trying to do this without any kind of warm up or any idea what you’re doing may or may not end in tears and not being able to bend over for about a week due to severe muscle strain. Not that I would know personally. Shut up.
Back to those aerobics classes! Imagine if you will, being that uncoordinated dork who looks like a drunken flailing duck trying to figure out how to fly while having one foot nailed to the floor but in a class of other people. And those other people were all incredibly hot women, mostly, decked out in spandex and tights. Well, there may be no flailing drunken interpretative dance moves in this film but there are an awful lot of women in very tight spandex, bouncing happily along to the kicks and jumps and spread eagle leg stretches(?) set to a soundtrack that is very proudly of its time. If this sounds awkward as fuck to you, find out with me why this film was rated only(!) number 23 in IMBD’s inexplicable of Movies To Fap To list (why did anyone think that it was necessary to create a whole list of their “me time” go to films and decide to publish it on the internet??? I will never know and I’m pretty okay being in the dark on their logic) and if it’s actually a horror movie at all as we pull a muscle with Aerobicide!
Released in 1987, this film also goes by the title Killer Workout, because bad 80s horror was never content to have just one weird name to put on the market. For the purposes of this review, I’m going with Aerobicide, not only because it’s featured in a very throw away moment in the movie but also because it’s way funnier to say than Killer Workout is. And what is this film about, you might be wondering? Well, as we’ve seen, there’s something to be said about how horror can sometimes be hiding a wealth of interesting opinions or ideas in a seemingly bad idea. Or maybe just that it a horror movie has some pretty great ideas but without the budget or the tech to pull it off in the way the writers intended. Or sometimes it’s an allegory for something important that the filmmakers just didn’t really have quite the right chops to pull off but the effort and passion was there. And other times, it’s a movie about someone killing hard bodies with an oversized safety pin. Can you guess which one Aerobicide is??
If its illustrious spot on that list mentioned earlier didn’t tip you off, this film is a bit light on plot. And characters. The general premise is that someone is killing attractive people who’ve been attending classes or just working out at Rhonda’s Work Out fitness club. When we meet the owner of this doom spa, Rhonda, played by Marcia Karr, shows off her incredible range of emotional depth by introducing us to her only real character trait: being a huge bitch. If you are worried that you’re going to get bored of watching someone who is destined to grow older and become the woman who screams at the fast food employee for forgetting to give her a straw, you’ll be happy to know that Rhonda’s stellar personality is off set by Jaimy, played by Teresa Van der Woude. Jaimy (yes, that’s really how they spelled it) has a wide variety of scenes that include some screaming, some crying and a whole lot of bouncing. There’s also her introduction scene, wherein she spills the contents of her purse on the ground and a shit ton of condoms splay out on the concrete, which I guess implies that she’s pretty into sex? Maybe? Who knows? It’s time to jiggle! Whatever interesting character developments are supposed to be present in the plot are replaced by some extended shots of some dubious stretching techniques that will make you wonder why it reached only number 23 on that list mentioned before. Set to songs that are very much from 1987, there’s so much hip thrusting and bouncing and crimped hair and spandex, you might end up having to explain a few things if someone walks in on you watching it. Just saying, those scenes kinda go on forever.
And just in case you thought this film was all about showing off the bouncing boobies, it’s got some very throw away moments for the gay men in the audience too. I’m sure that someone on the team thought the close ups of the men pumping iron was a generous scrap to toss out for the ladies, but honestly, I’m not sure that most women are going to be drooling over the lingering shots of their physique the way they were presented. So, you know, somewhat inclusive even for the time. (We’re getting to this. There’s more to this movie that’s of it’s time than just the soundtrack, unfortunately.) And if the pandering shots of arms and guys grunting wasn’t enough for you (it’s not), the ladies are in luck. We have a whole three men to round out the cast, none of whom are anyone you’d want to even make eye contact with at the gym ever. There’s Jimmy, played by Fritz Matthews, who is marked as a creep from the first time we meet him and the film immediately gives all the red flags for being a killer within the first two minutes of his introduction. Then there’s Tom, played by Richard Bravo, who is there and looks and functions like a somewhat lesser version of Jimmy until he’s killed off. I’d call that a spoiler but the guy was mostly just there to be cannon fodder and until he’s dead, you can’t tell him and Jimmy apart. Like at all. Then, because the director has a brother who was also a model, they put in Ted Prior as Chuck Dawson. By the standards of the plot, I guess he’s sort of a nice guy but that’s not saying anything and it’s clear that he’s up to something from the first time he’s on screen.
There’s also a cop character but he’s as generic as they come and all he does is pretend to run an investigation and fuck things up at the end. Again, I’d call that a spoiler but honestly, by the time you realize what he’s yammering on about, both you and the killer have already figured out what he’s going to do and then he straight up utterly fails to do that in a stunning display that would make a storm trooper from Star Wars cringe at how inept that was. If you haven’t guessed by now, there’s nothing really to any of these characters and even less to their story. It’s not that surprising, considering the premise is that there are aerobics classes and a killer. It does beg the question, however, of who this was made for. Like making movies costs money and you would think that this was built around the idea that this is for someone, right? I mean, other than the person who ranked it at number 23 on his list of things to do in quarantine. Considering that it’s a slasher flick, it should be us horror junkies, right?
Well, here’s the thing: while there’s some decent enough kills and some kind of more horrific scenes, this movie lacks any kind of tension. Or dread. Or decent reasoning behind what it does. I mean, there’s a reason for the killer to be killing people but when you find out what it is, it’s the kind of thing that feels like they kind of made it up on the spot. Like they were running out of time with the script and the day of, they sorta threw this reason on the end and said that would do. I guess it almost works but it is the kind of film that seems to believe that horror fans are only there for the bloody boobies and not much else. The plot is kind of a joke and even the kills are pretty meh. The first couple seem to be a lot better, though the movie still loses points in my book for committing the sin of killing off the Black woman first. What did she do to earn the ire of the killer? Nobody knows! This woman got like two lines of dialogue at best and most of it was screaming as she got attacked in the shower, because of course she did. I think the shower bit was trying to be an homage to Psycho but it’s like trying dress up a wilted day old salad with gourmet croutons. Hers isn’t the only naked body you see but it still was kinda irritating that in a room full of other people, this is the only person who stayed behind and this is the only person killed in the shower, thus making her the only person who is nude when she’s murdered.
By now, you’re probably picking up that this isn’t a great movie. If you fast forward through the first kill, the rest of it is pretty good for a laugh in a group, I guess. The ending is ridiculous and there’s some Rocky Horror-esque fun to be made of it, if one is so inclined. That said, you could be completely forgiven for deciding that this isn’t really all that interesting to you and finding a better film to watch. Then again, if you’re the type that’s apt to take that list I’ve referenced too many times to heart, perhaps you could pair it with some lotion and one of the other films that ranks higher on that list and make a night of it. Just make sure that you lock the door and remember to wash your hands.
And with that awkward ending, let’s call it another Friday Nightmare Review for this week. Wow I did not anticipate that getting as weird as it. That said, I never know what I’m going to find when I tour the internet for you to find weird shit that no one remembers. If you find yourself wanting to get a jump on what I’ve got coming up for reviews, you should check out my Patreon. Not only do you get reviews, stories and whatever else I’ve got going on first, you also get exclusive content, including a little preview of the kind of stuff you can expect on the upcoming podcast The Armchair Scholar’s Guide. If, in this year of employment uncertainty, you aren’t able to contribute, that is very much understandable and definitely not a problem. I’m grateful to you all for joining me for yet another Friday Nightmare and I hope you’ll be back to watch another bad movie with me next week. Until then, tease up that hair, keep your spandex on and your kicks high.