by Jef Burnham
Now available on DVD from MTI Home Video.
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Spiker is bad in pretty much every way. The Spiker himself is a huge, albino serial killer, whose weapon of choice is the railroad spike. After escaping the custody of some doctors on a dock and conveniently picking up a box of railroad spikes on the shoreline, he must murder again. The Spiker mercilessly slaughters football player and cheerleader alike in an old, abandoned house. There is also a ghost involved somehow.
The film’s director and star of numerous B action movies, Frank Zagarino, also stars as the Spiker. With scraggly white hair and a brown duster, one cannot help but notice Spiker’s striking similarities to Christopher Lloyd’s Dr. Emmett Brown, circa Back to the Future Part III. A note to aspiring filmmakers: your slasher movie baddie should never be associated with the family-friendly antics of Marty McFly and the time-traveling Delorean. The film also stars David “Shark” Fralick in a supporting role. Fralick appeared in 39 episodes of The Young and the Restless, but the best credit to his name is without a doubt stunt coordinator on Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise.
The majority of the acting is laughably bad. The screenplay is predictably amateur, with one of the worst endings I have ever seen. Spiker incomprehensibly walks into rooms, delivering one slash of the railroad spike, and walks away though his victim is nowhere close to dead. BUT, the worst aspect of the film is the cinematography. Surprisingly, the films cinematographer, Gerry Lively, had previously done some decent work in cinematography, including the Warlock and Waxwork films and the first of the Friday series. In Spiker, his shots of landscapes are fine, like anything you might see in landscape photography, but any shot with a character in it either lacks depth or is nauseatingly skewed.
I’m not saying that Spiker is devoid of anything worthwhile. It does teach one very important lesson: female nudity alone is not enough to carry an erotic scene. In one sequence, a couple is making out, both topless. We start with a medium shot of the two of them on a bed, and periodically dissolve to a close-up of the woman’s nipple and back again. It does not play off as intimate or romantic, but as the filmmakers gloating that they actually got a woman to take her shirt off for this poorly shot and stylistically devoid mess.
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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