“The Cemetery Sisters” (1987)

cemetery-sisters-both-cover-scans

Directed By
Nick Millard as Nick Philips

Versions Reviewed
25th Anniversary Slasher // Video DVD ©2013, Region: 1, Format: NTSC
(above right)

25th Anniversary Slasher // Video/Olive Films DVD ©2015, Region: 1, Format: NTSC
(below right)

Total Runtime For Each
~58 minutes, 0 seconds

~59 minutes, 45 seconds

Synopsis
Two newlyweds pull into a driveway. How do I know they’re newlyweds? There’s a piece of computer paper duct-taped to the front passenger door of their car that reads “Just Married”. The groom (Nick Millard) carries his wife (Leslie Simon) through the front door. He goes to kiss her on the couch. “Don’t.” she rebuffs. “Tell me [you love me].” The sister of the woman (Leslie’s real life sister, Joan Simon) runs in from off screen with a banshee-like screech and stabs the guy nineteen times in the back with a knife made of tinfoil. Nick Millard’s character falls to the floor, manages to drag himself across the room, and symbolically dies in front of a burning fireplace.

The two siblings, named… wait for it… Joan and Leslie, cold-heartedly calculate their inheritance based on the man’s life insurance and assets with the same adding machine Edith used in the Death Nurse duology. And then they laugh about it. Bitches.

Phenomenal job lighting this, guys.
Credit: Slasher // Video DVD

The sisters clean up Husband 1’s blood with some rags and a bucket of water.

“Did you have to stab him so often?” Leslie asks. I’m going to assume she meant much. To me, often implies that Joan stabbed him on several different occasions — like, stabbed him once, then stabbed him again a week later — which she didn’t do, I don’t think.

Where was I? The blood? Ah, yes, they pour it into a toilet.

The next day, Leslie writes out a personal ad for a magazine wearing one of those hideous floral print church dresses moms packed their closets with in the 80s while Joan’s boyfriend George (the robustly chinned Albert Eskinazi) rolls up in a badass, orange muscle car with a potted plant in hand the hopeless romantic.

“I’m glad that you’re here today, Leslie,” George starts, “because I have a question to ask Joan which concerns you too…” Then, turning to his beau, “Joan, I’d like to ask you to marry me.”

“Oh, George, of course I’ll marry you.” comes the reply, followed by much rejoicing.

This leads to a rapid-fire montage of stock footage of downtown Las Vegas. The forty-foot neon cowboy sign from the Pioneer Club Casino welcomes us with a wave. We meet up with George, Joan, and Leslie inside of a wedding chapel. The lovebirds say their I-dos.

Will George be killed too?

[continued below]

Thoughts (Possible Spoilers)
Well, yeah. There’s really no reason to think these black widows won’t knock off more dudefolk.

The next morning, all three of them go for a drive. “Stop the car.” Leslie demands. “I have to pee.”

“We’re out in the middle of nowhere. [There are] no gas stations around here.” George responds as they cruise past some parked cars and houses.

“Stop the car, or I’ll pee all over the seat.” Leslie pressures.

George parks and gets out. Leslie follows him up a hill and stabs him fifteen times in the back with a knife.

But why in God’s name are they doing this? Exposition reveals that Joan and Leslie grew up in a mortuary and are looking to recapture their youth by moving into another and filling it with their victims, or something.

The insert included with the 2013 release.

_________________________

The Cemetery Sisters is one of five no-budget hack-’em-ups to comprise Nick Millard’s shot-on-video slasher phase that spanned 1987 and 1988 — the other four being Death Nurse 1 & 2, Criminally Insane II, and Butcher Knife.

It’s par for the course for an SOV slasher. There’s not really “acting”, or “production”, or “care that went into it”. The picture is dark and washed out. The audio has a hum to it. Everything looks to have been wrapped in one take.

recurring-nightmare

There’s not much to say about it that I haven’t already said in my past reviews for those other movies I listed. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all. I mean, they’re all pretty much the same thing. They were “filmed” back to back in the writer/producer/director/cameraman’s house, with the same cast, and all feature uncalled-for amounts of kill footage from the first Criminally Insane (1975), as well as shots of rats from Satan’s Black Wedding (also 1975) which are actually from Willard (1971)… try to keep up.

It’s probably not even possible to work out how much of each one is brand new material. I can identify the recycled 70s footage no problem, but I’ve noticed that they also share a lot of the same minor cutaway shots, because time, let’s save it! It’s always confusing when filmmakers splice movies together like this, but I guess it makes for an… interesting experience, if nothing else. Trying to understand why Nick Millard does what he does is futile at best. I’ve given up at this stage of the game.

I should point out that he spends a majority of the audio commentary defending his methodology, comparing his movies to major Hollywood pictures, and name-dropping historic filmmakers & film movements, none of which seems appropriate as none of those things should be mentioned alongside his work. I’ve got to hand it to him, though, he comes off as a well-cultured man. And he’s been pretty nice to me when I’ve messaged him.

The craziest twist on this 58-minute ride is a flashback scene that sees Joan whisked away to a time in her childhood when she brushed the hair of a corpse in her family’s mortuary. It’s weird because the younger version of Joan is played by what looks like a mentally handicapped boy. The casting choice had me shook until I turned on the commentary and Nick Millard remarked that it was his daughter. And then I felt shitty.

Judge Constance Harm.
Credit: The Simpsons, 20th Century Fox

Young Joan hangs around and looks on as her dad (Nick Millard, again) embalms a corpse with an air pump that for some reason makes a cartoon slide whistle noise. Then, she brings her baby doll (the aborted fetus from Butcher Knife) to the basement to peek at more corpses (inserted from Satan’s Black Wedding), and caps it all off by going to “the movies” to watch more of Satan’s Black Wedding, and most of the last act of Criminally Insane. Do you see what I mean now about all these flicks being the same goddamn thing?

In the end, I enjoy this one, but it’s not Millard’s best.

I own two Slasher // Video DVDs of this movie. One was released in 2013 and one in 2015. They’re essentially the same disc but with different menus and packaging. Features common to both are as follows: commentary with Nick and Irmgard Millard moderated by Jesus Teran of Slasher // Video, a Q&A session, a photo gallery, a skit titled Death Sisters, the art of Jazmin Martinez (she did the artwork for the first release), and a trailer. The 2013 release features four additional trailers for Boardinghouse, Death Nurse 1 & 2, and Trashology, whereas the 2015 release features three minutes of “outtakes” from the Q&A session and skit. Both are presented as “25th Anniversary” editions despite having been issued two years apart…

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Body Count
5.

Bod Count
0.

Overall Enjoyability
3 potted plants out of 5.

I Got My Copies From
Ebay.com.
Amazon.com.

Recommendations
Slasher // Video
Sub Rosa Studios
Massacre Video (seems to be down at the moment)