Thursday, December 9, 2010

BODY COUNT aka Camping Del Terrore

(Ruggero Deodato, 1987)
The plot for this by-the-numbers Italian slasher is threadbare and derivative, to say the least. Simply put, a group of young people take a trip into the woods to stay at their friend Ben's parents' cabin. There they learn of an old legend about a shaman who cursed the grounds and still roams the woods in search of victims. Then they are systematically slaughtered, and their corpses hidden in a run-down washroom/ change room near the house. There's also a subplot concerning the mother, Julia (Mimsey Farmer), who is cheating on her husband Robert (David Hess) with a police officer.
Like I said, the story is simple and tired. Deodato does, however, provide a few genuine surprises along the way as the shaman can teleport and manipulate objects by means of magic. This isn't related to the viewer until the end of the film, so many of the murders seem nonsensical or implausible, an opinion that is only reinforced by the characters' completely unrealistic reactions to the situations in which they find themselves.
Don't write off Body Count too soon though. Being an Italian horror film, it does possess a fair amount of visual style and some decent scare scenes, not to mention a fair amount of blood. The score, performed by Claudio Simonetti, is eerie and quite appropriate. Finally, I should mention that the cast is full of Italian horror regulars, including Mimsey Farmer (Four Flies on Grey Velvet, Autopsy), John Steiner (Shock, Tenebre), David Hess (House on the Edge of the Park), and Ivan Rassimov (Spasmo, All the Colors of the Dark). Sadly, only Farmer and Hess are given sizable roles as most of the film concentrates on the younger cast members, who play soulless teen stereotypes.
In all, I would recommend this, but to intermediate viewers only. It IS one of the better Italian horror films of the late 80's, but that's not necessarily saying much. It's not yet been released on DVD in North America, so happy downloading!

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