The Lashman (2014)
Written, Produced & Directed by Cameron McCasland
Starring Shawn C. Phillips, Stacey Dixon, Kaylee Williams,
David Vaughn, Jeremy Jones, David Chattam and Lee Vervoort
The movie opens with a couple getting it on in the woods but their late night banging session is cut short by a psycho killer dressed up in cowboy clothes.
What sets "The Lashman" apart from other killers is that he carries a whip in one hand and an axe in the other - he uses the whip to whip the shit out of his victims, strangle them or to catch them and pull them to him (kinda like Scorpion in Mortal Kombat), then when he's finished with the whip he chops them up with his axe. After he makes short work of the horny couple the opening titles roll.
A film that begins with a topless chick covered in blood running through the woods at night screaming her lungs out always scores extra points with me and this took me right back to the 80s when I watched slasher movies as a kid. Five twenty-somethings are getting ready to go to a cabin in the woods for a weekend of fishing, drinking, relaxing and other stuff, one last getaway before the summer holidays are over. Two couples - Jan and Daniel, Billy and Stacey, and Stacey's geeky brother Bobby. They stop off at Carl's garage on the way to get gas and food. There they meet the local nutjob Eustice who repeatedly yelled
"The Lashman'll git ya!", an awesome cliché slasher movie character who really reminded me of the crazy old man "You're all doooooomed!" from Friday The 13th. They go to the cabin, get settled and later that night they sit around the campfire chatting and drinking booze. Since no one has ever heard of this Lashman guy that crazy Eustice warned them about, Billy decides to give us all a history lesson -
The Lashman was an early settler around those parts who came from the west. He was a leather smith by trade and made his living reworking saddles and he was a master at making whips. He just wanted to settle down and find himself a wife but some of the old locals didn't like outsiders coming into their town. 'One Eye' and his gang followed him home one day, kicked the shit out of him, dragged him along the ground behind a horse and whipped him to near death. An Indian heeler woman found him and tried to nurse him back to health and chanted an incantation over him. This didn't save him but brought his vengeful spirit back instead... Billy's story spooks everyone out and like any good horror movie soon afterwards they hear noises in the woods and see people outside their windows.
The following morning while they're nursing their hangovers and drinking coffee the sheriff drops by to check up on them. He tells them about the couple the cops found murdered in the woods the night before and everyone is freaked out but they do their best to forget about it with some fishing and partying at the lake.
But when the sun goes down The Lashman strikes again, and again, and again, taking out most of the cops until the five friends are trapped inside the cabin fending for themselves with a psychotic killer outside trying to take them out one by one,
Lash by lash...
The Lashman is a movie I’ve been hearing about for a couple of years now and I’m glad I finally got the chance to see it. It took four years (maybe more) to make and I’m sure everyone involved with making it is happy with the final product. It's a by-the-book
low-budget slasher movie with a lot of time, effort and love put into it and it shows.
It's clear that director Cameron McCasland is a fan of the slasher genre because the whole film feels like a love letter to lesser known gems such as The Mutilator,
The Slayer or even Slaughterhouse. Horror fans will recognise most of the cast, especially Shawn C. Phillips of Youtube fame and dozens of other low-budget films.
The cast were great, all playing believable characters thanks mainly to the director spending more time than most films in this genre would developing their characters and letting the audience find out more about them as they interact with each other. Some might say this caused the film to slow down in the middle but I think it paid off in the end. After the awesome opening we don't get to see a lot of gore until the last half hour but when the body count starts rising and the kills get cooler and more brutal it had me smiling like a Cheshire cat. The film's ending was a typical horror movie ending that I’m sure will satisfy all fans of the genre. The only problem I could find with the film is the sound editing between scenes wasn't great at times but for a low-budget independent movie from a guy making his feature film debut a tiny problem like that is instantly forgivable. A cool 'Southern Slasher' with a retro feel to it, Cameron Mc Casland is a filmmaker to watch out for and I'm looking forward to seeing what he does next. And if he wants a funny blurb from me for the DVD cover how about: