Thoughtless Crimes: “The Toolbox Murders” (1978)


YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY?: Marianne Walter (AKA, adult film actress Kelly Nichols) pleasures herself in a soothing bath, in coiffed hair and full make-up, just in time to meet an untimely, protracted and gratuitously violent demise- unless one is starring in an exploitative serial killer film in which case these types of incidents happen all too frequently -in the 1978 thriller “The Toolbox Murders”, a film typically targeting women and suggesting their sexuality is an excuse for sadistic murder; a perspective both troubling and fuel for conjuring the question: In Hollywood, where had all the enlightened feminists gone?

     Is there anything more depressing than a nihilistic film which can’t even conjure up a new method to disgust its audience? With all of the possibilities for novel depravity, just where are the imaginative sociopaths, misogynists and deviants in the film industry (we know you’re out there) who might add a modicum of truly despairing perversion, if they’re going to bother to make a psychotic serial killer film in the first place? Imaginatively pure evil is clearly too hard to entice in today’s market without the handy insentives of both 401K and dental plans.

    Such predictability of mayhem is in sorry evidence in “The Toolbox Murders”, a film which advances the notion that women who address their sexual nature are (and should be, by disturbingly logical extension) the deserved targets of violence. While not a new idea, this anti-female attitude can be seen as a natural extension of the decades of Production Code enforcement in which sexuality, especially that expressed by women, was met with condemnation and punishment, as if natural carnal urges were tantamount to instincts of the cold-blooded murder of puppies.

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About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in 1970's movies, Drive-In Movies, Film Reviews, grindhouse, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, sex, women and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Thoughtless Crimes: “The Toolbox Murders” (1978)

  1. sheafferhistorian says:

    And it’s not a DePalma film?

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