The film wastes no time in introducing us to Dr Chopper (Ed Brigadier), a respected plastic surgeon who delights in hacking his patients to pieces. When cops trace a motorcycle (a chopper, of course) that was spotted near the abduction of a young couple, it leads them to the Dr's surgery. They walk in on a terrible bloodbath. But the Dr has already vanished ...
The action then fast-forwards to "20 Years Later", and we meet miserable teenager Nick (Robert Adamson). He turns up at girlfriend Jessica's (Chelsey Crisp) house during the Christmas holidays with the newly found deeds to a log cabin in Lake Tatonka - a getaway that his late mother secretly owned for the past two decades.
Seeing as though Nick has never known who his father was and therefore has no-one to quiz about the cabin, Jessica suggests that they meet up with pals Reese (Chase Hoyt) and Tamara (Ashley McCarthy), and travel up to Lake Tatonka for the weekend to investigate.
What these hapless teens couldn't possibly know - but what we witness - is that something evil lurks in the country cabin, and is at that moment busy dispersing of lesbian Donna (Miranda Kwok) who has used it to make out with lover Leslie (Rose Swim) in ...
So, our quartet of unwitting 90120 rejects set off to the hills, accompanied by wild card Jimmy (the wonderfully named Butch Hansen) who's invited himself along for a weekend of boozing and potential fucking.
Before they reach the cabin, the group stop off at the nearest supplies store and run into the distraught Leslie, who warns of something wicked waiting for them in the woods. Jimmy spies a whole host of "missing persons" ads on the store's notice board too. But, no, the group are not perturbed and continue onward towards the cabin.
But upon their arrival, the group are a tad freaked out to see a masked figure lurking in the nearby bushes, sat astride a chopper motorcycle. Could it possibly be the legendary Dr Chopper, said to have disappeared in the vicinity years earlier, leaving a trail of dismembered bodies in his wake?
What more could you want from a horror film premise? How about grizzled local cop Terrell (Costas Mandylor) who has his own grudge to bear, and the suspicious new young recruit Robert (Benjamin Keepers) who insists on sticking around to help him find the local missing kids ("people are going missing, body parts have been found")?
Or a group of college cuties who frolic into the woods as part of a sorority house initiation that involves them smoking dope and stripping down to their bras?
The fact that any of these people are in these woods, let alone all of them, makes little sense, but at least allows the promise of a bigger body count.
After an inordinate amount of time spent watching the teenagers bicker and Terrell continually attempt to persuade Robert to get the next bus out of town, the film finally starts to make good on that promise of a body count. But by then you'll be (un)lucky if you're still watching.
This is uninspired and lifeless for the most part, with pedestrian direction from Lewis Schoenbrun that gives DR CHOPPER the feel of a cheap made-for-TV film with added gore.
Kudos for screenwriter Ian Holt's attempts to breathe flesh into Dr Chopper's character, aiming to add dimensions to the monster that aspire to give us a tangible antihero in the mould of the finest horror film franchises. Alas, low budget FX and poor acting undo his work.
The plot point concerning Dr Chopper and his loyal nurses harvesting body parts to keep their own bodies from degenerating following too many self-performed transplants is not unlike the motives of Dr Freudstein in THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY. But whereas Fulci's film is rounded out by superb Gothic atmosphere and an insane Grand Guignol theatricality to it, DR CHOPPER is a staid low-budget trip to the video store in comparison.
Still, it does have some great unintentionally hilarious scenes in the latter half (basically whenever the leather-clad Dr Chopper terrorises the surviving group). Handheld camera and a jolting score, accompanied by splashes of blood and plenty of over-ripe screams, try their best to make it all scary as Hell. But you will titter.
A few nice pairs of breasts, a choice scene where Mandylor weeps loudly over his missing wife, and an equally accidentally amusing villain make this watchable. Just!
The film is presented uncut in a letterboxed 4:3 (full-frame) ratio. Colours are a tad weak and image shows minor grain throughout, but overall it's a fair picture playback.
The English 2.0 audio is competent without ever being problematic or remarkable.
Static menus include a scene-selection menu allowing access to the main feature via 6 chapters.
The only film-related extra on offer is a trailer that runs for less than two minutes. Also on the disc are trailers for five more titles from MVM Entertainment: MR HALLOWEEN, BACKWOODS BLOODBATH, ZOMBEAK, RAZOR'S RING and THE HAUNTING OF MARSTON MANOR. All of which look as though they've been designed to test the mettle of even the most forgiving horror hound.
Any film that advertises Mandylor as it's selling point is struggling for your attention (he was in a couple of the SAW sequels, apparently). DR CHOPPER doesn't deserve your attention, unless you're bored and looking for giggles. Because it is funny. Only problem is, it's not meant to be.
Review by Stu Willis
|Released by MVM|
|Region 2 - PAL|
|see main review|