Tag Archives: Kim Walker

Deadly Weapon (1989)

deadly weapon1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Geek acquires lethal laser.

Zeke (Rodney Eastman) is a high school student frequently picked-on by his jock classmates as well as an abusive alcoholic father. As a refuge he imagines that he’s secretly an alien from another planet and writes stories about it. One day he comes upon a military weapon in a river bed near his home that landed there when the train it was being carried on crashed. He takes it home and begins using it to scare away all of those who harassed him and this catches the attention of Traci (Kim Walker) who used to date the jocks, but now finds Zeke and his newfound laser gun far more interesting. However, Lieutenant Dalton (Gary Frank) is the military official assign to retrieve the weapon and he’ll stoop to any low ball tactic to get it back.

This was another Charles Band production who was notorious for making a lot of low budget sci-fi/action flicks during the 80’s/90’s that were of a dubious quality. This was originally intended to be a sequel to Laserblast, a much maligned bottom-of-the-barrel stinker from the 70’s, but budgetary reasons caused them to pull back on that idea and turn it into a separate story. For what it’s worth this is far better than that one and surprisingly has enough of a budget to mask its shortcomings and even comes-off like it could’ve been Hollywood studio produced. There are though some over-the-top moments like a one-eyed vice principal who beats Zeke with a paddle inside his office and a cliched drunken father who acts like a stereotypical hayseed straight out of the local trailer park that made it seem like it either wanted to be a campy comedy, or unintentionally funny, but it’s hard to tell which one.

The script isn’t realistic as the kid is able to open up the crate that houses the gun with his bare hands without having to use a crowbar even though you’d think such a dangerous weapon like this would be packaged more securely and not so easily accessible to just anyone. Zeke is also able to figure out how to operate it much too quickly. Again, such a dangerous weapon should have a safety feature to make it difficult for unauthorized personal to use, such as having to put in a secret code before it’s operational.

The segment where Zeke and Tracy force four men into the trunk of their car and drive around with them as hostages is kind of funny, but the two able to open the trunk door from the outside too easily. If the men are truly locked into the trunk then a key must be placed into the keyhole to open it, but instead they’re able to raise the door open with their hands and not having to bother to unlock it, which means the men inside should then be able to easily kick the door open and escape.

The film is mostly known for the two stars who are more famous for their appearances in two other cult hits. For Eastman his best remembered for playing Joey in the Nightmare on Elm Street series while Walker’s signature role is that of the snotty Heather Chandler in HeathersWalker is the more interesting of the two as she performs her role in a duplicitous fashion where you’re not sure if she’s a genuinely nice person trying to help Zeke, or just a narcissistic brat looking for attention and escape. Her character though is poorly fleshed-out as she sees Zeke blow-up a building with his gun, which scares off the other jocks, one of whom she is dating, but she then invites Zeke into her car, but how would know she could trust him and he wouldn’t use the gun on her? Why too would this beautiful teen be into a geek like Zeke anyways? To have it make more sense she should’ve been a nerd, who had been bullied by the cool kids and now connected with Zeke’s need to ‘get back’ at them.

Spoiler Alert!

The film’s best moment is the ending, which has a surprisingly surreal vibe as Zeke sees the lights of the military vehicles and thinks it’s from the mother ship of some outer space aliens and goes towards it like they’re going to ‘take him home’ and away from earth where he doesn’t feel he belongs. While this intriguing theme has strong similarities to Liquid Sky and Shirley Thompson versus the Aliens it doesn’t fully gel. Had it been approached with a better realized manner of what genre it wanted to be (satire/sci-fi/action/dark comedy) then it might’ve succeeded, but trying to juggle all four genres together gives it a convoluted feel that’s not quite able to cross the finish line and be fully satisfying.

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: August 15, 1989

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

Rated PG-13

Director: Michael Miner

Studio: Empire Pictures

Available: dvdlady

Heathers (1988)


By Richard Winters

My Rating: 7 out of 10

4-Word Review: These girls are bitches.

Heathers (Kim Walker, Shannon Doherty, Lisanne Falk) are three beautiful teens all with the same first name of Heather who act as the bitch queens of their Ohio high school. Veronica (Wynona Ryder) strives to be accepted into their exclusive clique and eventually does, but feels guilty about having to ignore her old friends as well as not particularly liking her new ‘friends’. In comes J.D. (Christian Slater) a rebel who decides to shake up the status system by killing off all of the snotty girls and jocks and making it look like suicides. Veronica reluctantly goes along with it, but when J.D. decides to blow up the entire school in order to make ‘a statement’ she decides things have gone too far.

Daniel Water’s dark script is incisively on-target and filled with original quotable lines of dialogue. Director Michael Lehmann gives the proceedings a nicely surreal touch with just a pinch of satire with the funeral scenes of the victims being the funniest and most creative. The characters are pretty much portrayed on the negative side, but the caricatures have a lot of truth to them and it reminded me a lot of my high school days.

What really makes this stand out from other 80’s high school movies is the fact that it transcends the teen culture by showing how the adult world really isn’t much better and this high school is simply a microcosm of a cold, screwed-up world that it inhabits. In fact Veronica’s mother (Jennifer Rhodes) says it best when she states: “When teenagers complain that they want to be treated more like adults it is usually because they are being treated like one.”

Ryder is superb and I still consider this to be the best role of her career. The fact that the character is morally dubious, but still manages to stay likable makes it all the more fascinating. Christian Slater’s Jack Nicholson impersonation is irritating, but he is still a good pick for the part. The two share some particularly good exchanges including this one:

Veronica: “I just killed my best friend.”

J.D.: “And your worst enemy.”

Veronica: “Same difference.”

I must admit that I fell completely in-love with Kim Walker as Heather #1 as she possesses an amazingly beautiful face, which would be enough to make me want to watch her regardless of acting skills. I’m surprised that her career never took off and she was relegated to supporting roles in minor productions.

kim walker 1

However, she does get two great lines including:

“Fuck me gently with a chainsaw.”

And her most famous one:

“Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?”

Unfortunately she gets killed off much too quickly when she is tricked into drinking some drain cleaner supplied to her by J.D., but she still looks  beautiful even with blue teeth and a blue tongue. What is even sadder and more perplexing is that in real-life she died at the young age of 32 by believe-it-or-not a brain tumor.

kim walker 2

Falk as Heather #2 is attractive as well although not quite like Walker. Her career never skyrocketed either and her biggest claim to fame outside of this is that she was the model on the cover of Foreigner’s Head Games album. Doherty as the third Heather may be the most famous of the three, but she is not as attractive. For the first half she didn’t even seem all that effectual but comes into her bitchy best during the second part.

Despite the fact that the teens were not using cell phones, or texting, or had any of the other technological advances of today the film doesn’t seem dated, which is another plus. Only two scenes really stood out to me in this area. One is when J.D. shoots at a couple of mean jocks (who are characterized in amusingly dim-witted style) with a gun full of blanks and he doesn’t get into any trouble for it. Off course in 1988 school shootings were unheard of, but today the place would be put on lockdown and J.D. would not only be suspended but probably serve some jail time blanks or not. Another scene involves Veronica and J.D. planning to ‘humiliate’ these same jocks by making it look like they are gay lovers, which today would get Veronica and J.D. labeled as being homophobic.

Although I enjoyed the scene where J.D. gives Veronica the finger only to have it shot off I did find the second half not to be as slick and the concept itself seems to get stretched too thin. The script’s original ending called for a prom to take place in heaven and featuring the teens in different cliques than the ones they were in on earth, but unfortunately the suits at the studio in typically stupid fashion nixed that idea and went with a rather dopey and contrived one instead.

There is also ample argument to the fact that most investigators probably wouldn’t be fooled by these staged suicides and instead consider them the homicides that they were, but because it was all done in the satirical vein I’m willing to overlook it in what is otherwise one of the best high school movies ever made and one that enjoys a considerable cult following. There are also apparently rumors of turning the film into a TV-series where a grown Veronica returns to her hometown with her teen daughter who must now contend with a new generation of teen bitch queens named Ashley.

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Released: October 1, 1988

Runtime: 1Hour 43Minutes

Rated R

Director: Michael Lehmann

Studio: New World Pictures

Available: VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video