Cutting my teenage horror teeth on a healthy supply of 80s slasher flicks (watched on HBO through a black and white TV in my bedroom), I thought I had seen them all. Every now and then though, I’m proven wrong and a movie pops up that I’ve never heard. Usually, there’s good reason the movie was buried. Such is the case with The Forest (1982).
Two husbands decide to go on a camping trip in the woods to get away from the big city. Their wives decide to go too but only to prove they can do it. However, the guys decide to meet up with the girls later. Of course, there is a crazed slasher living in the woods so not everything goes as planned. Sounds like a pretty ordinary 80s set-up for gore and sex. However, gore is at a minimum and the sex is practically non-existent. Unfortunately, the acting doesn’t have much going for it either and the filmography is not stellar. Most of the cast never acted again or, if they did, this was the highlight of their career. In fact, two of the cast used other names. Michael Brody played our slasher John (under the name Gary Kent). His credits included Dracula vs. Frankenstein and Schoolgirls in Chains, so you can see his agent was the crème de la crème of Hollywood.
The most bizarre thing about The Forest is that it can’t decide what it wants to be. We have a slasher and even get the obligatory flashback to his first crime. However, we also have the ghosts of his two dead children and his dead wife popping up. So, it’s a cross-breeding of a slasher flick and a ghost story. Unfortunately, neither is done very well. It was supposedly shot in 13 days and it shows. Director Donald M. Jones is responsible for some sleazy horror flicks, including the aforementioned Schoolgirls in Chains. He also had his one and only screen appearance in this film as the forest ranger.
I won this lost classic via an auction supporting Desmond Reddick and his Dread Media podcast. If you’ve never listened, check it out and support his show if you see fit. While I can’t recommend The Forest, it’s not the worst movie I’ve seen, so that’s saying something. It was available on both a single DVD and as a double feature set with Don’t Go In The Woods (1981). However, both are now out-of-print and seem a little pricy, so do some checking around before diving