The idea of a wheelchair-bound serial killer is not the most frightening in the world--particularly as handled in the thoroughly inept HELLROLLER, made by individuals who could charitably be described as creatively impaired.
The titular terror is Eugene (Ron Litman), who's been raised on the street by his aunt (Mary Woronov, wisely taking the pseudonym Penny Arcade) ever since his prostitute mother (Ruth Collins) was murdered in the attack that crippled him. When another pair of punks rape and murder his aunt, Eugene
is driven round the bend and seeks revenge on society. Going into a gym to get in shape for his assault, Eugene and his wheelchair are promptly tossed out by the musclebound doorman, but he's rescued by a friendly bum named Donald (G.J. Levinson), who helps him get murderous revenge. The two then
go to kill swimsuit model Michelle Novak (Michelle Bauer), but when Donald proves uncooperative, Eugene goads Michelle into helping him kill his partner before finishing off Michelle himself.
Eugene's murderous rampage continues, as he slaughters a dancer (Hyapatia Lee), a hooker (Lucia Mortato) and a pair of young criminals (Elizabeth Kaitan and Tammara Souza) he briefly befriends. Seeking the ultimate revenge on the wealthy, he engages the services of a mad scientist, Dr. Kosloff
(David Sterry), who concocts a potion that, when introduced into water, will turn rich people into bums. The ploy works, but then the King of the Bums (Sterry), angered by Eugene's exploits, sends the other street people out to kill him. Eugene attacks and kills the King, but the other bums tear
The climactic shot of Eugene's head in a garbage can is a fitting epitaph for HELLROLLER, a pathetic, shot-on-video affair that's been cropped at the top and bottom with black bars (occasionally cutting off the actors' heads) in an attempt to make this look like a letterboxed movie. It's the only
attempt at class in a film that otherwise dwells on seedy, unredeemable and uninteresting characters, copious but sloppy gore and grossly misogynistic exploitation of its actresses.
At least twice in HELLROLLER, the action stops for several minutes of leering at the women posing nude, bathing or showering before Eugene gets down to business; some of them don't even utter a word before they're slaughtered. The filmmakers probably thought they were being tactful by leaving the
rapes of Eugene's mother and aunt offscreen at the beginning, but any goodwill they've earned in that department evaporates long before they present one of Eugene's nameless, half-naked female victims being burned to death with an iron.
The murders themselves are too ineptly presented (not to mention distasteful) to be scary, and the attempts at humor are largely on the level of the signature letters of a TV station--KRAP 69--whose news broadcasts periodically interrupt the action. It's probably taking HELLROLLER too seriously to
protest its mindless exploitation of the homeless and the handicapped, or to expect any kind of depth in the performances. The saddest part of all is seeing Mary Woronov (ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL, EATING RAOUL), a veteran of so many entertaining exploitation films, taking part in this bilge;
judging by the movie's complete lack of production values, she couldn't possibly have done this for the money. (Excessive violence, excessive nudity, profanity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: NR
- Review: The idea of a wheelchair-bound serial killer is not the most frightening in the world--particularly as handled in the thoroughly inept HELLROLLER, made by individuals who could charitably be described as creatively impaired. The titular terror is Eugene (… (more)