Axe (1977)

“Little Lisa took her axe, gave her captor 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave his partner 41.“

Sometimes also known as Lisa, Lisa or The Virgin Slaughter, the Harry Novak-produced movie Axe is a little known video nasty made during the Mary Whitehouse-incited furore surrounding what she perceived to be immoral viewing. Looking thoroughly dated and undeniably tame in the year 2009, it’s difficult to see why films like these were so objectionable at the time.

Axe follows a group of three villains who are partaking in a somewhat laughable crime spree which largely seems to involve lying in wait in a hotel room in order to beat a man to death and taunting a convenience store clerk by throwing fruit at her and telling her to get her boobs out. Aside from the actual killing and gun-wielding, their behaviour doesn’t differ too greatly from your average builder, shouting obscenities from the safety of his scaffolding.

Leslie Lee, who is rumoured to have committed suicide in the early 80’s, plays the girl whose home these three ruffians invade. Lisa resides there with her completely paralysed, wheelchair-bound Grandfather whom she feeds and bathes. She is a strange young girl who spends the remainder of her time killing chickens and beheading them with her trusty axe. When the mens attentions turn to her, she adds a straight razor to her modest artillery and uses both to exact her revenge.

Most of the acting in Axe is overtly terrible and the editing is so rough that it appears as though entire scenes are either cut prematurely short or are completely missing. It’s only the bizarre, dreamlike quality that the film possesses that makes it at all watch-able. This is largely down to Lee’s performance and her oddly calm reactions and offbeat repose when presented with the events that unfold around her. She makes for a curiously innocent and genteel murderous maniac.

There is little point to the movie other than to shock it’s unsuspecting audience so when you extract the, now redundant shock factor, it’s merely a series of badly filmed scenes, some of which don’t make much sense and all of which are as pedestrian as they are out-dated. It’s hard to say whether Axe was intended to be a commentary on chauvinistic and possessive behaviour; it’s message being along the lines of ‘thinking with your penis will get you violently axe-murdered’ and as such, some kind of feminist revenge flick, or whether it was simply supposed to terrify its audience. Either way, it falls very short of the mark, it’s incredibly difficult to imagine anyone being terrified by this movie, whether they were part of an unseasoned and chaste audience of the 70’s or the more knowing, horror-savvy audiences of today.

The opening paragraph, used to advertise Axe and which can be found on the back of the UK DVD release, is better than the film itself and the trailer for the movie features 3 out of the 4 murders, almost in full. It might be mercifully short at only 66 minutes but if you’re familiar with either of those then there is absolutely no need for you to watch this.

Rating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

One Comment on “Axe”

  1. [...] “It’s hard to say whether Axe was intended to be a commentary on chauvinistic and possessive behaviour; it’s message being along the lines of ‘thinking with your penis will get you violently axe-murdered’ and as such, some kind of feminist revenge flick, or whether it was simply supposed to terrify its audience. Either way, it falls very short of the mark, it’s incredibly difficult to imagine anyone being terrified by this movie, whether they were part of an unseasoned and chaste audience of the 70’s or the more knowing, horror-savvy audiences of today.” Sarah Law, Gorepress [...]

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