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Home | Film Review: Destroyer (1988)

Film Review: Destroyer (1988)


Sadistic murderer and rapist Ivan Moser was sentenced to die in the electric chair but during his execution a riot breaks out and the power cuts off, leaving his fate a mystery. Almost two years later a film crew arrives at the now abandoned prison to shoot a women in prison film. Unfortunately someone starts killing off the cast and crew once filming begins and he is determined not to stop until everyone has met a gruesome and painful end. Is Ivan responsible for the murders and if so is he a ghost or something else?


Destroyer is a great example of a film being awesome when you are younger and not holding up quite so well when you watch it again many years later. I remember being very into it when I first saw it when I was around 11 or 12, but upon watching it again recently I couldn’t help but realize that it just really wasn’t that good. I remember it being a fun little movie with tons of cool death scenes and some awesome over the top gore, but either I imagined it or I had it confused with some other movie that I watched around the same time. Destroyer is an overly cheesy, slow-moving flick that has very little going for it. To be honest it makes me a little sad considering how much I loved it when I was a kid.

Lyle Alzado, along with Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, and a handful of other guys, was considered one of the top bad asses of the 80’s. As a result many filmmakers scrambled to cast these guys in movies thinking that the masses would flock to theaters to see them. The only problem? Most of them couldn’t act if they had to (don’t believe me? Then check out No Holds Barred and all of the other movies Hogan did) and the movies they starred in sucked out loud for the most part. Someone thought that it would be a good idea to put Alzado in a movie and make him this seemingly unstoppable killing machine that went around butchering people left and right, and while it may sound like an awesome concept on paper the end result just isn’t that impressive.

A movie called Destroyer should have tons of scenes with the guy with that moniker running around destroying people and random things, right? I thought so too, but this movie has a pretty small body count and none of the death scenes are anything to write home about. Alzado uses a jackhammer at one point to do in one of his victims and while it may sound cool it really isn’t. I thought that most of the death scenes were just plain lame and boring when you consider the fact that you have Lyle freaking Alzado playing a crazed killer and considering his size he should be ripping limbs off his victims and breaking them in half with his bare hands. Instead of some awesome dismemberment death scenes (or cool death scenes in general) we get the above mentioned jackhammer death, death via welding torch, electrocution, and some others that don’t really stand out.

One of the biggest problems that I had with the movie was that it just takes forever to get going. Seriously, I almost fell asleep watching it before anything interesting happened. The entire pace of the movie is way too slow and instead of having scenes filled with blood and gore as Alzado rips someone to bits we have way too many scenes of boring dialogue that go on for way too long. I was pretty bored the entire time I was watching it and I can’t believe that I loved this movie when I was a kid as I had an even shorter attention span then and would usually lose interest in movies that moved as slowly as this one does.

Maybe I just don’t like horror movies set in prisons. I recently watched Prison and didn’t care for it, but I will say that as bad as Destroyer is it is the better of the two and if I had to watch one again I would pick it. I read online that Anthony Perkins replaced Roddy McDowall at the last minute and I can’t help but wonder if it was because Roddy hadn’t read the script until right before shooting began and decided he didn’t want to be a part of it. I didn’t care for it myself, but that doesn’t mean that other people won’t like it. Check it out if it sounds like something that you might be into, but keep your expectations pretty low.


Destroyer (1988) is now available on bluray per Shout Factory

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