Jenny & Robert (Kathrine Baumann & Peter Hooten) set off from college by automobile, followed by a backpack journey hoping to get together with their reclusive woodland friend Michael (Robert Englund), in the opening scenes of Slashed Dreams; aka, Sunburst (1975).
They stop at a roadside shop before heading into the wilderness, & meet an aging forgotten radio personality, played by aging unforgotten crooner Rudy Vallee.
Rudy turns in the only fun performance of this turkey shoot. Rudy as a happy weirdo warns the kids that many people never return from the place they're headed, & that's it for his cameo.
In the woods they're visited by a bear but nothing happens, then they find Michael's claptrap cabin, but no Michael. Then two psycho-hippy-cowboy-hillbillies turn up (played by the two dolts who share scriptwriting credit with the director) & beat up Robert & rape Jenny, & kinda looked like maybe Robert got dry-humped too.
Michael shows up to commisserate & makes some tea; his mysterious absence through most of the film has no meaning or purpose in the plot. At one point Robert has a fistfight with the psycho hillbillies who end up running away when they see Jenny & one of her frieds on their way to join the aborted fray.
Throughout, the viewers' ears are punished by a soundtrack that includes six of the wussiest all-sound-alike cornpone love songs, sung by the otherwise unheard-of Roberta Van Dere & written by Ed Bogas who usually writes throwaway television soundtracks & music for commercials. Thus the crappy diddies in Slashed Dreams sound like Phoebe Snow singing for International Coffee. The effect is to make the film seem even more lightweight than it already is.
The discouraged/depressed rape victim finds a book in the cabin by Kahlil Gibran, & feels much better after reading one paragraph out of that. Unbelievably, these really are the story's main major incidents!
No one seems to consider the possibility that they maybe should get out of the woods, find medical assistance for Jenny, or get to Rudy Vallee's store to call the police. No one prepares in case the hippy hillbillies are still out there. They just try to not let little things like rape & a a sound thrashing ruin the rest of their woodland experience.
Because this film is perpetually video-marketed as a slasher promising "terror that stalks the forest," we keep waiting for the slashing to begin. The set-up seems right, if awfully cliche, whether it's the hippy hillbillies or the innocent college kids who get slashed. And it certainly is a badly enough made film to seem really to be intended as a slasher.
But the worst thing that happens is the rape scene. After Robert Englund shows up late in the story to make tea, we just have to sit through the last couple wussy songs on the soundtrack & look at the sky, & then it all just ends with nothing more happening.
The weak purpose of the film just might improbably enough be its moral, that Kahlil Gibran heals & we should all rise above our problems & just get over it, even if we've been raped by a couple violent peckerwoods.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl