Sometimes, a movie just canít choose one genre. In The Majorettes, itís either a slasher movie, a teen drama, or an action-revenge flick. Also titled One by One, this feature is based on the novel of the same name by the writer, John Russo. John also wrote the screenplay for the original Night of the Living Dead, and directed another movie adaptation of one of his novels, Midnight. However, many of the films he is associated with do not turn out very well. Midnight was average at best, and The Majorettes...is certainly peculiar, no matter what group you lump it with.
The majorettes at high school are in deep trouble. No, it has nothing to do with that creepy pervert Harry (Harold K. Keller) who peeps in on their locker room changes. And only Vicky McAllister (Terrie Godfrey) has to worry about her grandmother (Edna Kleitz) Elviraís inheritance-hungry caretaker Helga (Denise Huot), who is Harryís mother. The girls are all in fear over their team being knocked off one by one. First fellow friend Nicole (Jacqueline Bowman) and Tommy (Colin Martin) are murdered by a camouflaged dressed killer with a knife. Barbara (Dana Maiello) is later attacked in her pool that week. But why has this strange person been driven to such a madness? Why do they purify that of whom they kill, like a weird ritual to heaven. Jeff (Kevin Kindlin) and girlfriend Judy (Sueanne Seamens) are next on the stalkerís list, and the cops have only subtle clues as to who could be performing such nasty crimes. Is it Helga, the lady after Vickyís five hundred thousand dollars? Is it her mentally challenged son Harry, overcome with sexual repression? Perhaps drug dealer Mace Jackson (Tom E. Desrocher) is to blame, since Nicole was the one who beared his unborn child. Except, what would the killerís motive possibly be, to want to eliminate every last majorette?
This low budget horror film starts off as a slow and average slasher movie in the first forty minutes, but life takes a toll on the plot when the focus is removed from the murderer, and placed on the local drug dealers. It doesnít sound like such a bad thing when you start to watch The Majorettes, because the slasher story is so boringly formulaic and dull that a completely different approach needs to be taken. Gore effects are hidden when quick cuts to a throat slice interrupt the violence, and little bloodletting creeps in. Atmosphere is weak, the music is cheesy, and did I mention that even the main characters suck at acting? Godfrey gives no effort at all, giving Vicky, one of the leads, a sense that she doesnít want to be in any scene. Did the actress even want to do this film? On top of an uninteresting storyline, the killerís costume, which is just a hooded jacket for the military, is non-threatening to the viewer.
Once we take a break from killing with knives, the drug dealers capture Jeff and Vicky, and try to kill both of them. Our hero of the film, Jeff, wonít let this happen, and goes on a rampage with a machine gun, bloody and shirtless, as if a puny version of Rambo in First Blood. We are expected to feel tense in the scenes with womanizing Mace and his gang of drug pushers, but how can we when they look like greasy kinky leather boys? Honestly. Nobody absorbs the mind to make us enjoy their presence. And the film turns for the absolute worst when it kills off one of the most important characters too soon. 80s fashion is sky high, but if you may remember, only part of the 80s showed excitement. Big hair sprayed curls arenít enough to attract our attention. We see sets of breasts in the locker room, and still, nothing is effective. It doesnít work as a horror film, it doesnít work as a drama, and it doesnít work as an avenger. It stands out in the slasher genre for all the wrong reasons. Only knifings and shootings remain, with very disappointing important character deaths.
The identity of the killer couldnít startle a fly. There is no payoff by the credits. Hell, itís one messy transition after another with bad reactions. Marie (Mary Jo Limpert) shows little compassion or sadness for the deaths of Nicole, Barbara, and some to come, which is ridiculous since she was their majorettes coach. Speaking of majorettes, it has very little to do with the film. Why, Russo, why? One by One is not a good title for it either, since itís two, by one, by one, by two, by five, and so on. A perfectly good alternate title was robbed from another more deserving movie. Shriek Show actually bothered to release this on DVD with a widescreen transfer, its trailer, a photo gallery, a featurette (!?) and a soundtrack. Itís a crazy world. Sometimes, good films have their spotlight dimmed down for the undeserving kind. I think you know what kind The Majorettes is by now. Trash it!