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Review: Killer Workout (formerly 1987’s Aerobicide)

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When I heard that Killer Workout was being resurrected again on DVD – the last release was in 2001 – I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a hidden gem from the 1980’s. Although, I’m unclear whether this title came out in 1986 or 1987 because I can find sources with both dates. Either way, I was born at the end of the 80’s and missed out on experiencing The Golden Age of Horror during its heyday and try to live precariously by checking out duds like Killer Workout. Going into my viewing I knew that it was going to be on the bad side, but was it that bad? Check out my review to find out.

Killer Workout is written and directed by David A. Prior, an independent filmmaker who mostly works in action-thrillers and has previous works like Mankillers, The Final Sanction, Raw Justice and Zombie Wars. Cast members in Killer Workout include Marcia Karr (Maniac Cop, The Night Stalker), Ted Prior (Sledgehammer, Surf Nazis Must Die), David James Campbell, Fritz Matthews, Teresa Van der Woude, Richard Bravo, Dianne Copeland, Laurel Mock, Lynn Meighan and Teresa Truesdale.

“A young model on the rise goes to a late night tanning session when the bed inexplicably catches on fire and burns her to death. Two years later, her sister is running Rhonda’s Gym, a popular aerobics and weight lifting gym that’s seeing an influx of new clients and employees. It’s then that a mysterious figure starts murdering women inside the gym after hours, a strange case that catches the eye of Detective Morgan. Now, he’s in a race against time to stop the mass killings happening at the best gym in town.”

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Killer Workout is, as I said aloud, “80’s as Hell!” Again, I missed this decade so anytime I see what the culture was like back then – it’s a pleasant experience. Am I the only one who feels like things looked a lot more fun back then? From the music to the cars to the technology to the clothes, this is going to definitely be a travel back in time for anyone who’s old enough to have experienced the decade, even more-so because the gym setting is kind of an all inclusive, cohesive way of demonstrating what people did for fun back then. As with most straight-to-VHS low-budget horror films of the time, Killer Workout has a lot of errors in it, not to mention it jumps from subplot to subplot without discretion. The woman in the beginning dies in the tanning bed facing the wrong way, there’s a phone that’s plugged into the middle of the lawn yet it works, a character looked like she had special effects make-up on already without having been attacked and there are several shots of characters who were already killed off present in the crowd workout montages.

The film also looks like it was shot with two completely different cameras. This could be for three reasons. First, there could have been difficulties when Olive Films and Slasher Video converted this baby to a higher format. Second, maybe they received extra funding and really shot Killer Workout with two different cameras. Three, rumor has it Prior had a difficult time working with his director of cinematography, Peter Bonilla, as they argued about every shot and that would explain why nothing looks the same. Either theory doesn’t matter much now, but I just wanted to clarify the topic of quality of video.

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Now, Killer Workout was clearly designed to capitalize on the beauty of women’s bodies without being over the top gratuitous, although there are a couple shots that contain nudity. Literally 90% of the movie is attractive women walking around in spandex and leg warmers with their breasts on display or said women in the middle of a seductive aerobics workout routine. There’s a lot of eye candy for sure, and this had to be in place because of the lousy acting. The performances weren’t too, too bad… but you could tell the casting director failed for the most part and had no idea how to cast this thing well. A lot of over-acting, a lot of under-acting and a lot of actors acting dead… Plus, I found it odd that all of the male characters were played as if they were gay despite trying to be super macho. Not sure what was really going on with that. Anyway, Marcia Karr and Teresa Van der Woude were the only shining stars here.

From the cheesily choreographed fight scenes to the slasher killing people with a giant bobby-pin, Killer Workout was a silly but decent time. I can’t say that I would ever watch it again, but it was a Christmas present so I made out like a bandit anyway because I didn’t hate it. Final Score: 6 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)