No-Budget Nightmares: Las Vegas Bloodbath (1989)




If you’ve spent your life up to this point begging the universe to combine your loves of misogyny, extreme violence and hot oil wrestling into one piece of entertainment, then I have some very good news for you. However, if you’re anyone else it’s possible that LAS VEGAS BLOODBATH might be missing some of the elements that you typically associate with “quality” or “competence”. Revenge fantasies don’t get much messier and more unpleasant than this, but those with a love for Z-grade movies will find enough scenes of jaw-dropping awfulness and bad-taste to have you jumping for joy.



Ari Levin stars as Sam Butler, a young businessman who has just closed a big sale in Sacramento and decides to surprise his wife in Las Vegas with a new sports car before taking her on a vacation. These plans are interrupted when he finds his wife – sporting some of the worst hair i’ve ever seen – in bed with a local police office (his suspicions are peaked by smelling a strange pair of shoes he finds in the front porch). In a fit of anger he gesticulates wildly with the officer’s gun, before two vaguely gunshot-like sounds ring out on the soundtrack.


Sam – now insane – decides that he’s going to teach all females a lesson by randomly killing all that he encounters. The first target is a prostitute who Sam casually refers to as a “daytime whore”, before parking in a filthy alley and tying the classy temptress to some errant pipes. Pulling out his wife’s severed head, he hits us with the classic “you give me head and i’ll give you head”, before stabbing the women through her mouth and tying her leg to his car. Luckily, the woman is held together with clothespins as her limb flies off as soon as the vehicle tugs on it. It’s pretty glorious.



After some lovely scenes of late-80s Vegas locales – usually featuring a bunch of confused looking tourists staring at the camera – Sam randomly kills a bartender (“Hey! Bartender! Get me a drink and get this bitch one too!”) before stumbling upon the home of pregnant Barbara, who is having a get-together with some of her hot oil wrestling buddies that have just returned from a big match in New York. These gals – with names like Tuff Tiff, Bambi, and Cherry Blossom – eat doughnuts and drink beer before playing a ridiculous game of Poker Truth or Dare and watching an episode of B.L.O.W. (Beautiful Ladies Oil Wrestling). We’re treated to long clips of women rolling around on garbage bags while men hoot and holler in the background. Classy. “I’m so glad the match went national”, says one, and I have to pause the DVD pick my jaw up off the floor. It’s about as sexy as brain surgery but, hey, it’s 1989!


Eventually Sam interrupts the love-in and has Barbara (incompetently) tie up her friends before being led upstairs into a very odd bedroom featuring walls that have obviously been covered with white fabric. This will become important in a moment. They make small talk and Sam reveals that, like Barbara, his own wife was pregnant before he murdered her. Unfortunately, this reminiscing leads to some hallucinations which send Sam off the deep end, and he proceeds to cut her stomach open, pull out her unborn fetus, and throw it at the wall!





Not finished, Sam kills the other women via power drill to the head, claw hammer to the stomach (which is provoked when, after the young lady admits her profession, Sam yells out “Ruth LOVED oil wrestling!”), and, um, arm pulling. He literally pulls a woman’s arm off after fending off a rather random baseball-bat swinging vigilante. Coming downstairs, Sam decapitates a Jehovah’s Witness via swinging door (“You’re not a witness anymore”) before heading back to the bathroom and bathing in the blood and limbs of his victims. A not-so-real looking police officer finds him and tells him to get his hands up, but Sam is wearing falsies and shoots the police officer. The credits roll over a still frame of the actor’s face, as the worlds worst/best theme song (“Las Vegas Blood Baaaaath”) plays in the background.


Shot on video, LAS VEGAS BLOODBATH often looks like a particularly seedy porno movie, with dialogue that seems almost entirely improvised – particularly in the seemingly endless “party”scene featuring literally twenty minutes of small talk between hot oil wrestlers. Ari Levin seems to be trying hard, but effort doesn’t quite make up for lack of talent, though he’s Olivier compared to his oil wrestling co-stars who laugh when they should be terrified, make small talk when they should be screaming, and somehow fail to even die convincingly. Director (producer, writer) David Schwartz effectively manages to point a camera at the things that are happening, though every other element of production seems beyond him.



I should give some credit to the special effects, which are terrible but plentiful, and remain consistently amusing in a Troma kind of way. The abortion scene is mercifully silly, but there are plenty of perfectly serviceable rubber limbs and the stabbings are appropriately nasty looking. Sound is muffled and picks up plenty of ambient noise, but the dialogue is generally intelligible.


Rather shockingly entertaining in parts, LAS VEGAS BLOODBATH is repulsive and fun in about equal measure. Nobody seems to be taking the proceedings too seriously, and though the actual film-making is almost entirely without merit there are moments here that show a surprising amount of inventiveness. Certainly not good in any objective sense, there is a decent amount of bad-taste fun to be had as long as you like your entertainment cheap and dirty. Like me.



Two Nightmares out of Five – SHOWS POTENTIAL


One Nightmare – No-Budget Perfection, Two Nightmares – Shocking Success, Three Nightmares – Shows Potential, Four Nightmares – Not Much Fun, Five Nightmares – Please Kill MeScott Phillips


Join us this week for the latest DAILY GRINDHOUSE PRESENTS: NO-BUDGET NIGHTMARES PODCAST where Moe and Myself will have a chat about LAS VEGAS BLOODBATH.



Doug Tilley

Doug has been a geek for as long as he’s been alive, but has only been blogging about film since 2008; originally writing for his personal site and eventually moving to Daily Grindhouse where he writes regularly about micro-budget films and film-makers in his No-Budget Nightmares column. At the end of 2011 he started the popular No-Budget Nightmares podcast with Moe Porne, and regularly contributes to a variety of other genre film podcasts. He likes movies, movies and movies.

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