Sweet Sixteen (1983)
Directed by Jim Sotos

Starring Aleisa Shirley Bo Hopkins Dana Kimmell Patrick MacNee

A moldy oldie from the slasher-filled early 1980s, "Sweet Sixteen" was one of those pseudo-public domain titles you could pick up for a couple bucks at your local Long's before Code Red released a "director's cut" in 2008.

The film may generate a little bit more interest this year because "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" seems to have taken a little inspiration from it.

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to "Happy Birthday to Me," but not quite as entertaining, the film is a murder mystery about a 15-year-old Melissa (Aleisa Shirley) who moves into a small town with her family. Suddenly, the boys who take a liking to her start getting killed off -- beginning with one yahoo who picks her up outside the town bar.

The local sheriff (Bo Hopkins) of course begins his investigation, with some unneeded help from his Nancy Drew-like daughter (Dana Kimmell, in a horror role before "Friday the 13th Part 3"). The film meanders along, with red herrings galore and some less than memorable knife killings, and climaxes with the girl's sixteenth birthday party, where another killing of course takes place and we finally get to find out who the real killer is. It was someone you probably saw coming from 10,000 miles away.

"Sweet Sixteen" is one of those slashers that drifted out of print for a reason. It's important to remember that a slasher film was being released almost every week in the wake of the awesome success of "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th". Many were less than memorable. This is one of those.

Aleisa Shirley's romps around naked quite a bit, increasing the sleaze selling point, but it wasn't enough to save this turkey.

Director Jim Sotos previously directed the Tanya Roberts horror movie "Forced Entry."

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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