Jolly Roger: Massacre at Cutter’s Cove (2005)

Jolly Roger: Massacre at Cutter's Cove (2005)

Some Things Should Stay Lost at Sea

Three teen couples off camping for the weekend on a beach stumble upon an old treasure chest. They open it and accidentally unleash undead pirate Jolly Roger, who has returned to Cutter’s Cove to claim the lives of the descendants of his crew that betrayed him years earlier.


We’ve had undead Nazis before. We’ve had undead cowboys before. Now along comes an undead pirate. Probably the only slasher film ever to have a pirate as its main villain, Jolly Roger: Massacre at Cutter’s Cove tries hard to impress but fails on most counts. It’s got heart but like many of The Asylum’s films, heart does not equal quality. I’m guessing the killer pirate idea was to cash in on the Pirates of the Caribbean series which was in full flow at the time but nowadays The Asylum wouldn’t even go as far as that – they’d just make a pirate film and call it something like Pirates of the Atlantic.

It’s got your standard plot with some horrible undead killer returning from the grave to kill but this rings more of The Fog, with the whole idea of Jolly Roger coming back to claim the lives of the descendants of the town’s founding forefathers. The film is only entertaining when the pirate is on screen and he is thankfully given plenty of screen time. Unfortunately the young couple who inadvertently brought him back to life and manage to escape his beach massacre are the ones who are tasked with stopping him. No one believes them but it’s probably because they’re the dumbest, most lacklustre couple that exist. Tom Nagel looks like your generic good-looking teenage hero whilst Kirstina Korn is simply a hot blonde who can’t act. They’re two of the most bland actors that could have been cast in their roles and really suck the life out of the film when they’re trying to get everyone else to believe that a killer pirate is going around cutting people’s heads off. The scenes with them in and without the pirate tend to drag.

In fact the whole film flags when he’s not around and they don’t really get the pacing right after an opening massacre promises constant bloodshed. Rhett Giles, as the title character, gets to inject a bit of passion into the film as he does the best he can with lots of cheesy pirate jokes underneath plenty of make-up. He’s got the annoying habit of firing off a one-liner before he dispatches his victims and they’re of the pirate-theme so expect to groan a few times. The humour isn’t great though and it would have made the film a lot better if they’d kept him quiet. Why did they need to turn him into a Freddy Kruger-wannabe? He would have worked better as a silent killer because his outfit and make-up looks pretty nasty. The film attempts to create another horror icon with Jolly Roger but he’s too goofy and not deadly enough to really catch on. The Asylum keep plugging away by trying to create a new franchise villain but none of their characters have made the grade yet.

They’re not shy with the blood and guts – one of the reasons people like me watch this sort of film. Jolly Roger has a knack of cutting people’s heads off and there are plenty of decapitations which feature the same fake mannequin heads being sent spiralling through the air. There are other creative kills thrown around too with muskets and in one particularly funny scene, Roger rips the arm off a guy and proceeds to batter him with it. But the problem I have is that a lot of the gore is CGI and looks rather cheap most of the time. Come on, at least go with the make-up and prosthetics if you’re going to gunk it up a little. It’s blatantly obvious which deaths have been computer-assisted and I don’t like it one bit. Jolly Roger is a busy man during the film and he offs four couples during the first few minutes so you’re never really far from another death scene.

On the positive side, the film does throw us some boob action with the pirate visiting a strip club and getting a lap dance of all things. Quite why the stripper just acts like he’s a normal punter and gives him a dance, despite his rotting appearance and wet clothes is another matter.


Jolly Roger: Massacre at Cutter’s Cove is harmless enough fun but it could have been a much greater throwback to the 80s slasher film had the script been tighter and the character of Roger been taken more seriously. He’s hardly the worst pirate to ever grace film but he’s more Captain Pugwash than Jack Sparrow….if that actually means anything.





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