The Schlocktoberfest – Day 11: Toolbox Murders




Toolbox Murders (2004)


Check out my review of the original The Toolbox Murders here!

*Spoilers Throughout*

What’s This About:
Tim Allen stars as The Toolman, a ruthless and sadistic serial killer who terrorizes the victims at an old apartment building in Los Angeles.

Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:

  • Why is the camera behind a clear shower curtain looking out at a hotel?
  • Oh wait, it’s just a newsstand tarp to keep dry from the weather.
  • Sheri Moon Zombie?! And they actually made her look normal and decent looking.
  • “Should I bring my fucking tools?! Should I bring my toolbox?!” 
  • This was made in 2004, yet it couldn’t look or feel more 90s unless Sheri Moon Zombie was wearing Doc Martens and a flannel shirt.
  • Who hasn’t had the urge to pummel Sheri Moon’s noggin with a claw hammer?
  • The landlord casually mentions Elisabeth Short (the Black Dahlia) used to live in the apartment below to the new couple moving in.
  • A beeper?! Were there still beepers in 2004?
  • Saffron, next door neighbor, just barges in their apartment and offers them a shitload of tea that she doesn’t want. Nice lady.
  • Juliet Landau! I haven’t seen her since the Buffy days.
  • I think she runs some kind of stripper web cam thing. Some other kid in the apartment building is watching her change in the grittiest, low-resolution black and white video. His mom barges in his room and he quickly changes his screen to show computer solitaire. Good move dude, she doesn’t suspect a thing!
  • Austin, the teen pervert, has some of the oddest parents in film history. Well his mom anyway.
  • This is a good time to mention that this film was directed by our old friend Tobe Hooper. We sure do love Hooper’s oeuvre here at Hard Ticket to Home Video.

  • For some odd reason, Tobe decided to name this just Toolbox Murders dropping the original’s definitive article. It was probably Spielberg’s idea. 
  • If this dank, dark and terrifying basement is where the laundry room is, then I’m going out of my way to a remote laundromat thank you very much.
  • Rance Howard? 
  • Hahaha. Rance plays Chas who is striking up a pleasant conversation with Nell (the main character who just moved there with her husband) and he casually mentions that the construction crew that built this apartment building all met a bad end. When Nell asks him what he means, Rance just leaves the room without saying a word. That’s smart, leave them guessing, I always say.
  • The doorman at this apartment building was the supermarket killer in Cobra! 
  • Juliet Landau was out jogging in not very jogging-friendly attire. A flannel shirt and jean shorts to be exact.
  • Nell hears a lot of screaming and painful yelling as if someone was beating or killing someone in another apartment down the hall. It turns out it was just some actors rehearsing lines for a movie. The funny thing is, they were just repeating the painful howling and threats with swearwords for what had to be over 30 minutes since she called and waited for the cops to arrive to break down the door to stop what she thought was someone being murdered.
  • Idiot Nell rams a dresser into the wall so hard it puts a hole in the drywall.
  • But because of said hole she finds a small container hidden within with human teeth inside. Better that than a spleen right?
  • I still cannot believe Hooper directed Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist. The fact that there’s controversy about him directed Poltergeist makes more and more sense with every other Hooper movie I’ve seen.
  • The flick is building up its red herring in Ned the building’s chief handyman and chief weirdo. He may be mentally handicapped but I’m not 100% sure.
  • Dream sequence is obviously obvious.
  • Nell said she’s a schoolteacher yet she hasn’t yet left this apartment building this whole movie. Unless this is set during summertime.
  • Saffron is playing guitar very loudly and singing a song that would make Courtney Love go crazy.
  • Saffron gets nailed!
  • Nell again calls the cops because of the noise. She’s a regular narc bitch.
  • So the scene prior Saffron was getting nailed to the wall that she was leaning against. When the cops check the apartment they fail to see her because the killer now moved her corpse to not be nailed to the wall but the fucking ceiling!! No fucking way that’s even remotely possible. This would be hilarious if they weren’t taking this horror seriously.

  • So Saffron isn’t dead after all? Is she just going to hang on the ceiling with nails all over her body?
  • Sure, let’s throw in another red herring. Why not? Saffron’s intimidating tattooed motorcycle riding dirtbag boyfriend. He seems like a nice red herring.
  • The hate that’s building up inside me for this flick is growing rather quickly.
  • Nell is complaining again about her husband’s constant working. He’s a doctor. Saving lives and whatnot.
  • Juliet has her web cam on and she’s just casually reading while drinking tea in her bedroom. Nothing interesting or sexy about it. Yet Austin is still watching. AND his mom catches him. What a fucking waste.
  • The killer attacks Juliet and drills her in the back of the skull. I’m sure Austin will discover her death from the web cam in the next few scenes.
  • Nell just met Juliet the day before and now she thinks they are besties and is worried that she’s possibly missing.
  • To make a long story short, Nell overhears Austin’s mom tell her husband that Austin was spying on Juliet as she was on the stairs so she immediately talks to Austin to ask him if she can see the footage and Austin acts incredulous and says “No fucking way, that’s just freaky!” Ummmm. That’s an odd reaction doncha think?
  • Fuck, Nell is insufferable.
  • If Rance Howard is your best creepy old man in your horror movie, you may not be satisfied.
  • Rance slipped a clue to where Nell could locate Juliet in room 504 but 504 isn’t where it’s supposed to be. But why wouldn’t she question how Rance knew what room she’d be in?
  • This apartment actually doesn’t have an apartment 504. In fact all the floors are missing an apartment with the end number being 4. Nell must be on to something.
  • This film is trying to also dress the apartment building as being cursed or something.
  • This guy at the county records office voice is hilariously froggy.
  • Good thing Nell came and talked to this county records dude who seems to know a shitload of trivial information about her apartment building.
  • So the building has these symbols or marks on the walls for each floor or something and Nell copies the symbols on her arm with a sharpie instead of getting a piece of paper.
  • Either make a haunted apartment building movie or a slasher flick. Make up your mind!
  • I’m starting to get bad Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel vibes from this flick now.
  • This film just feels so cheap. Like it was made-for-TV kinda cheap.
  • It’s never a good sign when you want everyone in the movie to be brutally killed.
  • Was that random empty rocking chair rocking in the breeze supposed to be ominous?
  • Nell and her husband just moved in and haven’t even unfinished unpacking and Nell is on a wild-goose Scooby-Doo mystery and exploring the whole building.
  • Wait. Now how does Austin have the footage from Juliet’s murder? He said his folks took away the drives or something earlier to Nell.
  • At any rate, that footage has a resolution of 20 pixels per inch, not very helpful.
  • For the past 10 minutes or so, Nell has been wandering around a secret apartment dwelling that she haphazardly fell into. I was just about to say, get on with it, but then she finally found some dead bodies.

  • I failed to mention this earlier but the movie began with the titles stating something like thousands of people come to Hollywood to pursue their dreams and some make it and some don’t and some just disappear. Which is weird considering the main characters are a doctor and a schoolteacher and not actors. In fact, I think the only actors we’ve seen in this flick were the two people Nell thought were killing each other and called the cops on. Why add this subtitle if the protagonist(s) aren’t actors? Unless they meant schoolteachers from across the country flock to Hollywood to pursue their teaching dreams in tinseltown!
  • First red herring, Ned, just had half his head sawed off by the Toolbox killer.
  • For some unknown reason the Toolbox killer took off his mask and just starts screaming in agony while Nell watches from yards away.
  • He’s screaming so loudly that Nell’s husband, Austin, the doorman and the landlord all hear him through the walls.
  • The doorman gets caught by the killer and the other guys that were searching with him just leave him to die! Sorry doorman, you’re not important enough to save!
  • Hahahahaha. The landlord gets caught by the killer pinching his spine with giant bolt cutters. After writhing in pain and agony for a minute or so, he screams out “Just kill me!” Hey, we were all thinking the faster you die the better, pal.
  • So I’m thinking that this Toolbox Killer is just some random killer that lives in the walls and secret apartments at this building and not one of the characters we already met. No mystery like the original.
  • Shut up Nell!

  • Now Rance Howard is spouting off some bullshit about Nell being the one who should have found the forbidden room 504 like it’s a Crom-damned prophecy.
  • He also tells Stephen and Nell that the killer was born in a coffin fighting his way out of his mother’s womb while she was already dead in the casket! Wow, that is some wacky origin story. 
  • Welp, both Rance and Stephen are goners. Shucks.
  • Instead of just simply stabbing Nell, he places her on a table saw and eagerly awaits the slow moving mechanism to slice her in twine. But of course Stephen just suffered a puncture wound and gained enough strength to come to her rescue and knock a heavy bookcase on the killer.
  • Who is nowhere to be found when the police arrive and check the scene.
  • As Nell is repacking her stuff, the killer flies through her window and the symbols that she wrote on her arms actually stop the killer in his tracks while the cops barge in and shoot him out of the window.

  • But he’s stuck on an extension cord which is strangling him as he dangles out the window.
  • For about 10 seconds as the cops again notice that he’s gone.
  • Too bad Tobe didn’t get the chance to make that sequel!

Final Thoughts: I had to rewatch the original because I didn’t really remember anything save for the naked lady running around the apartment scene. In fact, I didn’t even remember I reviewed the original 11 years ago! But I had fun while watching it again despite the fact that it’s not even a well-made movie. But Tobe’s attempt is an utter failure. There’s no tool in the world to fix this mess. This is easily the worst movie so far this month but not the worst Tobe Hooper movie I reviewed for this site. Poor Tobe. I’m running out of movies he’s directed to shit on. There’s really not much to comment on for Toolbox Murders folks, it’s as lackluster as they come. Watching this makes you want to Black & Decker your own skull.

Score: 3 Pixels-Per-Inch on a Smut Webcam (out of 10)

Which was Better?: I’m not going to vote against Cameron Mitchell!



2 thoughts on “The Schlocktoberfest – Day 11: Toolbox Murders

  1. Pingback: The Schlocktoberfest – Day 19: Black Christmas | Hard Ticket to Home Video

  2. Pingback: The Schlocktoberfest: The Recap Ends | Hard Ticket to Home Video

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