Most of the controversy surrounding "The Toolbox Murders" revolved around charges of misogyny rather than extreme gore. To that end, the infamous "nail gun scene"--which was featured on "60 Minutes" and "Donahue" as an example of violence against women in film--is unsettling for its blend of eroticism and cold brutality, making the movie flirt with a snuff mentality. It's also one of the more groundbreaking scenes in splatter movies and the most effective scene in "The Toolbox Murders." Otherwise, the movie isn't any different from a whole host of other gore movies. It's better than most, with OK performances and a fair amount of technical proficiency for what it is, but there are few moments that are going to make much impact on today's jaded horror fans. Most of the murders occur in the first half of the movie, and while they're bloody, there have been more graphic scenes on "ER." In the movie's second half it pretends to be a mystery, even though you know who the murderer is within the first five minutes.
The DVD includes an 8-minute interview with Marianne Walter, who played the victim in the nail gun scene and who later, under the name Kelly Nichols, became "an adult film actress." (First the nail gun scene and then a porn star--Ms. Walter was just giving the feminists fits!) The commentary, by producer Tony Didio, director of photography Gary Graver and a VERY PERKY Pamelyn Ferdin, has some enlightening moments, but it gets redundant after about 30 minutes.
Ultimately, though, about the scariest thing in "The Toolbox Murders" is star Cameron Mitchell's facelift.