Sweet Sixteen – USA, 1983

‘What terrors are unleashed when a girl turns…’

Sweet Sixteen – also promoted as Sweet 16 – is a 1983 American mystery horror feature film directed by Jim Sotos (The Last Victim) from a screenplay written by Erwin Goldman. The movie stars Bo HopkinsSusan Strasberg, Dana Kimmell, and Patrick Macnee.

Plot:

When Melissa Morgan (Aleisa Shirley), an attractive big-city girl, moves to a small Texas town, she creates quite a stir with her beauty and promiscuous attitude. It seems as if she’s fifteen going on twenty-five, and all the boys at her new school are anxious to get to know her.

However, when the younger brother of a local hellraiser (Don Stroud) is brutally murdered, the town sheriff (Bo Hopkins) must try to solve the killings before the killer strikes again.

Along to help him is his Nancy Drew-ish daughter (Dana Kimmell)…

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Reviews:

“Suspense is sorely lacking and to say it contains a solid cast in any department is stretching the truth. For half of the runtime Melissa is a self-centered bitch who somehow is supposed to be our main character. Then with one little talk with good ol’ murder mystery novel-reading Marci Burke, her personality is transformed into an innocent caring butterfly.” Josh G., Oh-the-horror

“There’s a lot going on for a slasher film, there’s tension between the locals (lead by Don Stroud in redneck mode) and the Native American population, TV movie of the week popular high school girls ostracizing the new kid, family tension, a godawful 70’s throwback theme song, suggestions of the occult what with the burial ground and Melissa’s set of Tarot card…” Eric Cotenas, DVD Beaver

“Patrick Macnee’s screen time is sparse, but he uses it wisely, as the frustrated and easily agitated father of the licentious Melissa. Working with a script that had yet to be completed when camera’s started to roll, Patrick and Bo’s performances are all the more impressive given that their final scenes together where more or less ad-libbed, on the spot.” Jason McElreath, DVD Drive-In

“The script by Erwin Goldman does well when it comes to the characters and their interactions, although it might disappoint people wanting a higher bodycount. Director Jim Sotos does a perfectly acceptable job, keeping everything restrained until we get to the inevitably busy grand finale…” For It Is Man’s Number

“The only ways it really stands out from the rest of the pack is the fact that the victims at the end of the killer’s knife are all male; the murders themselves are  pretty bland- quick, badly handled and almost impossible to see as they take place at night and, let’s just say, the lighting man on this probably didn’t expect a call from the Academy that year. It is pretty sleazy…” Justin Kerswell, Hysteria Lives!

” …by piling on one red herring after another, Sotos attempts to generate tension but in the end just succeeds in generating apathy. The acting is pretty bad across the board too. Macnee looks like he’d rather be anywhere else most of the time, and I doubt he hung around for the wrap party once his check cleared.” Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies

“Muscular cast brushed aside, Sweet Sixteen is a real struggle from start to finish, a mess of odd pacing and cringe-inducing dialogue, with no vibrancy commonly found in early 80s death-to-teens movies. A real shame.” Hudson Lee, Vegan Voorhees

” …there was an okay mystery movie lurking somewhere within the confines of Sweet Sixteen, but the producers decided to retool it to fit within the slasher formula […] the Native’s involvement is more of a strung-along red herring than an earnest attempt at racial harmony. Still, the cast makes up for a lot (though not all) of the film’s shortcomings.” Mitch Lovell, The Video Vacuum

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Cast and characters:

  • Bo Hopkins … Sheriff Dan Burke – Deep SpaceTentacles; Uncle Sam
  • Susan Strasberg … Joanne Morgan – Bloody Birthday; Taste of Fear; The Manitou
  • Patrick Macnee … Dr. John Morgan – The Howling; Incense for the Damned
  • Don Stroud … Billy Franklin – The Amityville Horror
  • Dana Kimmell … Marci Burke – Friday the 13th Part III
  • Don Shanks … Jason Longshadow
  • Aleisa Shirley … Melissa Morgan
  • Steve Antin … Hank Burke
  • Sharon Farrell … Kathy Hopkins
  • Logan Clarke … Jimmy
  • Michael Pataki … George Martin
  • Henry Wilcoxon … Greyfeather
  • Larry Storch … Earl
  • Michael Cutt … Frank (as Michael J. Cutt)
  • Glenn Withrow … Johnny Franklin
  • Tony Perfit … Tommy Jackson
  • Sandy Charles … Lab Technician
  • Tim Cutt … Deputy [uncredited]
  • Art Roberts … Angry Guy in Town Meeting [uncredited]

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