It’s so easy to picture director Robert Tucker and his associates huddling around a keyboard, working on “Final Rinse,” a checklist of required “B” movie formula elements close at hand. They pore over the list: “Name” talent? Check! Frank Gorshin (“The Riddler” in the 1960s “Batman” TV series) cast as the Police Chief plus a cameo by Joey Ramone of “The Ramones.” “Cool” special effects? Check! A coupla stab wounds and squibbed bullet wounds to the chest should cover it. Gratuitous nudity? Check! One (and only one) shot of a woman’s blouse torn open as she lies on the ground, revealing two of the best golden orbs money can buy. Lame writing, horrible acting and even worse directing? Check! Well, okay. Those last few weren’t on the list. They never are, but that doesn’t stop them from cropping up in every other crappy “B” movie, so why should this one be any different?
The plot, to get it over with, is a sort of folliclely-challenged twist on the standard serial killer flick. Trojan (David Cale) is a diabolical serial killer who’s not only killing long-haired, heavy metal band members, he’s — gasp! — cutting off all their hair. Oh, the horror! Not to worry, because wiseguy detective Max Block (Terence Goodman), himself a former ’60s long-haired hippie, is on the case. Block and his do-goodie greenhorn partner Joe Tackle (Michæl Hannon), the newest replacement for Block’s growing string of partners who’ve met untimely demises, seize on the one and only clue; a dollop of hair gel by the foot of the first victim. Gradually, they close in on the killer at the “Ultra Club,” owned by the beautiful Sally (Jennifer Regan). The same destiny — and lazy screenwriting — that conveniently brings Block and Sally together also sets the blowhard cop and his tress-loving quarry on a collision course. Gee, wonder who wins.
“Final Rinse” is easily one of the most over-acted films I’ve ever seen. It’s difficult to believe that these actors are as awful as they seem in this film. A far more plausible explanation is the lack of decent material to work with. Half the dialogue, for instance, is either smugly self-referential rock lyrics or wince-till-your-eyes-water puns. Tucker compounds the damage by turning his cast loose, either thinking the resulting ham-handed melodrama is humorous or providing such lousy direction, he’s stuck with this annoying mess. No doubt, Tucker intended “Final Rinse” to be stupid, if formulaic, fun. At least he got the “stupid” part right.