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Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except (1985)

Stryker's War (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Horror | 13 October 1985 (USA)
Jack Stryker took two bullets in the leg in Vietnam and was carried back by one of his men. When he returns he tries to live a peaceful life in his cabin and resume dating his girlfriend, ... See full summary »


Josh Becker


Josh Becker (screenplay), Josh Becker (story) | 3 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Rickman Robert Rickman ... Sgt. Walker J. Jackson
John Manfredi John Manfredi ... 2nd Lt. David Miller
Timothy Patrick Quill Timothy Patrick Quill ... LCpl. Tim Tyler
Sam Raimi ... Cult Leader
Cheryl Hausen Cheryl Hausen ... Sally
Perry Mallette Perry Mallette ... Otis
Dandy Dandy ... Whisky
Rick Hudson Rick Hudson ... Kennel owner
Pam Lewis Pam Lewis ... Mom
Jim Griffen Jim Griffen ... Dad
Theo Kruszewski Theo Kruszewski ... Kid
Connie Craig ... Bald cult girl
Ivitch Fraser Ivitch Fraser ... Young cult girl
Terry-Lynn Brumfield Terry-Lynn Brumfield ... Sleazy cult girl
Ted Raimi ... Chain Man


Jack Stryker took two bullets in the leg in Vietnam and was carried back by one of his men. When he returns he tries to live a peaceful life in his cabin and resume dating his girlfriend, Sally. Meanwhile, a vicious cult let by Sam Raimi, who believes he is Jesus Christ, has been slaughtering people and doing blood sacrifices. When Stryker finds Sally gone, and her grandfather, Otis, used as a human dartboard, Stryker brings together his army buddies, gives them a stash of guns from under his bed, destroy an outhouse, and create a war zone not unlike Vietnam to destroy the evil cult. Written by Scott Hutchins <scottandrewh@home.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


...When Violence Demands Revenge.


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

13 October 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blood Bath See more »

Filming Locations:

Hartland, Michigan, USA See more »


Box Office


$200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The movie was mostly shot in the garage and on the lawn of the house where director Josh Becker's long-time friend Bruce Campbell grew up. See more »


When Miller is fighting in and around the white van, he fires 2 rounds from a single shot shotgun without reloading in between rounds. See more »


Puke Biker: Hop on.
[He is on a motorcycle]
Cult Leader: No... hop off!
[Stabs rider off motorcycle]
See more »

Alternate Versions

A collector's edition home video version features the film in widescreen, and includes the theatrical trailer, a deleted scene, and and alternate title scene. See more »


References Knights of the Round Table (1953) See more »


Fly Little Bird Fly
Performed by The Rockets
Written by John Badanjek
Publisher-Conquistador Music, Inc.
Dynamited Mice Music c 1977
Tortoise International c 1977
See more »

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User Reviews

"What's a good idea?"
6 July 2000 | by bad82See all my reviews

FYI: My comments about 'Stryker's War' are based on the recently released Collector's Edition. I strongly urge you to seek out this version above all others for one reason and one reason only: 'The Making of Thou Shalt Not Kill Except'. Without this vital piece of material the film is without it's glory. The short-story format, retelling of the journey from concept, to production and execution, makes the film ten times more enjoyable, especially for fans of the 'Evil Dead' series of films. The mention of Bruce Campbell (story) and Josh Becker (director, screenplay) "... kicking the story around..." while driving from Tennessee (from the set of 'Evil Dead') to Michigan is a fine example of the insight one gains from this 'Making of...' piece. For true fans.

As for the film itself, based on it's own merits... It's not very good. The film takes place in 1969 during the events of Vietnam and the Manson Family murders. The story revolves around Sgt. Stryker, a man honorably discharged from 'Nam due to an injury sustained in battle. He returns home and retires to his cabin only to soon be faced with a Manson family-esque group (complete with C. Manson look alike leader) terrorizing his loved ones. Stryker meets up with his old war comrades and decides to take back his piece of sanity from the malicious group of the deranged.

Perhaps you could state that the events in the film are in fact a metaphor for the insanity that is war and therefore vicariously is a metaphor for the Vietnam war... Except! Except for the fact that the film is just a silly variation on Rambo, but without the 'great' acting. The novice direction doesn't help, making much of the film bland and boring. The screenplay is definitely uneven despite being fine-tuned for years. The pacing is lop-sided and leaves all of the action in the last act (sans a scene or two in act two). The one bright spot in the production is Joseph LoDuca's (Music Composer) score at times. With a limited budget, the score is capable of making you forget about the sometimes low-production values displayed.

Despite all of it's short-comings... I like this film. I would have loved to have been at the standing-room only premiere of 'Sgt. Stryker's War' back in 1985. I probably wouldn't have liked it as much, seeing as how I was only three years old at the time, but just to be able to say I was one of the first people to see this film would be a kick. I can't really say that about any other film... See this film if you are an 'Evil Dead' fan (it features Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Scott Spiegel, Joseph LoDuca and Josh Becker in various forms of production). See this film if you're a fan of the obscure. Most importantly though, see this film if your a fan of film, but only the Collector's Edition. If you do see the Collector's Edition then you'll understand this...

"What's a good idea?"

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