Category Archives: Movies from Canada

A Fan’s Notes (1972)

fan-notes

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 4 out of 10

4-Word Review: He writes about himself.

Exley (Jerry Orbach) is a loner residing in and out of mental institutions. He imagines having conversations with beautiful women, but is rarely able to approach them in real-life. He also obsesses over New York Giants running back Frank Gifford and wishes one day to achieve that same type of success, but fears that he’ll be a spectator in life just like he is in sports. He decides to begin writing about his nomadic existence in hopes that it will be a cathartic effort only to find that too harbors its own share of frustrations.

The film is based on the Frederick Exley novel of the same name, but despite the filmmaker’s best efforts it’s not able to achieve the book’s cult potential and in fact Exley himself stated that the movie “bore no relation to anything that I had written”. The idea of trying to somehow visualize a story that was never meant for the big screen is the film’s biggest issue and one that it cannot overcome no matter how hard it tries. The pacing is poor and tries awkwardly to make profound statements while at other points being zany and absurd, which is off-putting.

Orbach does well in the lead and helps hold it together. This also marks the official film debut of Julia Anne Robinson who appeared in only one other movie King of the Marvin Gardens before she tragically died in a house fire at the young age of 24. Like in that movie her acting is poor, but here it works in the positive because it makes her character seem transparent and accentuates the dream-like theme. The segment where she dresses up like a nun and then later as a street hooker, as part of Exley’s sexual fantasy, is fun as is his visit with her quirky parents (Conrad Bain, Rosemary Murphy).

Burgess Meredith appears only briefly, but practically steals it with his outrageousness. Watching him lie down on the floor in an effort to look up a blind woman’s skirt is a real hoot as is his ability to walk on his hands across the edge of a sofa.

Had the film stuck solely with the goofy comedy it might’ve worked and there are indeed a few memorable bits. The part where Exley punches an obnoxious woman (Elsa Raven) in slow motion is arresting and the segment where he imagines himself inside a scene of a his favorite soap opera where he directs the cast to strip off their clothes and have sex right in front of the camera is pretty funny too, but the best moment is the telephone conversation he has with a couple where he pretends to be a lawyer pleading with them to take-in the husband’s mentally unstable brother.

My Rating: 4 out of 10

Released: July 21, 1972

Runtime: 1Hour 32Minutes

Rated R

Director: Eric Till

Studio: Warner Brothers

Available: YouTube

Pin (1988)

pin-1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: He befriends a dummy.

Leon (David Hewlett) and Ursula (Cynthia Preston) are brother and sister growing up in a large home run by their stern father (Terry O’ Quinn) who works as a doctor and has an anatomically correct dummy named Pin in his office. Sometimes to entertain the children he gets the dummy to talk, by throwing his voice to make it seem like it’s the dummies. As the children get older Leon remains convinced that the dummy can speak and begins to have an unhealthy fixation with him that concerns his sister. When the parents end up dying in a tragic car accident the sister and brother get the house all to themselves and Leon becomes even more possessive about Pin and anyone who dares make fun of him or Pin pays the ultimate price.

This intriguing film manages to be captivating throughout thanks mainly to an intelligent script and some excellent performances by its two leads. The casting is top-notch including the fact that the different actors who represent Leon and Ursula as they grow from children to young adults look very similar, which is a major achievement since many other movies aren’t as adept with this and cast child performers that do not effectively resemble their adult counterparts.

It’s also refreshing that Leon’s character is not a complete derelict, but instead quite cultured and educated, which makes his weird child-like fixation with the dummy all the more creepy. I also enjoyed O’Quinn as the father and the scene where he performs an abortion on his own daughter and tries to force his son to watch it is really twisted.

The scares though are lacking and there are only a couple of murders, which aren’t all that dramatic or impressive. Pin is also not frightening to look at and in fact becomes downright boring. Most horror films would’ve exaggerated some characteristic of the dummy to give him more of a creepy effect, which is what this one should’ve done. It also would’ve helped had there been a surreal moment where we saw things from Leon’s point-of-view and witnessed the doll actually speaking or even just moving.

Spoiler Alert!

The film’s ending though is the script’s weakest point. It involves Ursula attacking Leon with an ax after she realizes that he has just killed her boyfriend (John Pyper-Ferguson), but then the film cuts away making it confusing as to what happens. It then cuts to show Leon sitting in a wheelchair and having taken on the personality of Pin as apparently that’s who she cut up, but the film would’ve been more interesting had it shown the doll getting destroyed and even doing some of it in slow-motion especially since its devoid of much action otherwise.

The idea of a person taking the personality of an inanimate object that they earlier thought was real is nothing new. The same fate occurred to the Anthony Hopkins’ character in Magic where he played a ventriloquist who thought his dummy could talk as well as to another ventriloquist character in a classic episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’, which makes the twist here less interesting and almost predictable. A more surprising element would’ve been to have the dummy suddenly come to life when Ursula attacks it and then killing her.

It also seemed ridiculous that Leon would remain living in his large, stately home in a sort of vegetative state after being caught attempting to murder the boyfriend while apparently being cared for by a round-the-clock nurse is not believable as the cost of his medical care would dry up any funds that he had in his inheritance and making his continued stay at the home completely impractical. In reality the court appointed doctors would’ve deemed him mentally ill and a menace to society while also advising that he be sent away to a secure and monitored mental facility.

End of Spoiler Alert!

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: November 25, 1988

Runtime: 1Hour 43Minutes

Rated R

Director: Sandor Stern

Studio: New World Pictures

Available: DVD

Nobody Waved Goodbye (1964)

nobody waved goodbye 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 8 out of 10

4-Word Review: Teen learns hard lesson.

Peter (Peter Kastner) is 18 and looking to spread-his-wings, but doesn’t like what he sees in the adult world. Everyone seems trapped by their dull jobs and mundane routines, which is something he doesn’t want to fall into. He has big dreams. He wants to run away with his girlfriend Julie (Julie Biggs) and live a life based completely on his own whims while never becoming a slave-to-the-system like everyone else. Then he gets in a fight with his parents and they kick him out and after struggling to find work without even a high school diploma his attitude quickly changes.

If you can get past the wretched opening song, which is sung by Kastner and played over the credits, then this film really hits-the-mark. I was impressed with the camera work especially during the dinner time conversations amongst the family members where director Don Owen shoots it with a hand-held camera and zooms in and out on the person’s face as they are speaking. This is something that is quite common today especially on TV-shows, but back then was rarely if ever used, which makes this well ahead-of-its-time and even groundbreaking. I also enjoyed the conversational quality of the dialogue and having two conversations going on at the same time, which again didn’t come into vogue until years later when Robert Altman did it in M*A*S*H.

The film also clearly allows for ad-libbing amongst its actors. There is a scene in which Peter and Julie go paddle boating and come upon a large sofa submerged in the water and then comment on it. Clearly the filmmakers didn’t put the sofa into the lake simply to film the short scene that has nothing to do with the rest of the story, but it still helps set the tone for keeping things fresh and real.

Kastner is great and it’s refreshing to have a protagonist in a film that you like at some points and feel like wringing-his-neck at other times. Too many movies today, especially Hollywood ones, create lead characters that are politically correct caricatures while this movie instead has real human beings that are not tailored made to conform to the likings of any particular demographic.

It’s a shame to say that a movie that came out over 50 years ago is still considered cutting-edge, but compared to the tired, formulaic glop coming out today it really is. The script is uncompromised and holds-no-punches while keeping things gritty and stark and making profound, universal points along the way. I also found it fun that the main character here, who was clearly a baby boomer, displays the same anti-establishment, anti-work attitude that now gets placed squarely onto the ‘dreaded millennials’ and yet it seems the boomers were just as reluctant to get into the rat race as all the generations that have followed them and therefore shouldn’t be waiving their finger at anyone.

nobody waved goodbye 2

My Rating: 8 out of 10

Released: August 13, 1964

Runtime: 1Hour 20Minutes

Not Rated

Director: Don Owen

Studio: National Film Board of Canada

Available: None at this time.

A Man, A Woman and a Bank (1979)

man a woman and a bank 2

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: A very large withdrawal.

Small-time crook Reese (Donald Sutherland) teams up with his computer expert friend Norman (Paul Mazursky) to pull of what they hope will be the perfect crime. Their plan is to reprogram the alarm system of a bank while the building is still under construction. Then when it finally gets completed they’ll break into the vault undetected and walk away with a cool 50 million dollars. Things though get off to a rocky start when commercial photographer Stacey (Brooke Adams) snaps of picture of Reese as he is stealing the blueprints of the building. In an effort to get the negatives back he tracks her down, but ends up falling in love with her instead putting their elaborate plan at risk.

There’s been a million and one bank robbery films done and many of them can be quite entertaining, but this one misses the mark from the very beginning. For one thing it gives us no backstory to the characters, or how they were able to come up with the idea in the first place. Giving a compelling reason for the viewer to become emotionally attached to the characters and their quest helps and this film fails to give it. The plan itself seems too easy and full of a lot of potential pitfalls that the script conveniently overlooks. The idea that the Norman character would be able to break into the bank’s security system by simply feeding the computer with a lot of useless usernames until it finally breaks down and starts spitting out the secret information is in itself quite questionable.

The pacing is poor and the story meanders onto several different story threads that have nothing to do with the crime. Analyzing Norman’s marriage difficulties and Stacey’s troubles with her possessive boyfriend (Allan Kolman) seems like material for a whole different movie and does nothing to help keep the interest going in this one. In fact the movie spends so much time on these other tangents that the robbery begins to seem almost like a side-story.

Stars Sutherland and Adams reunite after starring in Invasion of the Body Snatchers just a year earlier. The two share a good chemistry, but Sutherland is too laid back in the role and Adams’ hyper energy helps only so much. The film’s best performance and ultimate scene stealer is Mazursky who is completely on-the-mark as the nervous friend and gets quite a few good lines.

The film does have a couple of unique scenes that I liked including a collection of candles made to look like well-known game show hosts and a security guard who does jumping jack exercises only to light up a cigarette the minute he sits back down. The crime though is boring and does not offer enough tension. I was almost hoping they’d end up getting caught as they are able to pull it off too easily with a plan that I don’t think would ever work in real-life.

man a woman and a bank

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: September 8, 1979

Runtime: 1Hour 41Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Noel Black

Studio: AVCO Embassy Pictures

Available: DVD

Running (1979)

running 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Life of a runner.

Michael (Michael Douglas) is suffering, at the age of 32, a midlife malaise. He goes from one dead end job to another and his marriage is crumbling. He runs to relieve the stress and finds that he has a major passion for it. When he qualifies for the Olympics he is initially excited, but it’s short lived because his former coach (Lawrence Dane) is on hand to constantly remind him how he has a tendency to ‘choke’ at the last minute and can never win a race when the pressure is on, which begins to wear on him psychologically.

The theme of a middle aged man having a passion for something that isn’t exactly ‘practical’ and resisting the pressures from the rest of world that tries to get him to conform to something that is, is highly relatable. I also liked the side-story dealing with the psychological element, which plays a far stronger factor in sports and amongst athletes than one might think. However, the majority of the screen time is spent with Michael trying to reconcile with his wife Janet (Susan Anspach) making it seem more like a romance and seemingly added in as ‘filler’ because the filmmakers believed that the running theme wouldn’t be enough to  carry it.

I also had a hard time understanding why the kids at high school, or at least his daughter’s friends, which gets played by Lesleh Donaldson in her film debut, would make fun of Michael simply because he was frequently seen around town running. I see joggers and runners every day and saw a lot of them back in the ‘70s too, so I don’t get why that would be a source of mockery and it seems like it was yet another manufactured dramatic element put in to give it more conflict. What’s even worse is when Michael finally qualifies for the Olympics then the kids do a full 180 degree turn and get excited about it and even run with him down the city streets, which gets corny to say the least.

Halfway in you realize this is just another variation of the Rocky formula and normally I would’ve found it annoying, but for some reason I actually got into it. I even liked the scene where he spots a giant cross standing on a hill and decides to run up the incline to reach it much like Rocky climbing the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and to some degree it’s invigorating although it would’ve been nice had it shown him standing next to the cross once the climb was achieved. The final segment that takes place during the climactic Olympic race even has a twist to it that I didn’t see coming and to a degree it’s interesting though pushing plausibility. I won’t give it away I’ll just say that he doesn’t win the race, but he doesn’t exactly lose it either.

Douglas did all of his own running and to prepare for the role he would run many miles a day; IMDB states that he ran 50 to 60 miles a day, which I found hard to believe, so we’ll just say it was ‘many’. Anspach is good as the sympathetic wife particularly when the character has a conflict of emotions and breaks out in tears. Eugene Levy appears with a full afro in a rare serious turn as Michael’s attorney. Lawrence Dane is okay as the hardened coach who dispenses a lot of ‘tough love’, but little else.

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: November 2, 1979

Runtime: 1Hour 42Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Steven Hilliard Stern

Studio: Universal

Available: DVD (Italian Import Region 0)

Death Ship (1980)

death ship 2

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 2 out of 10

4-Word Review: Ghost ship haunts ocean.

Members of a luxury ocean liner collide with a mysterious ship that comes out of nowhere. The liner sinks, but a few of the passengers manage to survive by boarding on a raft and going out to sea. After a few days of being afloat in the watery abyss they come into contact with the ship that they collided with. Having no other options they board the vessel only to find that no one else is on it. At first they are relived, but then creepy things begin to occur making them feel that it may be haunted. When the ship begins killing off members of the group one-by-one the remaining people look for a way off, but find nothing available.

The film starts out okay with a likable enough cast filled with veteran B-actors. The collision and subsequent sinking of the luxury liner as some definite tinges of The Poseidon Adventure to it and I’ll give props to the shot showing a grand piano crashing several stories down as well as the way the engine room quickly and realistically fills up with water. The ghost ship has a nice threatening quality and is shot in a way that gives it effective creepiness and makes it like a third character.

The performers do their best and giver earnest performances although it’s hard to believe that any of them could possibly have taken the material seriously and could only have been doing this for the money. I did not like the way George Kennedy’s character goes from being this surly prick of a sea captain to a man possessed by the evil spirits of the ship as I liked the way his character’s disagreeable personality meshed with the others and made the group dynamics a little more interesting.

The ultimate problem with the film though is the fact that there is no second or third act and the whole concept would’ve worked much better as a thirty minute episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ instead of trying to stretch it out to feature film length. There are just so many creepy shots of the ship, foreboding music and scared reactions of the cast one can take before it all becomes quite old and redundant.  

The ending is unsatisfying and doesn’t explain anything. Yes, we understand this is a ship once used by the Nazi’s to torture victims, but why is it haunting these waters and why did it decide to collide with the ocean liner and if it has collided with other ships then why hasn’t it been detected by world governments and possibly gone under attack by armies in an attempt to subdue it? Again, as a creepy short story or an episode of an anthology series it might’ve worked, but as a film it is boring, one-dimensional and lacking any type of unique spin.

My Rating: 2 out of 10

Released: March 7, 1980

Runtime: 1Hour 31Minutes

Rated R

Director: Alvin Rakoff

Studio: Astral Films

Available: DVD

The Changeling (1980)

the changeling

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 4 out of 10

4-Word Review: Dead child haunts house.

Still grieving from the sudden loss of his family in a freak accident composer John Russell (George C. Scott) decides to move to the Pacific Northwest where he finds a large stately mansion to move into. He feels it would be the perfect place to reflect and continue with his work, but instead realizes that it is haunted by a child who was murdered there years earlier. With the help of Claire (Trish Van Devere) who had procured the property for him they investigate its history and find that there is a connection between the killing and an influential senator (Melvyn Douglas).

One of the aspects about this film that I did like was that it was given a big budget and the on-location shooting that was done from New York, Seattle and even Toronto gives it a strong visual backdrop and makes it light years ahead of the average horror film that is usually crippled from the start by its meager funding. The mansion is impressive at least the outside of it, which was actually only a façade that was constructed when they couldn’t find a real one to fit their needs. However, the idea that a single man would move into such a large place seems ridiculous and there’s nothing that says ghosts can’t haunt small homes that would be more practical place for one person to live in.

Scott gives an unusual performance in that he shows little of a frightened reaction when the scares occur. To some extent I liked this as the screams and shocked expressions in most horror movies become overdone, but when a vision of a ghostly boy appears in a bathtub and all Scott does is calmly back away it seems to be underplaying it a bit too much.

I also felt that Van Devere’s character was unnecessary and was put in only because she was Scott’s real-life wife at the time, but it seemed unrealistic that a real estate agent who was merely an acquaintance to John would get so wrapped up in his quandary or even believe him to begin with. No relationship is ever implied, but it would have made more sense had the character been written in as a girlfriend.

I realize there are those that consider this to be a ‘really scary’ movie, but I found it to be pretty flat. The ‘scares’ as it where consist of nothing more than a child’s ball rolling down a staircase twice, whispery voices, a runaway wheelchair and a few doors slamming. There is also a fiery finale that borders on the hooky and a tacky séance and if that is enough to keep you up all night then have at it.

Spoiler Alert!

The idea that this child, who was sickly and if he died before his 21st birthday the family fortune would go to charity, so the father kills him and has him replaced with another child who later grows into being this powerful aging senator, didn’t make sense in that I didn’t see where the ‘justice’ was in getting back at the senator who had nothing to do with the killing or even knew about it. He was simply an innocent child taken from an orphanage and the product of a nefarious scheme by the father, so why not go after the dead soul of the murdering father and leave the senator alone? The senator dies from a heart attack that we are lead to believe was caused by the ghostly presence of the angry child, which to some extent makes the protagonists look like the bad guys since they were the ones that precipitated the meeting that lead to the death and instead should’ve tried to prevent it.

I was also confused by the whole backstory about John’s family being killed in a roadside accident that begins the movie since it really didn’t have much to do with the main plot and could’ve easily been left out completely.

End of Spoiler Alert!

I first saw this film over 20 years ago and wasn’t all that impressed with it then and I’m still not. I realize it has its legion of fans, but to me it’s just an average ghost story and far from being a classic.

My Rating: 4 out of 10

Released: March 28, 1980

Runtime: 1Hour 46Minutes

Rated R

Director: Peter Medak

Studio: Associated Film Distribution (AFD)

Available: VHS, DVD

Bells (1982)

bells 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: Don’t answer the phone.

People are being killed throughout the city of Toronto by simply answering the phone. Apparently someone has come up with a device that can create a massive electronic blast that can go through the phone lines and kill anyone listening on the other end. The blast is so strong that it can even melt the receiver. Nat Bridger (Richard Chamberlain) who is a professor at a local college decides to take matters into his own hands and investigate on his own after one of his students is killed and the police seem to do nothing about it.

Initially I found this idea to be intriguing and original, but unfortunately it throws credibility completely out the window. Had it worked more with the idea of sending some loud noise at an extremely high decibel over the phone, which would then blow out the person’s ear drum, or something of that nature then I might have bought into it. Instead it has some sort of unexplained blast that literally makes the person at the other end blow off of their seat and fly backwards crashing into walls and windows, which seems utterly ridiculous and cartoonish. The film also offers no scientific explanation to how this device was created or done, which makes it farfetched and pointless.

Chamberlain’s one-dimensional acting doesn’t help and his presence in the lead role is quite generic as he plays a character that shows the street smarts and fighting ability of a seasoned cop instead of that of a college professor making things even more unrealistic. John Houseman gets a rather thankless supporting role as Chamberlain’s mentor and is pretty much wasted except for a bit where he disrupts a guided tour through a phone company which proves mildly amusing.

The technology is horribly dated making the entire thing a relic of a bygone era and irrelevant to today’s audiences.  The climatic sequence dealing with Chamberlain’s attempts to keep the bad guy on the phone while the police try to trace the number is highly clichéd and more boring than intense. Director Michael Anderson’s attempts to jazz things up a bit by photographing phones in intimidating ways with ominous music playing in the background comes off as unintentionally funny instead of scary.

This Canadian made thriller was originally released under the title above and ran for 95 minutes, but the Warner Home Video version, which was released in 1998 and goes under the title of Murder by Phone was trimmed by 15 minutes. The version reviewed here is from the original release although the film is so silly that watching the shorter cut might be preferred simply because it would mean less time wasted.

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Alternate Title: Murder by Phone

Released: May 11, 1982

Runtime: 1Hour 35Minutes

Rated R

Director: Michael Anderson

Studio: Canadian Film Development Corporation

Available: VHS (as Murder by Phone)

Middle Age Crazy (1980)

middle age crazy

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Not Ready for 40.

Bobby Lee (Bruce Dern) is a Texas businessman who builds taco stands for a living. Although he is genuinely happy with his life he finds his job boring and dealing with the demanding clients to be frustrating. He loves his wife Sue Ann (Ann-Margret), but her constant smothering him with love makes him feel suffocated. Turning 40 becomes a major milestone and one he wishes would go away. To compensate he starts to act erratically by buying himself an expensive sports car, telling off his obnoxious clients and even having an affair with a much younger woman, but it all makes him feel empty and just as lost and confused.

Having turned the wrong side of 40 myself now several years back I can vouch for what this character is feeling and some of the points it makes are certainly relatable to anyone the same age especially males. The first half of the movie is the best as it has several dream-like segments where the character fantasizes about seeing himself in different situations. The one where he sees himself presiding over his own funeral is amusing, but the best one is where he imagines having sex with his college-aged son’s girlfriend in the backseat of a car while the tune ‘Good Girls Don’t’ by the Knack plays on the radio.

The dialogue is equally funny with some politically incorrect lines that really hit-the-mark with the strongest one coming during a commencement speech that he imagines giving to a graduating class of high school seniors. It was so good I felt obligated to print a slightly condensed version of it here:

“Every year thousands of you kids put on these silly, fucking hats to hear some other kid in a silly, fucking hat tell you that you are the future, but there is not enough future to go around. If you want to know your real future look at your folks in the stands. Fat butts and sagging tits that’s your future. If you had any sense you would give back your diplomas and silly hats and stay 18 the rest of your lives. You don’t want the future because the future sucks!”

The acting is a real grab bag. Graham Jarvis a balding actor best known for playing uptight characters scores here as Bobby’s foul mouthed over-sexed friend J.D. Dern who is almost always engaging especially in bad guy roles seems too restrained and even boring. Ann-Margret is much too clingy as the wife and would probably drive any man away and Michael Kane’s caricature of an obnoxious Texas businessman is irritatingly clichéd.

The film veers into heavy-handed drama during the second half and ultimately limps along to a flat finale. Had the film stayed with the lighthearted, quirky tone that it had at the beginning it might have worked, but instead comes off as rather amateurish and disjointed.

The film is based on a Jerry Lee Lewis song and has a hard time taking a basic idea, which is what a song really is and trying to turn it into feature length material. It is also interesting to note that despite being filmed on-location in Texas the movie was financed by a Canadian production company, which technically makes it a foreign film.

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: July 25, 1980

Runtime: 1Hour 37Minutes

Rated R

Director: John Trent

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Available: VHS

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

my bloody valentine

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 2 out of 10

4-Word Review: A Killer with heart.

After 20 years a small Canadian mining town of Valentine Bluffs has decided to hold another Valentine’s Day Dance. The previous ones were canceled due to one ending in bloodshed by a psychotic mine worker named Harold Warden. Now he is locked away so they think it is safe except the killings start happening again and this time the killer tears the hearts out of the victims and delivers them in heart shaped boxes to their relatives.

This movie has a cool looking poster and a deliciously macabre concept and has also attained a strong cult following including Quinton Tarantino, but I unfortunately was not impressed with it. I found it to be excruciatingly boring and a major strain just to sit through. The direction and writing are uninspired creating predictable scenarios and delivering all the expected teen slasher movie clichés with a monotonous regularity.  Nothing is distinctive or scary and it fails to deliver any suspense or tension. It can’t even make effective use of its unique mine shaft setting. The final sequence takes place there, but it is nothing spectacular. The constant delivering of human hearts in candy style boxes soon loses its effect and eventually becomes stupid especially with the corny poems written on the attached note cards.

The young victims are dull and stereotypical. They look like caricatures from all the other slasher horror films except here they speak with thick Canadian accents. One of them looks like an overweight version of Meathead from ‘All in the Family’. There is also a ‘class clown’ type of character that resembles very closely the ‘class clown’ character from Friday the 13th . Here he does nothing but crack dumb jokes and watching him eventually get decapitated is the film’s single most gratifying moment.

The sheriff character is a real loser. He wears a big belt buckle and dopey haircut that makes him appear to be some middle-aged buffoon who has just stepped out of the 60’s. His logic is also flawed. He decides not to warn the town that a killer is on the loose even after he has killed a couple of people as he is afraid it will create too much of a panic, so instead he waits until seven more people die and the citizens all go into a panic anyways.

Usually in even the poorest of horror films the killings and gore can at least keep things entertaining on a tacky level and yet here they are as dull as everything else. Also, since when has going into a dark and dingy cave been considered a great place to have sex? To me it seems absurd and yet several of the teen couples go into the mine for distinctly that purpose.

Remade in 2009.

My Rating: 2 out of 10

Released:  February 11, 1981

Runtime: 1Hour 30Minutes

Rated R

Director: George Mihalka

Studio: Paramount

Available: VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video