Trick or Treats
...when Halloween night stopped being fun!
Year of Release: 1982
Running Time: 91 minutes (1:31)
Director: Gary Graver
Jacqueline Giroux ... Linda
Peter Jason ... Malcolm O'Keefe
Chris Graver ... Christopher O'Keefe
David Carradine ... Richard Adams
Carrie Snodgress ... Joan O'Keefe Adams
Steve Railsback ... Bret
Jillian Kesner ... Andrea
Paul Bartel ... Bum
Gary Graver ... Counterman (uncredited)
Trick or Treats is the sixth in a series of reviews I've chosen to write as a tribute to Joe Bob Briggs for his lifetime of dedication to B, Drive-In and Exploitation movies. It was his Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In column and host segments on Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater and Monstervision that inspired me to write with what limited ability I have. Thanks for everything Joe Bob, we all 'preciate what you do.
Regarding the ordering of these 12 tribute reviews, I'll be counting down the first 12 horror movies that Joe Bob reviewed back in '82 and '83. Less the titles I've already done up to this point. By the time I decided to do this, I'd already done some of those first 12 titles, so call that a blunder on my part. Trick or Treats, technically speaking, was the 11th horror movie Joe Bob reviewed in his Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In column, and the 28th overall.
First, a crazed and fighting Malcolm is hauled off to an asylum by two men just that much tougher than he is, and then this film jumps ahead several years to Halloween at Malcolm's old home. His wife, Joan, and her live-in lover, Richard, are about to go out, while son Christopher stays home with Linda, a soon-to-be unhappy babysitter. When Linda and Christopher are alone, the chubby little devil decides to play endless practical jokes on the poor woman: he "chops" his finger off, he "kills" himself, and commits all sorts of make-believe mayhem until she sits him down and tells him the story of the hapless boy who cried wolf just a bit too often. Meanwhile, dressed as a nurse, the crazy Malcolm has managed to escape from his confinement in the asylum, and as he makes his way through the streets in drag (it is Halloween, who's to notice?) he finally arrives at his former house, lusting for vengeance, just when little Christopher's pranks are reaching their worst.
Trick or Treats... editing? We don't need no steen-king editing! This abomination reminds us that there's no reason to end a shot, ever, for any reason. What's that? Mom's in the hospital an she can only afford three more charges on the defibrillator before they let 'er flatline? Nuts to 'er, we're only halfway through this five minute sequence of filmin' one airhead search for the other an this is the make or break shot of the picture. I guess we can all be thankful that the director eventually found his true calling in life. One where his style of filmmaking would become a boon, rather than a debilitatin' hindrance. Why yes, he did move into the porn business, how'd you guess? Trick or Treats my ass. This movie's all trick an no treats. Not even any teats, this movie's the sheets. Fuggin' dead beats. You know who loves this one? Me neither. Maybe some guy that was transported through time from 1921 where all they had was those silent movies in black an white where everybody acted like they were hopped up on goofballs all the time. Nah, forget that, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is better than this. It wouldn't be fair to ask you to guess who hates this one, that'd be like askin' Shakespeare what part of Caitlin Upton's Miss Teen America speech he found lacking, so I'll just tell ya. The ghost of Ed Wood hates this movie. Ed Wood, now there was a man that could make a bad movie. Ed didn't have to lower 'imself to doin' things like borin' you to tears when he made bad movies, an that's cause Ed had VISION. Ed kept you entertained with his bad movies, but this Graver guy takes the bad movie short cut. He flogs you with mind numbing drudgery so hard an for so long that by the end of it you're certain that 2+2 does in fact equal 5. Sometimes 3. On the one hand, movies such as Trick or Treats make Ed's stuff look pretty good, but on the other, it's a skidmark on the industry Ed loved so much. An if that's not enough, Graver adds insult to injury by puttin' Peter Jason in a dress, knowin' full well that no hairy cross dressin' man can possibly compete with that level of sex appeal. Only a soulless beast can't sense Ed's feelins of inadequacy an unattractiveness while watchin' this thing. What kinda mean spirited movie is this anyway? Don't you listen to that man Ed, you look fantastic in that corset. Graver, you're history's greatest monster. Alright, I'm okay now. I just felt like that needed to be said. Despite Mr. Graver's complete lack of sensitivity, Trick or Treats does still have some moments of insight that're worth lookin' at, so lets move on to those.
First, it's actually really easy to get somebody committed to a sanitarium. You'd think they'd wanna run some tests on the person bein' tossed in the nut cracker but it's really as simple as callin' the place up an askin' 'em to send over a couple guys in white coats an a dolly. Second, female acting students're so used to bein' sexually harassed an generally denigrated that even if it's a fat pre-teen givin' 'em the business they can't muster any kind of personal dignity. Kid's gonna grow up to be the fat slob in the front row of the strip club that's completely convinced the dancers like 'im for his personality. An third, if you spend enough time in the shower that it warrants keepin' your phone next to it, you an the showerhead might wanna think about seein' other people, at least for a little while. But the thing that really makes me facepalm about this movie is the kid practicin' magic tricks so that some day he can grow up an bilk people outta money like David Blaine. Maybe it's not just the movie, "magic" is really just too laughable to take seriously. For me, that is. There're still countless people in the U.S. who believe in angels, ghosts, the notion that a two party system works, an that Jesus was a white guy with perfect teeth an great hair, so it's no surprise that there are those that still buy this crap. Now I realize I don't need to explain this to most people, but if magic was real Roy Horn prolly woulda teleported before that tiger started eatin' his face an Houdini prolly would've put up a shield of protection around 'imself before that punk kid punched 'im in the gut when he was sufferin' from appendicitis. That goes without sayin', so for the most part, the people who enjoy magic do so because they wanna know how it's done. So they're essentially nosy gossip hounds. When the magician's performance is over these people're doin' so much speculatin' that you could easily confuse 'em for the people on Wall Street that do everything within their power to wreck our economy worse than a Hobby Lobby when the National Association of Atheists comes to town. So when it comes right down to it, if you enjoy magic exhibitions, I'm afraid you're either akin to the old women at the beauty salon with dryers on their heads, or a complete idiot. Hey look, I just made your self respect disappear. That'll be $10, please.
The movie begins with a couple sittin' by the pool of their McMansion where the wife (Joan) tries to make awkward conversation with 'er husband (Malcolm) who's poppin' every Ritalin capsule he's got in an effort to stay focused on his newspaper an pretend she don't exist. After about a minute of this the front door rings, an like a good Stepford Wife, she goes to answer it. Ah, the guys in white coats with butterfly nets she ordered have arrived. So she points 'em to where Malcom's sittin' an when they tell 'im they're gonna take 'im for a little ride he starts flippin' tables an growlin' at 'em like Jo Jo the dog faced boy an kicks one of 'em into the pool while the other tries to yank 'em outta the tree he's Cheeta'd himself into. Eventually the first guy gets outta the pool an spears Malcolm right outta his Italian loafers an the two guys suit 'im up an haul his carcass outta there while he screams like a nerd bein' sent away to athletic camp. All the while, Joan's got this look on 'er face like she just cut a rotten egg scented fart at 'er country club an was able to pin it on the bitch next door. Several years later we've got a woman in the shower (Linda) who apparently keeps 'er phone next to it in case she feels like callin' one of those dirty 900 numbers from the tub. It's work, an they need 'er to babysit tonight. She tries to get out of it with the usual excuses like; "today's my mother's funeral" an "I'm in a full body cast" but things like that aren't too important when it means some yuppy might miss their Chicago concert, an eventually she has to cave. Then her boyfriend (Steve Railsback) who's clad in plate armor calls 'er up from the community theater an throws a fit when she tells 'im she can't come cause this means she don't love 'im an now he's gonna feel real stupid doin' in the play in front of absolutely no one. So Steve is disappoint. But she tells 'im he can at least come by for sex later an he has to pretend like that makes up for the neglect so she won't cut 'im off entirely. Ya know, women, sometimes a man just wants you to watch us perform Othello, why's everything gotta be about sex with you? Then she heads out to 'er SUV where some creepola asks 'er for directions an whether or not the rag he's holdin' smells like chloroform an instead of kickin' 'im in what passes for his balls like she aughta she politely drives off without even runnin' 'im over. Elsewhere, Dave Carradine an his wife (Joan, from the earlier sequence), who're dressed up like groomsmen at Prince's wedding, wait around for Linda to show up so they can fly to Vegas an hang out with Sigfried an Roy. When Linda finally shows up, Joan tells 'er all the standard babysitter stuff like; make sure the kid's in bed by 11, there's food in the fridge, an if you're gonna fuck your boyfriend in my bed at least have the decency to change the sheets afterwards.
Elsewhere, Malcolm's not adjustin' real well over at the laughin' academy, an he starts tellin' his bunk mate about how bustin' out on Halloween is pretty much fool proof an that he knows just how to do it cause he saw this documentary on Michael Myers in the activity room the other night. Meanwhile, Dave's givin' Linda liquor while she giggles an says things like "this sure is a great house." Then Dave goes for the groceries an Linda acts like maybe she sorta doesn't like it but that it's prolly fine since Dave's rich but then Joan shows up an Dave has to spring a diamond bracelet on 'er to smooth everything over. Eventually Dave an Joan take off an when Linda goes to find the kid (Chris) he's choppin' off his head with a fake guillotine so that when she finds 'em she'll freak out an he can watch what passes for her chest heave. Once she calms down she tells 'im to be careful an to rearrange his room so it won't look so much like a Spencer's Gifts. Then some kids come to trick or treat an she leans way over so they can get a cheap thrill to go with their candy, but when she shuts the door an turns around a flea bomb goes off in 'er face. Chris apologizes an promptly zaps 'er with his hand buzzer cause... well lets face it, she's dumb as a box of dead crabs an it'll work. Then some teenagers come to the door an sexually harass 'er an she again fails to cause swelling in their scrotal regions. While that's goin' on, Chris lays down a prop that resembles spilled milk an scares the tar outta Linda with a Tammy Faye Bakker fright mask when she goes to clean it up an then the KID starts sexually harassin' 'er. Back over at Chateau Drool Cup, Malcolm's ready to make his move, an when the nurse comes to read 'im a bed time story he grabs 'er an forces 'er to sniff his dirty humpin' pillow while she makes the same kinda orgasmic noises you might expect Dave Carradine to make when he's not gettin' enough oxygen to the brain. Wait a minute, no wonder 'er arms suddenly got all hairy in that one shot. Oh forget it, it's not real important. Back at the house, Chris pretends to break his coccyx on the stairs (which Linda shoulda already done with 'er foot by now) an after she again tries to save face after bein' fooled, she tells 'im the story of the boy who cried wolf, which is met with about as much effectiveness as tryin' to convince Ted Cruz he's Yoko Ono-in' the Republican Party. Elsewhere, Malcolm gets all Chelsea Manning'd up in the nurse's outfit an accessorizes as well as well as one can without access to a Claire's an once he clocks the security guard (you don't just ask a woman for her ID, that's an indirect way of askin' 'er age) he hijacks a 1982 Honda Accord an makes the slowest, most cautious getaway in movie history (seriously he could've passed a driver's exam while makin' this escape, that 3-point turn was a thing of beauty).
Back at the house, where Chris' hit Linda with another cloud of ninja smoke an creeped on 'er while wearin' a Tor Johnson mask, Steve calls 'er up an asks 'er how it's goin' an when she tries to tell 'im he tells 'er he's gotta go. Kinda seems like maybe Steve's one of those obsessive boyfriends that has to make sure their girl isn't bangin' around on 'em every few minutes. Or *maybe* he's just got a pants on head retarded screenwriter. Then Malcolm makes like E.T. an phones home to make sure Joan's there cause it'd just be awkward if he broke outta the booby hatch an she'd chosen that particular day to go to Vegas. He's pretty sure that was her that answered anyway, I mean, how many women could there be? Linda of course figures it's Chris, an goes to issue a series of hollow threats. Unfortunately, Chris is out in the pool tryin' to change the filter with his face an she has to haul 'em outta there an make orgasmic noises as she performs CPR. To be fair, most babysitters would be orgasmic at the thought of this kid dyin', so lets not judge 'er acting too harshly. Once she gives up an starts blubberin' the kid sits up an thanks 'er for the good time an heads back in an she gets this look on 'er face like she's about to go hold the kid's face in the toilet tank. If there's anything good that can be said about this, it's that the movie's old enough that she at least avoided gettin' put on the sex offender registry. Then she goes upstairs an dresses up like Zsa Zsa Gabor an reapplies 'er make up til Malcolm calls again to make sure he had the right number when he called last time. He's never done this revenge killin' thing before so he's not sure if he needs to make an appointment or not. Then the kid pretends to cut off his finger an... Linda, it's gettin' real hard to sympathize if you're gonna be this stupid, come on, dear. But anyway, Malcolm calls again an this time tells 'er he's comin' home an that he's sorry he's missed dinner for the last few years. She of course blames Chris, who denies it, but as you might have noticed they've spent the last 40 minutes foreshadowin' this situation just in case we missed it during the first 30 minutes. Meanwhile, some tranny chaser starts hittin' on Malcolm who seems to have forgotten that if he didn't want this kinda thing to happen he shoulda never put on make up. But at least he knows he's still got it. Then Joan calls an Linda tells 'er what a rotten son of a bitch Chris is while Joan pretends to rationalize 'er terrible parenting skills an watch the roulette table at the same time. Then some more drunk trick or treaters show up an stare at Linda's knockers til she's able to shoo them off. This is totally unrealistic incidentally, cause these boobs're about the size of most women's nipples to begin with an besides that the only person in the world with a glassier eye than this plebe is Sammy Davis Junior.
While that's goin' on, Malcolm decides that, despite the self esteem boost that the letch an the fry cook he just dined an dashed on've given 'im it's about time to get outta the nurse's outfit cause he's startin' to feel like nobody takes 'im seriously. So he heads into an alley where he finds Paul Bartel propped up against a wall scratchin' at the fleas in his beard an tells 'im to take off his clothes right the fuck now. Then Paul gets this look on his face like "man, this Axe is really doin' it's stuff." Elsewhere, two women in a video editing room're talkin' about how it's the editors that really make the movie work an that the directors just take all the credit. This is either the most ironic comment in the history of irony or Gary Graver's just padding this movie like a teenage bra to torture the audience. But then Linda calls an tells one of the girls that her agent needs the tape of the scenes they shot the other day so she can continue gettin' work in horror movies so bad that they eventually end up fallin' into the public domain. Yeah, I don't think I mentioned that, Linda is a struggling actress. Quite a stretch for Jacqueline Giroux. But anyway, one of the girls says it's no big deal cause the place she's babysittin' is right next to her hair dresser that she just happens to be goin' to at 10pm on Halloween night an that she'll drop it off for 'er. So while she waits, Linda clicks the TV on an sees a report about Malcolm bustin' outta the sanctuary for the silly an watches an interview with the nurse Malcolm mugged who regards the incident as bein' just about the sexiest thing to ever happen to 'er. We can only assume when the reporter wraps the story that the nurse'll be headin' home to a piano leg an a copy of 50 Shades of Grey. Graver you sick... I'll get to you later, asshole. So Malcolm finally makes it to the house, an skulks around in the shadows doin' his best to look foreboding after runnin' around for half the movie in make up while Linda searches for the now missing Chris.
Eventually she finds 'im in the garage where he drops a rat onto 'er an after she finishes tryin' to tear 'er own flesh off like she's got Parasitosis, she tries to call a truce an appeal to Chris's sense of decency. Maybe when she's done with that she aughta petition Rand Paul to sponsor a bill to increase welfare benefits. About that time, Linda's editor friend shows up at the house, despite the handicap of never having been given a precise address, an literally wanders the house for around five minutes lookin' for 'er. Finally, Malcolm ends up shankin' 'er an gettin' real disappointed when he realizes she ain't Joan. Then Steve calls again an after she tells 'im to fuck off cause she thinks he's the prank caller he suggests that maybe she call the cops if she's bein' harassed. At which point she gets this look on 'er face like she just realized that not only has she been gettin' treated like a former porn star tryin' to find a new career path for the entire movie, but also that maybe she does actually deserve to be treated with a shred of dignity. Of course, Steve's already had to leave again cause the usher's pretendin' to want an encore so he can get some overtime, but Linda decides to take his advice an call the cops. Unfortunately, the cops essentially explain to 'er that they can't do anything til somebody tries to kill 'er. That seems fair to her, so she apologizes for botherin' 'em an hangs up, at which point Chris cranks up his public domain spooky sound effects LP an she ends up goin' out into the back yard to try an figure out just where exactly her life started this downward spiral into an Ozzfest port-a-potty. Eventually Chris tires of failin' to make Linda piss 'erself so he can sniff 'er thong when she's forced to change out of it an when she goes upstairs to find 'im he's in bed with his throat slashed, which by now she's finally begun to take in stride. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 26 times, shame on me. Of course, the moment she exits the room, Malcolm emerges an wipes the gore offa his knife an starts doin' the exaggerated sneaky cartoon character walk after 'er.
Alrighty, well, I think at least one thing is clear after having viewed this one; Gary Graver is just a hair on the misogynistic side. Now I realize what you're probably thinking, something along the lines of this: "So you've reviewed Eaten Alive, The Incubus, and Ilse: She Wolf of the SS, and it's THIS movie you find misogynistic?" First of all, don't you take that tone with me, plebe, and second, yes, that is in fact what I think. Granted, those movies certainly don't treat women with a great deal of respect, but I can at least understand that those movies have either plot related reasons for doing what they do, are some of the purest examples of the exploitation film, or both. That doesn't make said violence okay, but you can at least surmise that there's a chance the things that take place in those movies were done purely for profit. In other words, you don't get the impression the director genuinely thinks of women the way they're portrayed in those movies. Trick or Treats, when compared with any of those three titles features practically no actual violence against women, and yet, manages to really grate on one's sensibilities. It's clear to me, based upon the screenplay, that this guy actually thinks this is the way women should be treated. You come to this conclusion because you're pounded over the head with it time and again from myriad different characters. Lets just run down the offenders quickly; the aggressive asshole Jacqueline Giroux runs into when getting in her car, two different groups of trick or treaters, and the obnoxious little twerp she's babysitting, who sexually harasses her not once, not twice, but three times. So Giroux is gratuitously objectified no less than six times throughout the course of the movie, and that's if you don't wanna count the opening scene where she's revealed to keep her phone by the shower just so they can shoot the scene with her in there.
It's also not the least bit helpful that her character is written with an IQ comparable to that of a sliced onion. If this were a Friday the 13th movie she'd be the first one dead. Graver never even gives her enough power to do anything about the 10 year old kid that's tormenting her, it's like he wants to make it clear that even a male whose balls haven't dropped is superior to a woman. Oh, and I've forgotten the scene where the TV reporter is interviewing the nurse that gets mugged during Peter Jason's escape from the mental institution, which features such sparkling dialog as: "he jumped on me and put it in my mouth", to which the reporter clarifies, "the rag you mean?" That is in fact what she meant, though she later goes on to essentially ramble about how she thought it was kinda hot. People have kinks, I get that. And if that was the only thing screwed up about this movie's portrayal of women it could be excused, but when there are this many instances of this crap, there's simply no way this is all coincidence. I'd also forgotten the scene where Dave Carradine goes for the groceries an Giroux just giggles uncomfortably to the point that it gives the impression Dave may very well have the green light, but then again, he may not. I suppose it's no small wonder that Graver eventually found his niche in the porn industry, though I'd liken that "genre" to the exploitative movies I mentioned above, where you not only expect that kind of attitude, but also that you're at least not completely certain the guy directing the action is a creep projecting his own point of view. Porn is unquestionably the single most exploitative "genre" in existence, but you've got to realize that it's not much different than Cannibal Holocaust, in the sense that, while the crew may put aside any morality they may have for the benefit of the at least somewhat screwed up audience, that doesn't definitively mean that they subscribe to the negative point of view they're conveying in their movie. I may be splitting hairs here, but I do appreciate it when the film maker at least tries to somewhat mask their Neanderthalic point of view, rather than make it a prominent feature of the movie.
I realize that got a little long, but it needed to be said. There are a few interesting non-Graver bits that warrant mention about this one, first and foremost is that it's actually a borderline remake of Fright (1971), with the only real difference being that the kid being babysit in that one isn't a complete fuckstick. It's got the same deranged father escaping the mental institution gimmick that Trick or Treats has, where it's ultimately up to the babysitter to protect the child. Though that movie actually gave the lead actress a bit of dignity and the plausibility that she may actually be able to repel the attacker in some way, where Trick or Treats is having none of that. I mostly mention this because people see Trick or Treats an think of it as a poor man's Halloween, when in fact, it's a poor man's Fright. Additionally, that quote I'm always throwing around from the illustrious Joe Bob Briggs about how "a movie can be anything except boring?" This is the movie that inspired that quote. I'm completely serious on this next point, you could literally remove probably 18, maybe even 20 minutes of footage from this movie and not lose anything important. So whatever you do, take heed of the movie's tag line, because that's the God's honest truth. You've essentially got three things that happen in this movie, and they just loop until there's about 5 minutes left. You've got the little shithead played by Chris Graver (note the last name) playing tricks on Giroux, trick or treaters coming to the door, and Peter Jason callin' on the phone every five minutes to make sure Giroux is still there rather than just haulin' his hefty behind over to the house. Joe Bob isn't kiddin' when he tells you this movie is boring, it's worse than listenin' to Ted Cruz filibuster the Senate with ironically intolerant children's literature whose lead character eventually discovers he actually likes the thing he fought so long and hard against, but previously was unwilling to try. This movie's a mess that belongs in the dung heap, and yes I am going to judge it a bit more harshly than I would a movie from the 1950s that's a bit dry, because by the time you get to the 1980s you really should know better.
Okay, lets... I've got nothing for this part. I may not have mentioned that among all the other gripes, but it's got a body count of TWO, both of which lack any imagination. The plot, technically speaking doesn't pose any real problem. It's one that's been done time and again, be it Susan George, Carol Kane, or Jamie Lee Curtis, it doesn't deviate much from the formula and that's alright, but it's not going to win any points for originality. The acting, overall, you'd probably have to call subpar. Giroux is not especially talented, though one could make the case that she had squat to work with here considering the way her character was written. Chris Graver is really obnoxious as well as the little hellion, but not the effective kinda obnoxious where you can admire the performance being given. I think the way I can best summarize Chris Graver in this one is to quote another great role model, that being, E.C.W.'s own Sandman, who said "it's not heat generated because you did something they hated, it's heat because you suck!" An that's why you hate the little booger, not so much because he's supposed to be a dick, but because he's an inept dick. Everyone else is more or less okay, you've got both Dave Carradine and Steve Railsback (he was married to Giroux at the time, try to guess how he became part of the cast) in thankless irrelevant roles as well as Paul Bartel who's equally wasted in a bit part. Jillian Kesner, incidentally, was married to Graver at the time too, so this thing's pretty well loaded with nepotism as well. Peter Jason, I have to say, is fantastic as Malcolm, and that may be the only nice thing I say about this movie. You can tell that guy was having fun and the one thing nice thing I'll say about the writing, which is otherwise a train wreck, is that he's got some extremely amusing one liners, but it's more his delivery than any real sense of intelligence on the part of the writer (guess who? Graver, right. Not only did he direct, write, produce, photograph, and edit it, but he had an irrelevant bit part too). Some of his better lines include "What? You never seen tits before?", "You're crazy Bert, I'm mad!", and "You moved all my stuff around!" Peter Jason single handedly keeps this from landing at the 3.3 the IMDB has it sitting at. A rating I find it difficult to argue too strongly against. Gonna have to make a judgement call here on who's a big enough genre star to warrant not presenting a resume, and for that I think I will take the time to go over Peter Jason and Paul Bartel's resumes. Though I think Steve Railsback should be familiar enough to most that it's not necessary with him. Carradine, of course, needs no run down either.
Here's who matters and why: Jacqueline Giroux (Drive-In Massacre, Ilse: She Wolf of the SS), Peter Jason (Planet Raptor, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Alien Apocalypse, Raptor Island, 13th Child, Ghost of Mars, Escape from L.A., Congo, Village of the Damned 1995, In the Mouth of Madness, Body Bags, Arachnophobia, They Live, Alien Nation, Prince of Darkness 1987, Hyper Sapien: People from Another Star, Dreamscape), Carrie Snodgress (Ed Gein, The Attic, The Fury), Jillian Kesner (Kung Fu Cannibals, Evil Town), Dan Pastorini (Killer Fish), Paul Bartel (The Devil's Child, Escape from L.A., A Bucket of Blood 1995, Gremlins 2, Out of the Dark, Munchies, Killer Party, Chopping Mall, White Dog, Eating Raoul, Piranha 1978, Death Race 2000, Private Parts 1972), Jean Clark (The Forest, And When She Was Bad...), John Blyth Barrymore (Hybrid, Full Moon High, Nocturna), Jason Ronard (Helter Skelter 1976), Owen Orr (Werewolves on Wheels), Glenn Jacobson (The Last Horror Film), Nike Zachmanoglou (Ms. .45, Alligator, Doctor Dracula), Murray Bolen (Evil Spirits), R. Michael Stringer (The Clones, Dracula vs. Frankenstein), Gary Graver (And When She Was Bad..., Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Horror of the Blood Monsters, The Mighty Gorga), Helen Kelly (Death Spa, They Live, Surf Nazis Must Die, Munchies, Trancers, Night of the Comet, Halloween II). Take out Bartel and Jason an there's not much there.
The special effects, what few there are, are alright. The really strange thing is that, in the movie within a movie where Linda's editor friends are watching a cut of the movie they're working on, there's a severed head that looks better than 90% of all the severed heads you see in horror movies. It's bizarre in extremes to see that good a special effect, not just in this movie period, but in something so insignificant as a clip from a movie within the movie where you'd almost expect the special effects to be terrible. Beyond that, there's blood, most of which is faked by the kid to scare Giroux's character. Nothing else. Truly pathetic. The shooting locations aren't particularly astounding either, it's almost entirely just the house the babysitter and the kid are occupying, and it's nothing special. Adequate, but it adds nothing. The sets used for the loony bin are pretty pathetic and indistinct, without much structure or any real props around to give it a sense of realism. The soundtrack I'd say fits the movie in the sense that it's so pathetically hokey that it can't help but match up pretty well. It's almost as if the composer knew how bad the movie was going to be and lined up something appropriate. It doesn't do anything for any of the scenes, but when you factor in that most scenes drag on for so long without ever cutting, no soundtrack was going to save this monstrosity anyway. It also seems strangely dated, as though it comes from a movie out of the late 60s, though, again, it doesn't matter much. Bottom line, this movie blows chunks outta your nose. An just in case you were thinking about seeing it anyway, it's got no DVD release from a genuine studio, so enjoy trying to discern what's happening through a print so dark you'd swear there were points where they'd simply forgotten to remove the lens cap. Not that what's happening during any of those points is the least bit important anyway. Don't. Just don't.