Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Rampage (Satanic Obsession) Directed By William Friedkin, Starring Michael Biehn (1987).

I was overjoyed when I found out one of my favorite videogames had been turned into a movie, Werewolves fighting giant Lizards and Kongs, a total monster mash ensued and it was even directed by William Friedkin! Wait, a second, I guess I must've drank too much or took hallucinogens and imagined the wrong film because it's total bullshit and doesn't exist!

This version will not be seen tonight or ever unfortunately

What we have instead is a serial killer film with Michael "Terminator" Biehn as a grizzled DA. After watching Wetlands on Netflix, I decided that maybe I've been neglecting what they have to offer (I mean I'm paying them all this money I might as well use their service right)? This is unfortunately not the Euro cut that Chas sold in the VHS catalog, but it's readily available without all the hassles and you get that instant gratification fix, which beats the old days of tracking down the flick on a duped videotape. So let me fire up some delicious coffee and subject myself to another kind of rampage that doesn't involve Toho style shenanigans but political intrigue and cold case files.
If you paid more than 4.95 for this sweet windbreaker then you got robbed

A Nightstalker-esque serial killer is prowling the burbs gunning down old ladies in their supposed safe and happy homes in Stockton Ca in the afternoon. I'd read all the horrifying details of Ramirez raping old ladies, shooting people point blank and forcing them to praise Satan during the day, while injecting heroin in Philip Carlo's excellent book on the scumbag serial killer. I donated the book because it was so harrowing that it felt like an omen to keep it in the house after I'd finished it up, a truly ghastly read. The killer in this film who I thought was Ramirez is actually based on Richard Trenton Chase, a real "Blood sucking freak". Chase would disembowel his victims, kill animals and blend their organs with soda then drink the shake because he was a hypochondriac and thought it would prevent his heart from shrinking. The killer died in a mental institution by saving up antidepressants and Oding.

Bro this is totally soothing 

The killer in this film is named Charlie Reese (Alex McArthur), he envisions himself a tiger smeared in blood, preying on the innocent. Meanwhile the protagonist played by Biehn, a Catholic church going detective goes about his daily ritual. His wife is played by Warriors/ Too Close for Comfort actress Debra Van Valkenburg.

no cyborg's will be able to recognize me in this Chris Hayes disguise

Anthony Fraser (Beihn) is haunted by the death of his young daughter and feels close to the subject matter. Reese is out disemboweling victims and shooting them in their homes next to their kids in the middle of the day. There's something almost bland about this film, it's handled in a Lifetime sort of way, almost like a rejected cop show pilot. It's mildly entertaining though and not bad, I could've done without all the over long court scenes. One prosecutor is played by Andy Romano, the dad from Over The Edge, he's pro death penalty but Fraser is one of those extreme liberals who believes it's wrong. There's a nice political message embedded in the storyline and as it chugs along he changes his mind.

I also spit in Agent Dale Cooper's coffee

Reece's mother is played by David Lynch mainstay Grace Zebriski, she always does a top notch job as basically a frazzled parent. Down in basement of Charlie's house, they find a shrine complete with Nazi paraphernalia, skin masks, human brains and Ufo stuff.

Polident works great, even after your corpse has been exumed!

According to the real case, Chase believed that Nazis were using spaceships that commanded him to murder and claimed it wasn't his fault. Since this was the 70's, sadly they couldn't have had the Ancient Aliens idiot Giorgio Tsoukalos weigh in on the case.

Hitler and Jesus, obviously tight bros from way back when

Early Cronenberg actor Nicholas Campbell interviews Reece's mother about her crazier than a "shit house rat" son. Beihn's character tries to leave his emotions out of the case, but they keep changing his perspective.          

Reese talks about Satan using backwards messages to make him kill, so Friedkin clearly used elements of the Nightstalker as well as Chase. There's a lot of grand standing by pudgy lawyers who want to manipulate the courts and Beihn hoping to get him put away and not live off the state in a mental hospital.
Is there something else you'd like to share with the rest of us Amazing Larry?

Then a trial occurs where every witness seems confident that he's a blood drinking ghoul. In a film like Lipstick, the court scenes are appropriate and propel the frustration of dumb juries and the justice system, here they just take up too much time and get stale.      

With Cruising, Friedkin created a nice balance of sleaze and political incorrectness or intolerance toward gays all in the context of a cop drama slasher flick. In Rampage however, the cop elements threaten to capsize the whole thing.

Alex McArthur, the actor who plays Reese does a great job, if only he had more screen time. I like how oblivious he is to people's reactions as he slits their throat or pulls a gun on them point blank. It gets pretty weird as he paints his face silver and dives into a stained glass window in a church, looking for more blood to drink (maybe he should've robbed a blood bank, Duh)!

Once Charles is convicted and found sane, he awaits the electric chair, but in the Euro-cut, he commits suicide before sentencing. Netflix strikes again with its cut versions of films! They did the same thing on Flesh For Frankenstein (here's the link for the Eurocut with the better ending in my opinion). I like how the murderer doesn't give the state the ghoulish satisfaction of executing him and it stays true to what happened in reality.

Reece's death by Anti-depressants shot from the euroversion

Even for 1987, this film does nothing inventive or ground breaking and as a capable police film director I know Friedkin to be, this is some pretty watered down bullshit. He just got worse from then on, I mean in that year alone some of the most original cop thrillers and action films were being churned out and made this film look hokey by comparison. The Believers, Robocop, The Stepfather all came out, so this film didn't have a chance. Rampage is weak but its not all together bad, it seems rushed though. It all went south for Friedkin, he made The Guardian soon after and then Jade (two embarrassments to any resume if there ever was one).

Lime flavored Slurpee was the source of his mental illness all along!

Give this film a watch though and see what you think, I half liked it but I think it had more potential than what ultimately came out.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...