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Monday, August 8, 2016


Odd and neglected anthology film.

These are not your typical anthology tales. They are interesting, but by no means scary in a "Tales From The Crypt" point of view.

The four tales here were originally shot for the short lived ABC series "Darkroom" hosted by James Coburn but were never shown as the network deemed them as "too intense" for TV. Some extra footage was shot and the stories were put together for a feature film.

The first tale is "Terror In Topanga" which stars gorgeous Cristina Rains as a young woman who drives to a small store for some cigarettes in spite of warnings not to go out as a mad killer is on the loose.

On the way back home she runs low on gas and that's when the terror starts. The ending is a very good one, and to be honest I wasn't expecting it at all..

The second tale is "Bishop Of Battle" which stars Emilio Estevez as JJ Cooney, a young man obsessed with a particular video game. One night he breaks into the arcade at a local mall in order to reach the 13th, and highest level of a game. He gets much. much more than he ever bargained for.

The special effects for this are very 80's which is cool, but they did almost bankrupt the production.

The third tale is "The Benediction" which stars Lance Henriksen as a priest who has lost his faith and leaves his Parrish to travel across the desert and find a new life.

On his drive he is terrorized by a black truck that seems intent on killing him. This reminded me of "Duel" right away, and even though this story is strictly by the numbers, there is one remarkable scene involving the demonic truck that you'll never forget.

The fourth and final segment is entitled "Night Of The Rat". Richard Masur and Veronica Cartwright stars as a couple that live in a very nice suburban home with their young child and pet cat.

Weird noises at night lead Masur to set rat traps and catch the little noise maker, but he finds his trouble is much bigger than he thinks.

The effects for this episode are a tad on the lackluster side, but to me that only adds to the fun of this episode. There are actually some very creepy moments in this tale and it's always a joy to watch Cartwright.

The Blu-ray presentation for this film is very good and the sound is perfect. During the "Bishop Of Battle" segment the sound of all that computer game stuff rally sucks you in, especially if you were around in the 80's.

Believe it or not, this was my first time seeing this movie. it has slipped thru the cracks of movie viewing and it took me 33 years to finally see it. Now if I could just find "Darkroom" again.

I do recommend this for the very patient viewer as times have changed and not been kind to this film. I liked it, but it may not be what you like.

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