Monday, October 10, 2022

dribbly beef.

A little while back I accidentally mistook the movie Syngenor for the movie The Spawn of The Slithis so yesterday I took full advantage of it being too cold to go out (as well as being too sore to do any work) and finally got around to watching this top quality classic.

I like to think it's the personal touches like this that keeps readers interested.

Scared To Death (1980).

Dir: William Malone.

Cast: John Stinson, Diana Davidson, Jonathan David Moses, Toni Jannotta (Sherry Carpenter), Walker Edmiston (Police Chief Dennis Warren), Kermit Eller (The Syngenor)



Welcome to Los Angeles where - unusually - the city is being terrorized by a series of brutal and unexplained murders, with victims all been with swollen lips and a total lack of spinal fluid, leading the cities finest (and the police) to come to the conclusion that there maybe a serial killer on the loose. 

Tired of the lack of progress being made, Detective Lou Capell (Pound shop Austin Stoker - Moses) turns to his ex-partner (as in police partner, they weren't shagging or anything, tho' they might have been I mean who am I to judge?) Ted Lonergan (Stinson, standing in for ruffle-haired rocker Rick Springfield who left the production just days before shooting was set to commence, much to the chagrin of Diana Davidson, his girlfriend at the time and who'd only agreed to the sexy scenes as she'd be appearing with him), who's swapped his sidearm for a typewriter and now churns out cheap furry erotica novels.


"Do you require any scissors sharpening?"

After listening intently (or is it trapped wind?) to his pals woes over a game of chess (yes I know) Ted ultimately decides against helping solve the bad murders and instead reckons it'd be much more fun to reverse into a ladies car on the way home, partly to introduce a female character into the movie but mainly to give us a glimpse of the kooky 'nice guy' character he is, rather than the arsey, slightly sexist side we've just seen.

Unfortunately this just makes him a slightly kooky sexist.

Jennifer, for it is (aforementioned Davidson from Dirty Harry) is not overtly impressed by Ted’s 'bloody wimmin drivers' shtick when he prangs her rear end (phnnaar) but is soon warms to his boyish charm (and big hair) when he eventually agrees to pay for the damages in cash and in a matter of no time she's invited him round to her house for a slap up meal (and the sex) before suddenly agreeing to doing some temping work and light typing duties in his office.




As their bizarro romance blossoms over talk of trashy novels and dead parents (no really) more and more folk are falling foul to the mysterious killer loose in the city, from sewer workers to roller skaters, no-one is safe.

But it soon turns out that our heroes aren't hunting a mere mortal mentalist but that the murders are in fact being committed by a genetically engineered creature known as the Syngenor (SYNthesized GENetic ORganism or Tony to his friends), which has escaped from the local laboratory (or it may be from the local factory that produces lawsuit skating knock-off Giger-style fancy dress outfits - who knows/cares?) and is currently living in the sewers, only surfacing to suck the spinal fluid from whoever crosses its path.

Oh and to buy cheese obviously.

And maybe cake.

What your mum gets up to on bingo nights.

Unfortunately this information comes too late to save Jennifer from becoming the creatures next victim tho' and she's only saved from certain death due to the creature being disturbed mid snack (oh and by having a tiny spine).

As she lies comatose in hospital, Ted - missing female company and tired of clumsy, drunken knee touching with Lou (he has needs too) organizes a dinner date with one Dr. Sherry Carpenter (Poundshop Adrienne Jo Barbeau, Jannotta - who may or may not now be a famous jazz singer these days - I'd check but I really can't be arsed), who as it turns out, just happens to be one of the scientists that created the Syngenor in the first place.

Good luck or lazy plotting?

YOU decide.

So, stroking Sherry's slightly fuzzy chin with one hand and holding his massive weapon in the other Ted (with Lou in tow) heads into the sewers to confront the creature and put an end to its reign of terror.

Well, reign of mild inconvenience if I'm honest.

From writer/director William Malone comes this lo-fi, sci-fi slasher most famous for its fairly impressive creature suit than anything else.

I mean come on, it was good enough for Playboy Video Magazine (and US Customs Classified) director George Elanjian Jr. to base an entire sequel around 10 years later so it can't be all bad.

It's a pity then that the rest of the movie is just so much dirge, lacking the sheer incompetent joy of Spawn of The Slithis, the unbridled fun of The Being or utter mentalism of The Alien Factor, the film is just drab, dark and hideously disjointed - the buddy cop bits are at odds with the romantic subplot (what there is of it) and the monster bits seem to come from a totally different albeit slightly better movie.

Or at least from a fairly passable episode of Kolchak.

I mean everyone is trying their best - and admittedly Diana Davidson has lovely hair - but it's just not enough to make any of it in any way interesting.

The fact that the still that appeared in Starlog Magazine to promote the film is actually better than anything on screen says more about the whole movie than I ever could.

So here it is:

A wee bit like the whole Crater Lake Monster debacle I should have probably stuck with my memory of this photo and my imagination.

It's not all bad tho' as surprisingly William Malone actually went on to have a fairly successful career (well he's done a damn sight better than me but saying that it isn't hard) directing such classics as House on Haunted Hill, Creature and - gulp - Feardotcom.

Take from that what you will.

Be seeing you.



No comments: