Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dead Kids (Severin Blu-ray) - Teach Your Children Well

When Nick Lombardo tells you to grab a goddamn movie, you grab a goddamn movie. Recently at the Exhumed Films Giallo double feature, Nick picked up Dead Kids and started telling me about it. He said it was absolutely off the wall and great example of Ozploitation. If there's one thing that I know for certain you always trust the opinion of the person who sets the stage for the horrorthon or splatterfest 35mm viewing.  I must say that he was absolutely correct in judging my sensibilities with regard to Oz horror, and I finally had the chance to enjoy Severin's new release of Dead Kids aka Strange Behavior. While I talked about it recently on Dead Air, let's continue the conversation.

Synopsis from Severin

The Ozploitation classic - and one of the most unique shockers of the '80s - returns like never before: Michael Murphy (MANHATTAN), Dan Shor (BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE) and Fiona Lewis (THE FURY) star in this grisly saga of bizarre experiments, butchered teens, New Zealand doubling for suburban Illinois, and a killer in a Tor Johnson mask

First impression: This thing's got everything and everyone. Well maybe not quite but enough regular Ozploitation stars to give this some street credit.  My absolute favorite moment? A killer in a Tor Johnson mask is enough for me to say a picture has everything. We used to play with that mask as kids running around my buddy's basement, playing the monster, getting high on the latex. It's a creepy looking mask. We used to hang out in the crawlspace in their basement and the older kids would turn off the light. When they came on, TOR JOHNSON WAS TRYING TO KILL US. Now at the time I wasn't aware of the Johnson, but I remember being terrified of the mask. Perhaps that's why at least one segment of the picture stuck with me. Sure the violence leaves something to be desired, but for what they lack in gore, they make up for with a well controlled insanity all the way till the end. There really are some moments that weigh suspense firmly on your shoulder. The plot carries the picture well and even feels somewhat close to home while still creating an alternate universe where mind's are fully controlled by the will of evil ever so easily. There are twists you will see coming. There are twists you will not seeing coming.

Yeah, it's got a score by Tangerine Dream that rocks if you're into that sort of thing. I am, so it sweetens the deal. the disc contains an isolated music score for your listening pleasure as well as two separate commentary tracks. The special effects featurette is a must watch for fans of the horror of 1981 (a common year around this column these days with Evilspeak and Final Exam getting new releases). The disc contains two separate trailers and needle-in-eyeball-cover art. It's 1080p HD resolution, and definitely looks great.

Dead Kids is like watching all your high school friends turn into adults; brain washed and ready to kill everything. I'm sure there's a deeper underlying meaning in a movie that should be considered influential to late 90's cinema and post-Scream teen horror, but the main thing I got out of Dead Kids was good fun. A variety of kills with some quality acting from the great Dan Shor (that's Billy the Kid from Bill & Ted) among other Oz players and a fun vibe that proves moderately horrifying but most definitely entertaining.

You can order Severin's Dead Kids now. Tell 'em Nick Lombardo sent ya!

-Doc Terror

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