Thursday, April 21, 2011

Be Kind, Rewind: The VHS Reviews ~ Appointment With Fear (1985)

a.k.a. Deadly Presence
"Trapped in a world where death is not the end!"

Synopsis:  Our Story follows hard-nosed Detective Kowalski (Douglas Rowe, "Babysitter Wanted") as he investigates a series of brutal murders only to have his investigation lead him to an asylum inmate who is supposedly in a coma in a heavily-guarded monastary. Meanwhile, the inmate's dying wife hands over her baby to an unsuspecting teenager asking her to protect it from her husband. The inmate's döppelganger, who emerges from his cometose body, tracks down the teenager and her friends during a party at a house that's in the middle of nowhere ...of course

My Thoughts: Moustapha Akkad past away in 2005. He will be forever remembered as the executive producer for the original 8 films of the legendary "Halloween" franchise. In 1985, Akkad produced his only other horror film, a second rate slasher called "Appointment With Fear". While "Halloween" went on to become one of the most successful horror films of all-time (both financially and critically), "Appointment With Fear" can be considered the complete opposite.

Apparently, Akkad wasn't happy with what director Ramzi Thomas gave him, so he decided to have additional scenes shot and have the film re-edited. This led to Thomas having his directing credit removed from the film by the Directors Guild of America and replaced with the pseudonym "Alan Smithee". All of this makes sense after seeing this film. At times the story seems disjointed, which (as my Mom would say) is most likely caused by the film having too many chiefs and not enough indians.

The acting wasn't too bad, but the writing is so ridiculous that even Daniel Day-Lewis couldn't have pulled this off. Most of the characters seem to be half-retarded, e.g., one of the girls has a bum that lives (and sleeps) in the back of her pick-up. It's never explained??? That might be okay in a comedy, but this is far from that. Don't even get me started on the asinine dialog.

If there's anything positive I can say about this movie is that it has a pretty decent score, which is the only thing that brought any suspense to this forgettable film. I'd be interested to know how much they spent on this disaster. With all the production problems, I bet it's more than you might think. There's a good chance this is the reason Akkad went back to his bread & butter (the "Halloween" movies) and never tried any other horror films. After watching this, that could be a good thing.

My Rating: 3 / 10

As you might expect, this one never made it to DVD. You can pick up a VHS copy on Amazon for a few bucks, but I'd advise even hard-core 80's horror fans to skip this one.

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