USA/South Africa 1990
Harry Alan Towers, Avi Lerner (executive) for Breton Film Productions
directed by Gérard Kikoine
starring Robert Vaughn, Donald Pleasence, Karen Witter, John Carradine, Ginger Lynn (as Ginger Allen), Nia Long, William Butler, Janine Denison, Arnold Vosloo, Ashley Hayden, Stefa Popic, Hayley Dorskey, Roslynn Farell, Dee Dee Eybers, Isabel Kastrikis, Sharlene Benn, Blanche Frolich, Lynn White, Christine le Brocq, John Bruce, Marek Lewandowski, Janet de Hahn, Zia Garfield, Warren Batchelor, Stefan Rayner, Robert Strong
screenplay by Jake Chesi, Stuart Lee, allegedly based on something by Edgar Allan Poe, music by Frédéric Talgorn
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Teacher Janet (Karen Witter) has just started her work at the
Ravenscroft Correctional Facility for young girls - where soft-spoken
principal and head psychiatrist Gary (Robert Vaughn) believes in giving
the girl as much freedom as possible - when girls start disappearing. In
fact they are all kidnapped by a guy in a Ronald Reagan mask (talk about
spooky) and walled up in the catacombs under the estate, but only the
audience knows that yet. Before long Janet also starts to have weird
dreams that seem to be connected to the missing girls - but don't ask me
Before long, Janet even comes up with a tailor-made suspect, Doctor
Schaefer (Donald Pleasence), the institutes head psychiatrist, especially
after she learns that he once was a patient at the place when it still was
a mental institution ... but she is of course wrong, the real killer is
Gary himself, who feels the urge to kill the girls he feels his treatment
has failed on. Janet finds that out only minutes after he has proposed to
her, and suddenly she finds herself running from her husband-to-be while
Doc Schaefer, her prime suspect, (unsuccessfully) tries to save her.
Ultimately though she is saved by Gary's own wheelchair-ridden father
(John Carradine), who at an opportune moment rather inexplicably appears
behind a crumbling down wall and immediately gets into infight with his
boy, which is only ended when the catacombs finally cave in. Janet of
course is saved.
How this film is based on Edgar Allan Poe remains at anybody guess:
Sure there are a few people walled up and a black cat does appear in one
or two shots, but that's hardly enough to qualify the film as an Edgar
Allan Poe adaptation. In fact the film, despite its dream cast consisting
of Robert Vaughn, Donald Pleasence and John Carradine in his last film, is
nothing more than a cheaply done and uninspired slasher by former porn
director Gérard Kikoine that has very little to go for it (and not
because Kikoine formlerly directed porn) - in other words, your typical
Harry Alan Towers-quickie. Not really worth your time and money.
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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