For the past couple weeks i've recommended a few newer foreign films, but I wanna go in a different direction this week. I'm a diehard fan of 70s-80s American slasher flicks, and there's just so many lost little gems in that sub genre that are just begging for someone to talk about them. That brings me to.....
Unhinged tells the very familiar tale of three young ladies on their way to a jazz (yes, jazz) festival. They hit a big log in the middle of the road, careen into a tree, and wake up in the comfort of a strange familys home. You all know by now how that works out. Right, James Caan?
Don't ya just love how old school horror trailers would spoil every single death in the movie!
Now let me get this established right off the bat. I'm not recommeding this movie cause it's the most amazing slasher out there or anything. Cause it's really not. It's slow moving, it's EXTREMELY poorly acted, and it's just plain boring at times. But it's not without its merits. I feel that it's just such a lost footnote in the horror world and it needs a little bit more recognition. Someone has to keep it alive and i've decided to be that someone! If nothing more, it's at least worth one viewing. It requires some patience, but theres a couple great scenes and it's just all around worth giving a view. Besides, it's less than 80 minutes long, so it's not a huge commitment. That being said!
I first heard about Unhinged when I saw it pop up in my local Best Buy many years back. It had some bold claims on the cover and one pretty much could not turn such claims down. Least I couldn't. Lets see. It reads ; "Outsold Poltergeist before it was banned!" and "Graphic violence and full nudity caused the English Parliament to ban Unhinged in 1985. Fans were grieved as virtually every copy was pulled from shelves world wide." Now that sounded appealing to me! I got the sense that in 1985 England, owning a copy of Unhinged on vhs was like owning a book in Fahrenheit 451. The movie would immediately be seized and burned on spot and you'd be locked up in some kind of internment camp for possessing such violent and powerful material. So ya see, I had to see the movie and I had to see it right then. Thus is the story of how Unhinged came into my life.
Now here's the thing. Once I got around to watching the movie, I realized it was actually far less violent and gory than pretty much any of my favorite slasher flicks from the time period. What gives?! It's quite the tame movie, even by the standards of the early 80's. Most of the kills happen off screen and really the only thing I could think of that got it the ban is the fact that there's a couple young lady bush shots. So while it dissapointed in that regard, it didn't dissapoint entirely. In fact I firmly believe that the banning of this film and the subsequent promoting of that banning for the latest dvd release is actually hurting people's enjoyment of it. If you look up any review of this movie, the reviewer inevitably gets very angry about halfway through it and completely dismisses the movie because it just aint as gory as he hoped and dreamed it would be. But Unhinged never intended on being an over the top gore fest. It was clearly intended to be a more Psycho-esque throwback to the days of when horror was not all about the blood and guts. So it's really not fair that it's being billed as a banned movie, because that gives it unfair and unrealistic expectations to be lived up to. So don't watch it for the gore, of which there isn't much, just watch it with no expectations going in.
Maybe it's just the fact that my first experience watching Unhinged was totally alone under the influence of a green substance, but there's just something about this movie that's really creepy and unsettling. It just plain freaks me out! I'm not sure if its the slow pacing or the strange editing or the...creepy twist ending. Yes, folks, Unhinged has a pretty serious twist ending that pre-dates the awesome twist ending of another horror film that if I were to mention right now would spoil the twist of this one. Suffice to say, it's worth plowing through some of the boredom to get to it. The idea has been kinda overdone in years post this movie, but it had to have been pretty dang original in '82! That's all i'll say! And hallelujah for the unhappy movie ending!
Give it a shot. Maybe get high beforehand. You just might find the merits in it that I did. Maybe I just take such comfort in the fact that it's such an odd little gem that it will never be given a big budget and the remake treatment. I love it for that alone!
Why Should You See It? Cool synth music! A cooler twist ending! Death by scythe! Unhappy ending! Full frontal teen nudity! Horrible acting! What more could you ask for in a horror flick?!
I love this shot....
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Story Of Ricky
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