Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Night Wars (1987)

Directed by:
David A. Prior

Trent (Brian O'Connor) and Jimmy (Cameron Smith) are two Nam vet buddies who escaped a POW prison camp only to face worse horrors at home when the past literally comes back to haunt them. They're harassed by a soldier they left behind and a sadistic traitor who helped torture them, and when they're attacked in their dreams, they emerge with real scars (a la A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET). The two deck out in camoflauge and carry high-powered machine guns into their dreams to fight back after one's wife is raped and killed by a ghost. Dan (GRIZZLY ADAMS) Haggerty is the top-billed guest star. He plays a psychiatrist who tries to "help" by holding them at gunpoint, drugging them and tying them up in his office! The premise is somewhat new, but the unconvincing Nam flashbacks look like the stars are playing War Games in the woods behind their house, the dialogue ("Let's do it!," "I'm scared, man!") is annoying and the action and horror scenes just aren't very exciting.

Prolific director David A. Prior also combined the war and horror genres in THE LOST PLATOON (1989) and also directed the genre films SLEDGE HAMMER (1984; an early shot-on-video slasher), KILLER WORKOUT (1987), MARDI GRAS FOR THE DEVIL (1992) and MUTANT SPECIES (1995) in between all his cheapo action movies. He scripted from a story he wrote with his brother Ted Prior and William Zipp (both of whom acted in his previous films).

Score: 3.5 out of 10

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