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 3, 2008

Truth or Dare... A Critical Madness (1986)

Directed by:
Tim Ritter

Ritter's 16MM debut (shot in North Palm Beach, Florida) is a sloppy mess, but it's a low-budget attention getter nonetheless. Mike Strauber (John Brace) is a successful married man who once suffered from a nervous breakdown, and now is going insane after discovering his sexy wife (Mary Fanaro) has been cheating on him. Mike leaves the house, picks up a busty redheaded hitchhiker (Kerry Ellen Walker) and heads to a campground for the night, where the two play a twisted version of Truth or Dare by campfire. He dares her to pull out her eye with a corkscrew...and she does!! Then she makes him cut off his finger, slash open his chest and rip out his tongue before disappearing. He's found and rushed off to "Sunnyville Mental Institution" where he is eventually released due to "overcrowding". He heads back home to kill his ex-wife, but is captured again and rushed back to SMI where gory Truth or Dare games are played with other patients. All of the TorD game participants turn out to be delusions of Mike's deranged mind, an odd metaphor for insanity in general, I guess, and a means for lots of self-mutilation. By the films end a head is blown off with a grenade, arms and legs are hacked off, a face is slashed up, a baby in a stroller is run over, a little kid is chewed up in a drive-by chainsawing, an old woman is clubbed on the head, Mike takes a semi-automatic rifle to three unlucky people waiting at a bus stop and much more. It's really just a bunch of violent nonsense, but it's pretty entertaining and the gore FX are fine. With Asbestos Felt and Joel D. Wynkoop. Ritter (who used the alias "Yale Wilson" here) also made several direct-to-video sequels starting with WICKED GAMES (1993). Also available is (was?) TRUTH OR DARE?-THE RETROSPECT TAPE, hosted by the director.

Trivia Note: The kid actor who plays the killer as a boy is future Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean! From what I've read, when anyone would mention his appearance here on various "official" BB fan sites, the administrators immediately deleted them to try to cover A.J.'s tracks! Apparently he doesn't want anyone to know of his involvement in this little film. I personally think he should be more embarrassed about his singing career, but whatever.



Anonymous said...

There was another sequel released a year or two ago.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Thanks for the heads up. Still need to catch up on this director's other work. I have a copy of Killing Spree I plan on watching sometime this year.

Anonymous said...

After the fairly slow beginning, that one becomes awesomely cheesy, and random.

"You screw my wife, I SCREWDRIVER YOUR HEAD!"

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

I was kind of hoping it would be as unsubtle as that. lol

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