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.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Let's Play Dead (1973)

...aka: Abducted
...aka: Come Play with Us
...aka: Girls in Chains
...aka: Schoolgirls in Chains

Directed by:
Donald M. Jones

Two very disturbed brothers kidnap women, take them to their secluded farmhouse and lock them in the basement. They seemingly do it for their sickly mother, who is only seen from behind, sits on a rocking chair and says, "Ah, it's good to have two fine boys!" Johnny (John Stoglin) is the mentally adolescent one in overalls who bounces up and down, likes to be pushed around in a wheelbarrow and, more importantly, likes to play "games". The sick games include doctor (where women are stripped naked, fondled and get a syringe stuck in their ass) and topless leap-frog. John is also a voyeur who watches a young couple have sex, then kidnaps the girl. The other brother is Frank (Gary Kent), who is depressed, impotent and sits around a lot. He seems fairly normal and well-adjusted except during scenes where he rants about his mother, kills and tries to rape a captive. In one scene he relates an outrageous flashback to how his mom drove his fiancé away by telling her that "We make love! We make love like two lovers!". The sickly chained up women in the basement have rats crawling on them while they sleep, are beat, sometimes killed and subjected to the sick "games" of brother Johnny. They're referred to as "pets", "toys" and "playmates" by their captors. Yes, this is totally offensive and misogynistic, but cult movie fans will love the depravity. Stafford Morgan (as "Robert Matthews"), Cheryl Waters (as "Leah Tate"), Merrie Lynn Ross (as "Lynn Ross") and Tim O'Kelly (the killer from TARGETS) round out the cast.

This originally played theaters under the title SCHOOLGIRLS IN CHAINS and was released on VHS at least two times; once as ABDUCTED (by the British company Astra Video) and once in one of those nifty large size VHS display boxes (by World Premiere Video) as LET'S PLAY DEAD. Jones (who also made THE LOVE BUTCHER, THE FOREST and other very low-budget horrors) also scripted and produced, exploitation starlet Maria Lease served as editor and script supervisor, Ronald Víctor García ("Twin Peaks") shot it and star Kent was the production manager. It had slipped into obscurity over the years, until Code Red put out a DVD in 2008 under the title GIRLS IN CHAINS.

★★1/2

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