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 9, 2009

Escapes (1986)

Directed by:
David Steensland

Young Matthew (Todd Fulton) receives a mysterious videotape in the mail titled, you guessed it, ESCAPES. Hey, it stars Vincent Price, he figures, so how bad can it possibly be? As it turns out, pretty damn bad. A camera goes through a long corridor with plaster people protruding from the walls and ends up focusing on Mr. Price sitting at a table. He informs us we're about to see six tales of the supernatural and then we're off. "A Little Fishy" concerns a man who goes from fishing to being fished. Not. Clever. "Coffee Break" concerns an obnoxious delivery boy (Michael Patton-Hall) who gets lost on some back roads around a tiny town called Harmony; population 29. When he stops to ask an old man (John Mitchum) for directions, he's told to stop at a diner on his way out for a cup of coffee. The delivery guy refuses and notices that no matter which road he takes he always ends up back at the same place... "Who's There" is about a man (Ken Thorley) who encounters playful ape monsters while out jogging through the woods. Next up is "Jonah's Dream," which ironically gave me a little escape of my own last night when I fell asleep trying to watch it.

After some much-needed shut eye, I decided to go ahead and finish. Hey, maybe I was just too grumpy and tired last night to find something to appeciate here. Turns out I was wrong... There actually is nothing to appreciate here. "Jonah's Dream" - the tale of a widowed, financially-strapped gold prospector's wife (Shirley O'Key) who finds some spaceship in a abandoned mine - was just as dull as what had preceeded it. "Think Twice," which involves a big city bum (Gil Reade) finding a magical, red-glowing crystal that helps him get revenge on a mugger (Rocky Capella), is strictly ho-hum. Things wrap up with "Hall of Faces," which tells the fate of Matthew and "The Mailman" (Price). Here we finally, get an imaginative twist that doesn't come off like third rate imitation of a Twilight Zone episode, but it's too little, too late.

The five tales sandwiched in the middle (which were used as program filled on both HBO and the Sci-Fi Channel while they were still in their infancy) and the linking footage run just 69 minutes. For the record, I did not see the "director's cut" which apparently adds sixteen minutes of new footage. Supposedly Price was paid 10 thousand dollars for his participation in this, so hopefully he was able to put that to good use.



Andre said...

One star? Bad my ass. This movie is great. 5 suspense tales. We can't compare it to all these craps that Hollywood is making today.

synthsazzy said...

I watched this movie 8 years ago and i was pretty much amazed to see such strange depictions.No one would prefer to watch it today due its obscure story line and as a matter of fact,this movie is almost lost in the real world and the virtual world of internet.But the nostalgic miseries attached with this piece have compelled me to watch it again and again so please if someone can give me a link to this movie or post it on YouTube would be doing the greatest favor.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

I personally failed to see what was so great (or even good) about this one, but to each their own. I do agree that nostalgia has a LOT to do with one's appreciation of these things. :)

If I see it uploaded anywhere to view, I'll let you know, synth.

synthsazzy said...

found one episode-"coffee break"

synthsazzy said...

found one episode-"coffee break"

Anonymous said...


Thomas L. Vaultonburg said...

Thank you for the exhaustive list. Been looking for this one for years. Coffee Break is of course the standout story here, and the one that was haunting me. Nice site here.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Thank you Thomas. Seems like many have fond memories of this one.

jett woodward said...

It was scary when Matt tried to shut off the tape at the end and Vincent Price came back on by himself and all the evil characters from the stories attacked Matt.

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