Triskaidekafiles

Triskaidekafiles is a love letter to cheesy cinema from the 80s and 90s, with the occasional dip into other eras.  if you're a fan of MST3K, Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, or just bad horror movies in general, Trisk is the place for you.

Science Crazed (1991)

SCIENCE CRAZED

WRITER: Ron Switzer

DIRECTOR: Ron Switzer

STARRING: Cameron Klein as Terry
    Robin Hartsell as Joan
    Michael Sommers as McCoy
    Tony Della Ventura as The Fiend

QUICK CUT: An in depth look at the architecture of a building possibly in Toronto, as shown from a newborn child's perspective.

THE MORGUE

    Dr. Frank - A mad scientist who creates the Fiend

    Terry - A fellow person who works with Dr. Frank.

    Joan - A fellow person who works with Dr. Frank and is a love interest for Terry.

    McCoy - A cop.  Who works at a video store, apprently.

    The Fiend - A fiend.

 I'm not a MAD scientist, I'm just *disappointed*.

I'm not a MAD scientist, I'm just *disappointed*.

THE GUTS: Welcome back, Triskelion!  Our minor little theme of science gone wild movies hits its stride this week with the aptly titled, SCIENCE CRAZED!  This is a...  This...  Um.  Hmm.  How to describe or tee up this movie.  Science Crazed is a little movie out of Toronto, and is right up there with such Canuxploitation movies as Things and Phobe, and shot on video classics like Sledge Hammer.  But it is also in a category all its own.

The movie was brought to my attention by Doug Tilley from the No Budget Nightmares and Eric Roberts is the Fucking Man podcasts.  So as you can see, we've got a lot in common.  Also, everything you are about to experience is his fault.  But look, there's no better way to get into this than to just get into it, so brace yourselves for...Science Crazed.

And right out of the gate, I know this movie is gonna be SPECIAL.  We watch Doctor Frankl being dressed down by his boss, and forced to resign, because his experiments are too extreme.  But oh, oh the acting.  It burns.  It BURRRNS.  His boss is wonderfully over the top like he studied at the 80s movie police chief school of management, and Frank himself, he must overEEnunceeATE every single syllable.  AND IT IS WONDERFUL.

 I wear my sunglasses at night.

I wear my sunglasses at night.

Doctor Frank heads off and ignores all warnings, as he continues to do his experiments before security comes to throw him out.  And this involves having a woman tied down to a lawn chair, and told she will be pregnant in a few hours, and a few hours later, give birth to a healthy baby boy.

SCIENCE!

We get to watch as the woman sits and screams for a good long while, and folks.  Folks, text does not even do this justice.  But soon she is sitting in a puddle of blood, having given birth to horrible little whatsit.

Two other people walk in, and I guess they're associates of Dr. Frank's as well as our main characters, but they are aghast at what they see before them.  Frank commands that the guy wrap the head in gauze, and dispose of the baby body, and minor spoilers, thus a horror monster is born.  Literally!

We then are subjected to watching...something.  In fact, "subjected to watching something" describes much of this movie.  But this is a throbbing, undulating body, as best as I can figure, and it sounds like someone shoved a microphone up their nasal cavity and breathed heavily for the entire scene.  As near as I can figure, this is meant to be the baby growing to the size of a full grown man.

Frank returns to discover his creation is alive, ALIVE! and comin' straight for him.  He tries to talk the Fiend down by saying he is his creator, and yeah, the monster just chokes him out with the least amount of effort.

 He doesn't have toes?  Is that better or worse than webbed?

He doesn't have toes?  Is that better or worse than webbed?

We then jump back to the other two, who are named Terry and Joan just sitting around being worried about Frank.  Oh, and they are surrounded by tons of horror movie posters.  See!  See how much they are fans of horror!  Horror fans make good horror movies!

But Joan calls Frank to make sure he's okay, gets no answer, and they decide to head over and check on him.  And they find his dead body.

While they're checking on Frank, the movie begins to get really, really special, as we watch from the Fiend's point of view, the myriad infinite hallways of this...place they're in.  But oh, you just get a taste of things for now.

Having just discovered a dead body, Terry calls the local video store to report the murder and wait what?  WHAT.  Why would you call the...and why is the cop they're looking for *actually there*?  This movie is special, folks.

 Yeah, we have I'd Like to Report a Murder in stock.

Yeah, we have I'd Like to Report a Murder in stock.

But while McCoy comes to the Shelley Institute to investigate the death of Doctor Frank, yes this is all a strange homage to a certain horror story, the real specialness of this movie truly begins.

It starts with watching a pair of people doing some dancing slash excercise routines, intercut with the creature shambling down the halls, via POV shots and his shuffling feet.

And this goes on.  For ten.  Straight.  Minutes.  With bonus laughter from, quite possibly, the director in the background.

 This is seriously 67% of the movie right here.

This is seriously 67% of the movie right here.

This was clearly thrown into the movie to beef up the runtime, and a cheap excuse for titilation, because they keep focusing in tight on one of the girl's spandex clad ass.

And if all this wasn't enough, the footage clearly loops and repeats, both the excercising AND the hall walking.  This is like some special level of Hell, where you are forced to suffer through this endless cycle of walking.

Now, I'm going to pull back the curtain here.  I normally watch a Trisked movie twice in the days leading up to review time.  Once to just casually watch it, take a few rough notes of highlights and thoughts.  This first viewing I watch at an enhanced speed, like I normally watch most things at my computer.  With all the walking, I got through this 83 minute movie in about 40.

My second viewing, I watch in real time, taking in depth notes, and mostly writing the whole review up at that time.  I don't fast forward any, unless I know it's a long scene of nothing, just to get through it.  It also helps me feel the proper pacing for a movie  Normally, I'd once again skim through this long scene, but not this time.  This time I decided to let it all play out in real time, so I could truly, truly feel and experience this event.

And this scene is something.  It just goes on and on, and the music is somehow monotonous and yet builds and builds.  Only intercut with the occasional cuts to the Fiend walking along, and Frank Welker leaning too close to the mic.

But after all that, all that walking, all that dancing, all that TIME, the creature finally finds the girls, and their reaction IS...

 ...DULL SURPRISE.

...DULL SURPRISE.

We hear the grunting continue as the girls are murdered off camera, and we get to see many, many shots of empty corridors and doors.  This movie is clearly funded by the door lobby.  And yes, that's right, all that time and build up and THEY CUT AWAY FROM THE MURDERS.  Talk about an anti climax.

But McCoy is finally on the scene, with Doctor Frank's...assistant?  Some woman who keeps showing up, but since the movie can't be bothered to tell us who anyone is, I just shrug.

That however is not the true brilliance of this scene.  This scene is...it is filmed in such a way that...I...  Look, I think this movie had one camera and one light to film the entire movie.  And there is no master shot.  There is no two or three shot.  Every one of these four characters is filmed in total isolation from the others, and lit by someone with a flashlight.  It's an attempt at artistry, at mood lighting, and...I can barely describe this.

McCoy ends the scene by declaring we shall find the Fiend, whom he just named, and stop him.  We get one last dramatic meaningful look from everyone and OH look, more walking down hallways.

As McCoy decides there's not enough cops around on the weekend to hunt the Fiend, he recruits Terry and Joan to the job.  And meanwhile, we watch the Fiend discover Frank's assistant, and we get a long-ass scene of him staring and grunting at her.

 Are you my mummy?

Are you my mummy?

The movie terribly cuts from more of these lit by a flashlight scenes, to the assistant in her fully lit apartment, until it finally decides no no, we want zero lights.

Frank's assistant examines the creature, fondling him as he grunts and grunts like someone handed a gorilla a microphone and the monkey is deep throating it.

But finally after almost as much time as he stalked the dancers, they decide this has gone on lone enough, and the Fiend hugs the assistant to death with his gorilla strength.

 He only wanted hugs!

He only wanted hugs!

Following that, we watch as some random person stands in the darkness of a video arcade, seriously, I can see arcade cabinets in the background! and the camera spins around her.  Eat your heart out, Michael Bay!

And for added hilarity, you can see the guy holding the flashlight as the camera spins around.  We go on spinning while the monster shambles back down the infinite corridors.  Seriously, what IS this place?  There's the Shelley Institute, the aerobicide room, now an arcade, and offices, and what??

This scene of more walking intercut with the spinning almost rivals the lengthy scenes with the workout girls.  And ooogh, I am getting nauseous from all the spinning.

Finally the monster enters the room, and his grunting resumes.  I think he kills people by grunting.  Or maybe by strangling, that works too.

 There I am in the corner.  There I am in the spotlight, losing my religion.

There I am in the corner.  There I am in the spotlight, losing my religion.

AND NOW THERE'S A POOL.  Why is there a pool?  WHAT IS THIS PLACE??  Do these corridors run under the entire city??

We watch this pool party with very little dialogue, while yes, Deadly Fiend...walks on down the hall!  Mother, I want to kill you!  There are a few lines, and more later, and I am pretty sure they are A) not recorded on set and B) all done by the same guy.

The Fiend climbs into the pool, and one guy is encouraged to go do something, and he starts to swim towards the monster. However, he thinks better of it then NOPES his way out.

 Can...I come out to play?

Can...I come out to play?

McCoy shows up to the Pool Party Massacre, questions the witnesses, then he and his Deputized Terry and Joan split up to go hunt the creature.  So you know what that means...MORE HALLWAYS.

Joan is the first to run into the creature, and you know what follows - more walking!  More grunting!  Followed by more staring!  But before the cycle can be completed by killing her, Joan runs away.

McCoy comes across the Fiend next, pulls his gun, and there's a gunshot, followed seconds later by actually moving the gun.  Followed by a second shot.  Because this whole thing is wonderfully amateurish and nothing is quite real or operates on the same level of reality.

 Do the Fiend!  The latest dance craze sweeping through the halls!

Do the Fiend!  The latest dance craze sweeping through the halls!

The Fiend can somehow dodge bullets like squawking Neo, which is especially ludicrous because we then see he is standing like, six feet from McCoy.  He then does the most wonderful lopey run with flailing arms, like every kid on the schoolyard in their first fight.

Our monster keeps running right on by, leaving McCoy shocked and determined, and the hunt continues.  Because everything in this movie has to go on ten minutes longer than is should.  While that's going on, the Fiend finds another completely random punk rocker goth chick wannabe to randomly kill.  And not kill at the same time, as again we try to be artsy!  I guess.  She's Schrodinger's Punk.

And if that wasn't random enough for you, we then cut to a woman, a politician, making a list of countries she thinks need to be attacked with chemical weapons.  And it's a long list.  And you get to hear it all.  Did you think the hall walking was tedious?  WELL NOW THERE'S THIS.

 Stop, stop!!  Stop listing off every single country!  For the love of Thanos, stop!

Stop, stop!!  Stop listing off every single country!  For the love of Thanos, stop!

Finally Fiendly McGruntsalot shows up and...

...I have no idea.  Are they having sex?  Is he killing her?  Why is babby crying??  ARE THESE THE SOUNDS HE MAKES DURING SEX??  ...Actually, crying during sex I get.  But no!  WHAT.  WHAT IS...GAAAAH.

After murdering the politician, he stumbles into a...place, and stands there for about 15 seconds before Joan announces, "We've got company."  Brilliant deduction, Captain Obvious!

FINALLY we get a confrontation between McCoy and the Monster, and he peels his bandages off with the sound of like, peeling off a strip of packing tape, and...he looks like Toxie.  We never really get THAT good a look at it, so it's a pointless reveal.  Heaven forbid this movie pays even the smallest thing off.

McCoy legit tries to handcuff the beast and arrest him.  And not surprisingly, the Fiend tosses him around and runs off.

 Why the long face?

Why the long face?

The Fiend makes it to the parking garage of this infinite, labyrinthine complex, and oh no!  He shall soon escape into the world, and we will witness him shambling down streets instead!

Joan and Terry arrive in the parking garage and they have a stare off, which is this movie's go to move.  They dance around a car for awhile...and then the monster just runs off.  Honestly, with how everything else in this movie has gone, I'm shocked they didn't circle the car for another ten minutes.

The creature doesn't get far though, as Terry says something but the movie forgets to share dialogue, until finally they drop in a "wait here" and he saunters off to leave Joan to distract the creature.

 Get this fly away from me!

Get this fly away from me!

McCoy wanders back into the plot, surprisingly bloody for being knocked unconscious.  I can only surmise he stumbled into one of the many rooms in this place that must be an actual art college, and landed in a bucket of red paint.  He can barely lift his gun, but does shoot the creature in the leg.  Where it oozes out pastel green tempera paint.

Sadly, McCoy dies from unknown wounds, but Terry walks in...WITH A MACHETE??  Where did that come from??  He clearly went off with a plan, so knew about it, but where, and why and how??

He buries it in the Fiend's shoulder, it apparently falls down dead, and the couple wander off to saunter down the infinite hallways of their life together.  And strangely enough, it oozed green from the leg, but red from everywhere else.

But SURPRISE of course the monster isn't really dead, opens its eyes and...

 Ha ha hahaha HA ha, that's not happening.

Ha ha hahaha HA ha, that's not happening.

THE GUTS

Video: Oh it looks horrible, and that's to be expected.

Audio: Pfffahaha.  It sounds atrocious.  All the dialogue is overdubbed.  The music drones.  It's wonderfully terrible.

Sound Bite: I am spoiled with an embarassment of riches.  Take your pick.

Body Count: ...You know...  I slag this movie for being slow as fuck, and it is, and nothing happens for long stretches.  And yet it somehow amasses a respectable pile of dead people.

1 - The Fiend's mother dies in childbirth about 7 minutes in
2 - Doctor Frank gets bashed against the wall.
3 - Large dancercise girl gets killed
4 - Dance instructor gets killed
5 - Random woman gets her back snapped
6 - Swimmer #1 is drowned by the Fiend
7 - Swimmer #2 gets flung across the pool
8 - Random gothy punk gets killed
9 - Gas happy politician gets choked.
10 - Cop dies from wounds inflicted earlier.
11 - The Fiend gets shot, then a machete to the neck.

Best Corpse: Me.  Mine.  I did not survive this.

Blood Type - D+: It does the bare minimum to not be a complete failure, and I'd give it more points if we could see more than a fleeting moment of the Fiend's face.  But then I'd take points away for the Vulcan banana ears.

Sex Appeal: Somehow, this sleazy, grimy movie manages to not be THAT sleazy.

Drink Up! Every time you see the monster walking down a hallway.  AND NOW YOU ARE DEAD.

Video Nasties: A single clip from this movie doesn't do it justice.  But I give you a short bit to really show off the 'acting' and cinematography, with the introduction of McCoy and making plans.  Thrill to everyone being filmed in isolation lit only by some dude with a flashlight.

Movie Review: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...aaaahhhh.  This is the most poorly put together movie I've seen in a long time.  This movie defies description.  It defies logic.  It defies classification.  It hears that you want to do those things, and it DARES you to try.  And you will fail.  And fail miserably.  And wonder what you have just experienced.  They clearly don't know when to cut, or they don't understand tension, they don't know what plot is, this entire movie just kind of happens, and it just...I...just 80 minutes of what??  One out of five hallways

Entertainment Value: As objectively terrible as every frame of this movie is, I can't hate it.  I can't love it either, because it IS a long, strange slog, where nothing happens for very long periods of time.  But what I am is FASCINATED by this movie.  What is its saying?  What is it doing?  What is going on?  How did this get made?  This is like an artifact of another world.  It is incomprehensible.  And everyone must see it.  But see it with like-minded friends, because it is the only way to survive.  Four out of five countries to strike with nerve gas.

And now I am on a government watchlist.