Wicked Games (1994)
WRITER: Tim Ritter
DIRECTOR: Tim Ritter
STARRING: Patricia Paul as Ginger/Traci
Joel D. Wynkoop as Dan. Hess
Kevin Scott Crawford as Gary
Kermit Christman as Dr. Siedow
QUICK CUT: A man finds his wife cheating on him with another man, and does his best to get through it with a little help from his friends.
Gary - A kinda hapless loser who discovers his wife cheating on him. He loses it, but keeps his shit together for the most part, while also wishing the worst for the new loving couple.
Dan - Gary’s best, and maybe only?, friend, a cop, and uh…into some more of the kinky stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Dr. Siedow - An associate with Dan, whom he consults with frequently. Also with highly questionable morals and not really good with doctor/patient boundaries.
TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions! Because I am my schedule’s own worst enemy, and was too lazy to go get the planned next movie from the post office, I did a bit more swapping, deciding to bump THIS movie up by a month…Wicked Games! Get your Chris Isaak jokes out of your system now, and let's get right to it.
Y'all know I shy away from talking about credits for the most part, but look, if you want me to give them a shout out, having them play over a roaring fire? That's a great start.
The movie opens up with Traci banging a guy, who we find out is NOT her husband, who isn't far behind. Gary walks in and introduces himself to us at the end of a gun, discovering his wife in sexual congress with this dude, and threatens them to continue.
Needless to say, they find it difficult to continue, not least of which because Gary is right there, but also gun. So after he has his fun, Gary hops in his car, drives down to the beach, and goes to pull a Rogue by sitting on the rocks for a good cry.
And this is all feeling very...very familiar...
Once he's had his cry, Gary heads over to his friend Dan's place to crash, and discovers HIM in the middle of having some fun with a prostitute and/or dominatrix.
Can you just imagine heading over to your friend's place to ask to use their couch after a bad breakup...and there he is laying with a dog collar around his neck?
Ginger heads out so the two friends can chat, and Gary catches Dan up on the shitshow his life has become.
That night, Gary wakes up to continue his pity party, hits the kitchen, and finds Dan sitting there, and they chat some more about their mutual pile of bad relationships.
Gary talks about how he tried to decide what to do, kill them, kill them and himself, kill himself...and Dan says hey, that's not a bad idea! and blows his own brains out.
And that's when this is revealed to be a horrible nightmare at best, or a psychotic break at worst.
Once that's wrapped up, Dan asks his friend if he wants to play truth or dare, and oh great…is Mike Strauber going to walk into this plot now?
Also, Dan says the line, "Sometimes death...is the better option." Uhh, I'm not sure that's how that quote is supposed to go!
Dan sits there convincing Gary to blow his brains out, and yeah, we are talking psychotic break here. This is out of the realm of nightmares.
After that, we jump over to a mental institution where Ginger is talking with Dr. Siedow, and they start to bang each other. With all the kinky sex and wanting to explore and talk of pain and pleasure...this is how you get Cenobites, people.
Fortunately, Dan shows up to interrupt things, and ask the doc about Gary...and that's when they name drop Mike Strauber outright. YEP, if you didn't know, this is indeed a sequel to Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness! SURPRISE! It wasn’t intentionally kept a secret, but I like how it plays out if you don’t know.
The doc says that sure, Gary is having a rough go of it, and needs a friend, but he surely won't put on a copper mask and go on a killing spree! Dan hopes the doctor is right and...spoiler, he was not right.
He was so not right, we cut IMMEDIATELY to someone doing some metalwork and creating their own version of the mask. And getting armed up.
From there, we go to watch a couple out in the park, having a good time and getting ready to bang, when Copperface shows up to do his thing.
She's not willing to put out, so the guy threatens her with a knife to strip, and you know what? Cheaters, violent men, I find it very hard to NOT side with Copperface.
But she knees him in the groin and runs off, and he gives chase, which is when Copperface finally rears his, uh, face. He clobbers the sleazebag in the head with a mace, and then shoves grass in his mouth and/or stabs him dead.
Once he's done there, he finds some handy discarded barbed wire, and strangles the girl around a tree.
Dan shows up to check out the bodies, then finds Gary getting drunk, again, and tells him what he found, suspecting that Gary is responsible.
But since there's no evidence, Gary bops off to go confront his wife and her lover at a restaurant. And is this THE SAME ONE as in ToD?? It sure looks the same. Also, at least Gary is way more proactive in confronting his wife over her infidelity.
From there, we get more sexytimes as Ginger entertains another client, to pad this movie out some more, I suppose. Personal note: there’s a lotta blonde prostitutes in this movie, I may have gotten confused on which is which, just in case someone comes along to point out I squawked up.
Afterwards, she goes to take a shower, and finds Copperface lurking within the shower just waiting to jump out and stab her in a kinda reverse Psycho. The guy she banged comes looking for her, and finds much the same fate.
Dan hears about the murders, and one of them was Ginger, and he goes again to tell Gary about the deaths to see if he can get him to slip up again.
We next move on to a brothel where brothely things are going on, so Copperface can show up and continue to slaughter people with impunity.
This really comes off as more padding, but at least we get some good deaths from it eventually, so I can't complain too much.
Also, at least one of the girls is smart enough to try and draw the mask and the word copper on the walls before she dies, to try and leave a message.
The movie then tries to get super artsy with Dan flashing back with a dramatic overlay to his own life and series of bad relationships. Wouldn't it be a twist if HE was the killer?
After he hears about the copper mask, we cut over to Siedow in a speedo, talking to what appears to be Ginger, but it's pulled back to reveal he's pulled a Madman, and is talking to a mannequin he thinks is talking back.
Okay, uh, the waters are getting muddy, and ANYONE could be the killer at this point. Heck, I might be the killer.
Dan goes to confront Gary AGAIN, asks him to come down to the station, just to answer some questions...so Gary maces him and runs off. Uh. The spray kind of mace, not the weapon. I feel I need to specify, since an Actual Mace was used earlier in the movie.
After he runs off, Copperface wanders around, finds some random girl, and makes one of my now all time favourite kills by tossing her onto a metal sprinkler that impales her and spurts her blood.
Meanwhile, Dan recovers, calls in Siedow to all gather at Traci's place, believing that Gary is gonna go finish the job finally.
We get to watch everyone race through town, and sadly, this car chase does not go as bonkers as the previous one. I seriously could've used that random level of carnage.
But the couple is down at the beach, so everyone heads down there instead, to drag this out even more.
Copperface shows up, rips a beer can in half and kills Dean with it. Then he tracks down Traci, shoves a bottle of suntan lotion down her throat, thus killing her too.
Dan arrives on the scene, chases Copperface, whom he believes to be Gary, off down the beach. He loses him, but they meet up in the woods, and uh, is this the same spot where Mike cut out his tongue? Probably.
Gary admits to killing his wife and Dean, but then he says sure, he had the mask...but Dan had one too.
...What. Oh my gods. They're BOTH the killer. But then it twists even FURTHER because Dan didn't kill the prostitutes! Gary didn't kill them either!
SIEDOW KILLED THEM! AND HE’S ALSO SUDDENLY IN THE WOODS WITH THEM.
...WHAT... HOW. HOW DOES THIS WORK? HOW DO THEY EACH MAKE THE EXACT SAME MASK??
But besides that, I could almost roll with this, I love the piles of twists, and it actually makes some sense. It's a great out of nowhere surprise.
But then, oh this movie. Just as I am about to go along with it’s bonkers plot twist of plot twists, it twists again.
Oh fuck me.
No, better yet, FUCK THIS MOVIE.
Because that’s not enough for this movie. It has to go one step further, and reveal that everything we've just watched? Every. Single. Frame. for the last...SEVENTY THREE MINIUTES?
NEVER. FUCKING. HAPPENED.
We pull out and reveal this was all in Mike Strauber's head, as we finally see him return to this movie, now eight years later. And those three 'killers' of the main plot? Are actually his doctors, debating what to do with him now. And also, a nurse walks in, who is actually also Ginger AND Traci.
If not for the fact that this renders ALL WE JUST WATCHED COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY POINTLESS, I would almost love this. Because it's a good use of reusing characters, showing delusions, and how he built things up in his head, with echos of lines we now see where they came from. The movie almost ALMOST! wins me over.
But instead, no, this twist utterly invalidates the 'plot' such as it is, and when Mike wraps things up by asking if we want to play Truth or Dare, fine! I DARE YOU TO MAKE A COHERENT MOVIE??
Video: Urgh. Not great, Bob. You can see from the images above this is low quality. NOW! There IS a new Blu Ray coming out right about now, coincidentally enough as that was not planned by me to line up, that I am genuinely interested in checking out.
Audio: Pretty comporable to the video in quality, but everything is pretty audible at least.
Sound Bite: “Good they probably deserved it!” says Gary after hearing a few more cheaters died.
Body Count: Hnnngh. After that last plot twist, I shouldn’t count ANY of these, but they are some quality deaths. And a heck of a ride until the end.
1 - 13 minutes in and we get a fake out suicide.
2 - 25 minutes, actual death with a mace to the face of Roger!
3 - Kim choked with barb wire
4 - Ginger gets reverse Psychoed.
5 - Tom gets pezzed.
6 - Dude gets beheaded with a machete
7 - Hooker gets stabbed in the chest
8 - Another gets strangled
9 - Girl gets stabbed in the hot tub
10 - Girl gets impaled on a spinker and spews blood.
11 - Killer offs Dean with a ripped up beer can
12 - Tracy chokes on suntan lotion.
13 - Me.
Best Corpse: SPRINKLER CORPSE SPRINKLER CORPSE.
Blood Type - B: Lots of blood, some good effects, and a notable mask all come together. I would have given even more points if I could get a better look at some of them, thanks to quality and darkness.
Sex Appeal: Boobs aplenty, but also lots of guys walking around in banana hammocks, so something for the whole family!
Drink Up! Whenever you hear the growly, gutteral voice of Copperface.
Video Nasties: …Are you surprsied I’m sharing the blood sprinkler death?
Movie Review: 95% decent enough movie, with an infuriating ending. I will say this about Tim Ritter’s movies; for flicks that are kinda sleazy, low budget, shot on video stuff? They are genuinely well made. The acting is solid enough for this level, if not a step above average. The craft and most of the story is very well done, and the directing sometimes rivals a big budget flick. In fact, since most of the movie was a well made story, I am going to be generous and give this a solid three out of five copper masks.
Entertainment Value: I love the kills in this, the blood and gore are a blast, and a movie that almost wins me over with an IT WAS ALL A DREAM ending? That’s saying something. I’m more angry at that ending because I had SO MUCH FUN up ‘til that point. Four out of five handfuls of grass.
I genuinely think I talked myself into a higher grade than I intended to give it when I started this.