Thursday, October 23, 2014

Death Valley - Ralphie Runs For His Life!!!

Death Valley
D: Dick Richards
W: Richard Rothstein

S: Paul Le Mat, Catherine Hicks & Peter Billingley
Rated R     -     Approx. 87 Minutes
Cinema VII

 - Welcome To Death Valley

 - Not even a scream escapes...

Alternate Titles
Pesadelo no Vale da Morte (Nightmare in Death Valley)  - Brazil
El valle de la muerte (The Valley of Death)  - Colombia
La Vallée de la Mort (The Valley of Death) - France
Dolina smierci (Valley of Death) - Poland
O Vale das Sombras (The Valley of Shadows) - Portugal

Küçük Kahraman - Ölüm Vadisi  (Little Hero - Death Valley)- Turkey

"Billy, the phone's's for you."

I love it when a movie comes out of nowhere and endlessly surprises me.  I hadn't heard of Death Valley before Scream Factory released their Blu Ray/DVD double disc.....though the cover did look oddly familiar.  Perhaps I glimpsed it at a video store in my youth and then forgot about it, who knows.  The point is that this was a blind buy for me.  I knew I had to buy it as soon as I saw Peter Billingsley was in it.

"HOLY SHIT!  RALPHIE'S IN A HORROR MOVIE!" I shouted to no one in particular.

I bought it and there it stayed in the movie vault for some time.  Then the whole nearly getting shot in the head thing happened, we packed up and moved in the the wilds of New Hampshire and I forgot all about it until I was searching through my film library this evening looking for some rainy night entertainment and I came face to face with this magnificent cover again.

"BINGO!"  I yelled.

"What?"  The Mrs jumped in her chair.

"I've got the perfect movie!  Just wait until you see what I've got!" I giggled like a mentally handicapped ape.

"Oh boy."  The Mrs. was not looking impressed.

That's when I popped in the Blu Ray and without a word ran the trailer for her.  Her eyes widened.

"Ralphie's in a horror movie!" She perked up!

"HELL'S YEAH!"  I yelled.

"Ssshhhhh"  She hushed me.  "I can hear you, I'm right here."

I tend to get a little too excited and boisterous sometimes.  My bad.

And thus or cinematic adventure to Death Valley began.  Little did I know in those first moments before the credits even started how awesome actors are in this thing!  Catharine Hicks (who of course was in Child's Play) is mean Billy's Mom.  His Dad is played by none other than Edward Herrmann!  You know him....we was Max in Lost Boys!  SYEAH!  As if that wasn't cool enough, we've got Wilford Brimley playing the Sheriff and Paul Le Mat (from Strange Invaders!) as Mike, Billy's Mom's boyfriend!  It was a total 80's overload of awesome.  Seriously, I was that excited.


Say.....could that be the infamous Black Bart?

Death Valley is also a surprisingly good flick.  Not quite a slasher (the body count is only around six....which is more than some slashers, I suppose....but the kills are rather sporadic), it falls more into the suspense/thriller category.  See, Billy's out in Arizona on vacation with  his mom and her boyfriend when he unwittingly and unknowingly steps into a murder scene.  While he doesn't find the bodies of the victims, he does find an unusual golden frog medallion.

I love boobs as much as the next guy, but I think I would notice that dude grabbing a knife.....

.......and that's what happens when you only pay attention to boobs.

The killer, finds out that Billy has the medallion and is afraid that he will be able to ID him, so he begins to pursue him, trying to kill him in various places.  What works so well for a large part of the film is that we the audience know exactly what's going on.  Billy and his family have no idea and we cringe as the killer tries multiple times to kill Billy, including a close call in a tourist attraction called Frontier Town, where the killer is disguised as an old west gunman with a bandanna over his face.  Billy thinks he's just one of the actors at Frontier Town and engages him in what he thinks is a make believe gun fight in the trinket museum.

It ain't no Red Rider BBQ Gun, but he still pulls off some sweet trick shots while watching a western!

Why do psychos always end up on the roof with a shotgun?

The last act of the film is intense as the killer comes for Billy at night when his mother and her boyfriend leave him with a babysitter while they go out on a date.  As you would expect in a flick like this, the babysitter gets offed and Billy is left to fend for himself.  It's a cat and mouse game as the killer closes in on him.  The ending was a bit rushed, but all in all it was a pretty good flick with a bit of a twist ending that you will probably see coming (though I didn't.....which kinda surprised me).

We've got some red stuff spraying here as our friendly neighborhood psycho does his deeds.  What I especially loved is the fact that they use the melted red crayon style blood.

We do get to see a rather firm pair of breasts early on in the flick!  They're not there for long, but hey beggars can't be choosers!

Creatures Featured
What we've got here is a certified psychopath!  He's pretty damn creepy too.

Final Thoughts
I had fun with this flick.  It's got it's share of problems (in a larger fellow, I didn't care for the way they treated hefty people!  Sure, us big folks like our food just fine, but we're not going to die if we're not eating every five seconds.  I mean seriously....(SLIGHT SPOILER) the babysitter is killed because she got baited with free soda after eating a bunch of chocolate, corn chips and is on the way back to the room with a banana split. Sheesh.) but all in all, it's a good time and I do believe I now know why Ralphie in A Christmas Story has fantasies about facing off with a bandit called Black Bart!  Total reference to this flick!

Final Rating
Three out of Five Pizza Rolls

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