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Scared to Death
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Scared to Death More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Average monster movie

Author: Trooper8-2 from Gadsden, AL
29 December 2000

This film was a very typical monster movie that incorporated all of the usual dumb cliches. It's got a slow moving, fake looking monster, really stupid victims who deserve to die, and a lame story about the monster resulting from a genetic experiment gone awry. (Why did the professor even make the monster in the first place? It never really says why. I guess that's just what scientists do.) Still, this movie is an okay time-waster if you happen to enjoy bad sci-fi or horror. It's certainly not the best, but I have definitely seen worse. I give it a 5/10 rating.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

fun low budget sci flick

Author: CLEO-8 from NJ
29 April 2003

I thought this movie (for being so bad) was very entertaining. The main characters are the biggest geeks! Especially the male lead. I'm talking about Dorkenstein with a capital D. It was fun making fun of them while hoping the monster eats them. This film seemed to merge cheesey 50's Sci Fi elements with 80's slasher gimmick to create a movie that worked on some level. Mystery Science Theatre would have a field day on this one. I must give it props though. The creatures actually looked good and were indeed creepy.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Good low-budget sci-fi/horror

Author: lastliberal from United States
19 August 2008

While Star Wars Episode V and The Howling were winning awards from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, this film was also a winner as Best Low-Budget Film. Low-Budget filmmakers could do worse in watching how William Malone (House on Haunted Hill ) managed to make an interesting film with award winning special effects for $74,000.

It was Malone's first film and it starred Diana Davidson, whom I am sure no one remembers as they girl who was shot in the swimming pool in Dirty Harry. It also stars John Stinson, Jonathan David Moses, and Toni Jannotta, in her only film. Malone made sure that he had a good selection of beautiful victims to keep your interest.

The staging was good in the respect that terror was built up gradually with a lot of suspense, and the creature was only partially shown until it got towards the end. You never really knew what you were dealing with.

And, of course, when it is all over, you don't really know if you solved the problem.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Cheap and tacky thrills

Author: lost-in-limbo from the Mad Hatter's tea party.
26 January 2005

An ex-cop who's a writer now, gets brought back on the job after a string of weird murders with the killer leaving a web like substance… Is it human or not?

Really this is nothing but cheap (and that's very cheap) z-grade trash, but still 'fairly' amusing… well that's if you're in the right frame of mood. This is no more than a "Alien" rip-off, but set on earth. There are certain shots that resembled some of those from "Alien" and as well the creature looks very similar too.

The story is extra ordinary. The usual scientific creation that's on the loose killing victims and an ex-cop who's the only one that can stop it. So don't expect anything special or original. Sometimes the pacing is a bit tedious; like a slasher film.

The acting is not that bad from a bunch of nobodies... with a pretty charming and gawky heroine. Although there is one or two annoying characters which you have to deal with. Added to the film's script is some sharp humour and witty one-liners, especially from the geeky lead. A very gritty and grim atmosphere is found throughout the picture, with a lot of the film taking place in dark and dim lighting. While the special effects are hilariously shoddy and cheap, which gives it a sort of charm... well I think so.

I found this more enjoyable than the glossy, but bland "Ghost Ship (2002)" I watched before it.

This film is unoriginal, campy and cheap... but I found this schlock watchable and rather fun.


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

One of the first ever ALIEN clones

Author: DigitalRevenantX7 from Australia
2 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Former detective turned private eye Ted Lonergan & his girlfriend / assistant Jennifer Stanton are approached by one of Ted's former colleagues, Detective Lou Capell, to help with investigating a rash of killings where the victims fall into a coma after being drained of their spinal fluids. Jennifer manages to find a lead when a genetic scientist calls her with information but is attacked by the killer & left in a coma. Ted & the scientist discover that the killings were the work of the Syngenor (an acronym for Synthesised Genetic Organism), a genetic cyborg creature that was created by a dead scientist & that has escaped from the laboratory & is lurking in the sewers in order to feed on human spinal fluid in order to survive.

Believe it or not, Scared to Death is probably one of the very first ALIEN templaters to have come out in the 1980s, alongside other similar films such as THE INTRUDER WITHIN & the el bizarro British entry XTRO. The film was the debut of director William Malone, a makeup effects artist who has designed the mask of serial killer Michael Myers from the Halloween films whilst working at Don Post Studios. Malone raised $74,000 in order to make the film & co-wrote the story with another effects wizard, Robert Short.

Scared to Death is an interesting film, although nowhere even near the stature of the original Alien – while the Syngenor looks a bit like a H.R. Giger creation, it still is kept to the shadows to disguise its shortcomings (although the creature's body suit looks quite impressive). The rest of the film is basically Alien melded with Friday the 13th – plenty of undressing girls & shenanigans going on in the dark. The idea of a genetic cyborg (a being made from synthetic DNA) is quite good – indeed the film's attempt at setting the template on Earth & providing a reasonable explanation for the monster's nature earns full marks for being innovative despite the ultra-low budget. The only problem being that Malone is nowhere even near the skill set & vision of Ridley Scott, with his handling frequently turning the film's pace into a hard slog & having no idea on how to create suspense. Still, it was one of the earliest Alien templaters & the Syngenor still looks cool, enough for a sequel-remake to come out a decade later.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

There is little chance of being scared to death watching this film...bored to death, well maybe.

Author: Aaron1375
28 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I got this movie as I love watching horror films and I normally enjoy the horror of the past a lot more than the horror of today. This one though was just not what I was expecting. I had high hopes at the beginning when the film opened up and we are greeted with a point of view shot of the monster peeking in on a girl totally nude. However, this would not be the norm in this film, and the cynical part of me thinks this scene was added in to spice things up as the quality of this movie screams television. As did the guest starring portion of the credits. Other than this scene and one where the lead character and his new lady friend hook up, there is nothing all that risqué in this film in terms of nudity or even gore.

The story has a creature lurking the city streets of L.A. killing its victims. Wait a minute, that sounds awfully familiar doesn't it? Oh yes, it is a lot like the film "The Dark", in fact this film could be "The Dark II: This Time it Actually looks like an Alien". Seriously, it is almost the same movie other than the fact the monster looks different. We get a kill, we get lead guy Tim doing scenes establishing him, another kill, and then more boring scenes that go nowhere and are pointless. Then a final showdown with said creature in a factory setting that is so slow and plodding. At least that portion of "The Dark" was fairly well done, here it just takes to long as there are to many monster walking toward our intrepid heroes. The only curve ball this movie throws is when they take out the lead guy's girlfriend and substitute her for this nerdy, but very cute girl. A nice upgrade, as the lead guy's girl wore way to much eye makeup and reminded me of that hooker from "Mitchell".

So there really is not much going for this movie other than a nice nude scene at the beginning and a scene with a cute couple of skater girls later. The monster gets a lot of show too, what I mean is they are not hiding it as they must be proud of it. They should be, if this were a science fiction show like Star Trek, but this thing looks to much like an alien from a science fiction show more so than a bioengineered monster. It seems to be beating people to death at first, and I also thought it may be raping its victims because the first two victims are female. However, this is not a Roger Corman film, so is not raping anyone. Even when it is sticking its tongue in its victim's mouth it is not doing anything sexual. It just has an idiotic thirst for spinal fluid. I know you are trying to be creative, but really...why not simply do blood and that way the film is at least a bit more gory.

So what we have here is a film that is trying to capitalize on the success of "Alien", but rather than following that film's format, it instead thought it should be more like "The Dark" in that it is very slow, not tense and has a television movie feel to it. The lead guy is annoying, the lead female to hooker looking and the monster would look right at home in a science fiction show, but not a monster movie. You do get to see a bit of nudity, but nothing good after the first initial scene (trust me, you do not want to see the one involving the lead guy). To much awkward flirting, not enough gore! To much monster coming down hall, not enough action! To much nerdy but cute girl screaming, and not scenes of her naked! This film just does not have enough going for it to be an entertaining film and it just has a been there, done that feel for me. It not only borrows from "Alien", "The Dark", but it does the same things countless films from this era did and it brings nothing new to the table. Unless you count watching a girl skate down an entire parking garage and then slowly dressing in more clothes while feeling threatened as something new.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Cool humanoid creature and... uhm, that's about it.

Author: (Vomitron_G) from the Doomed Megalopolis of Blasphemous Technoids
29 February 2012

William Malone didn't exactly deliver a good movie here. Far from, actually, but heck, it was his first one. Still, you'll have to tolerate some atrocious 'chop-chop' editing, some bad acting and a plot way too basic for its own good. All the events in this film move at the pace of a snail that's stuck in the mud. The whole story is played by the book, and it's one with not many pages in it (just enough to write down the premise: a murderous creature is loose in the city and two people must stop it). Surprisingly, things do remain watchable most of the time, somehow. The creature design is pretty cool, but also nothing more than a man in a rubber suit. A bit of full frontal female nudity during the opening-scene and a lack of gore throughout the entire film is what we get. But my guess is that it's still worth a watch for lovers of obscure creature features (honestly, I myself didn't mind watching it). "Scared To Death" always seemed to me a bit of a stupid, unsuitable title for this kind of film though. Given the place where the creature resides, why not dub it... "The Sewer Dweller"? Malone's first outing even got some sort of a semi-(un)official sequel nine years later, called "Syngenor" (1990). Would have been much easier if they had called that one "Syngenor 2" and this one simply "Syngenor". Aw, what the hell am I talking about.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not bad for an earth bound ALIEN rip off.

Author: Prolox from Canada
7 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An slimy creature goes about ripping apart & sucking the spinal fluid out of poor unwary humans. An ex-cop starts to investigate to find out what is going on & meets with a girl who tells him that the creature is actually or was an scientific experiment to create a new life form. The thing hides out underground & only makes it's appearances on film when it attempts to kill somebody. Despite a few slow stretches & some what foggy looking photography, the picture held up well for an earth bound Alien rip-off, the monster was well done & scary, but due to many dark scenes, it's often hard to tell what is going on in some scenes, especially when the cop & the girl go to investigate the sewers where the creature has been hiding out. The last twenty or so minutes of the film is pretty suspenseful, but the first half is filled with suspense less scenes of people getting knocked off & a romantic subplot. Though the scene where the creature is set to attack a teenage girl who is roller skating & is all by herself was kind of spooky. Horror fans should like this, just don't expect lot from it. Followed by a sequel entitled: SYNGENOR


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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Cool movie, dumb title

Author: lordzedd-3 from United States
21 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The year is 1981 and most people are making slasher movies, but SCARED TO DEATH is a twist on the serial killer, slasher type movie. Even though it has got to be the dumbest movie title ever. But the creature in the movie is cool and unique. The story is somewhat a-typical, but predictable doesn't always mean bad. All the jumps are all in the right place and all the kills are all in the right place. Basically it's pretty cool movie, once you overlook the stupid title. The characters are a little on the weak side, and the film quality could have been much better, even for the time period. But all and all the style of the movie, the look of the creature and the characters all make the movie worth while. I give SCARED TO DEATH 9 STARS.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Pretty boring, even if you like bad movies

Author: darkblood55 from Canada
16 September 2007

(Warning: I'm not fully bilingual, so please forgive me for my poor English vocabulary) This one was awful from start to finish! There was no notable action: the main characters were in a big investigation, full of dull dialogues, and the creature was just wandering around in the sewers doing some cheap kills once in a while, nothing too original, entertaining or gory.

Not absolutely painful, just plain boring.

If you want to see something a little better with the same creature, try Syngenor instead. I'm a big fan of the genre, especially the "so bad it's good" sub-genre, but this one is definitely not in that league. Avoid.

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