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E. Danny Murphy
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Christie Parson has constant nightmares of her father's death whom died in a swimming pool. Christie's mother thinks it was an accident, but Christie believes in was murder. Christie then sees a sinister hooded figure following her and harassing her. But still nobody believes her, except her boyfriend. Who is this hooded person actually? Written by
Even before playing the lovable Chet in "Weird Science"....
(**1/2 out of *****) In spite of some mediocre acting and a somewhat rambling storyline, this tasteless sickie has enough suspenseful and shocking scenes here and there to at least make it interesting. Christopher George (who was in several of these kinds of movies around this time) runs the title establishment, where he holds seances with community mothers and yells at his son (Bill Paxton!) for taking too long to embalm the cadavers. Mary Beth McDonough (from "The Waltons") plays a sleepwalking teenager who witnesses her father's murder (although no one believes her), and George's real-life wife, Lynda Day (who was in the awful "Pieces" with her hubby in the same year), plays her mother. Oh, and there's a creepy, pale-faced killer in a hood and cape running around stabbing and draining people with a large embalming needle. There are gratuitously prolonged shots of needles piercing stomachs, but there are also some genuine scares and a pretty good climax. Plus, you get Bill Paxton (who deserves the credit for this movie's two and a half stars) in an early, over-the-top performance, before he toned down for big-budget blockbusters (and yawn fests) like "Twister" and "Titanic." David Wallace plays McDonough's blonde-haired, beef-cake boyfriend, and, supposedly, Michael Berryman (from "The Hills Have Eyes") is in this thing, but I'll be damned if I spotted him.
HIGHLIGHT: Paxton, with full manic glee, conducts an imaginary Mozart symphony with an audience of dead bodies slumped in chairs behind him (the climaxes of both "Happy Birthday To Me" and "Madhouse" -- also 81 slasher films -- are curiously similar. I guess homicidal maniacs love an audience, dead or alive.)
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