Harry Crumb is a bumbling and inept private investigator who is hired to solve the kidnapping of a young heiress which he's not expected to solve because his employer is the mastermind behind the kidnapping.
A financier [Chevy Chase] meets a spurned lover [Demi Moore] and agrees to take her to a business meeting. On the way there, they run a stop sign in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. They are arrested and taken to the local court. But all is not as it seems: the courthouse and the "prison" are a maze of zany booby- traps and deadly contraptions. The antics of the captured couple as they try to escape from the mad judge and his bizarre family make up the rest of this unusual film. Written by
The song that plays whenever Judge Alvin activates the tabletop train during the dinner scene is "Wabash Cannonball" as performed by Doc Watson, who originally released his version of this very old song in 1982. See more »
Throughout the story, the speed limit in the Village is referenced as 50 mph. Chief Constable Dennis's set the radar gun to alarm when a driver exceeds 50 mph. When Artie speeds into the village, he passes a 55 mph sign. See more »
[as they leave a car and go into a building to a party]
20 minutes, hello, good-bye.
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I think this movie traumatized more kids than "Jaws"
If your idea of a dark comedy is something like "Beetlejuice" or "Deathtrap" or "Heathers", then watch out. This one makes them look like Peewee's Playhouse.
You know how certain horror movies cross over into comedy? Like when Freddy Krueger says "Welcome to prime time b!tch!!" and slams a girl's head into the TV? Well, this is the opposite: comedy crossing over into horror. It gets pretty weird, and if you're not expecting it, it can be downright upsetting.
I think that's what makes so many people hate this movie. With an all-star comedic cast like it has, it promises to be a laugh riot like the DVD cover says. I was expecting something like "Ghostbusters" meets "Fletch" meets "Summer Rental". Instead it's more like "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" meets "Deliverance". In other words the comedy is very low-key, not quite enough to offset the disturbing story.
Dan Akroyd, who plays a sadistic murdering judge, is just plain frightening. John Candy, who plays the sympathetic policeman, gives the story an air of tragedy. Chevy Chase is his usual wisecracking self, but it can't compete with the horror & violence of the plot (being trapped in a hicktown house while people are getting brutally murdered all around you). You really have to be ready for it, otherwise you might end up traumatized. The "Bonestripper" scene will give lifelong nightmares to any kid under the age of 12, as well as impressionable adults.
But now that you've been warned, perhaps you'll be able to take it in stride. I'm not sure if writer Dan Akroyd intended this to be so nightmarish, but it sure is. Definitely a one-of-a-kind. NOT for young kids!!
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