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The Census Taker (1984)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime | 23 January 1984 (USA)
Exasperated by his intrusions, a family shoots a census taker and tries to hide his body from a detective.

Director:

(as Bruce Randall Cook)

Writers:

(as Bruce Randall Cook),
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
George
...
Martha
...
Harvey
Austen Tayler ...
Eva
...
Pete
Troy Alexander ...
Edward
Erin-Bruce Tolcharian ...
Robert
William R. Bremer ...
Sheriff
Laine Walker-McGrew ...
Woman with Broom
Laura Sorrenson ...
Woman in Leopard-skin Pants (as Roxanne Rolle)
Anne Dubroff ...
Women in Robe
Roxy Kim ...
Punk Girl
Jennifer Finch ...
Punk Girl
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Storyline

The fictional suburban community of Appleton is turned upside down thanks to Harvey McGraw, an annoying census taker who's in charge of checking the neighborhood's population. When Harvey visits George and Martha Dade, they reluctantly invite him in, but when the questionnaire turns too personal for the couple, they accidentally shoot him in the forehead. They are then forced to hide his body from their company, Martha's sister Eva and her husband Pete, a former detective. When he discovers Harvey's body in the kitchen closet, a bright future is very unlikely for George and Martha. Written by Kyle J. McElravy

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Four lovers with everything to hide. One stranger with nothing to lose. Will they survive.... You'll die laughing.

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

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Release Date:

23 January 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Husbands, Wives, Money & 'Murder'  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the final census tally on the screen before the end credits, a man can be heard saying "Is it recording?" meaning is the music being recorded during the session. See more »

Goofs

In the close-up shot of George and Pete's lifeless bodies, Timothy Bottoms can be seen breathing. See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are "typed" onto the screen. See more »

Connections

References Peyton Place (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Attempt At Avildsen/Waters Style Dark Satire Comes Off Like Bad Dinner Theater
27 January 2015 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

The small but affluent suburb of Appleton is burdened with the nuisance of a special census survey. Harvey McGraw (Garrett Morris), a profoundly irritating statistician who likes to abuse his power is sent there to ask a long, tedious series of invasive questions.

McGraw makes the faux pas of visiting the Dade household interrupting dinner and inviting himself in. The Dades are locally known for being disagreeable and obsessive about their privacy. Head of the household George Dade (Greg Mullavey) - an argumentative crank & right-wing libertarian is instantly perturbed by McGraw.

When McGraw doesn't let George's wife Martha Dade (Meredith McRae) get away with giving her age as 29 things deteriorate further. The Dades alligator shirt-wearing Hitler Youth/android sons Edward and Robert then question the constitutional validity of the survey and are blatantly recalcitrant.

As the questions become more personal McGraw realizes first, that he wore out his welcome on the doorstep and second, that he might not leave the Dade residence alive. The subject of how many firearms are in the house prompts the method of extermination - a shooting which is neither completely on purpose nor entirely accidental.

The constant bickering in the family impedes their attempts at covering up what they are sure will look like murder. They have company visiting i.e. Martha's lover/George's best friend Pete Taggert (Sam Bottoms) who happens to be a cop and his wife Eva (Austen Taylor) who happens to be Mrs.Dade's sister and George's lover.

An awkward evening ensues as the Dades attempt to hide their affairs from each other and a corpse from those whom they are having affairs with.

They entire rhythm of the performances are like that of a stage play, That approach doesn't work on film. The timing of what absurdist humor there is to be found gets thrown off by that undermining all of it. The result is that comes off like bad dinner theater performed on the sales room floor of a rattan furniture store.

Jennifer Precious Finch - beloved former bassist of grunge era band L7 appears briefly as a punk rocker girlfriend of one of the Dade brothers.


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