"For Adeline (Guitar Trio)"
Composed and Performed by Robert Mills, Richard Bishop and Jeffery Taylor
From the album "Highly Bred and Sweetly Tempered"
Published by Muang Sing Music
(c)2004 Climax Golden Twins See more »
While "The Mangler Reborn" is certainly not a masterpiece, it is better than what is reflected in most comments about the film. It is a rare example of a low budget horror film that is played totally straight, no humor and very little self-parody.
With a budget of just $85,000 they had to be very inventive so don't expect elaborate production design or special effects. The title character looks like a cafeteria dishwasher being operated by "Edward Scissorhands". They try to pass the thing off as sinister by always showing it in shadows. When a victim is fed to the thing they change to very tight shots of knives and clippers, trying to make it seem like they are part of the machine rather than being held by crew members off-camera. Obviously the film would benefit from a more elaborate and diabolical device, or at least one with some credibility.
But the Stephen King inspired premise is a good one and the first two thirds of the film set it all up very nicely. It is almost captivating for a while but finally runs out of gas and plods through the final 30 minutes.
An appliance repairman (Weston Blakesley) has acquired the cursed parts from the original "Mangler" (named for the old-style washing machine with external rollers to squeeze the water out of clothes) and is obsessively working to reinvent the lethal thing. Eventually he becomes possessed by the machine and more zombie than human. He must feed it humans because he needs to drink their "squeezins" to keep his zombie body from decaying.
Blakesley is quite credible as the slack jawed zombie who takes a rubber mallet on his repair calls and acquires his victims from among his customers. His life is complicated when a father and son burglar team (Reggie Bannister and Scott Speiser) attempt to rob his house and when his daughter comes for a visit.
Aimee Brooks gets a whole bunch of standard scream queen moments and is extremely attractive.
The main problem is that not enough happens to sustain an eighty-minute feature. Had a parallel story periodically cut in and built up a bit of suspense, "The Mangler Reborn" could have been a engaging little film.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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