Death Game (1977) Poster

(1977)

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6/10
Warped and Wacky **
JoeKarlosi19 December 2004
A really twisted film where two psychotic young lesbians (Sondra Locke and Colleen Camp) turn a middle-aged man's life upside down when they invade his home and harass him while his wife and kids are out of town. This starts off very much like the ultimate male sexual fantasy at first, but ultimately turns into a demented nightmare.

Amidst all the ensuing mayhem and insanity, this could have used more sexual depravity and titillation to make it more effective. As it stands, these teenagers are more irritating than anything else. Yet this is still one bizarre experience and certainly a sight to see, at least once. I've never seen Sondra Locke show so much range, at least not in any of the movies I've seen her in up to this point. Colleen Camp has some good moments of lunacy.

I kind of liked that goofy theme song about "My Good Old Dad" which pops in and out during the course of the wackiness. And in my opinion, the ending is perfect.
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Movies that work like drugs...
TonyDood3 June 2004
This film should be put in a special category, "Movies that make you feel like you're on something." In this category would be Yellow Submarine, Eraserhead (or any Lynch film), Ken Russell's and Nic Roeg's and Jodorowsky's whole catalog, etc.

It is a bad movie, no doubt about it, and incomprehensible how it got made, or why, but that just makes it more fascinating. Thrill to the sight of Eastwood's then-girlfriend giving a truly unhinged performance and wonder if she's really acting or not! Listen to Colleen camp alternately scream and laugh hysterically as she beats up a tied-up guy in a bed and ponder how she ever got another acting gig again! Thrill to the sound of one of the weirdest choices of theme song ever recorded! Stare in awe at what appears to have been a cinemascope movie squeezed onto your t.v., and contemplate how much more dizzying it would've looked on the big screen! Feel this movie melting in your brains, not in your hands, as it gets ever more insane, leading up to a climax so stupefyingly cheap and abrupt it could only be attached to this movie!

Saw this as a kid on cable, watched it because it was rated R and promised nudity and sex. Got a *little* more than I bargained for, but wasn't displeased or even shocked (Fellini's Satyricon was on right before it--Lord, how I stayed out of a mental hospital is a miracle). If you like weird movies that simulate being on drugs this film is for you, at least if you have a taste for old, poorly done exploitation stuff.
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7/10
"DEATH GAME" ...the object is to stay alive!
johnmorghen30 December 2001
Okay, now it's time for my take on the film. I've read so many meaningless reviews that only serve to mislead and miseducate. So, first, here is the basic plot: Seymour Cassel portrays George Manning, a husband and father, living the idyllic family-life. He's got the perfect wife, lovely children and a beautiful home, just on the outskirts of San Francisco, in the (seemingly) peaceful middle of nowhere, to be exact. While his wife and kids have left town for the weekend, he is left all alone on his 40th birthday. This is where it all begins.

On this stormy night, he is greeted by two young women, whom he takes in for shelter while they call a friend and await arrival to be picked up. The girls, Jackson (played by Sondra Locke) and Donna (the delightful Colleen Camp) seem endearing at first, and are more than impressed by the lush surroundings of George's home. They warm up to George, resulting in a somewhat unwelcome sexual episode. This is where most people are wrong... the film does NOT contain "tons of nudity". Yes, there's Sondra showing off what no one wanted to see, and Colleen who gets the "cutaway" every time she disrobes, which is typical as I've never seen her in a nude scene before. She has done a lot of exploitation films, even T & A films, yet offered no T & A, which made me wonder whether or not these reviewers were correct. In fact, the initial sex scene involving the three of them is done in a tasteful manner, with a dizzying series of dissolves, and overall steaminess (not in the sense that it comes off steamy, it just looks like someone left the kettle on too long).

The morning comes and George awakes to the girls who are still at his house. Reality sets in and he realizes he made a bad call. The girls claim that their friend never showed up, which puzzles George. He offers to take them home, but they insist on dancing around the issue. During breakfast, the girls pig-out... big time. George gets irritated by their behaviour and now he wants them out. Through several difficulties, it becomes evident that the girls are no longer "teasing", they are seriously disturbed. Eventually, George finally manages to get them in the car and drives them into San Francisco. He drops them off and heads back home.

As George arrives home, he notices a figure stirring upstairs, only to discover that his journey was all-for-not, as the girls have returned. It is clear that George is now a prisoner in his own home, with no fore-seen conclusion. The girls' bent personalities really begin to shine, as they tie George up and put him through several ongoing tortures, which transcends the remainder of the film into this abyss of nightmarish absurdity.

The film has a very surreal, bad dream-like quality and the tone is nothing short of completely "off-kilter". Very much at home with others of the genre like "THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT" and "HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK", yet not as graphic.

The film's duration, an 87 minute running time, seems un-ending. And, yes it does have one of those "curve-ball wallop" endings, not so much in a good sense, but rather in one of those "time to make a mold" instances.

A few things of note: Cassel's performance is completely dubbed, by someone else, which sort of adds to the atmosphere in an odd way, and what may dictate his true feelings concerning his involvement in the picture. Colleen does have a couple of nude scenes, the "hopping on the bed" sequence and the weird and dreamy "window tapping" scene towards the end of the film. Supposedly, this is all based on a true story, which was a commonly used "hook", especially in the golden days of '70's exploitation fare, and more than likely, is a falsehood. The production designer, Jack Fisk worked on this film along with assistant set dressers, his wife Sissy Spacek and Bill Paxton. And, last but certainly not least, that damned song "Good Old Dad" will drive anyone into a sadistic, maniacal rage. It has to be the WORST song I've ever heard, and that says a lot. Not to mention, that it is played throughout the film, continuously, in long, overdrawn montage sequences that take you to nowhere, and leave you there!

Overall, I had wanted to see this film for years, and after finally viewing it, I must say that it fell short of what I had expected, yet I did not dislike the film. There are plenty of good ingredients to add up to an un-nerving cult classic, but instead we are left with a level of confusion, rather than curiousity. Despite a few shortcomings, the film is worth watching for the performances and atmosphere, and a chance to see Cassel in action while John Cassavetes had his back turned.

A First American Films Release. Distributed by Levitt-Pickman Film Corporation.
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6/10
Happy Birthday, George! Now ... who's YOUR daddy?
Coventry10 September 2008
What to do when you're a happily married man but your beloved wife is out of town on the night of your fortieth birthday, yet two sexy young girls show up at your doorstep, literally throw themselves at you and invite you for a threesome in your own sauna? You kick them right back out on the street, of course! That'll teach them to interfere with a perfectly happy family! Well, that is what you should do in order to prevent guaranteed catastrophes to happen the next morning, but admittedly very few male individuals are likely to respond like this. Neither does the handsome George Manning in "Death Game", so he's stuck up with two obtrusive chicks in his house. Their behavior gets more psychotic with each hour that passes, until they even set up a fake trial against poor tied up George. "Death Game" is not a very good movie, but that's merely because there was too little money available for the execution and because Peter S. Traynor has no clue how to direct a suspense movie. The basic premise is quite unusual for a 70's exploitation movie (usually slavering hillbillies terrorize poor young girls instead of vice versa) and the whole concept is actually very much ahead of its time! Especially nowadays, the horror genre brings forward a lot of movies revolving on brutal home-invasions. People are subjected to fear and torture in their own houses and it's a very popular and money-making concept at the moment, like for example in "Funny Games" and "The Strangers", but this crazed little movie already did something similar in the 70's! The 40 first minutes of "Death Game" provide silly entertainment (Sondra Loncke at the breakfast table) and irresistible trashy goodness (that soundtrack!!), but unfortunately the second half of the film is incomprehensibly boring and unexciting. It shouldn't be, since the girls get more deranged and all, but it suddenly feels as if the writers' inspiration had vanished and only padding remained. There are still two fantastic highlights to experience near the end, though! One involves a pussycat (did you know glass windows aren't cat-proof?) and the other is a stupendously laugh-out-loud hysterical ending. Even a threesome wouldn't have such a fantastic climax! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to search for that awesomely catchy "Good Old Daddy" theme song on YouTube!
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6/10
A Three-Way To Remember...
Snowygooner7 January 2007
...Imagine this. On one dark, rainy night, two sexy young blonde girls show up on your doorstep, soaked to the skin. They feed you some sob story about being lost and, being the trusting gentleman that you are, you invite them in. Once inside, the flirtatious girls waste no time striping seductively to their underwear. One thing leads to another and before you know it, the three of you are in your hot tub.... This might sound like every red-blooded man's fantasy but the next morning things turn nasty. Those sweet girls turn "psycho girl" on you. They tie you up, slap on some freakish make-up and proceed to inflict their sickening mind games on you. Will you live to regret your night of three-way nookie? That is basically what this film is about. It is no masterpiece of drive-in cinema but well worth seeing if you enjoy those kinds of low-budget movies. Fans of Nikos Nikoladis' 'Singapore Sling' might also want to give this a look. Both films have the same basic premise and some might come to realise that 'Sling' is not so original after all. Although do not go expecting the same amount of sleaze as 'Sling'. Also, look out for one of the best 'what-the-hell' endings you will ever see.
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6/10
Not great like it could have been, but an interesting seventies thriller!
The_Void25 February 2007
It's actually a real shame that this film wasn't better, as it features a story line that does a good job of turning the tables on the common exploitation theme of men brutalising women, and it's also quite scary if you put yourself in the position of the lead character! The basic plot revolves around George; a 'happily married' man who picks up two young girls and seduces them at his house. However, after giving him some information that he REALLY didn't want to hear, George finds himself at the girls' mercy. The film has just three central performers, and while many other films work well from this sort of base; this one doesn't, or at least; not really. Director Peter S. Traynor doesn't really have enough ideas to keep the film entertaining throughout; but luckily, The Seducers does have its moments. The majority of the film is suitably sick and twisted, and the two central women are nasty enough to make the film a nightmare for most men. The Seducers is nowhere near as malicious as many similar seventies thrillers; but its decent enough entertainment for fans of this sort of thing. Unfortunately, the stretched plot ultimately lets it down - but it's an interesting film at least, and I somewhat enjoyed it. Just a word of warning, though – you'll have trouble getting the theme song out of your head!
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Great movie--where do I get the soundtrack?
lazarillo12 December 2004
A middle-aged husband and father left alone on his 40th birthday decides to celebrate it with two 20-year-old hitch-hikers he lets in his house on a stormy night. After a steamy, delirious three-way sex scene in a bathtub, the two girls claim that they are both underage and reveal themselves to be obviously psychotic as they destroy his house and torment him with increasing violence. You have to hand it to the movies. In real life it is almost always the older men abusing young women, but in movies like this of course it's always the opposite. Someone once described this as "a middle-aged male sex fantasy gone wrong". That seems like a pretty accurate description.

On the plus side the story is never COMPLETELY unbelievable, although if it had been based on true story, you definitely would have heard the story. The acting is good. Seymour Cassell is always good even if he's rarely the lead. Colleen Camp brightened up both small roles in many big-budget movies and larger roles in many low-budget movies in the '70's. She's good here as always and has a few surprising nude scenes. Even Sondra Locke is pretty good (ironically, years later Locke would sue ex-husband Clint Eastwood for ruining her career--well, this is the kind of stuff she was doing before she met him).

On the negative side this story is still pretty unbelievable. The antics of the two girls are often more annoying (for both the protagonist and the viewer) than truly frightening. There's some gratuitous animal cruelty (and delivery boy cruelty). Worst of all, is the song "Good Old Dad", which as annoying as it is, is ironically appropriate to the movie at least, but the filmmakers insist on playing it at length again and again and again. It reminded me of the similar Umberto Lenzi-Carroll Baker film "Paranoia" where the villains try to drive the heroine insane by playing one annoying song repeatedly, except that it's not part of the plot here--the filmmakers are doing it to the viewers. I wonder if there is a soundtrack to this movie available. If so it probably a double LP of this one song playing over and over and over. The movie also features one of the most ridiculous deus ex machina endings since "The Bad Seed" (and it is also surprisingly similar to the ending of the English-language version of "Paranoia"). And look what's written on the side of the truck in the last scene. I guess they didn't didn't think too much of that thing with the cat.
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7/10
Yeah, it's bad -- but it's also great!
nikmaack10 February 2006
It's a bad movie from the 70s about killer lesbian hippies taking on the establishment. Sort of like a "Thelma & Louise" without any feminism. Both painful and compelling, the film had tense and giddy, while also wishing it would just end.

And then the end came and I was utterly baffled and amused. The final 10 seconds of the movie over, I blurted over and over, "What the hell was that?" I backed up, watched it again.

Then I forced my girlfriend (who had not seen the movie) to watch it.

"That is pretty weird," she said.

Pretty weird? It makes no sense at all! Wow! If you enjoy odd, bad film, I think you'll love this movie. Even when it's at its worst, it's fun. There's the 1970's moustache "wakka-chikka" aspect. Then there's the campy screaming semi-naked young women. And then there's the goofy, straight-faced, comical horror movie aspect.

Given the ending, I assume the people making this film knew they were joking. They had to know. Or else they thought the ending was deep. I don't know. But I am forced to admit that I really, really enjoyed this film a lot.
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6/10
A suburban nightmare.
Hey_Sweden7 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Interesting, intense, off the wall little obscurity plays as if it could have been written for the stage, involving three main characters and sticking to mostly one set. Seymour Cassel is George Manning, a man whose wife and children are away for his 40th birthday. He makes what will turn out to be a fateful decision: letting two strangers, attractive young women, into his home. They start out as friendly and seemingly normal, and before too long George and the gals - Jackson (Sondra Locke) and Donna (Colleen Camp) - are having a threesome. Soon after that the girls reveal their true colours, making themselves at home, refusing to leave, and playing all sorts of twisted games - psychological and sexual - with the hapless George. Reportedly Cassel, ordinarily a very reliable actor, was so unhappy making this that he declined participating in the post production process, so his dialogue is dubbed by another actor - all too obviously. Still, by the end of this thing, you can't help but *really* feel sorry for this guy. The story turns into an unrelenting streak of insanity, mean-spiritedness, and kinkiness that will undoubtedly turn some viewers off while intriguing others. When it's all over, it's hard to be sure what the point of it all is, but helping to keep it watchable are two very vivid performances by Locke and Camp, who make for a memorable pair of crazed antagonists, playing dress up, helping themselves to Georges' wifes' wardrobe (not to mention the food in the house), tying George up, dumping food on him, engaging in some carnal relations, etc. Director Peter Traynors' direction isn't the most skillful - overall, this is pretty crude - but "Death Game" still has an odd fascination about it that prevents it from being a waste of time; it doesn't hurt that Locke and Camp are so uninhibited and show off the goods regularly. (They claim at one point to be no more than 17 and 15 years old, but one senses that this is all just part of the game.) But people shouldn't worry that there's no consequences for the gals in the end; the last second resolution is so shocking, yet so silly, that it's likely to make a fair amount of people burst out laughing. Repeated use of one very goofy ditty titled "Dear Old Dad" (music by Jimmie Haskell) is likewise good for some chuckles. Trivia item: the production design is by Jack Fisk, and two of the set dressers are none other than Sissy Spacek (Fisks' wife) and Bill Paxton! Six out of 10.
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7/10
A 21 year old Colleen Camp
caspian197825 May 2021
Warning: Spoilers
What begins as a dream, turns quickly into a nightmare. Death Game is your typical hard to find B-Movie from the 70's that has more title changes and versions that a modern day motel bible. Every country where it was released, retitled and re-edited this movie to the point where none of them are perfect. In fact, Death Game is an example of a great concept made into a bad movie. Even though there is nothing wrong with a 21 year-old Colleen Camp, the movie falls short so many times. Several scenes abruptly end and begin with no steady flow. Seymour Cassel is said to have disagreed with the movie's direction and had walked off the set. This reason alone would explain for the holes in the story. The final product looks like they had to cut multiple scenes in order to make sense of losing their main Actor. Then again, a 21 year-old Colleen Camp explains why Seymour Cassel signed onto this film in the first place. Whether or not he got paid to make this movie will always be a mystery. The thought of getting to do a nude hot tub scene with a 2 blonde bombshells is payment enough. Especially if one of them is a 21 year old Coleen Camp. Half way through the movie we are witness to a Heinz commercial where we have to endure 40 seconds of ketchup leaving its bottle. Its moments like this that make you realize you are watching a bad movie. Although it has its moments, the movie lacks motivation and expects in audience to accept the randomness that occurs to explain an overall bad plot with lack of moral, message and even meaning. Don't search too hard for a storyline outside of getting to witness a 21 year-old Colleen Camp.
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6/10
Thanks Eli!
BA_Harrison2 September 2017
I really must thank Eli Roth: Knock Knock, his diabolically bad remake of '70s thriller Death Game, has given me an appreciation of the original that I might otherwise not have had. Compared to the utterly abysmal performances in Roth's film, the acting in Death Game is actually pretty good, while the original shows just how lame Knock Knock is in terms of shock value, delivering at least two scenes that easily outdo the self-proclaimed modern master of horror.

Directed by Peter S. Traynor, Death Game stars Seymour Cassel as loving husband and father George Manning, whose wife leaves for a few days after their son is struck down with appendicitis at his grandparents. While enjoying a rainy evening in his own company, two young girls call at George's home, claiming to be lost; being a kind Samaritan, he invites the girls, Donna (sexy Colleen Camp) and Jackson (not-so-sexy Sondra Locke), in out of the rain, and allows them to stay while a friend comes to pick them up. They repay his kindness by seducing him, luring him into a threesome in his jacuzzi, after which they carry out a campaign of terror, torturing and humiliating their host.

While no means perfect—the second act is drawn out for far too long and the repetition of its theme song is guaranteed to irritate—this trashy slice of exploitation still unfolds in a far more satisfying manner than Knock Knock, with the girls even going so far as to kill, something they never did in Roth's movie. The pair also prove their psycho credentials with a little animal cruelty, launching the family cat through a closed window. The purely psychological torture in Roth's film (as suffered by a totally unconvincing Keanu Reeves) is pathetic by comparison.

My advice: if you've already suffered through Knock Knock, give this one a try. Like me, you'll probably find yourself enjoying it more as a result.

5.5/10, rounded up to 6 for IMDb.
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3/10
Women Can Be As Sloppy As Men!
rmax3048234 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A text prologue warns us that we should not allow evil to enter our house, but I think the more apt word is "entropy." Good grief, what slobs these two babes are!

George (Seymour Cassell) is alone in his San Francisco office and his monstrously expensive home in Tiburon while his wife and child are away in San Diego. Two girls (Sondra Locke as Jackson and Colleen Camp as Donna) knock on his door, asking directions. Well, it's raining, and they're shivering like two drenched pitiful kittens, and they're not sure of the address they're looking for, and, what with one thing and another, George invites them to come in and partake of his pizza by the fire. All three of them wind up in George's bath tub and there follows about five minutes of mostly undifferentiated nudity in double exposure, triple exposure, quadruple exposure, and dodekakuple exposure. They spend the night in a threesome and the next morning the girls fix him breakfast. But something has gotten slightly cockeyed because Georgie's guests gobble everything down with their fingers and pour ketchup and syrup all over the linen and -- "You eat like ANIMALS!", George exclaims and tells them to get out. In his dreams.

Now, don't get me wrong. Sondra Locke is an extraordinary looking young blond with cobalt-blue eyes and Colleen Camp bounces around like a superball. You gotta say, they breed 'em mighty cute down there in Shelbyville, Tennessee, where Locke comes from, and they breed 'em with bodacious tushes too, as we can't help but note after the first five or ten minutes.

But when the girls go berserk, so does the movie. The film is thereafter bathed in a garish green light. The pair put on ghoulish makeup and make gargoyle faces at themselves in the mirrors. They brain a delivery boy and then drown him to make sure. They cuss up a storm and smash windows and furniture. They have one of those scenes in which two people sit across the table from one another, licking food and then jumping each other's bones.

And Georgie? They first render Georgie unconscious with mace (which contains nothing that you can't find in that little red bottle of McIlheny's Tabasco sauce in your kitchen cabinet), tie him up, pour flour and milk all over him, subject him to a psychotic trial, put him through one of those Tolstoy-type semi-executions, slap him around, dress up in outlandish costumes, then prance out on him and his virtually destroyed upper-middle-class home, and are dispatched by a delivery van ex machina.

As for the acting, it's as if someone had told Georgie, "First act polite to these girls, then act panicked after you're tied up." And to the girls: "First act shy, unwilling to impose on anyone, then act crazy." And that's it.

The photography and location work are straight out of a 1970s porn movie. I'm not sure that suggests a total lack of skill. It takes effort and talent to turn San Francisco ugly. The score gives us two Leitmotivs. Georgie's is some pop tune with lyrics about "being free" and "giving in." Jackson and Donna's is a catchy rinky-tink thing called "My Good Old Dad."

I approve of the moral lesson behind the story, though. There are some things you should simply not give in to, even though they might look like a lot of fun at first. All very educational.
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1/10
"What's 'dreck'?" ... "Garbage!"
moonspinner5522 November 2014
Execreble 'warning' film could easily be written off as low-budget trash were it not for the talent involved (both on-camera and off). Three good actors--Sondra Locke, Seymour Cassel and Colleen Camp--are lost at sea in ugly thriller about a happily married man who tries to help out two comely young ladies while his family is away, but ends up a prisoner in his own home. This is "Kitten With a Whip" with two kittens, a sex scene in a hot tub, and a lot of angry shouting--mostly about guilt and castration. Production design is credited to Jack Fisk & Co. (!), while Fisk's wife, Sissy Spacek, served as one of the set dressers; this hardly matters however, as David Worth's cinematography is so muddy, the set design is the least of the film's many problems. Quickie exploitation nonsense opens with the information that the story is true, but ends with a credit telling us the characters are fictitious; the rest of the film--including the direction, the screenplay, the dubbing and the music--is equally insecure. Locke is quite convincing acting deranged, but who wouldn't be with a knife held high in the air? 90 minutes of pure tedium. NO STARS from ****
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2/10
Self Indulgent Mess
Hitchcoc22 November 2006
There is a lot of talk of torture these days. That's all this movie is. It's about a good person who makes a bad decision. Because of his kindness, he becomes vulnerable to two psychotic women. From then on its a just-for-kicks assault on him. I don't know at what point you do something about it. There is a wife and child out there somewhere; he has great feelings of guilt and fear. But there should have been some times when he could have acted. The movie seems to be somebody's joke. I suppose in the wake of the Manson murders, we had a bit of a fixation on the likes of these two. Nevertheless, why would someone make a film like this? What appeals does it have except for sadism. The conclusion is totally unsatisfying, but that could have been remedied with an obvious plot twist. Oh, well. Another hour and a half of my life.
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Words cannot describe the awfulness.
JoeB13119 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I think there was this period in the 1970's when film makers decided that films didn't actually have to make sense if they had nudity in them.

The plot line is a wealthy businessman's wife leaves for a medical emergency, so he's left alone on his 40th birthday. He lets in two drifters who happen to be hot blonds and bat-guano crazy.

Except only one of them was hot. The other was Sondra Locke. (Shudder) After sex in a ridiculously large bathtub, they spend the rest of the movie torturing him and us. Just watching it was painful.

Grainy film work, bad sound, bad lighting, annoying music. I almost wonder if this was some kind of horrid prank played on someone. More surprisingly, the leads actually had careers after this. Even Sondra, although she had to latch on to Clint Eastwood to do it.
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3/10
Torture to Watch
Uriah438 March 2021
This film essentially begins with a man by the name of "George Manning" (Seymour Cassel) saying goodbye to his wife "Karen Manning" (Beth Brickell) as she goes to visit their son living in another state. That night two young women named "Agatha Jackson" (Sondra Locke) and "Donna" (Colleen Camp) appear on his doorstep totally drenched due to a thunderstorm and asking to use the telephone. Being a good person George allows them inside and even gives them some food and dry clothes while they wait for a friend to come and pick them up. What George doesn't know is that these two women aren't nearly as sweet and innocent as they pretend to be and soon he will regret ever meeting them. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this film started off rather well but then things took a turn for the worse with one extended scene continuing for what seemed like an eternity--and it became quite tedious from that point on. That being said, I have rated this movie accordingly.
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6/10
"I want you so much."
lost-in-limbo11 March 2013
When fantasy becomes a nightmare. "Death Game" is a raunchy, dangerous and bizarre cocktail of a late 70s stark psychological thriller with an edgy exploitative edge and some convincing performances by Sondra Locke, Colleen Camp and Seymour Cassel.

George Manning is a happily married and successful man who encounters two supposedly lost girls one night at his doorstep. Inviting them in from the pouring rain he accommodates them, but obviously this leads to more with the voluptuous girls having something else on mind. However George learns this fling is costly, as they begin to terrorise him.

For most part it's all about the manipulative girls tormenting their victim psychically and mentally (which at beginning tell us that it's based on a true story), no real surprises other than for an ending that simply comes out of nowhere. It feels like stage play, as most of the interplay is mainly played out in the household between the three characters as it goes down a twisted path. It's cruel, at times intense and really driven by the ballistic, unhinged performances of Camp and especially Locke's disturbed turn. Sure their acting gets a tad annoying, but that's part of their characters. Cassel is perfect in the role as the desirable object. Director Peter S. Traynor's intrusive handling shows by the camera placement and the abrupt styling of the editing, although there's definitely an uneasy underlining crafted with many under-lit set-pieces. The brooding music however had some odd choices, like the constant loop of hearing "Good old dad" played. Fitting, but over-kill.

Rudimentary, but interesting curiosity.

"The party is over."
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3/10
Descends into repetitive tedium
Leofwine_draca9 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
DEATH GAME is a low rent exploitation flick from the 1970s, fairly strong in places but certainly nowhere near as depraved as something like FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE. Eli Roth must be a fan, given that he remade this film with Keanu Reeves under the title KNOCK KNOCK. The story is a three-hander about an average middle-aged guy who is visited by a couple of teenage girls one night. They frolic in the bathtub, but the visit sours the following day when they tie him up and proceed to abuse him for the rest of the film.

This attempts to be a psychological thriller but I found it grating in the extreme. After the set up, literally half of the running time is merely made up of screaming, shouting, and general craziness. Mrs Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, is scarily convincing at times, although not as much as in SUDDEN IMPACT, and Colleen Camp isn't too bad either. But the script is pedestrian and the dated, low budget look of the film works against it, so that you'll be twiddling your thumbs long before the amusing twist ending.
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3/10
"We're jailbait".
classicsoncall11 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It's the end of a hot day. I'm tired, ran my six miles in ninety degree heat, threw down a couple of cold ones and figure I'll knock off another flick from my Mill Creek Mystery Collection. At an hour and a half I figure I can get through this without falling asleep and still have the stamina to do a review here. Usually I'll read a few other posts, positive and negative, and then offer my own thoughts. By the way, 'johnmorghen' and 'asgbeat' are the ones to read on this board, I'm only offering my paltry two cents.

That song - please pry me off the ceiling. Every time it came on I wanted to groan and correct the lyrics - it should be 'DEAR old Dad', not 'good old Dad'. A bit of a misnomer though, George (Seymour Cassell) didn't seem all that dear or good to me. But gosh, how was he going to explain all this to the wife and kids when they got home? Especially the delivery guy in the fish tank. George probably should have taken his lumps calling the cops, no fifteen or sixteen year old would have had the street smarts to pull this one off. But it wasn't their first time if you can believe the script. Jackson (Sondra Locke) says to Donna (Colleen Camp) after George's first getaway - "They always take the bait don't they?"

All the while I'm waiting for George to do the manly thing and take out the pair of bimbos, but it was just too maddening. Which is why I take exception to some other reviewer comments disappointed with the ending. For what Donna did to the cat, it was poetic justice to be taken out by the SPCA truck. And a whole lot more satisfying than the end of "No Country For Old Men", if you know what I mean.
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1/10
An atrocious movie
dmuel14 April 2005
This is an atrocious movie. Two demented young women seduce and torture a middle aged man. There's not much to give away in regards to a plot or a "spoiler". I would only comment that the ending is nearly the most preposterous part of the flick. Much of the film involves Locke and Camp cackling obnoxiously, all the while grinning psychotically at the camera. Add to this a soundtrack that repeats again and again, including a vaudevillian song about "dear old dad" that suggests an incestuous quality the viewer never really sees. The music is annoying at first, then ends up subjecting the viewer to a torture worse than that depicted on the screen. The theme here is of youth run amok, understandable as a reaction to the '60s, but done with little imagination or style. Avoid it!
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5/10
Man's Stormy Night Fantasy Turns Deadly in Light of Day
asgbeat28 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
IMDb contributer johnmorghen does a scholarly job of breaking down the cinematic nuts-n-jolts of "Death Game" (a.k.a. "Mr. Manning's Weekend"), so I'll just share my memories of watching it.

Like my IMDb sister rachelcronin, I saw this for the first time late one night on L.A.'s early '80s SelecTV subscription system. The set-up definitely grabbed my pubescent attention: Man minding own business in his San Francisco home...slightly lonely and sincerely blue because The Wife and kid are unable to return home in time to celebrate his 40th birthday. Clearly cultured and successful, Man makes due during a dark and stormy night with a roaring fire and a high-end Marantz stereo to reacquaint himself with an old familiar jazz chanteuse (Maxine Weldon then who would be Sade today). Suddenly, there's a bustling at the door which Man opens to find two shivering young girls begging for reprieve from the rain. With decency at heart, Man takes pity and allows the soaked-through strangers into his plush abode. One thing leads to another and Man makes the mistake of giving in to a temptation even someone happily married might be hard-pressed to resist: a menage a trois with all the amenities of home (hot tub, mellow groove on the box, top-shelf cognac, favorite neighborhood pizza and the PERFECT excuse of The Wife being away on YOUR "special day" - the nerve). Like all that is overly idyllic in nature, this scenario proves too good to be true. For his fleeting hour of fantasy bliss, Man is subjected to 48 more hours of tandem temper tantrum torture at the whims of some psycho nookie from Hell - wicked "women-chiles" who begin to reveal their true colors at the breakfast table the morning after.

When I was 15, this was WAY lurid and riveting. Years later, viewing a VHS rental, I found the second half to drag. "Death Game" could have been much better if the girls weren't just demented for crazy's sake and had a specific "she-woman man haters" motivation for what they wind up doing to poor "George" (Seymour Cassel with an uncredited actor dubbing his voice, giving the movie that "imported" schlock foreign feel). The Man just helped himself to some birthday ass, for chrissake! For thrillers like this, I like things twisted and gratuitous, but director Peter Traynor only hints at undertones of incestuousness as a possibility for what made these chicks 'set it off' on a dude old enough to be their "Good Old Dad" (thus the vaudevillian ditty that recurs ad nauseum). One wonders whether writers Anthony Overman and Michael Ronald Ross couldn't decide whether to play this out as a comedy or a suspense thriller, were intentionally shooting for some strange hybrid of both, or just coke'd out of their minds when they hatched this plot fresh out of some sordid fever dream. I must confess that all was forgiven when that out-of-left-field ending smacked me upside the head, though. Let's just say every dog has his day and these bitches received their comeuppance in spades.

While much has been written here about how annoying the "Good Old Dad" song is (which it really is but, I believe, to the director's desired effect), I found the other moody jazz piece "We're Home," arranged by Jimmie Haskell, to be quite exceptional. The line "The sky tells us..." haunted me long after the film had finished. To this day, I imagine pulling that treasured Maxine Weldon 78 down from a shelf, blowing the dust off, gingerly setting the needle down and having it comfort me in the throes of some dark and stormy night...a night I'd gaze longingly into the fireplace, nursing a Makers Mark until - suddenly - there's a knock at my door, which I open to find a '70s-era Pam Grier (in the ringleader Sondra Locke role) and Vonetta McGee (in the doe-eyed Colleen Camp role) - inexplicably in halters, hot pants and flip-flops - shivering and in need of shelter from the storm.

Men...
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8/10
Knock knock '77.
punishmentpark1 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
'Death game', which I saw more appropriately titled as 'The seducers', is a pretty crazy, yet stylish, revenge flick. And it's not even totally a revenge flick, as the avengers do not actually kill their intended victim - even if they are easily prepared to off the grocery delivery man, whom one the two girls invited herself. Oh, well.

"Where were we?" Storywise, the film is not all that sound or logical, or even suspenseful. Some scenes simply represent more of the same, even it is all quite atmospheric, thoughtful and inventive on some level. And if you can take an obvious hint, the merry opening song readily reveals what the heck will be going down soon. The song is a bit over-used as well, but the third time around we get a few glimpses of Colleen Camp's amazing bosom to make up for it. And Sondra Locke (I confused her with Lesley Ann Warren) isn't shy, either.

"Men always take the bait, don't they?" Seymour Cassel's role is a strange one. At first, he seems to be a nice, gentle guy, but before you know it, he is seduced within seconds by the rambunctious pair and the whole almost descends into rated x sleaze territory. If the opening song hadn't told you anything, this scene will, and so will other hints and sheer allegations throughout the film.

What makes 'The seducers' particularly good, is the two leading ladies, Colleen Camp and Sondra Locke; their performance of two unnaturally devious girls comes so naturally to them that I had no trouble believing that their mission was at least justified in part, however nice a guy that George Manning tried to be. The rest of it is up to the great atmosphere and some inventive bits, such as the voice-over of Cassel combined with great sights of San Francisco. The very end was a bit unnecessary to me, they could have left room for a sequel...

Quite the twisted little gem, this, even if I'll be looking out for a better quality version. A big 8 out of 10.

Next up: the remakes from 1980 ('Viciosas al desnudo') and 2015 ('Knock knock'), and the one other film by director Peter S. Traynor (with three other directors), 'Evil town'. I can't hardly wait.
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*1/2 out of 4.
brandonsites19814 June 2002
Two women pick up a man, seduce him, and then torture him and kill anybody that shows up. Interesting because of early appearances by Sondra Locke and Colleen Camp. However, it is unrelently mean, cheap looking, poorly directed, and featuring a bad ending that nearly makes the whole film pointless. Rated R; Strong Sexual Content, Extreme Violence & Torture, Nudity, and Profanity.
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7/10
Possibly Not What You Think At All
newyorkcine1 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I was led to watch this after reading some reviews here, after watching a dismal Youtube clip of Keanu Reeves tied to a bed.

I read a review that started out promising to do what no other reviewer has and "explain the film", only to have said review descend into a emulation of a poorly written fourth grade book report. My response was to stop reading that review, go paint my spare room, then come back and explain what seems to be getting lost in the detail. Specifically the ending, so, spoiler alert.

Spoiler Alert

Personally, to me it is a spoiler to have someone tell me every detail of production, and then pat themselves on the back because they didn't tell you anything about the last three minutes.

The details are not part of a synopsis. They are not part of the story. They are however, the elements of craft that shape how you will be effected by the film.

It doesn't matter how old the protagonist is, what city he lives in, why his wife is away, or what his bathroom looks like. In one sense, these are elements of the writer's imagination, the set designer's choice, and casting. That is IF there is no other motive to these choices... As I say, they greatly influence how we relate to the characters and react to the presentation.

A real synopsis, however, looks like this:

"Once charming houseguests turn violent when asked to leave."

It really is all embellishment if they are blonde or brunette, young or old, attractive or homely. If they hit you with a candlestick or a clock.

And if you follow me you will see that there is a great utility in this sort of simplification. But first the spoiler.:

And it's definitely related to the ending.

Stop right there if you think that a B movie from 1977 needs to be treated with a great level of plot secrecy.

If so please stop reading now; I respect the convention and IMDB policy,

ABSOLUTE SPOILER ALERT. DON'T READ ON UNLESS YOU'VE SEEN THE FILM.

Contrary to several other reviewers' opinions, this is not a story of two homicidal lesbians.

That's perhaps the point, really, and I am here to explain the simple ending as I see it, that seems to be so mystifying to some:

The girls don't hack the guy to pieces. They leave and have a good laugh about it.

WOW. There, I said it.

Now the why seems rather clear, if we don't treat this like the impossible happening of the century.

In my humble opinion, it is a deliberate message. It's not like blood and gore hadn't been done; we had Hitchcock and if you don't mind the pun, this sort of thing had been done to death.

But as I see it, in a post Manson Family USA, there is quite a simple reason, from a film maker's perspective, to dish out this sort of anti-climactic ending to a movie-going public that not only expected the worst, but in many cases felt deprived not getting it. And it goes back in a way, to the effect of production details on the viewer experience. To me it says, profoundly, that even in this post Manson Reefer Madness world of paranoia,

"Not every hippy chick is a bloodthirsty lunatic."

Some are just plain old lovable lunatics.

And "get that through your head, Mr. hung-up upper middle-class suburban white dude with a fireplace and a piano and jacuzzi.

Think about it. That title about the 'inescapable evil' that started off the film was the perfect set-up, for YOU, brain-washed paranoid entertainment addicted American.

Well that's how I see it. To my mind it is a worthwhile message and as good a prank on the audience as the gals played on Mr. Hot Tub Fantasy Threesome.

Because let me go back to what I was saying about the value of simplification of the plot.

"Once charming houseguests turn violent when asked to leave."

If you reflect we get the story from the point of view of Mr and Mrs White Suburban Folk. We see Mr Home Invasion victim alone, we never see the two nutty chicks planning this prank. We are sucked into feeling the story from his point of view, but given the events, and our simplified synopsis, we can perhaps read it another way....

"Man has his fun then shuns his playthings, and they get even."

From his point of view they were sloppy and intolerable and overstayed their welcome. But really? His fear that he would never get rid of them preceded their 'violent behavior.'

From their point of view? They were seeing through him.

"It was fine to feed us pizza last night while you were playing us, now you want us to get lost before your wife comes home. We'll see about that. Ha-ha. How do you like us now?"

Seen this way it is a little psychological tale of human nature and paranoia born of one's own guilt.

Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

That's my take, for what it's worth, feel free to see it differently, I'm just saying that viewed with the narrow of expectation of a genre and judged in terms of how it fulfilled our presuppositions according to that genre, we can easily miss the point while perpetuating our own cultural fears and expectations.

As for the performances and production values, I really didn't find it as intolerable or as comical as some others have. It was a humble project with what could be considered a moral if you think about it:

"The American middle class while clinging to its avarice and fantasy lives in a prison of fear born of guilt and so do you Mr and Mrs moviegoer".

"You want to use us when it's expedient and dispose of us when you're done."

A counter-culture, possibly anti-war message about "the system"?

Or in other words, "Stickin' it to The Man."
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No Winners In This Boring "Death Game"
missmonochrome28 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
What little plot there is focuses on George Manning (Seymour Cassel), a family man left alone on his birthday, as his wife and children are out of town. A pair of hippies,Donna(Colleen Camp) and Jackson (Sondra Locke) get lost in a rainstorm, and knock on his door to dry off and use a phone. He makes the bad call of having a threesome with these two bits of dried out mutton dressed as lamb, they trash his house and hold him hostage with the threat of an accusation of statutory rape, destroying his previously happy home life.

90 minutes of pointlessness ensues. Here's some lowlights:

That godawful title song about good old dad, repeated at least 4 times over the course of the film. It's as if you hired sub par chipmunks impersonators to sing a particularly maudlin greeting card. The rest of the constant and overly loud music selection isn't much better.

That threesome? It's mostly poorly lit close ups of doughy man ass and elbows. I think I may have seen half a nipple.

Menacing? The talentless twosome think terrifying is throwing food, breaking stuff and cackling like a school Halloween play's witch at ear splitting volume. Ketchup (which we are granted a 2 minute close up of while the crappy cackles are turned up past 11 on the soundtrack) has never been an effective object of menace or atmosphere.

The pseudo lesbianism? Barely explained, fully clothed.

Deaths? A delivery boy meets a barely visible death in a fishbowl.

As an avid lover of exploitation cinema, I can not figure out how this film contains so many of the right elements (nudity,lesbianism, hammy acting, dime store surrealism via an over reliance on green and yellow camera gels) to be a trash camp classic, but is so utterly dull.

Instead, all we get is a bored victim, played by an actor who is obviously counting the money he got paid in his head while filming, and two dizzy birds meaning to come across as a low budget Manson family and succeeding only in acting like the most irritating child in your kindergarten class, all tossed food and screechy baby voices. Toss in some terrible music, enough stock location shots to fill the world's worst tourist brochure for San Francisco and you've almost got the picture of what an utter turd this is.

Thankfully, after a night of non terror and a still alive George, the girls (and this film) are put out of their misery by an errant ASPCA truck.

It isn't scary, it isn't funny and that ending makes NO sense, but at least "Death Game" is finally over.
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