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Death Valley (1982)

2:10 | Trailer
A divorced mother, her young son and her new boyfriend set out on a road trip through Death Valley and run afoul of a local serial killer.


Dick Richards



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Le Mat ... Mike
Catherine Hicks ... Sally
Stephen McHattie ... Hal
Wilford Brimley ... Sheriff (as A. Wilford Brimley)
Peter Billingsley ... Billy
Edward Herrmann ... Paul Stanton
Jack O'Leary Jack O'Leary ... Earl
Mary Steelsmith ... Baby Sitter
Gina Christian Gina Christian ... R.V. Girl
Kirk Koskella Kirk Koskella ... R.V. Boy (as Kirk I. Kiskella)
Frank J. Cimorelli Frank J. Cimorelli ... R.V. Boy
Arnold C. Waterman Arnold C. Waterman ... On Looker
Fred W.S. Newton Fred W.S. Newton ... Outlaw
J.P.S. Brown J.P.S. Brown ... Western Sheriff
Roy Gunsberg Roy Gunsberg ... Tour Guide (as Roy S. Gunsburg)


A divorced mother, her young son and her new boyfriend set out on a road trip through Death Valley and run afoul of a local serial killer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Welcome To Death Valley See more »


Crime | Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

7 May 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El valle de la muerte See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Then child actor Peter Billingsley received an 'introducing' credit despite the fact he had appeared in Paternity (1981), Honky Tonk Freeway (1981), and If Ever I See You Again (1978). See more »


[Billy has locked himself in the bathroom]
Hal: I'll tell you something, Billy...
Billy: What?
Hal: [starts to force door with knife] We got a hollow door here. It's made in Japan. Billy, I could bust through this really easy, but it would cause a mess. So, what I could do is, I can get the molding off, and I think that's the way to go. Are you all right in there? So, we got a little problem here, but I'll get you out. You stay calm in there. Remember, most accidents happen in the home. There it is. I don't ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

In some TV versions before Billy and his mom arrive at the airport. Mike is seen buying comic books for Billy. Also when they go to the restraunt to eat Later on Billy's mom tells Billy to stop staring at the customers. Finally right after the restraunt scene Billy goes to the pool area where he meets Stu ( the other psycho killer) which is Hal's twin brother. He sees that Billy has his necklace and tries to take it and drown the boy or we, the audience have that assumption. See more »


Featured in Trailer Trauma 3: 80s Horrorthon (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

Fine cast, so-so thriller.
23 December 2012 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

I really don't think it's as bad as the review in the Leonard Maltin paperback would indicate; it's just not particularly distinguished. It places a child front and centre and in a considerable amount of jeopardy as he runs afoul of a sadistic serial killer in Death Valley. This kid is Billy (Peter Billingsley of "A Christmas Story" fame), an NYC native devoted to his loving dad (Edward Herrmann) who visits his mom (Catherine Hicks) and her new boyfriend (Paul Le Mat) in Arizona. While visiting the site of an abandoned gold mine, he enters an RV and pilfers a necklace that he finds, not knowing that he's obtained valuable evidence that links the killer to the scene of a crime. From then it's sort of a cat and mouse game as the killer sets out to keep Billy quiet. Dick Richards ("Farewell, My Lovely", "March or Die") directs from Richard Rothstein's script, which starts out as if it's going to be told entirely from the childs' perspective as he tries to come to terms with his parents' divorce and with the new man in his moms' life. Soon enough, it edges into slasher film territory, as our killer chops up unfortunate victims. It also attempts to make a substantial character out of our villains' car, which features a vanity plate with the word "hex" on it. The actors do a creditable job; Herrmann shines in what is really a very brief part, and Hicks and Le Mat are likewise very likable. (Le Mat has one standout scene where he's trying to make a connection with Billingsley.) And speaking of Billingsley, he also creates an endearing character and doesn't fall into the trap of being too cute. Good ol' Wilford Brimley is engaging as the local sheriff. But the show is stolen by Stephen McHattie who's as intense as he's ever been, and in fact he has one amusingly off kilter scene where he's intimidating our heroes as he stalks across the roof of his house. Another scene that the viewer will vividly remember is the scene with a corpulent babysitter who does little else besides stuff her face and then pay a big price at the hands of the killer. The thundering music by Dana Kaproff does its best to manipulate us, but what is far and away the biggest asset to the film is the on location shooting. The twist ending just comes off as a little silly. Overall, this is a passable time killer but no more. Six out of 10.

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