The glow of
the screen illuminates his heavily pierced, tattoo-stained face as his
fingers dance nimbly across the keyboard... searching, hunting.
Carleton Hendricks computer
handle is Captian Howdy, and he surfs the local chat rooms for young female
prey. Girls like Genevieve and Tiana, who mysteriously vanish after
an online conversation with the cunning cyber-predator. Detective
Mike Gage has a personal stake in the case: Genevieve is his daughter.
"We must all go through a rite of passage, and it must be physical, it must be painful, and it must leave a mark."
- Captian Howdy
Never haven I seen
a film with so many inconsistencies, illogical and all too coincidental
things happening and 'borrowed' scenes that I enjoyed SO ENORMOUSLY!!
I understand it is Mr. Snider's first film script and first major starring
role, and he pulled it off quite well. The things mentioned in the
first line of this review may come from the fact that it is his first script,
but as an actor, displaying two totally different sides of the Bad Guy,
he is wonderfully brilliant, and he adds a third dimension to what might
easily have been a flat comic book character if handled differently.
The story and
script obviously do NOT come from a twisted mind (as is too easy to say
for those who don't like the film) but from the concerns of a father who
sees terrifying things happening in the world around him. The film
moved me enormously and made an enormous impact, in spite of the things
I mentioned earlier. Or could it even be (partly) because of them.......
The society today is full of illogical things happening, weird justice
and the truth is so often a lot more ridiculous than fiction, so in a way
what could be seen as flaws could also be seen as wonderful metaphors (although
I doubt this was the original idea).
After the film
had ended I did what don't often do: I immediately watched it again, but
now with Mr. Sniders commentary on. And much to my surprise Dee Snider's
commentary was almost better than the film!! Contrary to earlier
reviews, I think Dee adds a lot of extra info and unfolds himself as a
very intelligent guy widening his talents into other fields, being able
to tell about it with enthusiasm (and a lot of humor I may add) and making
me even more positive about the film than I already was. Also, he
seems to be very pleased with himself, and that only adds to the fun!! The Rock Videos from the soundtrack album that are added as extras are
just great, the introductions by Dee Snider are so enjoying I had a lot
of fun watching them.
Watch it, watch
it again, and then watch it with the commentary on. And try to keep
an open mind. Too many four or five star hollywood films of directors
and writers and stars that have 'made it' are full of ridiculous flaws
and mishaps as well, but for some unknown reason they are accepted by critics
and public alike. Strangeland has the added bonus of the fact
that it comes from the heart and is made for all the right reasons instead
of being tailored to as large an audience as possible.
- Captain Howdy was the name of the ghost Linda Blair claimed to
be talking to through the Ouija board in The Exorcist.
- The budget for Strangeland was $2,000,000... unfortunately
the film only made $631,221 in theaters.
- When the mob gathers around Carleton Hendricks' home, someone
is holding a sign that says "We're not gonna take it." This is also the
title of the biggest single from Dee Snider's band Twisted Sister.
- After Capt Howdy is captured and you see the newspaper clippings of the case, Dee Snider wrote all the clippings as spoken in the commentary track. His reason is "for all you DVD nuts out there who'd pause and read them for continuity".
- Released on October 2, 1998.
- Dee Snider makes at least two references to co-star Robert Englund's most
famous character Freddy Krueger. First is as Carleton Hendricks recovers
from his fall from the tree. As he sits up he says "What a rush" in a very
passable "Freddy" voice, one of the many one-liners uttered by Freddy Krueger
during the series. The second reference is when he's fighting Detective
Gage in the church. He says "First you dream, then you die," a reference
to the plot of the Nightmare on Elm Street series.