is your typical 80's slasher film supplied with naked young women, a "who dunnit?" mentality and a hefty spoonful of gore. It's the kind of horror I like to watch on a cool summer night with all the windows open, the crickets chirping, a beer in my hand and the possibility of a axe-wielding maniac jumping through my office window and lopping my head off. Yes, that's it.
What I am going to get into right away is how much of a rip-off this film is! This film flirts with a plagiarizing lawsuit that would strip everyone involved down to the bone. What film is being blatantly recreated? Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho
, of course! I've seen other slashers which have stolen ideas from Psycho
, (1980's Funeral Home
, for example) but never to the extreme level as the makers of Unhinged
have. I have a feeling Alfred Hitchcock is still rolling in his grave.
I'll give you the run down:
Three girls crash their car in a thunder storm and are "rescued" by a family that is very... odd. The grandmother of the house hates men more than life itself and is convinced her daughter is sneaking them into the house for a little carpet-licking. Later, we see two of the young women taking a shower and guess what? There's a small hole in the bathroom wall where an "unknown" person is watching and moaning like they're rubbing it on a nail sticking out of one of the wall studs. We soon meet the only man in the film, Norman Barnes, who is the local handy man. Wait... Norman Barnes? Sounds awfully close to Norman Bates... but my mind could be playing tricks on me. People start dying in typical slasher fashion (sickle to the chest, axe to the face) until we come to the climax. Guess what? The grandmother's daughter is no daughter at all! She's a man who has taken the appearance and voice of a woman because her mother hated men so much. In the final scene his dress and hair are strangely familiar to good ol' Mr. Bates' disguise. What weapon did he wield? A knife, of course. Wanna see this strange coincidence?
If that doesn't sound like plagiarism, I don't know what plagiarism means. But it's not only the attempts to steal Hitchcock's ideas that makes this film awful. It's the acting.
The only spark of acting talent comes from the cross dressing murderer, Marion Penrose, played by actress Janet Penner. The rest of the cast is bad... really bad. Bad acting in a horror film isn't always bad, though. Take Night of the Demons
for example. The acting is so bad that it's awesome! It's obvious the actors were having fun and enjoying the project for what it was, a silly horror film which would entertain more than horrify. In Unhinged
, you can tell the actors are actually trying which makes it sad and embarrassing.
While watching the film I noted to mention the performance by Laurel Munson, who plays our main damsel-in-distress, Terry Morgan. Every line out of her mouth sounded exactly like (if you exclude a tiny bit of lisp) Kip Dynamite from Napoleon Dynamite
. Yep, Napoleon's brother who is downright hilarious, and since Unhinged
was filmed 22 years prior to Napoleon Dynamite
, she wasn't doing it as an homage to little Kippy.
So yeah, I'm not impressed with Unhinged
. If you're a big fan of the Psycho
films, you might find this film to be a fun adventure, but I'll pass.