'He’s very deeply into his own space just now,' says psychiatrist Donald Pleasence about one of his patients, whom he calls 'voyagers.'Pleasence’s sly flower-child inversion of his implacable gun-toting shrink in Halloween is just one of many surprises in this offbeat horror movie, which features two future Best Supporting Actors as psychos who escape from the institution during a power outage. Maybe Jack Palance and Martin Landau later wanted to leave this off their resumés, but they’re entertaining in it; Landau, who has that alarming grin going for him anyway, delivers his lines with sick conviction. (Spotting a mailman on a bike, Landau hisses, “I want his hat...”)
The psychos (rounded out by massive Erland van Lidth de Jeude, from Stir Crazy) terrorize rookie shrink Dwight Schultz (The A-Team) and his family. The usual stalk-and-slash stuff follows, but the movie’s tongue-in-bloody-cheek satire of psychobabble sets it apart. Pinch-hitter Tom Savini came in and contributed one make-up job, seen in the film’s best seat-jumper. This was the directorial debut of Jack Sholder, a former editor (The Burning) and award-winning filmmaker for PBS, and one of the genre’s more interesting (if not especially prolific) directors of the ’80s; his next was A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2.And, God, am I sick of recommending this to people and having to explain that it isn't the goddamn Uwe Boll videogame movie. Ugh.