Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Strangeland (1998)

Fun fact about's actually the literally the first movie of the torture genre, being the initial film to receive "scenes of torture" as part of it's rating.

There's lots of back-and-forth on whether this is a good movie or not.  If you're a fan of gritty, hardcore movies a la Rob Zombie, then Strangeland is a good pick for you.  Personally, I love it and I'm beyond excited for the sequel that begins filming in the spring.

Strangeland begins with two mid-90s chicks trying to find a dude to party with in a teen chatroom.  Remember the days of dial-up and chatrooms?!  That was fun.  The ladies come across a guy named CaptHowdy (anyone who has seen The Exorcist should have been scared away from this guy) and start chatting.  He's such an awesome guy who loves snowboarding and goes to a cool high school.  Obviously the girls drop everything to go party with him. 

Bad plan.  Captain Howdy is Dee Snider, looking extremely creepy and messed up all covered in tattoos and crazy piercings.  He has a little torture den in his basement where he keeps his "body modification" experiments (i.e. people he has kidnapped)  Howdy is obsessed with both pain and death and has an consuming desire to die.

Eventually he gets caught (he makes it kind of easy for the cops) and is found not guilty by reason of insanity.  He goes to a mental hospital for a few years and is released as totally rehabilitated.  He looks totally different -- he removed all of his piercings, covers up his tattoos with heavy makeup, and goes by his real name, Carleton Hendricks.

Unfortunately, Carleton comes home to a less than welcoming crowd.  The townspeople are beyond excited to capture him vigilante-style and kill him in "secret" a la Freddy Krueger.  But is he all the way dead, or back for revenge on his tormentors...?

When this movie first came out, the torture scenes were believed to be beyond extreme.  But since Saw and Hostel, they don't really seem that crazy anymore.  But honestly, they are a lot more believeable than people who would pay thousands of dollars to cut up someone's face with a buzzsaw.  Just my opinion.

This movie is awesome and brings me back to a time when there were movies with actual plots and "scenes of torture" instead of just 90 minutes straight of gag-inducing torture porn. 

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