Time for another segment of movies you’d rent from the almost empty video store shelves on a Friday night out of pure desperation.
THE VAGRANT (1992)
While presented with a dark sense of humor, The Vagrant actually plays upon the creepy fear of a stranger getting into your house. Bill Paxton buys a nice suburban home, but as he’s moving in, he sees a gnarly looking homeless man—played perfectly by the gay gym teacher from Elm Street 2—in his kitchen! Events spiral from there and Bill’s paranoia causes him to create a virtual fortress around his property. Yet the ominous homeless man keeps getting in!
Or is Bill just going crazy? Either way, dead bodies start turning up! I really love a majority of this movie and Bill’s actions when confronted with a daily home invasion; he floods his house with lights and keeps music blasting—something I totally do when I’m spooked while home alone.
The claustrophobic feel of Bill trapped in his house is excellent, but then The Vagrant does the thing that made most 90s movies suck. It leaves the ideal location. There’s an arrest, there’s a trial, Bill ends up in a trailer home, and eventually enters a fricking coal mine for a final confrontation with the homeless man.
WTF, 90s horror? Night of the Living Dead took place in one house. Elm Street, one house. The Exorcist, one townhouse. Why do you feel the need to jump all over the place and totally pull your audience out of the terrifying scenario in which you’ve immersed them?
THE GODSEND (1980)
Did these people never see The Bad Seed or The Omen? In the original The Godsend, this couple with four beautiful children, living in the middle of nowhere, are out frolicking for family fun time in the woods when the wife meets a creepy, big-eyed pregnant woman who barely talks and stares unblinkingly. So naturally, she invites the freak to their house. The fricking woman spits out her kid in the house and takes off. So they keep the baby.
Okay. Maybe their dead baby in the crib with their “new daughter” was an accident. But by the third dead kid, I would know for a fact that the little blonde obligation with evil slitted eyes is killing all my biological kids! Plus, take the hint. Family time out in nature is NOT good for a family! A kid dies every fricking time! Dad wants to get rid of the devil spawn, but mom thinks she’s a gift from God. Damn, dad. Just tell mom the kid’s a big dyke and she’ll kick her out of the house even if she is only six.
There’s no gore in the film. The kids are always pushed off a ledge, into a lake, or out a window when we’re not there to see it. But the little girl who plays the oldest incarnation of the “godsend” sure knows how to look evil!
If the pregnant chick from the beginning were smart, she would drop her next newborn off with the Brady Bunch or the Eight is Enough bunch. Losing three kids wouldn’t seem as suspicious. Hey. The Duggar family better quit while they’re ahead, because they may pop out a real godsend one of these days….
THE OUTING (1987)
The Outing is good old 80s “kids break into a place where they don’t belong” movie. This time, it’s a museum.
The best part of this film (aside from the attempt at a repetitive, pulsating Halloween–esquetheme song during opening credits) is the beginning, when two 80s hunks in tank tops and their lady friend in Daisy Duke shorts break into a mansion which belongs to a young lady in old lady makeup. They kill her, steal a magic genie lamp…and get killed in a matter of minutes.
Guess where the genie lamp ends up. And guess what’s unleashed when the main girl fiddles with it.
The “genie” looks like one of the little critters from The Gate blown up to be about ten feet tall. However, this oversized critter has no legs and simply floats around on the smoke wisp that extends from the lamp.
Even though it’s her dad’s museum, the main girl needs to be possessed for a short time so she can get her friends locked in overnight. Meanwhile, her abusive, cocky ex-boyfriend and his buddy have infiltrated the place without the help of magic lamp genie possession. The asshole, racist, woman-hating ex is cocky for a reason—he’s got a big cock! Indeed, the magic genie grants your wish to see weenie. But it’s during a fricking interracial rape scene! Oh yeah. The Outing goes there.
There’s Evil Dead shaky cam and the genie floats Angela-style down the halls…a year before Night of the Demons was released. There’s an opera-singing security guard. There are some fun supernatural kills. And there are references to Indiana Jones and Poltergeist. I take back what I said before. Everything in this film is the best part of the film.