Back to the 80s: Silent Madness vs. Don’t Panic

The 80s really will never end, as even someone like myself, who worked in a mom and pop video store for years and had cable throughout the 80s, is still treated to obscure movies I’ve never seen as they are being released on Blu-ray. This time it’s thanks to the latest releases from Vinegar Syndrome. So let’s see if blind buys Don’t Panic and Silent Madness were worth adding to my movie collection (of course they were, since they’re from the eighties).

DON’T PANIC (1988)

This totally 80s movie comes from the director of Cemetery of Terror and Grave Robbers, and is basically a Euro horror rip-off of Witchboard.

A teen gets a Ouija board from his friends on his birthday. They use it, and he immediately begins having nightmares and daymares of bloody murder.

Then there’s a segment of him having a romance with a girl he likes, which really slows down the pacing.

Then things become disjointed. We start to assume that he is actually possessed and doing the killing (his eyes glow red constantly), but it seems to him that a zombie/demon version of his friend is actually the one going around town killing the people that are important to him.

There’s also a face that comes out of the white snow on his TV screen every once in a while to warn him of impending doom.

Definitely not the best of the 80s, but Don’t Panic has some blood, some sex, a cheesy 80s music score, and plenty of awesome 80s fashions, including tight guy jeans.

SILENT MADNESS (1984)

You would think this lost slasher of 1984 would be a total no budget affair with completely unknown faces, but it was not only originally released in 3-D and now released that way on Blu-ray, it also features the older woman from Creepshow and The Exorcist III as a sorority housemother, the short guy with glasses from The Unseen and Carrie as the sheriff, and the muscle guido from Sleepaway Camp as the first victim.

The 3-D is as goofy good as it gets from back then, with nice depth and various weapons being thrust right at the camera, and there are plenty of unique kills. The plot is as common as it gets from back then, but unfortunately the unfolding of events is horribly paced.

A psycho is accidentally released from a mental institution because his first and last names are the reverse of the dude they were supposed to set free. One female staff member decides to find him while the hospital tries to cover up the mistake.

Way too much time is focused on the leading lady hunting him down, but eventually she tracks him to…wouldn’t you know it…a sorority house.

It’s not until 65 minutes in that the kills really start coming on strong. This isn’t a masked psycho, but he does seem oddly invulnerable. For instance, at one point the leading lady electrocutes his ass good and he just keeps coming. I guess years of taking the cattle prod at the hospital built up his immunity.

Anyway, she gets a super long chase scene with plenty of body reveals, and there are even two crazy paramedics from the mental hospital chasing after her. The killer motivation is rather predictable at this point, but it sure is fun to experience an old 80s slasher for the first time. Even the Dragon’s Lair video game plays a role in one of the kills.

 

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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