Doctor Loomis sure is laid back when Michael's not around getting him all in a lather. He smokes a lot of the ol' Oregon sensemilla and runs this progressive mental health facility where the inmates are called "voyagers" and there are no bars on the windows. It's got electric locks instead, so sick killers like Jack Palance and Martin Landau can escape whenever the power goes out. The power goes out.

hey cool
Jack freaking Palance and Martin freaking Landau in a horror movie
but YUCK
Guess they had to leave early

Well, hell. I was enjoying this so much at the start, thinking I'd made a new friend. I mean come on, Martin Landau with the greatest crazy grin ever. It's somehow even gory when he smiles, like you're seeing a gaping head wound split open. Yeah this is that movie, with that scene of him in a mailman's hat they show on horror retrospectives.

Of course Jack Palance is so cool you don't even talk about it. And when those guys and a big fat retard escape from the crazy house and steal a van it's every bit as wonderful as it looks:

See how great it is when actors with real screen dominance are in movies? It's cool just watching them do stuff; you don't even need a fantastic story or anything. Goddam movie stars man. It's like night and day compared to these pool boys I have to look at ninety per cent of the time. I'm cackling like an old lady when they run down that mailman. "The hat...I want the hat". I love this. Please movie another hour of this.

meeeeeh. {sound of all the air going out of your beach ball} God dammit. Why life has to be this way? Remember that drop dead gorgeous chick who's first words to me were "you are my dream man"? At least this movie's good for 45 minutes before it turns mean on me. You can just about turn it off after the mailman scene, 'cause Jack and Marty had to go do other stuff for a long time. I guess we're supposed to think one of them's under the bed during that silly mattress stabbing scene which the movie seems strangely proud of, but I'm pretty sure Mr Landau had already taken his cheque to the bank.

When the crazies finally come back for a few scenes they're pretty easily dispatched by this whitebread family and their plucky little girl, and I'm looking like I found a box of raisins in my trick-or-treat bag. And now I'm going to bitch about this business with the "bleeder" guy, so if you're worried about spoilers maybe go check on your gerbils for a minute.

So the wife and sister meet this sandy haired nice guy in jail and I've already been kind of waiting for the movie to try to sneak the bleeder past me for the big "oh my god that guy's the bleeder!" deal, so it flickers across my mind maybe this is going to be it, but no, that would be too stupid. The movie already established that the bleeder was a complete raving nutjob, literally climbing the walls, who couldn't even speak coherently and freaked if anyone saw his face. The screenwriter would be asking me to believe this basket case somehow knew those chicks were going to a no nukes rally and went there knowing he'd get arrested with them and that they'd really need to make a phone call and he'd be first on the phone call list so he could politely offer it to them which would make them like him and invite him into their home later where he could help them kill his friends and then turn on the family - instead of just going there and breaking in.

I'm pretty forgiving about plot logic, 'cause I'm generally not watching these for their narrative drama and who cares how he got there, but this time it really bugged me for some reason. See, this movie's trying to be all smart and "not like Friday the 13th", which the director keeps ripping in the commentary. The movie's all full of clever subtext about how it's not just the crazy ones who kill, like when Jack Palance says "it's not just us crazy ones who kill". That's really fucking profound. I never thought of that before in my forty plus year career as a crazy person. You know what though? It is just the crazy ones who do that mailman thing.

So yeah it's got one of those commentary tracks that will sort of make you dislike the movie in retrospect. The pompous director's one of these I'm too good for horror guys who actually says out loud "I read Dostoevsky instead of Fangoria". Yeah well I read Feynman instead of Dostoevsky and I'm too good for hackneyed social commentary.

Look, I'm good with people being honest; I'm being honest with y'all here myself. If that's who he is then that's who he is. But if you piss on horror in the commentary of a horror movie there will be a price, and that price is some weirdo making sarcastic remarks about you on a website virtually nobody reads.

I wasn't going to do this but as a horror fan and a Friday the 13th fan I'm insulted enough by his whole attitude that I'm going to go back and make proper sport of that mattress scene:

So fake Martin Landau is trying to stab this chick through the mattress while he's under the bed, and she's wiggling and screaming and hopping around up there trying to avoid the knife. In the commentary the director says the producers saw this scene and were like "won't the audience wonder why she doesn't just get off the bed?", but he fought for that scene dammit, and pulled it off, and it's one of the best things in the movie. Mmm hmm. WHY WON'T SHE JUST GET OFF THE FUCKING BED? Is there a tether we can't see or something? God it goes on so long the poor actress is running out of screams and starting to look embarrassed. I guess Dostoevsky doesn't teach you when to yell "cut".

Okay I like the final scene with Jack's strange moment of epiphany. One gets the impression he's about to embark on one hell of a trip, and I'd love to see that movie. You know what's really sad? Look at Jack's IMDB page. This legendary bigger than life figure was only in about a half dozen more great movies than I've been. What kind of world do we live in where Jack Palance has to wear a toy Darth Vader costume in Hawk The Slayer? There's your freakin' social commentary.

I haven't even mentioned Donald Pleasance yet, and I'd never complain about him being in a movie, but he seemed a bit miscast to me as a hippie psychiatrist. I mean he pulled it off, but I'd much rather have seen him being criminally insane with the others. For that matter let's have creepy Dwight Schultz be creepy too instead of playing some boring doctor. Who needs doctors. Just everybody be insane and running over postmen and getting their hats for the whole movie.

Line: "I want the hat".