Heart Stopper (DVD)

Heart Stopper DVD (click for larger image)Starring Meredith Henderson, Nathan Stephenson, James Binkley, Michael Cram, Robert Englund

Directed by Bob Keen

Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment

Where to begin? Sometimes that’s the hardest part about writing a review. Especially a review for a movie that we’ve all seen about one hundred times. Despite its newness, Heart Stopper is that very film. It’s as if the folks behind it said to themselves, “Okay, so we’ll have this killer get the electric chair like in Shocker or The Horror Show, right? And then they’ll take his body to a hospital that’s kind of deserted like the one in Halloween II, you follow? From there he’ll rise from the dead to wreak havoc and spout off dialogue like Pinhead’s from the Hellraiser films!” I shit you not. If any of this sounds even remotely uninteresting to you, just stop reading. If you didn’t dig those scenarios before, you’re not gonna dig them now.

But what if you did like them? Is there anything in Heart Stopper that would be worth your time? Well, let me be clear and concise. Heart Stopper is not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination. After viewing it, however, it’s pretty apparent that the filmmaker’s are OK with that fact. Let’s start with the storyline …

Meet convicted murderer Chambers (Binkley). After being captured by a local sheriff (played by a surprisingly stale Englund), he’s executed via the old hot-seat. At the same time on the other side of town, we’re introduced to school slut Sara (Henderson). Sara’s pretty pissed about the way her fellow classmates have been treating her, so she’s decided to end it all. Around this time we find out that Sara shares a connection with Chambers. Fast forward some standard exposition, and all three characters end up at the local hospital in which Chambers has decided to continue his rampage while trying to be reborn through Sara. Or something like that. To be honest, that’s about all to the story that there is, and it never makes much sense. The characters lack depth, the script lacks suspense, the plot lacks common sense, and the overall feel of the flick is totally been there, done that.

Heart Stopper DVD (click for larger image)Nonetheless, Keen and crew are still having fun, and in the end I guess that’s what Heart Stopper is really about — mindless brain-on-auto-pilot horror entertainment. As far as direct-to-video fodder goes, lord knows, we’ve all seen a lot worse. I would say Heart Stopper is worth a look if only for its effects. Other than the same rubbery heart prop that gets ripped out of several different characters’ chests, there’s some really good gore. Bodies are torn, set ablaze, punctured, and of course slashed in a variety of ways. The character of Chambers tries insanely hard to become the next franchise killer on the block, but his actions and lines are delivered in a fashion that is way too derivative for any viewer to take seriously. It’s as if every genre character of the last twenty years were put in a blender and then spit back out.

Michael Myer’s head tilt: Check!

Pinhead-like hell-themed psychobabble: Check!

Jason’s patented quick walking technique: Check!

Dr. Giggles scrubs: Check!

Gecko Brother tattoos: Check!

Horace Pinker’s haircut and facial expressions: Check!

I’m just pissed that they couldn’t find a way to toss a little Blacula into the mix – if only to give Chambers a little soul and some bangin’ sideburns.

As for the DVD extras, there’s not a whole lot of soul or anything else here for that matter. All we get are a couple of interviews with Englund (who is also plastered all over the box even though he doesn’t play a major part in the film; gotta love marketing, huh?) and director Bob Keen that total out to about a half an hour. Nothing too interesting; much like the film itself, it’s just your standard stuff.

The bottom line is if you’re looking for a quick fix of horror fun, then Heart Stopper has your prescription. Watch it for the gore and the goofiness. Then marvel at how quickly all of the movie’s events disappear from your short-term memory.

So is this a heart stopper? Nope, your heart’s just fine. That discomfort you’re feeling is probably just a little gas brought on by an often eaten cinematic burrito that was way too heavy on the cheese.

Special Features
Interviews with Robert Englund and Bob Keen

2 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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