Starring Luke MacFarlane, Jennifer Titus, Michael Madsen
Directed by Tom Holland
When the opportunity to dive headfirst into the latest film from exemplary 80’s horror director Tom Holland arises, you just can’t pass it up, and with the creation of a viable new slasher to toss into the mix, let’s just say that Rock Paper Dead had more pluses then minuses even before the play button had been pushed.
Peter Harris (MacFarlane) is a serial killer infamously dubbed “The Doll Maker,” complete with a cutie-pie mask strapped to his face, and a sadist’s penchant for savagery, his laundry-list of female victims has him atop the police’s wish list. When he’s finally apprehended, he’s tossed directly into an institute for the criminally insane, under the direct care of Dr. Evelyn Bauer (Tatum O’Neal), and after a 10 year stay, he mistakenly gets a clean bill of mental health from his doc, and is given the chance to start his life over again – seems like a good idea, doesn’t it? Well, as any blind soul could see this one coming from a mile away, Peter’s not home before long when that familiar churning in his stomach begins to bubble up. No, I’m not talking about a bad case of indigestion – Peter’s demons are rising up from the depths of his soul, and his urges to return to what he once was are teeming, leaving him at a bit of an impasse. You see, he’s got a beautiful new neighbor (Titus), and those urges I previously mentioned are directing themselves directly at her…oh, if she only knew.
While Holland’s reputation definitely precedes itself, this particular presentation had the looks and feels of a textbook slice-and-dicer, and while MacFarlane should be commended for his portrayal, the golden boner award here goes to Michael Madsen in his role of dogged Detective Dechert. His persona enters a room two full minutes before he does, and while I’ve been one of his biggest fans for years, this particular showcasing of a character was hokey as all hell, and if there any actor out there that should be typecast as a prototypical “bad guy”, he’s the one – however, his gooder-than-good sleuth role here just doesn’t cut the mustard in any fashion. In addition, we’ve also got roles sprinkled near and far filled with names such as John Dugan (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – a deeply disturbing performance), Ari Lehman (Friday The 13th), and for goodness sakes’ we’ve even got a Marcia Brady sighting (Maureen McCormick) in there as well! The story itself was well written, and is ornamented with unsettling bouts of severe mental abuse and discord among human beings, setting up a nice piece of framework that gives this killer some serious motivation – hell, Holland always had an aptitude for throwing all his cards on the table with his direction, and this film is no different. Aside from a bit of a disjointed storyline and too few kills, the film is still a decent watch, even though it’s not necessarily Holland’s most prime piece, it’s one that hopefully can get the ball rolling on a potential franchise – scheduled for a 2018 release, this is one to keep your eyes open for.
Rock Paper Dead just might be the beginning of something progressive – will have to stay tuned to this one.