Point Of Terror (1971)

APRIL 11, 2012


SO DISAPPOINTED. As I mentioned the other day, Point Of Terror is on a disc with three of the better/best films on the Pure Terror set, so I was hoping it would measure up and become a sort of "perfect" budget pack disc. But alas, not only is it a fairly terrible movie, it's barely even acceptable to call it horror; if it didn't fit under two of my rules, I would have just abandoned it and watched something else for the day.

On paper it sort of sounds like a slasher/thriller, at least. A cheesy lounge singer meets a woman who claims she can get him a recording contract, and people start dying. But there's only like two deaths in the movie, and most of it is just a melodrama about this asshole doing his act and wanting to be a star. See, the lady isn't really involved with the record company - her invalid asshole husband is, and the whole thing is a ruse to help her knock him off, which gets complicated because Mr. Lobster Lounge's ego swells instantly and doesn't want to help her do shit. There's a lot of yelling and sex and singing... not so much of the slashy-slash that the poster promises.

That said, this would be a hoot at a "crowd participation" screening. At times I was reminded of the terrible Girl In Gold Boots that aired as an MST3k episode (the only non-genre film of its Sci-Fi Channel run, in fact), and - assuming they could only do ONE melodrama about people who wanted to be stars getting mixed up with crooks - I wish they had done this instead, because so much of it was seemingly tailor-made for Mike and the 'bots to ridicule. The film opens with an awful musical/dance number, and the guy playing the invalid also suffers from restless leg syndrome (!). And it has a godawful twist ending that you can practically hear Tom Servo berating. But alas, I was by myself, and while I recognized its camp value and chuckled a few times, it was mostly just a chore.

Most of my entertainment stemmed from the fact that the main actor Peter Carpenter also wrote and produced the film, which means that his character's ego is nothing compared to Carpenter's own. He writes himself nude scenes, singing scenes, dancing scenes... I wouldn't be surprised if he actually ghost-directed as well, since credited director Alex Nicol never directed again. Interestingly, Nicol's debut film WAS an MST3k entry (and one of my favorites), The Screaming Skull ("Is he reading from a report?"), which Nicol acted in as well. And of course, we can't ask either of them, because as it turns out both men are deceased. Nicol died in 2001 of natural causes, though he apparently retired from show business in the mid 70s, and Carpenter sadly died in 1971, over a year before this film was released (at least, per their info - they have the release as May 1973 but the below trailer claims October 1971). The cause was a massive cerebral hemorrhage according to the IMDb, and forgive me, but a swelled brain is a darkly ironic way of dying for someone who obviously thought highly of himself. Also, is there nothing more depressing than (possibly) dying before the release of your own vanity project? I feel bad saying that sort of stuff, for all I know he was a wonderful guy (couldn't find much biographical info on him), but let's just call it even for false advertising me on a slasher movie.

If this plays a revival house and you enjoy "so bad it's good" entertainment I would highly urge you check it out; it definitely seems like the sort of movie Brian Quinn would dig up as the B-movie for one of his Grindhouse night double features at the New Beverly. The goofy soap-opera plot and rather out of nowhere (and even kind of Giallo-esque) kill scenes are definitely crowd-pleasing, as are the frequent sex scenes (one including Ilsa herself, Dyanne Thorne). But alone at home? Steer as clear as you possibly can.

What say you?

P.S. Adding insult to injury, this had the best transfer on the disc as well. Letterboxed and seemingly remastered (and then compressed poorly), it just added to my "Hey this might be good!" feeling, one that quickly evaporated.


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