Schlocktoberfest X – Day 10: Strangeland

Strangeland (1998)

Trailer:

*Spoilers Throughout*


What’s This About:
 Dee Snider, the frontman for Twisted Sister, wrote a little horror film about a cyber-stalker, molester and killer. It’s loosely-based on the 1984 song, “Horror-Teria” from their groundbreaking album Stay Hungry. Do yourself a favor and just listen to the song. For reals.

Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:

  • I’m still in awe that Dee Snider was able to make a feature film in 1998. It’s not like Twisted Sister was even remotely relevant then. They haven’t released any new music for 11 years prior! Perhaps it was still the popularity of that cameo they made in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.
  • And to base a horror film on an old non-hit Sister song. Amazing. 
  • Someone saw Se7en and said: Give me the same type of main titles but for 15% of the budget.
  • Ah the ancient modem ringtone. 
  • I’m shocked we didn’t hear “You’ve got mail!”
  • Logitech. Heehee. 
  • Wow. A very young Linda Cardellini. Crazy. 
  • Cyber sex. Heehee.
  • Kinda odd that this detective is doing case work for a grisly murder right on his own kitchen table. 
  • Hey Elizabeth Peña. 
  • It’s important that if you want to be a child murderer/molester one should work out regularly in their best leather and goth outfits. 
  • For the uninitiated this is is loosely-based on the Twisted Sister song Horror-Teria from the 1984 Stay Hungry album. It’s a two-part song, with the first half being called Captain Howdy about a child molester and the second half is called Street Justice about the parents being vigilantes on Howdy’s crimes. And for those still unaware, Captain Howdy is an Exorcist reference to the imaginary friend Regan contacts with the Ouija board in the beginning of the film. The More You Know.
  • Hey Amy Smart. Whatever happened to her career?
  • Elizabeth Peña and her husband detective, Mike Gage, sure are taking the trauma of their missing daughter well. Maybe they had a large bowl of Chicken Soup and a hot bath to calm down in a deleted scene.
  • Must resist urge to sing Twisted Sister tunes!
  • I vaguely remember this movie when it came out. I’m just not sure if if it premiered in theatres or not. Doesn’t seem like it should have been.
  • Seems Capt. Howdy likes to sew his victims mouths shut. How are they gonna eat? Guess they’re gonna have to Stay Hungry.

S.M.F. Sewn Mouth Fool

  • They find a septum spike in the trunk of Linda Cardenilli’s friend’s car and the cops don’t know what it is. As Luck would have it, the tow truck driver also has a pierced septum and enlightens the detectives. 
  • Although I’m not sure how he saw that from 12 feet away. In the dark. 
  • Biggest septum spike he’s ever seen! Seriously, YUGE.
  • This is way too much information on septum spikes. 
  • Scarification? That’s a thing?
  • I thought I recognized this actor. Robert LaSardo. He had a major role in that forgotten series Nip/Tuck. Wow. No one mentions that show anymore. Even I barely remember it. 
  • OK OK this self aggrandizing speech about self expression with tattoos and piercings has gone on long enough. We get it, you like to alter your looks. Let’s move on.
  • Is that Stabbing Westward? Probably not. This band actually sounds good.
  • I’ve heard way worse music. This beats Limp Bizkit any day of the week. 
  • Gage’s partner Christian is one dopey detective. It’s amazing how inept and out of sorts he is. 
  • Captain Howdy is pissed at his minions because he didn’t die while hanging from a hook imbedded in his chest. I repeat: That he didn’t die.
  • Were police detectives this inept at computer technology in 1998?
  • Even Gage looks like he wants to punch Christian in the throat. Fucking tool. 
  • The detectives make up the screen name: RavesRUs for the chat rooms. Subtle. 
  • Howdy is dumb too. It literally takes him one line of chatting to invite the cops to want to get together. You would think he would bait them more to make sure it’s actually a young snowboard enthusiast.
  • So the cops got the info that Gage’s daughter’s last known correspondence in the chat rooms was with Capt. Howdy. It was that simple to trace. I’m assuming Howdy has been at this online luring and kidnapping scheme for a while so how is it only now has he been tracked down by the police?
  • Howdy is in the middle of piercing some other poor dude’s cock. Ampallang is the term. Remember this because it’ll will be on the test. 
  • But we’re lead to believe the piercing will be interrupted by the SWAT team breaking into the house but nope the cops stormed in on a very elderly couple fucking. Kinda hilarious if you ask me. Was that suppose to be a Silence of the Lambs homage/spoof?
  • Linda Cardellini, who’s in a cage watching the Ampallang operation, has some sort of tube connected to her and it’s not blood dripping out into a bedpan. 
  • I really wish Twisted Sister would’ve made a movie based on their misadventures and battles with Mark Metcalf like the old music videos. That might’ve actually worked well as a feature film!

  • How dumb are the cops to assume Howdy used his actual home address in his chat room profile. 
  • You know what I spoke too soon. Gage was so upset at the failed raid that he fell asleep in his car right outside the fucking geezers’ house. In the morning he checks the computer (not sure how he has internet access in the car in 1998) and exchanges some voice recordings with Howdy. Because of the timing of a nearby barking dog, Gage surmises that Howdy’s house must be across the street. So Howdy used his neighbor’s house as his address in his profile? Or the cops raided the wrong house. Not sure what is dumber. And why publicly put an address in your chat profile inmate first place?!?!
  • Now Gage has no proof that this house is Howdy’s but by gum he’s going to break and enter it anyway with his pistol drawn. 
  • Gage was right though and finds the torture room which is right next to the kitchen and den. 
  • Hahaha. Howdy actually has a torture victim in actual stocks! 
  • Gage attempts to help his daughter but Howdy clubs him in the back of the neck. 
  • We finally get to see what Capt. Howdy actually looks like and boy it’s gonna be hard to get this image of Dee Snider out of my head. 
  • So it’s now 4 years later and Capt. Howdy, who’s real name is Carlton Hendricks, is released from the mental institution. There’s a quick montage of Hendricks glumly ambling around town looking like a frightened child. It’s actually more disturbing than what he looked like earlier.
  • Wait. So if it’s 4 years later does this make it 2002? 
  • Hendricks looks like if Howard Stern lost 50 pounds in his face then ate the soul of Marilyn Manson and decided to live in a nursing home. He looks pitiful.

KISS was never the same after Paul Stanley got AIDS.

  • And Hendricks still has his house? Who was paying the mortgage for those 4 years? Like Brian said about Norman Bates in his Psycho TWO review, how was he able to keep his home after all those heinous crimes?! 
  • Cute. One of the protesters outside Howdy’s house has a sign saying “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “4 More Years.”
  • Yes. Robert Englund! Ironically as a concerned parent. 
  • Must resist urge to sing “Burn in Hell!”
  • Bewbs. I’m assuming this is Englund’s daughter who he’s overly concerned of her whereabouts even though he casually told his wife that she was most likely out humping a football player. 
  • So Englund and his posse break into Hendricks’ house because they assume he has his daughter. They don’t really question him but just kick the shit out of him. STREET JUSTICE!
  • They then kidnap him and take him on a drive. Gage witnesses all this. 
  • We also are shown that Hendricks doesn’t have his medication. I’m going to assume that he will revert back to Howdy and have incredible S&M strength. Maybe he’ll spin around really fast to transform back to Howdy.

  • The angry mob attempt to hang Hendricks from a tree. STREET JUSTICE!
  • Wait that’s it. That was quite the lackluster lynching. It starts to rain as soon as he dies and the angry mob just up and casually leaves. Kinda funny.
  • But boy howdy, Howdy can withstand that kind of pain threshold and survives his hanging when the tree branch breaks. 
  • “What a rush!” Rest in Peace Road Warriors. 
  • Why is Englund sitting spread eagle on the chair in his briefs and cowboy boots?

Spready Krueger

  • Oh he’s waiting for his wife in the bathroom to come out and have sex with. It’s a shame that I have to see Robert Englund, who’ve I’ve admired as an actor since I was 8, say crap like “oh yeah this is really turning me on!” while doing a sad sorry dance. 
  • Is this the same night when he and the mob lynched him? Quite the night for him. SHEET JUSTICE!
  • He can’t tell his wife is not dancing weird but is slowly dying from a severed neck wound. Damn shady shadows!
  • Of course Howdy is back to his old ways complete with piercings and face makeup. 
  • So did Howdy have normal teeth when he was rehabilitated or did he sharpen them again now that he’s Howdy again?
  • So it’s been 4 years and Gage is still using the same online chat room? Wouldn’t that service have been bought out by AOL or Yahoo by 2002? Or at the very least changed its design like 5 times?
  • I really assumed that this movie was more disturbing back in the day. Either I’m jaded by now or this movie aged terribly or the reviews for this flick were deadass wrong. 
  • “Spears of Shiva”  You’ve betrayed Shiva!

Love is for suckers

  • A lot more bewbs than I expected. Although most of them are on torture victims. Whatever floats your boat I suppose.
  • Gage lost his daughter again to Howdy. Worst. Detective. Ever. 
  • So Howdy just needs pills to be not sadistic? 
  • Shouldn’t they just assume that Howdy is still torturing people at his house? It’s not like he has anywhere else after 4 years away. 
  • OK again spoke too soon, not sure where Howdy was doing all his torturing now? Maybe he’s squatting somewhere.
  • How did Gage know that Howdy was in this church?
  • Is this how the film is going to end? With Howdy and Gage in a bout of fisticuffs?
  • How did Howdy get all these chains, needles and hooks anyway? In this finale he tries to hang Gage up with chained hooks that looks straight from Hellraiser. How is he affording all these torture devices?
  • Gage turns the tables on Howdy and hangs him up with the meat hooks and Howdy is now suspended midair and swinging. But it’s hysterical because they’re talking to each other in a very calm manner. 
  • Equally hilarious is how Howdy is swinging and not losing momentum at all. AT ALL!
  • If you’re curious to how Howdy dies, Gage throws some oil on him and lights him on fire. Although I’m probably speaking too soon again and Howdy will pop up for one last scare any minute now. 

Speak no evil, don’t you think no evil, don’t you play with evil, ’cause I’m free!!!

  • Or not. 
  • Wow. That was utter shit. I’m going to crack up “Hot Love” now to cleanse my palette. 
  • To add insult to injury the end credit song is Twisted Sister (who reformed again for this song) singing “Heroes are Hard to Find.” Every other song in this flick was dark and metal. This song is old school Sister. 
  • And now is a heavy cover of Sister’s “Captain Howdy” but it sounds like Evanescence. 
  • Last question. Why the fuck was this called Strangeland?
  • Anyway, Dee gets a pass for totally owning the PMRC back in 1985.

 

Was it Entertaining: No. No it was not. It was sad, lame and embarrassing for everyone involved. Even me.

Any Good Gore: No. I hardly remember any blood. Despite it being a movie about torture, scarification and Ampallangs.

Seen any septum spikes? The biggest you’ve ever seen dingleberry!

Any Nudity: There was one sex scene with a brief glimpse of boobs. Other nudity was on tied up and torture victims so not really hot for me. But to each his own.

Best Quote: You would think a movie written by Dee Snider would have good quotes but most of it was over the top pretentious drivel about achievement enlightenment through self-multilation. I’m not gonna lie it’s a tough sell even for the most ardent Twisted Sister fan. But how about this quip: “How about I come over there and beat the dog shit out of you?”

Best Scene: Sadly it was the on-the-edge-of-my-seat scene of them raiding Howdy’s house which turned out to be a bunch of SWAT team members interrupting octogenarians’ fornication session. it was the only scene that had tension that turned into downright hilarity.

Worst Scene: I really thought this movie was supposed to a genuine thriller that was supposed to take itself seriously. I really gave this movie the benefit of the doubt that it was really trying to be a serious movie but now I’m not so sure after seeing the final confrontation scene in the church. 

Final Thoughts: I wanted this movie to be better. I like Dee Snider, even met him back in 1996 or so and he was a really sweet and nice guy despite his “Sick Motherfucker” persona as a make-up wearing heavy metal singer from my youth. I thought this movie was going to be out there and disturbing. Sure I had doubts about the acting but I thought this would embrace the macabre and mayhem. However, knowing what I know about Twisted Sister, I shouldn’t have been lead that way considering those wacky and hilarious MTV videos back in the day. Add to this the outdated technology and the acting (which was way worse than I ever imagined) and this is a compete turd. I would normally say something like “only if you’re a fan of Snider and Twisted Sister should you check this out” but I’m going to state the opposite. This makes Snider and TS worse and you’re better off never seeing Strangeland

Score: 3 Ampallangs (out of ten)

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