Heart Breaker (Split Second, 1992)

In the Distant Future of…uh…2008… global climate change is causing environmental upheaval. In London, it has rained continuously for weeks, causing the streets to be flooded.

Rutger Hauer plays tough cop Harley Stone. When he has to deal with a new killer who mutilates their victims, he is forced to work with a rookie cop Dick Durkin.

As they try and track the killer down to end their reign of terror, the two discover that the killer may not be human at all. Things get worse as the killer seems to target Stone and his girlfriend Michelle.

This is a bit of a Predator knock off. The creature has the ability to mask itself and is a hunter. The writer does add some motives tied to astrology. The London setting is really effective though, with the characters constantly dealing with running through darkness and flooded streets.

Rutger Haur is playing a fairly stock character here, as he is the “Cop Who Operates By His Own Rules”. I also appreciate that the filmmakers allow Cattrall’s Michelle to be a part of the fight at the end, rather than just be the damsel in distress that needs to be saved.

Split Second is not particularly original, but I do find it a fun watch.

All In the Family (American Gothic, 1987)

American_Gothic_PosterA rowdy group of young adults take their friend on a weekend getaway only for their small plane to have engine trouble. Landing on a small island to try and determine the issue.

They search the island and come across an empty house. While exploring the house, they are startled by the homeowners, Ma and Pa. The couple offer them a place to sleep for the night, with Pa saying a friend is coming to the island who could help them with the plane.  Ma and Pa seem a bit trapped in the past and a bit on the wacky side of religious.

But the biggest surprise is the couple’s three grown children Fanny, Woody and Teddy.  While clearly pushing 50, the three behave as if they are children.

The next day, we discover that the kids are not merely mentally imbalanced…they are homicidal. As the young friends begin to disappear, the friends think that tragic accidents have befallen them until the eccentric family’s darkest secrets are revealed.

American Gothic is one of those films that I found back in the days of VHS. It never seemed to achieve the notoriety of other 80’s horror…but it has a solid twist at the end and boasts great creepy performances from Yvonne DeCarlo (known best for her role as the sweet and kind Lily Munster)  and Rod Steiger as Ma and Pa, as well as the “children” played by Janet Wright, Michael J. Pollard and William Hootkins.

American Gothic is one of those good little horror films that I feel deserve wider recognition.

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