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Case Number 09096

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Don't Go Near The Park

Dark Sky Films // 1981 // 84 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 20th, 2006

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All Rise...

Thanks to this fantastically bad movie Judge David Johnson has learned the true way to attain eternal youth: eat someone's colon! Ponce de Leon was way off!

The Charge

It's the last place you'll ever play!

Opening Statement

Dark Sky Films has unearthed a swell little '80s trash flick and, lucky for you, threw it on a sweet disc. (Apparently, this film was banned by the courts of the United Kingdom, so for what it's worth, British people hate it.)

Facts of the Case

I'm going to try my best at transmitting this ludicrous plot, so bear with me. 12,000 years ago, a race of prehistoric cannibals spent all their spare time looking for the secret of Eternal Youth. And guess what! They found it! But it's a lot grosser than drinking from an enchanted chalice. No, these clowns discovered that they could live forever by consuming the intestines of dead young people. Two of these cave dwellers, Tre and Gar (not members of an all-girl pop band), have been cursed with this, er, eccentricity, and in order to escape the flames of eternal damnation, they must sacrifice a virgin of their own kin 12,000 years in the future when a couple of stars reappear in the night sky.

Fast forward to the present day and we see Tre and Gar again, cursed to wander the world as old farts, until they happen upon young, hapless victims with easily accessible stomach linings. Both of the former cave-dwellers get their gut-gnashing on, tearing open abdomens and stuffing their faces with deli meat, which grants them temporary youth.

But their 12,000-year deadline is approaching, and Gar (Crackers Phinn) hurries to prepare the sacrifice. He does this by hypnotizing his blonde landlord (Linnea Quigley, Pumpkin Head II: Blood Wings) and convincing her to marry him. Next is a montage of the couple's bliss, including the honeymoon, the birth of their child Bondi (Tamara Taylor), and, finally, the young woman all grown up as a nubile teenager, ready for some sacrificin'.

Too bad for Gar, that Bondi is sick of her fractured family life. She runs away, embroiling herself into a series of misadventures involving a van full of rapists, an abandoned house in the park, a hip new boyfriend, a precocious kid, and, finally, a fiery showdown with Tre and Gar and their newly-acquired eye-laser ability.

The Evidence

Yes, this movie is a ridiculous and crappy as it sounds. Whoever is in charge of the Resuscitate Moldy Obscure Horror Films That Are Hilariously Stupid and Put Them on DVD Department at Dark Sky Films, I'd like to buy that person a round of Zima. Don't Go in the Park is everything a good bad movie should be: gory, incoherent, cheap-ass, trashy, and, of course, not good.

Start with that story, an amalgam of drug-induced plotting and half-baked mythology. What else can you say about cannibalistic cave-people who can predict star clusters 12,000 years in advance and have the power to live forever by eating a college student's spleen? How about, "Way to go?" But that's just the place-setting. The real meat and potatoes is Bondi and her wacky adventures. Here's a helpful life lesson I took from this film: if you're a young person of the female persuasion, for the love of Pete don't accept any rides from grown men in shag carpeted vans. The ensuing van rape scene is simultaneously disturbing and hilarious—disturbing because it's a girl getting molested, but hilarious because the two guys (one of whom is director Lawrence Foldes) are so obviously not molesting her. The culmination of this sequence, though, is one for the ages: Bondi's magic amulet, given to her by her cannibal caveman dad, magically locks in the van's accelerator pedal, causing it to fly off a bridge and detonate in one of the largest fireballs I've ever seen outside of a Michael Bay film. Those guys must have spilled some tequila on that shag carpet.

Moronic plot? Check. What's next? How about some bottom-scraping visual effects? While the gore is effectively messy, and the fake stomachs that the killers tear into are actually borderline realistic, any other bit of cinematic sleight-of-hand Foldes attempts is laugh-inducing: marvel at Gar and Tre as their hair magically changes from gray to black and their face ages through the magic of editing and slooooooooowwwwwwwww dissolve fades. Better than that is the out-of-nowhere eye laser-beam shootout at the end of the film, which looks less like willful special effects work and more like film print defects.

There's a lot of joy to be had here by bad-movie aficionados. But, be warned, by watching this film, you'll be subjecting yourself to the following: a prehistoric elderly matriarch cannibal sitting on a bone throne speaking English, the worst caveman costuming this side of a kindergarten production of One Million Years B.C., rampant middle-aged hypnotic date rape, more calf's liver than you can shake a stick at, Linnea Quigley's first shower scene, a Styrofoam cave-in, one-eyed crones in horrible make-up, a van crashing into what can only be a gasoline river, and the star of the film named—really—Crackers Phinn.

This disc is easily the ultimate home video edition of Don't Go Near the Park. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks fantastic, boasting strong details and good color saturation. The picture struggles some toward the end, but I think that may have been a stylistic choice by the director. A 2.0 mono mix is acceptable for the audio. A great helping of extras include an entertaining, informative, and self-deprecating commentary by writer/director Lawrence Foldes and Linnea Quigley, about 20 minutes worth of deleted and extended scenes featuring more gore and a lot more nudity, and a few minutes worth of gore outtakes.

Closing Statement

Don't Go Near the Park has pretty much all the necessary ingredients for a solid bad movie. The story is inane and the gore and nudity is gratuitous. The pace lags a bit in the middle, but the copious amount of campy trash ultimately makes this release a real schlock gem.

The Verdict

The accused is sentenced to go near the park.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 80
Extras: 85
Acting: 70
Story: 80
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Dark Sky Films
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 1981
MPAA Rating: Rated R
Genre:
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Audio Commentary with Lawrence Foldes and Linnea Quigley
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Gore Outtakes
• Photo Gallery
• Trailers

Accomplices

• IMDb








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