Death Warmed Up (1984)

Article 4420 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-12-2014
Directed by David Blyth
Featuring Michael Hurst, Margaret Umbers, William Upjohn
Country: Australia / New Zealand
What it is: A bloody mess

A deranged scientist uses a drug to hypnotize the son of a rival, who is then sent to kill his parents. Seven years later, the son, released from a mental institution, seeks out the scientist to take revenge.

There’s a point in this movie where a bunch of ugly homicidal maniacs are released from a hospital to wreak havoc. I suspect their first act was to write the script for this movie. The above plot description seems fairly clear on the surface, but about a quarter of the way into the movie, the revenge-seeking son crosses swords with one of the scientist’s experimental subjects, and the latter swears revenge on the son. This subplot, rather than serving as a counterpoint to the main plot, ends up spiraling out of control, and the movie descends into a bloody, confusing mess. I’m not surprised that the movie ends on a nihilistic note. Now, I’m not a big fan of nihilism, but it can be an effective point of view if you’ve got the script to support it. However, when the script and story is as badly confused as this one is, that point of view comes off as convenience rather than as anything organic. Gorehounds will probably like this one best; for me, once the script went out of control, I got bored with the whole thing.

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