Monday, October 4, 2010

Halloween Havoc: THE DISTURBANCE (1990)

Welcome the official kickoff for Video Junkie’s Halloween Havoc, where we will be covering horror movies exclusively for the month of Shocktober.  We were hoping to start on the first, but the Indiana Jones clones found it necessary to occupy a few extra days. Regardless, prepare for an onslaught of reviews of horror movies from all over the spectrum to get you in the mood for the best holiday of the year.  While you decay your teeth, we will hopefully help you rot your brain.

The inaugural selection is THE DISTURBANCE, an underrated and mostly unknown flick.  This is one of the kinds of movies we love here at Video Junkie – low budget and regionally shot by a one-and-done director.  It might not be on the level of the slick product at the time, but it displays enough creativity/oddity and certainly has its heart in the right place.  The proceedings get off on the right foot with a guy going off about pain in a mental health support group.  One member, Clay Moyer (Timothy Greeson), then tells the group about his recurring nightmare of being chased by a person who then has a demon burst out of their face.

Rob Zombie cameo?


Dude is obviously disturbed.  How disturbed?  He likes to build mega-sandcastles on the beach!  But this is the 80s and we all know the way to a woman’s heart is through detailed sandcastles.  Clay’s sand monument attracts the attention of local hottie/waitress Susan (Lisa Geoffrion). They dig each other and you know what that means – 80s love montage!  Yes, they build sandcastles, play Frisbee and snuggle watching TV while the love ballad singer croons “I get a little spark in my heart.”  The sex is so good that Clay soon finds himself peeping outside a girl’s window and watching her undress before he kills her because she might be that crazy demon who has been haunting his dreams.  And he is seeing stuff like a sand hand grabbing Susan from his beloved sandcastle.  Is this real life or just hallucinations?

We then meet Clay’s parents who are always complaining that he doesn’t do anything but sleep and play with his cat. Wait, this guy lives at home with his parents?  Loser!  Clay then visits Susan at the club and hallucinates about getting it on with the female lead singer of the band. Oddly enough, he still dresses like a dork in his hallucinations.  Things get bad when Susan tells him the old “we aren’t working” line and Clay goes off the deep end.  He takes a shower and imagines Susan in there with him, only to have his mother come in and start laughing at him.  He exhibits the natural response and beats his laughing mother to death.  He then snaps to as his mother knocks on the door to see if he is okay and realizes he has just gutted his cat.  Clay does the right thing and stuffs the bloody carcass in his parent’s clothes hamper.  Hey, he’s disturbed, remember?


This results in an all-around breakdown as Clay is fired from his job washing dishes (he saw bugs everywhere).  You know what a breakup, mental breakdown and firing means, right?  80s sad montage!  We see Clay reminisce about the good times, before he goes to try to convince Susan to work it out.  I don’t think it went well as he leaves a bloody handprint on the door when he leaves the place.  Clay then has a super duper mega-hallucination where he sees blood pour from the laundry basket and a mutant cat head pop out of the laundry machine.  The cops arrive to arrest him, but Clay slices his wrist in the bathroom and is admitted to the hospital.  The delusions continue in the hospital as he sees all sorts of weird shit on people before he escapes.  Clay makes it back to Susan’s house and comes to the realization that he stabbed her to death in the bedroom.  He then runs down the street before the cops shoot him dead and quell the disturbance once and for all.

Made in Southern Florida, THE DISTURBANCE was picked up and released by Double Helix films with the initial VHS coming from VidAmerica.  The film became more readily available as one of the three titles in the first RareFlix set from Media Blasters (alongside the previous reviewed DEATH COLLECTOR and the totally 80s POSED FOR MURDER).  One thing most folks don’t know is the folks at Media Blasters slipped a hidden commentary track on this one and POSED.  Providing remarks and observations fueled by 40oz. Cobra are employees Dave Beinlich, William Hellfire and Richard York.  Don’t let the alcohol mention fool you, these guys actually provide lots of details and info about the film and its makers with editor/DVD author Beinlich even going so far as to track down the actual locations and business owners.  Definitely a nice surprise and a great listen.  Interestingly, American Film Team offers two versions of this film on their website. One is the aforementioned horror flick and the other is a more “serious” look at schizophrenia under the more exploitive title WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE NEIGHBOR’S SON? (something I hear in my neighborhood every day).

Moments of Clarity:

3 Reactions:

  1. I think this one is pretty good. I know of three regional psychological breakdown horror films: this one, Disconnected (1983), and Tainted Image (1991). I wrote a review of Tainted Image (it's not on IMDB): http://cinemagonzo.blogspot.com/2010/07/tainted-image-1991-it-taint-happening.html

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  2. Great naturally real looking special effects before CGI... Very shocking storyline, and amazing sound editing and effects. Based on the original movie, "Dream Confusion" 1975 Produced and Directed by Ron Cerasuolo... Great Film.

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  3. Watched the film and was really blown away of the overall quality of the acting, sound, and crazy special effects... I would highly recommend The Disturbance to anyone who is a student of films and fan of independent film special effects... 5 Stars out of 5 ...

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