Recently, it has come to my and some delightful readers’ attention that the 1990s output of horror cinema is something...well, different from other decades. It’s long been though of as a cinematic void in the genre, but look hard enough and you’ll pull up a few random pre-Scream gems and more importantly, a very different kind of nostalgia.
See, in 2011, the ‘80s are just funny. Camp counselors with one big earring getting slaughtered to post-disco beats? It’s like being tickled! The ‘90s, on the other hand, don’t yet have that distance. The actors *look* like us. They use a lot of the same lingo, even if they speak said lingo into elite car phones or public phone booths hunted down after receiving important messages on their beepers. We chuckle more and more as the time distance grows, but not so much that we excuse these films the kinds of dated errors that make the ‘80s so charming.
I have no idea why Scissors ended up on my Netflix queue, but hey, it’s got some genre pedigree behind it (director Frank De Felitta made the cult classic Dark Night of the Scarecrow), a fresh off of Mars Sharon Stone, and a lot of creepy dolls. Also, it’s the epitome of ‘90s horror for reasons soon to be discussed.
Quick Plot: Angie is a beautiful but frigid 26 year old who prefers the company of her strict psychologist (Ronny Cox!) and collection of antique store dolls to handsome single men or speed dating. Much like Catherine Deneuve in Replusion, the ice blond Angie easily attracts male attention that she has no idea what to do with. After almost being raped in her apartment elevator by a red bearded stranger, she meets a pair of Dead Ringers-lite twin brothers, both played by Lifeforce and Turkey Shoot star Steve Railsback.
Also, by the way, Joplin Zelda Rubinstein Intravia's new crush.
Twin Alex is a successful soap opera actor, while his brother Cole is a creepy wheelchair bound artist with an abominable haircut. Somewhere in the middle is Alex’s ex/Cole’s current cohort Nancy, who matters only because she’s played by Sheila from the film version of A Chorus Line.
|NOTE: This might only matter to me.|
Scissors is a strange movie, both in terms of plot and general feel. It was made by Frank De Felitta, the man behind the novelist behind Audrey Rose and The Entity. Whereas (in my opinion) both of those were great stories that wandered off into muddled territory, Scissors is a story that feels trite, then progressively turns bizarre, then silly, then dramatic, then wacky, and finally, rewarding.
Part of it does indeed come from the nuevo ‘90s nostalgia that paints each frame with mildly grainy and slightly badly dressed hue. Part of it has to do with the fact that the movie features about five extreme closeups of a creepy pig doll that seems to come with his own theme. There’s a delicious twist that’s more than ridiculous, followed by one that’s kind of awesome. It's ultimately the film equivalent of a box of Cracker Jacks, filled with handfuls of sweet goodness, evil little peanuts just waiting to ruin your mouth, and finally, an exciting little prize that makes it all worth it in the end.
|Historical figure trivia! Cracker Jacks' newest hit!|
She might be somewhat insane in real life, but Sharon Stone holds the film together quite well, even when battling a bird
During the opening credits, I was totally sold on the circus-like score. Bought and returned. The music of Scissors is, after the first two minutes, used fairly horrendously, with overly dramatic classical tunes practically raping the action onscreen, and I’m not just referring to the hilariously scored almost-rape scene
90% butter fat is terrible for the skin
All things cry and make a fuss when they’re lonely
A great way to meet an eligible bachelor? Fight off a rapist down the hall
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Scissors. At over 100 minutes, it’s far longer than it should be and filled with a tad too many time-wasting red herrings, but there’s something quite entertaining about where the storyline goes.
Also, for those who care, Sharon Stone gets naked. Railsback, however, remains fully clothed. And the cat keeps her collar on (that’s not a euphemism; there’s a cat and it wears a collar. You’re disgusting).
|So is that hair...|