In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Monday, October 17, 2022

M is for Murder by Phone (1982)

This was another title I was compelled to watch after attending Trailer Trash at the Revue.

Someone is murdering people with sound frequencies through the phone lines, but Professor Nat Bridger (Richard Chamberlain) is on the case.

This movie is loads of fun and another delightful piece of CanCon. Much like Deadly Eyes (released the same year), it's a treat to pick out of all the Toronto locations used in this film. 

The cast is solid, with tons of veterans like John Houseman & Barry Morse, as well as some local talent in Gary Reineke (RJ from Rituals). Even Lenore Zann shows up for a scene or two in between her stints in Happy Birthday To Me and American NightmareSara Botsford (star of Deadly Eyes) was the one who caught my eye the most though. She's billed as “Introducing” in this so it wasn't surprising to find this was actually shot in 1980 and then released two years later. That would explain why she looks (at least to me) visibly older in Eyes than she does here.

You know, it's quite interesting how many things this movie shares with Deadly Eyes. In addition to the locale, Botsford and also James B. Douglas, both protagonists are teachers, both have sequences in subway stations, and both have lengthy machinations about how to trace a phone call... Oh wait, that was Black Christmas, scratch that last one. 

Moving on, kudos to the filmmakers for not practicing false advertising, as many people in this do, indeed, get murdered by phone. Quite spectacularly I might add. It is also fortuitous that when they are fried by said phone, they're also catapulted through the nearest glass object.

Seriously, this movie does not skimp on the phones, it has every type of phone known to man here. If phone fetishism exists, this must be the Holy Grail. It even cycles through them all again during the end credits. Also, useless phone facts. Did you know that by the year 2000, there will be 1.4 trillion phones in the world?  I call bullshit on that one, unless you count all the iPhones in landfills and junk drawers.

Anyhoops, the best thing about Alphabet Slop so far is I am finding some real gems that may have taken me a lot longer to find otherwise.

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