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.

Friday, April 5, 2024

My Girl Wants To Party All The Time!

Next VHS off the pile was the 1988 slasher Party Line. I certainly recalled the coverbox, but never got to it back in the day because it was one of a SLEW of titles that almost seemed interchangeable. Let's pick up the phone and call! I hear it's private, confidential, one-on-one and discreet!

Crazy sibling serial killers Seth (Leif Garrett) & Angelina (Greta Blackburn) cruise telephone chat lines for victims, while hothead detective Dan (Richard Hatch - the Battlestar one, not the gay Survivor one) remains one body behind.

Party Line was amusing, but this was admittedly not top-tier stuff. For those who were not alive in the eighties, there were all kinds of call-in services available, some not even for degenerates. I remember calling one called Dial-A-Joke a few times, until my father confronted me with the subsequent phone bill. Hell, there was even one to hear Freddy Krueger.

Anyway, I digress. For a movie called Party Line, the phone sex stuff actually makes up little of the movie. Characters would disappear for chunks at a time, tagging out for stretches of police procedure and generic nightclub revelry. I was being generous when I used the word slasher earlier. I guess technically it's accurate as the killer's weapon of choice is a straight razor, but it's really more of a tame erotic thriller. Save for a few slit throats, it is fairly anemic too.

We do get a lot of weirdo scenes with the "complicated" shenanigans of Seth & Angelina. It's a lot of simping and leering from the former and the latter slapping him around for it. It's... awkward. It sure was a banner year for Garrett, who also appeared in Cheerleader Camp in '88. 

Imdb tells me that viewers thought Hatch was miscast. I don't know if I agree, I think it more that the detective character as a whole was miscast. Everyone knows the "hard boiled cop who doesn't play by the rules" trope, but this was ridiculous. He pulled his gun out so much in this movie, he might as well have had fused to his hand ala Videodrome. And, since when do District Attorney employees visit crime scenes? Seems like a conflict of interest, but I guess Dan & Stacy (Shawn Weatherly) had to meet somehow.

Speaking of conflicts, when the teen using the party line in the beginning finally reappears again, Dan actually has the brilliant idea to have said sixteen-year-old help them in their investigation. Does any of this sound like it would hold up in court, people? However, after the inevitable plot twist and kidnapping of Stacy, I was happy that she didn't need to be saved at the end. She made short work of Mama's boy Seth, even with her hands tied. You go, girl!

Call me Nancy Lew-d.

Party Line was run-of-the-mill fare that needed more of a hook than just the passing fad it hung its hat on. Hider in the House had the wild card magic of Gary Busey and Fear had Ally Sheedy's psychic superpowers. This just has well, people perving on and off the phone. I want more for my dollar-ninety-five per minute, ya know?

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