Dead Scared

Starring: Brad Dourf and Nectar Rose
Mosaic Entertainment
RRP: 9.99
Certificate: 15
Available 11 April 2005

Many years ago a book was discovered in a monastery. Full of sadistic and unholy rituals and rites, it corrupted the monks. One brother held out against the others. He attempted to destroy the book but the monastery was consumed in flames, leaving the book mysteriously intact. In the present, Professor Kapps has the book as part of his collection, one of which is a miniature skull and vertebrae staff which apparently has the power to open a portal to another dimension using passages from the book. Corrupted himself by the book, Kapps kills a student at his house with the staff as a required blood sacrifice. Switch to a university house and a group of initiates who have been instructed to spend the night in a notoriously haunted house. They are are required to collect certain items for which they are granted points towards their acceptance. These they have to steal from wherever they can. Carrying the greatest number of points is the professor's Saviour of Souls book. During the heist the professor is accidentally critically injured and falls into a coma, but that doesn't stop him wanting the book back and seeking retribution through its evils...

Dead Scared is an attempt to recapture the violent black humour of The Evil Dead. It's not a direct spoof (this is an original script), but there are definite similarities in style. There's even a little reference to Bruce Campbell, star of the Sam Raimi film. I'm not certain it entirely succeeds but it does have its funny moments... and just as many silly ones.

I realise it can be bland to use characterisations which are too similar, but this film goes all-out to create as diverse a set of characters as you could possibly imagine, and that simply wouldn't happen in reality. There's a cocksure male, an ice-cold bitch, an asthmatic afraid of the dark since a small child, and a blonde bimbo (supposedly) who is really much more intelligent (and very attractive, I must say).

It's worth mentioning that Professor Kapps is nicely (and creepily) portrayed by Brad Dourif, the voice of Chucky in the excellent Child's Play films. Check this film out; it doesn't exactly hack the accepted horror genre apart and start again, but it does maintain your interest better than most other teen horror flicks.

Ty Power

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