Rampage (1987)

By request of Friends of the Blog, Jayne and Chris, I dug up this William Friedkin oddity and took it for a spin.

Though it plays out like a Movie of the Week or an episode of a gritty police procedural/courtroom drama, Rampage is nonetheless darkly fascinating, and certainly qualifies as a Horrific Flick.

Meet smiling killer Charlie Reece (Alex McArthur, a poor man’s David Cassidy), the handsome, simmering maniac next door, who shares a dumpy house with his traumatized mom (Grace Zabriskie, from Twin Peaks and elsewhere).

Charlie’s complicated madness springs from the notion that his blood has somehow been poisoned so he needs the blood and organs of other people to ensure his survival.

That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.

After the troubled lad racks up a decent body count, it’s up to blow-dried prosecutor Anthony Fraser (Michael Biehn) to prove that Charlie was sufficiently in control of his faculties to premeditate his “rampage,” while defense attorney Albert Morse (Nicholas Campbell) angles for an insanity plea.

Obviously, someone who would kill five people (plus a few cops during an escape attempt), drink their blood, and remove their spleens, must be a lunatic, right?

Oh, and he’s a closet Nazi, to boot. Should he get life in prison, be exiled to a funny farm, or hung up from the nearest tree?

The legal and ethical debate over Charlie’s mental health threatens to capsize the action, but writer-director Friedkin (The Exorcist, To Live and Die in L.A., and Sorcerer) keeps the crazy kid in the picture, occasionally jumping us inside Charlie’s warped mind so we can revel in his ritualized bloodlust.

As it so happens, Rampage is based on a true story (surprise, surprise!) set in Stockton, California. Charlie Reece is the face of ordinary, homegrown evil; he doesn’t wear a mask or rise from the grave every 15 minutes.

He’s just that weird kid from down the street.

Gosh officer, I never thought he was capable of violence. Video games and heavy metal music must have drove him to it.

Author: oldsharky

Sensible writer/editor with sparkling credentials who would happily work for you at a reasonable rate. I moonlight as a bass player, beer enthusiast, Trail Blazers fan, dog fancier, and horror movie fanatic. Sometimes I think about daily events too much and require a little help to clarify and process the deluge of information.

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