CHILLING CLASSICS MONTH: The Game (1984)

Is Bill Rebane a horrible filmmaker or a secret genius? If we’re to go by Blood Harvest, I lean toward the latter. However, every single other one of his films that I’ve watched so far has left me feeling like that movie is his lone success, his moment where the hundreds of monkeys all writing scripts for him finally got one that approached Shakespeare. Will 1984’s The Game (also known as The Cold and we all know how much Mill Creek cares about getting the correct title on their films or letting you know that the same movie has multiple names) convince me otherwise?

It’s a good conceit. Imagine if three millionaires gather nine people in an old mansion and give task them to conquer their biggest fears. If they make it, they each get a millon dollars in cash. That’s the idea. What follows is a gaseous cloud that chases people, a 1980’s looking amateur band rocking out, people sharing pickles at dinner, an Alien ripoff, people drinking tea with spiders in it, tennis playing, a hunchbacked mental patient who ends up being a British thespian, singalongs of “Jimmy Crack Corn” and so many endings, you’ll feel like you’re watching The Return of the King on LSD.

I haven’t seen a movie that makes less overall sense that didn’t come from the hands of an Italian director. Seriously, this movie is bonkers. Come for the swimsuit models, stay for the meta reference to Rebane’s other film, The Giant Spider Invasion. I really need to watch this like twenty-five more times to really appreciate it and its not-so-subtle nuances.

Which Rebane made this, the schlockmeister or the auteur? I’m thinking the genius, but then again, some people think Claudio Fragasso is one of those too.

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