Monte Hellman started his career by directing Roger Corman’s Beast from Haunted Cave before working with Jack Nicholson on the westerns The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind, as well as creating the films Two-Lane Blacktop and Cockfighter. He also shot second unit on RoboCop and executive produced Reservoir Dogs.
The original script was thrown out and rewritten in one week, with that rejected version becoming the fourth film in the series. Shooting was completed by the next month and then editing was complete two months after that. This is a down and direct VHS rental film, but it isn’t without its charms.
After being shot by police at the end of the previous film — cue the stock footage from Silent Night, Deadly Night — Ricky Caldwell has been in a coma for six years. Now, he has a transparent dome covering his damaged skull and the blood sloshes all around inside his brainpan.
Dr. Newbury (Richard Beymer, Ben Horne from Twin Peaks) is an eccentric doctor who wants to reach Ricky (now played by Bill Moseley!) by using a blind clairvoyant named Laura Anderson (Samantha Scully, Best of the Best).
Laura hates the experience and decides to quit. She goes home for the holidays to visit her grandmother (Elizabeth Hoffman, Fear No Evil) with her brother (Eric Da Re, Leo Johnson from Twin Peaks) and his girlfriend Jerri (Laura Harring, who played Rita and Camilla Rhodes in Mulholland Drive, as well as being the first hispanic Miss USA).
Meanwhile, a drunk hospital employee dressed as Santa taunts a comatose Ricky, who wakes up and kills the guy. Soon, he’s on a trail of bloody murder all over again, tracked by Newbury and Lieutenant Connely (Robert Culp).
Ricky can see into the mind of our heroine — and vice versa — which means she can tell that he’s probably already taken out grandmother and that her brother, his girl and she are next.
Honestly, this is my favorite of the series so far — I haven’t gotten to 4 and 5 yet — because it’s sheer madness punctuated by people who have acted in David Lynch movies. I wonder if he used this as an example of who to cast?
You can watch this for free — with ads — on Vudu.