Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness (1986)

In the 1985 horror anthology, Tim Ritter created a short called “Truth of Dare” in the movie Twisted Illusions. A year later, he’d expand that story into this slasher.

With a budget of $200,000, this was shot on 16mm film so it’s another one of those “if it’s released on video, it’s shot on video” films. Well, it was made expressly for the direct to video. market and mom and pop shops, so there’s that. Ritter was just 18 when this was made in Palm Beach County, Florida and due to creative differences with the producers he was removed from the film and producer Yale Wilson is listed as the director on the original VHS release.

There are several sequels, all directed and written by Ritter: Wicked Games, Screaming for Sanity: Truth or Dare 3, Deadly Dares: Truth or Dare Part IV and I Dared You! Truth or Dare 5, as well as a bootleg sequel, Writer’s Block, which was sold as Truth or Dare 2.

Mike Strauber (John Brace) finds his wife Sharon in bed with his best friend Jerry and poor Mike has the kind of mental breakdown that inevitably turns one into a slasher villain. He heads off and picks up a hitchhiker and remembering a game of truth or dare where he cut himself with a razor blade, he listens to the hitchhiker’s requests and slices himself up. Except that there’s no hitchhiker. Mike’s lost it.

A year later, Mike gets released from the Sunnyville Mental Institution. Blame budget cuts. Blame too many patients. Blame the fact that Mike is crazy but also smart. His good behavior is noticed and the first thing he does when he gets out is killing Jerry and then go after his ex-wife. When he’s wounded in this murder attempt, he goes back to Sunnyville and is soon back to hallucinating disfigured patients telling him to destroy his face and wear a mask. After one of the attendants is dumb enough to taunt Mike with a photo of his ex-wife, he stabs the orderly with a pencil to the eye Fulci-style and finds a cache of weapons, because that’s exactly what is sitting around a mental hospital.

At this point, Mike just goes wild, committing crimes such as hitting a stroller with his car — the baby launches high in the air — and then going back to roll over the mother; machine gunning an entire bench full of senior citizens; doing a drive-by chainsawing of a Little League player and finally trying to kill his wife all over again. Oh Mike, they’re just going to put you back in Sunnyville.

Ridiculous in all ways and therefore worth watching. I also believe that Rob Zombie completely took the papier mâché first mask that Michael wears in his remake from this movie.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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