William Friedkin's RAMPAGE

Discussion in 'Slashers' started by swr2777, May 30, 2004.

  1. swr2777

    swr2777 New Member

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    Anyone here familiar with or interested in this latter day William Friedkin effort? (POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW)

    While admittedly flawed and not Friedkin's finest hour, this is nevertheless a gripping, frightening thriller concerning capital punishment via the trial of a multiple murderer. Alex McArthur stars as a baby-faced mama's boy type who also happens to be a bloodthirsty, Nazi-obsessed serial killer. Michael Biehn co-stars as the prosecutor who fights against his insanity plea.

    Most notorious off-screen for having been caught up in the Dino DeLaurentiis bankruptcy for years after completion, only to be recut and restructured by Friedkin before Miramax would finally release it in 1992. True, Friedkin's post-production re-edits do make for a few glaring, but forgivable continuity errors. (Friedkin has claimed in retrospective interviews that, by the time the film was picked up by Miramax, his own views on capital punishment had changed.)

    However, this film still stands on its own as a gritty, disturbing commentary on both the twisted mind of a serial killer and the corrupt legal system that nurtures it. McArthur, whose looks here are most certainly deceiving, is terrifically creepy and menacing as the killer. (Unpredictable casting has always been one of Friedkin's strongest points, and it pays off in spades here.) Biehn also fares well in a character that, in the hands of another actor, could have been reduced to a familiar, conscience-driven "everyman." Eclectic character actress Grace Zabriskie makes a small but memorable appearance as McArthur's unstable mother.

    This little-seen thriller should be especially refreshing for horror buffs who have grown tired of seeing serial killers depicted as all-knowing, super-intelligent masterminds, and instead reminds us of how easily such killers manage to work their way into working-class society by hiding behind a seemingly innocent veil. Though its production values are not terribly distinguished-looking, Friedkin still maintains the film's power through his impressionistic editing techniques and some intense, graphic murder/aftermath sequences. Further aided by a surprisingly subtle, ambivalent Ennio Morricone score.

    Anyone else here agree, disagree, or have additional thoughts?
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  2. satanservant

    satanservant Guest

    I haven't seen this movie since probably 1993, but I remember liking it a lot and renting it quite a few times to show to my friends. Does it have a dvd release yet? This is one I would like to pick up.
     
  3. swr2777

    swr2777 New Member

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    You, too, huh? :)
    Yes, it definitely seems like this one had some of us saying "Damn, why don't I just go ahead and buy it??"

    You know, hopefully someone else here has, but I personally have heard nothing about a DVD release. I can't really imagine what would be keeping it from getting released either, especially if Miramax still has the rights to it. Friedkin does tend to be pretty open in interviews about his involvement in the DVD market and the releases of his own films, so if I ever catch wind of anything on RAMPAGE, I'll come back and post it on this thread.
     
  4. patmcgahern

    patmcgahern Guest

    Believe it or not I've never seen the US version of rampage, it was released for rental over here in the late eighties and I only heard that the US version was different once I got the internet. I remember the original ending but I'm not going to spoil it, I might actually get the US video if its not on dvd to see whats different for myself.
     
  5. swr2777

    swr2777 New Member

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    Cool! That's interesting, as I personally haven't really heard much feedback from anyone who saw the original/international version and ending. I did read that, in the process of restructuring the film in 1992, Friedkin actually went back and shot a few new expositional scenes as well. Sounds like, since you saw the originally-intended version, you'd also encounter some additional scenes/footage in the American version as well as the updated ending.
     

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