I was 9 years old in 1992 and I was at home with my mom while the rest of my family was at school or work. My older brother worked at a video store and he would pick up VHS copies of movies every night on his way home from work and leave them on top of the VCR at home. It’s early in the am and my mom is out front tending to a garage sale. Being the bored kid I am I grab the first film in the stack of tapes left on top of the VCR from the night before by my older brother.
The film was WILLIAM FRIEDKIN’ s RAMPAGE.
As I recall the film opens with a nice, good looking man standing on the street of a nice suburban community in a red jacket. My first thoughts are “It’s Martin Riggs from LETHAL WEAPON…cool”
The man waves and smiles at passing residents while crossing the street to perform a violent home invasion on an unsuspecting elderly couple. He knocks on the door of their home, one which looks ideal for raising a family in. A sweet old lady answers the door and greets the nice young man in the red jacket. After forcing his way in he shoots her in the forehead with a Lugar handgun. The husband of the now dead woman comes rushing to investigate and meets the same horrible demise. The killer then recons the kitchen for a large vegetable knife and carves them to pieces.
I am watching this in pure horror. Attempting to escape the psychological trauma that has been inflicted on my pre-adolescent mind, I drop the Batman Arctic Freeze Karate Chop action figure from BATMAN RETURNS and quickly cut the ground between myself and the control panel on the VCR to push fast forward. Why I pushed fast forward? Not sure. I press play and see MICHAEL BIEHN (investigating cop) and the forensics team show up. I feel a small hint of comfort as I recognize him as Hicks from ALIENS.
Now a mere foot and a half from the television, the glimmer of hope I had for a comforting explanation of the images I was previously shown by the image of that dude that kicked ass in ALIENS is ripped away while forensics picks up carved remains from the victims and places them in bags. I couldn’t take the images shown and scrambled to turn the film off. Frantically I took the tape out and hid it so no one would know I watched it.
This film left a serious impact on my psyche. For the next few years I would dread everything about this film to extreme measures. Avoiding this film in movie isles at grocery stores and checking the TV Guide to see if it was on and what time. If it was on I would drink warm milk or cough syrup and try so hard to sleep before it started even though my parents were watching LARRY SANDERS on HBO.
Sometimes I would work up the courage to go to the isle of the video store it was in and look at the cover as a feeling of dread and panic would come over me. Not to mention unpredictable midday crying spells that earned me the right to stay home through the last half of my fourth grade year by suggestion of a psychiatrist. I since then have gotten over the torment that this particular film existed and have seen it here and there more for the interest of what it did to me rather than entertainment.
It’s not a bad film but, in a nut shell, this movie FUCKED ME UP!!!