Thursday, April 14, 2016
This horror anthology is unusual because it has no framing sequence. "Terror in Topanga" is the old chestnut about an escaped maniac terrorizing a town. Phil (Joe Lambie of Falcon Crest) tells his wife Lisa (Cristina Raines) not to go out for cigarettes, but she doesn't listen. The ending to this segment is so utterly flat that it's a wonder anyone bothered reading past it in the screenplay. "The Bishop of Battle" is equally forgettable, a silly business about a young man, J. J. (Emilio Estevez of Mission: Impossible), who has a desperate need to reach the highest level of a video game and wishes that he hadn't. 'The Benediction" is a lower-case version of Duel and The Car, with a priest (Lance Henriksen of Damian: Omen 2) who is having a crisis of faith, being pursued on the highway by a demonic van. This is religious twaddle, but the highway scenes are not badly done. The fourth and best episode is "The Night of the Rat," in which a couple (Veronica Cartwright and Richard Masur) discover that their home has been invaded by a giant and rather intelligent "Devil Rat." Some would dismiss this segment as monster schlock, but it is undeniably creepy and suspenseful with some very effective scenes.
Verdict: "Night of the Rat" pretty much saves this otherwise lame horror pic. *** out of 4.