Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


Charlie Schlatter and Joanna Cassidy
ALL-AMERICAN MURDER (1991). Director: Anson Williams.

Artie Logan (Charlie Schlatter) is a misfit and fuck-up whose last chance for college is Fairfield where the motto is "Reform -- and Conform." Artie meets and falls for a pretty and very friendly young lady named Tally (Josie Bissett of Melrose Place), but it isn't long before someone sets her on fire. Cop P. J. Decker (Christopher Walken) suspects Artie, but is willing to go along with him as the young man does his own investigation (just one of the unbelievable developments in this story). Other suspects include the horny and hypocritical Dean Darby (Craig Stout); his equally horny wife (Joanna Cassidy), who beds Artie on his first day in school; creepy Harry Forbes (J. C. Quinn), who may have been obsessed with Tally; and Doug Sawyer (Mitchell Anderson), who engaged in numerous threesomes with Tally and others. Tally turns out to be quite different from how Artie imagined, even as others who knew her are killed by various means. I could have sworn that this was a lame imitation of the Scream movies were it not for the fact that the first Scream didn't come out until five years later. It's hard to know what to make of this oddball combination of semi-slasher film with sitcom style dialogue, and situations that never remotely ring true. Schlatter has charm, but he gives a one-note performance for the most part (and is hampered by the script, to be fair) and Christopher Walken [Mousehunt] walks though the movie with his typical dead fish expression, probably wishing he were on any set but this one. Joanna Cassidy [The Outfit], on the other hand, is fun as the dean's witty wife. The denouement is pretty much apparent from the moment we learn of the condition of the corpse. Did anyone really think the identity of the killer would be a surprise? The gore in the movie is minimal but the shot of the dean's dead body delivers a quick shock. Director Williams played "Potsie" on Happy Days -- it's as if the character directed the movie instead of the actor!

Verdict: You have to see the ludicrous snake death to believe it. **.


angelman66 said...

This is a curiosity that I definitely have to see, not expecting anything but campy over-the-top fun. I forgot Anson Williams became a director (he directed a lot of Happy Days episodes too, I think). LOVE Joanna Cassidy - queen of the "woman in distress" TV movies after between Barbara Eden, Donna Mills and Meredith Baxter gave up the crown - and so so good on Six Feet Under years later. And Charlei Schlatter was adorable!!

William said...

I agree that Cassidy is a very good actress. This pic is worth a look on a lazy afternoon -- not memorable, but entertaining, LOL!