Saturday, March 24, 2012

Trapped Alive (1993)

It's Christmas all over the world. While lawyer John Adams (oh no, it's Cameron Mitchell!) is having a party, a trio of cons - the psychopaths Face (Alex Kubik) and Mongo (Michael Nash) and the misunderstood poor woobie Randolph "Randy" Carter (Mark Witsken) break out of prison.

Desperately in need of a car, they nap Adams's daughter Robin - actually named Lucy, for some reason - (Sullivan Hester) and his assistant Monica (Laura Kallison), who are on their way to a different party. Somehow - the physics of the scene are confusing and possibly damaging to the brain - the cons, the girls and the car fall down an old mineshaft, where they are stranded in the dark.

While the mine-shafted group is still getting their bearings, cop Billy Williams (Randy Powell) arrives at the scene, yet somehow misses car, big hole in the ground and mineshaft completely. Instead, he makes the acquaintance of a woman (Elizabeth Kent) living nearby with her permanently snoring husband. After a painful dialogue scene that ends with the woman babbling about her dead daddy, Billy and her take care of the necessary sex scene - with the snoring husband in the next room.

At the same time when Billy is having his fun, the rest of the cast realizes they're not alone in their new mineshaft home. A very hairy, elderly cannibal who likes drop down from the ceiling on a hook, roams the mine looking for a cheap meal. Cue ridiculous deaths and fight for survival.

Of course, Billy will land down there too once he notices the big damn hole in front of his new girlfriend's house, and of course, his new girlfriend will turn out to be the cannibal's daughter in the end. Oops, spoiler.

Well, even if you've become as used to watching horrible movies and somehow extracting some actual worth besides laughter from their useless bones as I have, a film like Trapped Alive still comes along and proves itself as pretty much unsalvageable beyond laughing at it, putting another point of data behind my theory that everything Cameron Mitchell guest stars or cameos in must scientifically suck. Here, the Mitch (brother in spirit and lack of talent to the Shat), is there to look moping at pictures, mumble complete nonsense, talk to himself melodramatically for one scene, nod off in a chair (finally, a full scene of hot Cameron Mitchell nappy time action), and hug the protagonist, all things he does in that trademarked Cameron Mitchell way, that is, looking bored and asleep even when he's supposed to be awake.

The most surprising thing about Trapped Alive is that Mitchell's scenes aren't the worst part of the movie. In fact, the film is so full of horrible, but at least somewhat hilarious, nonsense it's pretty difficult to tell what's its worst aspect. Is it the elderly cannibal with his big white wig? Is it the fact that every character here should be too stupid to be able to ever leave his or her bed and therefore shouldn't even be able to get into danger? Is it Leszek Burzynski's direction that repeatedly manages to change its mind about the position of characters, the form and size of rooms and the laws of physics during a single scene? Is it the script, with its non-plot happening to characters so clichéd as to become absurd (would you believe Robin falls in love with one of the guys who kidnapped her? or anything else happening in the movie?)?

Well, to be honest, I know what's the worst - and therefore also the best - part of Trapped Alive is. It's the long, long monologue Elizabeth Kent's (the IMDB's totally wrong about her role in the movie, by the way) character Rachel holds at the film's climax, where she explains the film's backstory, her relation to the cannibal, and how you make a tomb with pre-installed dynamite, while snot, badly faked tears and strange bubbling noises just stream from her face. It's a scene so great in its wrongness no description could ever do it justice.

If the rest of the film is worth giggling through to get there will probably depend on one's pain threshold.

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