A 3.0? Really? Have horror fans suddenly come down with a case ofcollective amnesia in the facts in the case of Tobe Hooper? The samedirector whose signature traits include a smattering of extreme goregarnished with dark humor? The man who made one of the mostinfluential, landmark films of the 1970s ("The Texas ChainsawMassacre")? I mean, granted, Hooper's career has been frustratinglyinconsistent overall, but "The Mangler"--easily one of his mostmaligned works--is an unsung gem that suggests his tongue was plantedfirmly in cheek, but nobody really noticed. While the concept alone has"disaster" written all over it (a feature-film rendering of a StephenKing short story), what Hooper does with (and to) "The Mangler" is,really, what should have been done with "Graveyard Shift": he tearsinto the story with the veracity of a mental patient chewing the headoff a rag-doll, elevating the absurdist elements to their breakingpoint, filling the film with (un)intentional humor to counteract thebloodletting, and fleshing out the characters and concept into asatisfying marriage of B-movie bliss. The plot? It's all about ananachronistic laundry facility where an ugly beast of a steam pressstarts folding the employees into bloody pulp; a pill-popping,chain-smoking local cop (Ted Levine) and his wiccan brother-in-law(Daniel Matmor) suspect foul play on the part of the disabled owner(Robert Englund, once again under a heavy latex mask), but the realreason is much more sinister (Hooper does succeed in making acompelling argument for the ridiculous explanation). While I haven'tread King's short story, I will say that the script (by Hooper, StephenBrooks, and Peter Welbeck) efficiently captures the quirky, small-townmannerisms of his characters, juxtaposed against evil spawned out ofthe banal territory of Everyday Life. While Hooper is unable to sustainthe tricky balance between terror and dark humor that has made "TexasChainsaw" so endearing, he ultimately transforms "The Mangler" into asturdy, clean-burning B movie, buoyed by fantastic performances byEnglund and especially Levine (who seems to be operating under theinfluence of a perpetual hangover).
Horror / Mystery
Horror / Mystery
When an accident involving a folding machine at an old laundry occurs, detective John Hunton decides to investigate. What he finds is the owner of the laundry, Bill Gartley. Meanwhile the folding machine has acquired a taste for the flesh of human beings, but is there more to Bill Gartley than meets the eye, and does he know what monster hides behind the machine?
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