HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Strangeland (1998)

By John Roisland

Strangeland

October 2, 1998, was a time when people were still learning about the Internet and body modification was really breaking through. Director John Pieplow brings us Strangeland.

The story is about “Captain Howdy” (played by Dee Snider of rock band Twisted Sister, who also wrote and produced the film), a sadist Internet predator who invites other internet friends over for a party, where they soon meet their end.

Kevin Gage (Heat, Blow, G.I. Jane, Laid to Rest), the town sheriff, is quick on the case after his daughter, played by Linda Cardellini (Grandma’s Boy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Freaks and Geeks), falls to the hands of Captain Howdy.

The chase continues to find Howdy, and the scenes of the torture with his victims and his own self-mutilation are actually pretty impressive. A few scenes are actual textbook history of how different cultures used different devices to either torture or elevate one to a higher sense of body limitations.

Now I’m not saying its the best film ever made…it’s not. At moments it’s actually kinda slow. But I will give Dee props on his first attempt and writing, producing and starring in….he put forth a very valiant effort. At the box office, this film actually lost money. If not for its huge impact as a cult classic…it would have been a complete bomb!

It offers a pretty impressive cast, aside from Dee Snyder, Kevin Gage, and Linda Cardellini, it also stars Elizabeth Pena (Jacob’s Ladder, Down in the Valley, Things Behind the Sun), Brett Harrelson (The People vs. Larry Flynt, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Wishmaster, Urban Legend, 2001 Maniacs, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon), Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect, Crank, Just Friends, Starsky and Hutch) and Robert Lasardo (Death Race, The Human Centipede III, Anarchy Parlor, Nip/Tuck). Now with this line up, one would expect a little more…but they only acted in it

For those headbangers out there like myself, the film did have a pretty kick fucking ass soundtrack though: Bile, Pantera, Megadeth, Coal Chamber, Anthrax, Soul Fly, and Hed PE – to name a few.

I can’t say this is honestly on my every year must watch Halloween films…but it is always this time of year when I do think about it the most. Does that count?

I REALLY want to say better things about the film, but sadly it is what it is, a great idea, that just wasn’t executed to its fullest potential.

images1677001P

“So much flesh…so little time”- Captain Howdy

Posted by John Roisland

Horror fan bringing my love for the genre to world in as many forms I can- website, podcast, vlogs, and coming soon, producer! Through this, I am living my nightmarish dreams. Join me.... if you can handle it!

Leave a Reply