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"Pain is one of the keys to the astral world..."

A sadistic rebel, who enjoys body piercing and tattoos, hides behind a false identity on the Internet, invites his prey to come and visit him, knocks them out, ties them up and tortures them. After kidnapping a police officerís daughter, things donít go as planned. He is quickly tracked down and incarcerated for a few years.

Once released, the local inhabitants have a vindictive surprise for him. They beat him up and hang him, but he survives. The values that the prison system tried to inculcate in him are long gone when he prepares his counter-attack.





Here is one film that has been underestimated. Rare are those that made me sympathise with the characters as much as this one, even considering that it doesnít develop them at all! We constantly witness John or Jane Doe being tortured without knowing where they come from. It is as human beings that we sympathise with them.

This is a film by and featuring Dee Snider. We could even say, because of some scenes, that it was made FOR him. The dark atmosphere of the gothic culture persists throughout the film and, personally, this is a portion of what kept me hooked. In addition, the film features an unusual structure. When I think about Strangeland, this is the first thing that comes to my mind. This film takes what the ordinary horror flick would have developed in ninety minutes and condenses it into thirty. Then, we start with the equivalent of a ďbooĒ at the end of one of those thriller movies that make us want to see more right before the ending credits and the action starts once more, with even more intensity. Finally, we get the chance to see more without having to wait for a sequel by a different director and it is here that Strangeland gives us all it has to offer. Robert Englundís presence is greatly appreciated and his character fits him like a glove.

Violence is in the eye of the beholder. Blood seen through clothing is subjective. Strangeland exploits what the typical movie leaves behind and undresses its victims. The people being tortured have their arms, breasts and genitalia pierced with sadistic metal objects such as spears, needles and fishhooks. What is presented isnít bloody violence but flesh being repeatedly pierced on the surface is much more realistic and terrifying.

Captain Howdy, the kidnapper, is imposing by his physical strength and audacity. He his himself covered with body piercings and tattoos. This is definitively the filmís main subject and people with a passion for this form of art will certainly develop a special interest for Strangeland it. What is interesting though is that any body art fan will tell you that is a personal form of art. However, this sub-culture is filled with sadists, masochists and other marginal people that have the attitude to go with their type. What frightens us most here is the realism, the probability that this isnít just a film.

The speed at which the police officer leads his investigation is surprising. He goes from " uninitiated" to "pirate" in a few days. Moreover, everything that is related to computers and the Internet in this film is well badly represented. This is where Strangeland loses its points. Still, it remains that this movie constantly adventures into new and audacious recesses of horror. We even merit a rewarding duel in the end, a concept that never fails.

Final Thoughts

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Memorables aspects
- Hundreds of hooks, spears and needles keeping a victim standing in equilibrium for days on end.
- Sowed mouths and eyes.
- Captain Howdy manipulating a womanís cadaver and making her dance.

Memorables characters
- Captain Howdy (Dee Snider)

Released in: 1998

Movie type: Horror - Gore - Gothism - Thriller - Nudity

Films in similar category:
Hellraiser: Hellseeker
My Skin
Return of the Living Dead III
Dracula 2000

My evaluation
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( 2002-09-01 )  

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