Blu-ray Review: Trapped Alive (1988)

June 4, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

One cold and frosty night; two comely lasses, Robin and Monica (Sullivan Hester and Laura Kallison) are making their way to a soiree when they are carjacked by a terrifying trio (well, two of them are scary anyway) of escaped convicts (one of whom is so strong he can keep a vehicle from moving simply by holding on it’s bumper). Now you may say to yourself “Hey, that could make for an okay fright flick…a bit overdone perhaps, but solid nonetheless.”

Well, you may say that, but Trapped Alive certainly isn’t listening…I mean it can’t “listen” really; it’s a movie filmed over three decades ago, and…where the fuck was I?

Oh yeah; so that vehicle goes of the road and crashes into an abandoned mine shaft…well, not really “abandoned” as it’s home to a cannibalistic mutant, as is the way (and definitely spices up the proceedings). Thankfully for our heroines, the local sheriff (Randy Powell) is on the case…and by “on the case” I mean “having a zippy fuck sesh”…but eventually he does arrive at the mine…and when he does the killing begins in earnest as that revoltin’ rascal mentioned previous starts working his way through the cast, leaving carnage in his wake!

While not boasting the highest body count or fastest pace of late ’80’s slasher fare, Trapped Alive nevertheless is a fun little fright flick that has some strong elements working in it’s favor. For starters, the mine shaft location makes for a suitably claustrophobic environment, and it’s lit to absolute perfection. Also a big plus is the make-up on he aged mutant; he looks every bit the maniacal monster he’s supposed to be, and has a Madman Marz vibe about him that I dig…and his backstory is solid as well…not to mention his iconic caliper weapon.

In the acting department, this film belongs to Alex Kubik, who’s portrayal of Shakespeare spoutin’, sexual deviant Louis ‘Face’ Napoleon truly steals the show with his mix of Joker-esque laughs and over-the-top scenery chewing.

As enjoyable as the feature is; the bonus material is what truly makes this Blu-ray release from Arrow video shine! First up comes a thirty minute, info-packed documentary covering the film’s production (which includes a surprising casting choice that got altered in the 11th hour), followed by an interview with the film’s special effects artist Hank Carlson. After that comes a vintage doc on the Wisconsin studio where Trapped Alive was filmed, as well as a discussion with Director/Co-Writer Leszek Burzynski on the early days of his career. Last up is an image gallery and three (!) audio commentaries featuring Burzynski, Carlson and writer Josh Hadley, and the members of The Hysteria Continues slasher flick focused podcast. All are great anecdote packed listens, but my fav of the trio is Carlson’s as it features a warts and all look behind the scenes with oft times hilarious stories.

Trapped Alive is a seldom seen stalk n’ slay gem, though a gem containing minor flaws. Overlooking the slower pace and low body count, horror hounds are left with an ultimately enjoyable slasher opus with both memorable characters and a high level of skill and heart behind the camera, and for that this fright flick comes recommended from your’s cruelly!



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