My new pal and fellow co-host of "The Lair of the Unwanted" Nolahn is hosting what's called a "B-Movie Meatloaf" where every other month a bunch of b-movie guys watch movies with a theme in mind. For February's edition, the theme was "torture porn". And I easily could've went with "Saw" or any of the "Hostel" films, but I decided to go old school on yo' asses. That's right, I'm talking about Dee Snider's "Strangeland"!
This movie was made in 1998, before this type of horror movie was giving the stupid named "torture porn". I don't have any hard evidence to back this up but I get a feeling Dee Snider heard Rob Zombie was making a horror film and he went "Hey I TOO was in a rock band! I should make my own horror movie!" The cage match between "Strangeland" and "House of 1000 Corpses" could be an interesting match.
As I stated, this movie was made in 1998 and we start off then, with two teenage girls on this new fangled thing called "the internet". Genevieve is teaching her pal Tiana how to work a chatroom. The first five minutes possibly was secretly directed by someone at AOL, cause it plays out like some type of tutorial.
And since this is 1998, no one was aware how creepy the internet could be. Genevieve actually believes she's talking to a hunky 18-24 year old boy from her town. Be kinda funny if it was actually Chris Hansen. Anyway, Genevieve starts talking to a boy named CaptHowdy. Howdy invites Genevieve to his house for a party.
The next day, her parents Detective Mike Gage and Toni notice she's missing. A phone call from Tiana's parents confirm that she's not at her house. In other words she's missing. We get a slight humorous scene with Mike not knowing how to work these damn computers. The most techical Mike gets is a typewriter and some white out.
So Mike goes on a hunt for Genevieve and in between these scenes we go to Howdy's house, which is more or less a dark dungeon full of chained teenagers, all naked, and have their mouths sewn shut. And some of them have metal hooks sticking into them.
The first 30 minutes or so we don't see Dee Snider's character, even though we know it's him. They kinda wanted to go with a big reveal during a key scene I guess. But it's Dee Snider. We all know what he looks like. Kinda don't get it, but whatever.
Mike finds Tiana's car in a pond with her body in the trunk. Also in the trunk is some hardcore nose ring. Thanks to the tow truck operator that's also into piercings (Is his towing company called the Deux Ex Machina Towing Company?) he explains who wears them and why.
So Mike starts looking through weirdo clubs full of people in leather masks and hanging from the ceiling and such. Eventually, Mike learns that Genevieve went on the internet the night she vanished and through ANOTHER Plot Device called "a computer hacker", learned that the person she talked to was CaptHowdy.
Since Mike doesn't know how to work computers, he calls his neice in and, hey she's played by a super young Amy Smart. She wasn't too SMART to take this movie. HA! I kill me. Anyway, Amy gives another five minute tutorial on how to work this internet thing and they find CaptHowdy.
Mike is now channeling Chris Hansen and pretends to be a teenage girl and tricks Howdy to tell him his address. Armed with this knowledge, he head to the address and break into the house to find....two 90 year old people humping. Thanks Dee Snider.
So Howdy gave them the wrong address cause he knew it was really a cop. Thanks to Howdy getting a cocky, he sends a voice message to Mike, which he uses to figure out which house he's really at. Mike gets into the house and finds all the teenagers dumb enough to go to a strangers house all strung up and shit. He eventually finds Genevieve, but CaptHowdy is also there!
This fight is short and sweet. Mike sucker punches him and manages to get cuffs on him. This is when the big reveal on Howdy occurs. So CaptHowdy is captured and through a montage of newspapers we discover that he was deemed too crazy for trial and was found not guilty by reasons of insanity. He was sent to a asylum and now it is four years later.
CaptHowdy's real name turns out to be Carleton Hendricks and now he roams the halls of the aslyum in a buttoned up shirt and an old man sweater. He reads H.G Wells and covers his tattoos with makeup. He's now being released. Apparently if you are a crazy serial killer/piercer/kidnaper, they don't take your house away. He returns to his house, which has been vandalized. Outside his house a mob is waiting. Carl's lawyer appears and makes the statement that Carl wants to be left alone. A group of people are angry about this and one of these people is holy shit Robert Englund. The hell? I guess the Freddy money was running out.
Later that night, Freddy (no, not his real name in the movie but would've been funny and/or stupid) is at home and is pissed about Carl being out so he gets a lynch mob together and breaks into Carl's home and drags him out. Outside is Mike, "watching the house" but he just lets Freddy take Carl to get hung.
And yes, they are gonna hang him. It appears he has finally died but due to a rainstorm, it takes out the branch he was hanging on and he falls down. After 10 seconds, he wakes up and it's now the return of CaptHowdy!
For whatever reason, we see the sun come up, the afternoon come and go, and it's now the next evening. Time filler, anyone? And thanks to Dee Snider again, we get to see Robert Englund in some kind of thong, watching what's probably a snuff film. He's about to get it on with his lady when Howdy breaks in and kills her and takes him back to his house.
There, Carl Howdy has all the people of the lynch mob in some sort of sadochistic device that looks like stuff out of "Hellraiser". Howdy contacts Mike through the internet to let him know he's back. For those keeping track, this is literally two days after being relased cause he was "cured". Thanks, doctors!
A phone call from Toni reveals that Genevieve is nowhere to be found. Both parents rush home to find a webcam set up. Again, to those keeping up, it's four years later so now it's 2002. The only technological advance was the use of webcams. Way to look into the future, Dee.
Through webcam, Mike and Toni see Howdy piercing Genevieve and Howdy tells Mike this is his fault for not stopping Freddy's Posse (band name potental). So now Mike is after Howdy but he strikes out.
I swear I was watching the movie and I don't know how this happened but two random cops just randomly find Howdy's new hideout and all the posse in tortue devices. Including Genevieve. I think Dee Snider thought at this point movie writing is hard and just had them show up for no reason.
Mike finds a clue on where Howdy is at and it's the old weirdo club from earlier in the movie, which is now shut down. I guess Howdy owned it or something. Explains how he can afford all this weird equipment. Mike goes to the club, which looks like a church, and confronts him once and for all. A longer fight ensues but it's really more like Howdy beating the shit out of Mike.
Mike is about to be put on some hooks when he does a smart thing for once and pulls out Howdy's giant ass nose ring. This gives Mike a chance to throw Howdy on the hooks and have him swing back and forth. Then for his final act of revenge, he throws some sort of lighter fluid on him and lights Howdy on fire. I think I get why now horror movies have fast edits and jerky cameras. If it focuses too long on something, you can easily tell it's fake.
So Howdy is burnt to a crisp and Genevieve is gonna turn into an Amish lesbian. Way to go! Thanks INTERNET!
This movie is just dumb and obviously actual porn for people who like to mutilate themselves. I don't really know if Dee Snider does any of that, but I have my doubts. Everything was horrible. There's a scene where Mike is typing a message to Howdy and you clearly see him type "Call me Gage" but when they show the screen, it says he typed "Call me detective". The acting was horrible. And the writing was terrible. Here are some lines Dee Snider wrote for HIMSELF:
We must all go through a rite of passage, and it must be physical, it must be painful, and it must leave a mark.
Want to play ball scarecrow?
Pain is a uniquely personal expirence
So much flesh...so little time
Stupidly enough, there's a sequel "in production" with Snider reprising his CaptHowdy role. What's he gonna do, stalk people through Facebook? Send them a virus? Just stop, Dee. Seriously.