'I guess I just prefer psychopaths...' smiles bug-eyed Donald Pleasence, director of the fashionably liberal 'Haven' mental institute. We've already seen what the psychopaths think of him in a pre-credit nightmare: he hangs his victims by the ankles and splits their personalities with a meat-cleaver through the crotch. There's a sharp sense of humour at work in this school-of-Carpenter siege movie, even if, for all its ironic observations on madness in American society, it never cuts free of genre routine. A citywide blackout lets out the 370lb child molester, crazed preacher, military hardnut and faceless 'nosebleed killer,' to put the wimpish assistant director and his family through the suspense grinder; but with the strength of the cast (Landau, Palance) on the outside, the siege machine seems to have slipped a gear.
Cast and crew
Erland Van Lidth