Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Die: Kiss Daddy Goodbye

It is neither the best nor the worst film I've seen featuring psychic/telekinetic siblings.  Today's movie is Kiss Daddy Goodbye, since it sounded more interesting than Kiss Daddy Goodnight.  I'll get you next year, Uma.  In honor of Father's Day, let me honor this 1981 curiosity piece.  The story is about a pair of blond siblings with psychic powers who have tragedy happen to them, but make the most of it.  One-time Director Patrick Regan casts two of his kids as the kids, so you know that they are going to be great in this!  The film's cast is rounded out by two people who don't go together: Fabian and Marilyn Burns.  The former is a Singer with a so-so Acting Career, while the latter is most famous for being chased by Leatherface.  She only really appeared in about 7 films in any major role, so this one does stand out.  You have to wonder if she would have been pickier in hindsight.  The film's gimmick involves a Zombie- of sorts-, so that attracted my attention.  To find out if it kept it, read on...
I'm scared right away as they pass a sign for what was apparently the film's original title.  I can't stand another film like Beware: Children at Play!  Not again!
This man is a very secretive and protective Father to these two Village of the Damned children.  Why is he like that?
Well, they have mental powers, demonstrated here by their ability to reverse footage of groceries being shoved out of a cabinet.

Oh and they got their powers from a dead, never-shown mother.  Is she supposed to be Carrie?  Weird.
Conflict arises when a quartet of bikers- who just drive around being dicks- show up at their house.  The dad escalates things by pulling a gun on them when they won't leave and gets killed for it- all while the kids watch.
When a creditor comes the next day, they do the only natural thing: reanimate their dead father to scare him.  In Horror Cliche #57, he has a heart attack and dies from that.

I should note that there is a Hitchcock connection here as they dump the car in a lake like the boy 'saw in a movie.'  That movie is obviously Psycho.  Weird.
To help the film reach 90 minutes, we have what amounts to the Sub-Plot featuring Fabian and Burns.  They don't add much, really.  Thanks for at least being the best Actors here.
Daddy comes into play alot in the 2nd and 3rd Acts as he kills two of the bikers from under the sand!  He's the early version of Sand Sharks!

He also scares two Surfers, the latter of whom has lines like 'Hey man, let's go get high' and 'If he said anything else, I'd wring his neck.'  They don't die- sadly?  No Poor Bastards of Cinema today.
The remaining Bikers take Burns and find the kids.  After having just buried him (or rather, having him bury himself), they bring Daddy back to kill 'Billy' here.  He does the 'I'll keep shooting, since the 5th bullet will definitely work!' Cliche.  I love it.

As for the other guy, he dies after being shot by Fabian, following a jazz-accompanied car chase.  Sure- why not at this point?
The day is saved and Burns promises to keep the kids' secret.  Fabian, however, has some questions, leading to...a shot of Daddy's car starting up again on a beach.  Um...okay.  The End.
It falls somewhere between Village of the Damned (1960), Seconds Apart and Village of the Damned (1995) for me.  To be honest, the film isn't good.  The thing is that the premise and execution is so goofy that it just hard to stay mad at it.  Let's compare some more, shall we?  The original Village is just great, making those kids be a menace.  In this film, the boy tries his best, while the girl looks less threatening than Drew Barrymore in Firestarter.  Seconds has a plot that sounds interesting, but falls apart the more you think about it.  Their house is actually ruined, but they kept a permanent illusion up at all times in case anyone drove by or looked at it on Google Earth?!?  Did they fool Google Earth/Maps too, by the way?  This plot makes more sense and its biggest potential issue- who checks on the kids- is constantly focused on.  The set-up allows for them to not be in School and they try to cover their tracks.  No complaints there, to be honest.  The Village remake has issues with putting in lots more gore just to appease a then-modern audience.  This film has pretty bloodless killings, so it is not going to offend anyone too much.  It does have a lot of pointless nudity from the film's one other woman- the Biker Lady.  Is this film as bad as people complain?  I'd say 'no.'  Like I said, it is not good, but it is nowhere near being the worst film ever or anything.  If the goofy premise had been done more competently and with more 'gusto,' it could be a real Cult Classic.  Dare I ask a good Director/Writer to Remake it?  If they can make it good, sure.  Oh and make sure to include the best Credit from this film too...
Next up, some Public Domain from my cheapo DVD collection.  It has been long enough for me to fairly critique a Richard Matheson adaptation now, I think.  Stay tuned...

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