10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Mind Twister 
Written by: on July 7th, 2011

Release Dates: USA, 1994
VHS Release: VCI Home Video
Production Company: Smart Egg Pictures
Approximate running time: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Language: English

Director: Fred Olen Ray
Writer: Mark Thomas McGee
Cinematographer: Gary Graver
Cast: Telly Savalas, Suzanne Slater, Gary Hudson, Erika Nann

SYNOPSIS: As the film opens, we are first treated to a woman in a ball-gag being seriously beat and thrown around an apartment room. All we see of the person beating them, is that they are wearing black gloves. Fast forward, we are now introduced to our main cop Richard Howland (Savalas) investigating the murder. The body was found naked, and found with a butterfly tattoo on her back. Then seeing our female supporting character, Heather Black (Slater) one month later going to her psychiatrist (Hudson), posing as a woman who had supposedly dreamed of last months beating, trying to make her psychiatrist confess of being the one who beat her friend. Her & one of her friends are secretly trying to make him admit he is the one who murdered their friend. At the police force, it is Howland’s birthday, where the whole staff must really appreciate birthdays, because one of the other cops, Frank Webb (Richard Roundtree) gives Howland a cupcake with only one candle on it, while Howland can barely blow out!

After this & that happens with the girls and their psychiatrist, she is eventually invited into the home of the psychiatrist & his wife (Nann). They bring Heather into a back room while they refer to as "The Game Room", which they tell her is to help treat her sex life. The room in reality is pretty much just an S&M room. After Heather & the wife get pretty "into it" while the psychiatrist records them, Heathe stops and leaves the home. Sending her friend & her boyfriend in worries. So they go to Howland, propping to set up a trap, catching the couple in the act of murder. After another woman at the police force is murdered by the psychiatrists wife after she witnesses a death by the wife, Howland is fully blown into believing Heather & her boyfriend. Since the raunchy scene between Heather & the wife was recorded by the psychiatrist, she sneaks into their home when they weren’t home, searching for the tape. In "The Game Room", Heather finds several blank VHS tapes containing crude videos of the wife in a dominatrix outfit beating women to their death.
Once all the characters are personally involved in a showdown, who will survive on top, and who, will be the next ones to die on videotape?

Apparently the director of this movie, is a heavy porn director. (Seeing as over 95% of his movies have the word "Bikini" in the title) Now, of course we do get that touch in this film with several hardcore sex scenes with a good chunk of lesbian sex activity as well (mainly on uncovered videotapes that Heather finds). So we have the fact, its a porn director doing his best try to transition into doing a mystery / suspense thriller movies. A couple things I wish about the movie, was that I wish Telly Savalas’ could have had more screen time. He’s in a lot of the movie, but its still a little more centered on Heather & the psychiatrist & his wife. Once I heard Richard Roundtree was in the movie, I got kind of excited, after seeing him in some decent action movies like the Shaft movies & Killpoint. But here, he has a minor role as another cop, and doesn’t really get that much to do in the film. While the film doesn’t have a lot of death scenes or its not action-packed, it’s not really supposed to be, it is just a mystery / suspense deal. (If you took away some of the sex, this would appear as one of those Lifetime / Hallmark mystery movies). It had a decent ending, this was one of the Savalas’ last movies, I think this was the last movie he shot. (It wasn’t the last one released, but I’m pretty sure its the last that he actually shot). I have seen Savalas in several lower budget "horror" movies before, such as Horror Express & Faceless. But this, being more of a mystery deal, I thought it was decent. At least Savalas’ last shot film wasn’t a piece of garbage. Savalas’ character does well, and I thought it was the perfect role for him to end out on. Playing a cop, just like in the good ol’ days. The music in the film is very subtle, and cool at times. I thought the music for the film was done really well.

The DVD:

Well, the film never had a release on DVD. Only on VHS was the film released. Upon looking up the VHS online, I find that it is selling for ridiculous prices. ($80+) I mean, would I recommend taking that much of your money to buy this, no, but if you ever find a cheap copy somehow, or get a bootleg DVD-R of it, sure, I would definitely give it ago. The VHS does have pretty clear picture & sound. Although while the sound is clear, it is quiet, so I had to turn up the volume pretty high on my TV for it. I don’t know if it’s just my copy that’s like that, or if that is how the film was shot & all copies are like that.
Closing, I thought this was a pretty good mystery / suspense film. It does feature A LOT of sexuality throughout, and its pretty hardcore at points too. Soundtrack was also very good. When there are the few violent scenes, they do show them in pretty good detail, and I thought Savalas was good in it. Although I wish him & Richard Roundtree both could have had more screen time. So, if your a fan of mystery / suspense films, and you find a copy of this for cheaper than $80, then I would say give it a go. If your a fan of movies with a lot of sexuality scenes & stuff like that, there is also a lot of that in the film in case you get interested in that. So, my final thoughts are that, this was a pretty good mystery film.

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