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Point of Terror 
Written by: on August 29th, 2010


Theatrical Release Date:
USA, 1971
Director: Alex Nicol
Writers: Peter Carpenter, Ernest A. Charles, Tony Crechales, Chris Marconi
Cast: Peter Carpenter, Dyanne Thorne, Lory Hansen, Leslie Simms, Joel Marston, Paula Mitchell, Dana Diamond, Al Dunlap, Ernest A. Charles, Roberta Robson, Tony Kent.

DVD released: August 31st, 2010
Approximate running time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.95


His name is Tony Trelos. Trelos, T-R-E-L-O-S. S as in… sex.” – Andrea Hilliard (played by Dyanne Thorne).

All singing, all dancing, all shagging, permed 70′s piece of prime beefcake Tony Trelos (Peter Carpenter) performs twice nightly at the Lobster House, ‘no cover and no minimum’, and when he’s done there isn’t a dry seat in the house, the women swoon over him and I can only imagine the men piss themselves laughing at his dance moves. But Tony wants more out of life, he wants to cut a record and make it to the big time. Lucky for him while sunning himself on a beach, and having an oddly narcissistic homo-erotic nightmare, he bumps into Andrea Hilliard (Dyanne Thorne) wife of record mogul Martin Hilliard. Martin’s in a wheelchair after a car accident and horny lush Andrea’s on the lookout for a toyboy to meet her physical needs – it’s a match made in heaven, until Martin finds out about his wife’s new record signing and finds her humping Tony in his pool! The same night Martin ‘accidentally’ drowns in the pool and Andrea is a free woman. Tony knows Andrea killed her husband and tries to blackmail her into marriage but she laughs at him and tells him she’ll implicate him and they’ll both end up in the big house so shut up and do what I tell you monkey boy! To further complicate matters here comes dead Martin’s daughter from his first marriage, a young blonde beauty improbably named Helayne, that instantly captures Tony’s heart much to the chagrin of evil step-mother Andrea. Will Tony and Helayne live happily ever after? Who was it that murdered Martin’s first wife? And more importantly will Tony ever learn more than three songs?

A lost classic of the drive-in generation! Directed by Alex Nicol, who was primarily an actor throughout the 60′s and 70′s but also directed for TV quite regularly, and written by a quartet of scribes who’s credits are limited to a handful of 70′s thrillers cumulatively.  However this is Peter Carpenter’s show all the way; producer, writer, star and singer he comes across like a hybrid of Sly Stallone and Tom Jones or a 70′s incarnation of Tommy Wiseau if you’re feeling less charitable. A former jazz dancer that only made four movies before his untimely death, reportedly of a massive cerebral hemorrhage sometime in the early 70′s, exact details are still sketchy it seems!

This is a hidden gem of a film but not as a thriller or even as a drama, which is what it purports to be, no sir this is unintentional comedy gold on a level seldom seen anymore these days, think Showgirls only featuring a 70′s medallion man in place of Elizabeth Berkley – there’s even a neon-lit improbably staged pool sex scene! The opening credit sequence alone is worth the $15 DVD price-tag, with Carpenter dressed in a red suede betassled jumpsuit gyrating like an epileptic while singing one of his (insidiously catchy) banging choons “Coooold and heartlesssss” – I watched it three times before I even started the film proper! And when it does begin we are thrown immediately into the weird and wonderful acting world of a pre-Ilsa bikini clad Dyanne Thorne, the film’s patently bonkers femme fatale – what more could cult movie enthusiasts ask for.

The film looks insane with crotch level camera angles aplenty whenever Carpenter is onscreen with his tight, tight trousers and baggy shirts, funky green and red lighting effects drench the production and crimes against humanity prevail in the fashions and wigs on display. The acting is hard to gauge, for the most part I’m inclined to believe that Carpenter knows exactly what he’s doing with tongue placed firmly in cheek but just when you think you’ve got him figured out he’ll go and perform a haunting little monologue, shedding actual tears on cue. Thorne is her usual malevolent ice-queen self leading with her chest and the peripheral acting is all quite average with a special mention going to Leslie Simms, suitably watchable as the rich alcoholic neighbor and convenient exposition spouter. The plot is all over the place with what-the-fuck moments aplenty as most of the characters act in oddly motivated ways that have little to do with any ongoing storyline but then that just makes for an atmosphere of unpredictability which can’t and in fact doesn’t fail to deliver with a truly outrageous ending which I won’t spoil for you. Suffice to say I was sad when it was all over and I enjoyed the ride immensely.

A final warning to serious movie enthusiasts however this is 70′s drive-in cheese and your enjoyment of it will be dependent on a healthy sense of humor and an abiding love for cult flicks!

The DVD:

The 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen picture looks very good indeed despite some very minor motion issues; colors are strong and vivid, good contrast levels, solid blacks, some minor print damage that is fairly unnoticeable. Some softness which is due mainly to that inimitable 70′s style of cinematography. Mono English audio track is clean and clear with Carpenter’s crooning booming forth from the speakers in healthy fashion.

Extras include:

Remembering Peter Carpenter: An Interview With Peter’s Acting Teacher/Co-Star Leslie Simms – Running 15 minutes this is a friendly chat with Simms in a outdoor cafe as she recounts her experiences of working with Carpenter and appearing in his films. She also talks about her personal friendship with him which extended back to when he was still known as Page Carpenter, his real name. She also adds a few specific anecdotes about working on Carpenter’s film Blood Mania which was made before Point Of Terror.

Telephone Interview With Star Dyanne Thorne – Running 15 minutes, this is an interesting chat with Thorne which is very specific in it’s discussion of Point Of Terror. Having been given a copy of the film to watch she has the production clear in her mind which allows her to provide quite a few revealing anecdotes about her experience making the film as well as discussing her co-stars and the crew she worked with and she even goes on to comment on how the finished film stacks up today.

Also included is an original theatrical trailer.

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