Silent Madness (1984)

Admittedly most contemporary teen slasher movies suffer from a lack of originality, but Simon Nuchtern’s film is truly an amassment of clichés, stereotypes, predictable plot twists and trite killings. It’s like our director first watched a dozen of other movies and took notes. We need a mental asylum, a sorority house with a bunch of underdressed coeds, a black-and-white flashback of a massacre that took place twenty years ago, a cocky news reporter and a deadweight sheriff. The funniest thing about “Silent Madness” is, in fact, that the lunatic didn’t escape from the asylum, but that he was accidentally released following the dumbest administrative error in history. The release papers were signed for tame patient John Howard, but instead they let go the paranoid and dangerously insane Howard Johns. Two decades ago, he killed several college girls with a nail gun and now promptly heads back to campus to finish his work. There’s a reasonably interesting sub plot about the head doctors at the mental institution being deranged psychopaths themselves, and they are even sending creepy goons after the one good-hearted shrink who’s trying to correct their mistake! Maniacal Howard murders a handful of pledge sisters and hides in the basement of the sorority house, which is – hands down – the biggest basement I’ve ever seen. This basement looks more like an underground steel factory! Regardless of how hard the film tries to be special, it’s a suspenseless and unmemorable horror effort. The 3D effects (quite the hype around the time of release) are poor and derivative, while most of the murders are uninspired. I am afraid, however, that I watched a cut version since the amount of gore was very limited and the running time was nearly six minutes shorter than indicated on IMDb. The beautiful Belinda Montgomery gives away a likable performance and there are neat supportive roles for veterans like Viveca Lindfors (“Creepshow”) and Sydney Lassick (“One Flow over the Cuckoo’s Nest”), but they all deserved a better screenplay. The foreseeable climax even shamelessly rips off the mother (pun intended) of all eighties slasher movies!