It’s been a good 24 hours since I first watched Fear Clinic, and I gotta say I’m feeling pretty damn conflicted about the whole thing. On one end my obsessive love for Robert Englund makes me wanna love this movie, unfortunately on the other end…well, I can’t honestly say that I did love this movie. Fuck if I didn’t want to though, but something was just…missing…damn it.
Firstly lemme just say that Fear Clinic has an incredibly strong cast, all of which are spot fucking on in their performances…and I really do mean all of them. Every cast member from Englund to Fiona Dourif to Slipknot’s Corey Taylor (he can totally act…who knew…also, still hot) and all the way to former adult star Angelina Armani, are all intense, believable and pretty much perfect. Armani being the biggest surprise here for me (yes I was being a judgmental bitch assuming a porn chick couldn’t act), her (totally make-up free) performance as the damaged, deeply traumatized Caylee was so raw and captivating, I must admit she fairly stole every scene she was in…and with a cast this good, that really is saying something. Tragically I don’t see anything all that inspiring in her upcoming filmography, but she’s young, so there’s time…seriously someone cast this girl, she can act (and no she’s not my cousin or anything).
Ms. Armani aside, I can also say that Fear Clinic boasts one of Robert Englund’s best performances to date (and he shows his bare ass in this flick…yeah he’s like 70, but whatever, I’d ogle anyone’s butt), another reason why it pains me to say that this movie could have been so much better.
Alright, so Dr. Andover has invented a machine which he uses to cure his patients’ phobias. It’s basically a big metal coffin shaped sensory deprivation chamber which is supposed to (somehow) access the amygdala, which is the part of the brain responsible for emotion and emotional behavior…so where fear comes from. Still with me? Okay…Once in the big coffin box, the patients experience and conquer their fears via intensely realistic hallucinations, through which they are guided by the voice of Dr. Andover.
Note: I’m horrifically afraid of bugs and I’m pretty sure if I had to experience a massive bug hallucination, it would do the exact opposite of curing me…but I digress.
So Robert Englund cures everyone and life is all rainbows and pretty ponies, until (muhahaha), for some unfathomable reason (which is impossible according to everyone at the clinic) all of Andover’s patients that survived a gunman’s rampage in a local diner are experiencing the symptoms of their phobias again. If that weren’t bad enough, the former patients are also having hyper realistic nightmares about said phobias, nightmares which often included the masked gunman who terrorized them on that fateful day.
So far, so good…
Fiona Dourif (who I have a total lady crush on) is one of those patients who returns to the clinic seeking Andover’s help. Unfortunately Dr. Andover had a screwy experience involving his machine and a patient who subsequently ended up being no longer alive, and he’s gone bat shit cray cray (as movie doctors tend to do…can you imagine a world where real docs went nuts and turned into alcoholics after losing one patient…we’d be frikin doomed).
Englund gets to flex his acting muscles as the unkempt and disillusioned doc who has lost faith in his life’s work, and watching him verbally spar with Fiona (the legend and the legacy…heeeheehee I amuse myself to no end) is awesome because they are both so very talented, so much so that I am seriously wishing that they collaborate again…in a slightly better movie perhaps…ahem.
Now let’s be clear, Fear Clinic isn’t a bad movie, the majority of it is actually a pretty great horror film with excellent build up and an intriguing storyline. The problem here begins roughly one hour in, when it switches from psychological horror with supernatural elements in to a straight up monster movie…which kinda ruined it for me. It’s weird (in a bad way), and so disconnected that it actually feels like they cut two separate movies together for shits and giggles. To top it off, the ending feels hastily stitched together, like the budget ran out and someone said “alrighty let’s wing it”. I was not amused…so I’m just gonna pretend that this was all a terrible mistake and the real ending was destroyed in a catering accident. It’s okay, really, self delusion has helped me through many a trying time (like that time I imagined Fright Night had been remade, but really it hadn’t…no it hasn’t, shut up.)
Now I won’t give away more details, mainly because, despite its flaws, I still think Fear Clinic is a horror movie well worth watching, even if the ending makes little to no sense. So watch the flick chicks (and boys), and remember, Robert Englund is always awesome (even when he isn’t), baby Chucky is a great actress, rockers and former adult stars CAN act (sometimes) and finally, no matter how not great an indie horror is, it’s almost always better than the studio shit (hello everything from M. Night Shyamalan).
Oh and in case you were wondering, DVD & Blu-ray drop February 10.
Happy Viewing Horror Fans & If You Like What You’ve Been Reading, Give a Girl Some Props by Clicking Like 😉