The Cold

July 25, 2016 at 2:41 am (4 Heads, Cold, The) (, , , )

The Cold – 1984 – United States

In The Cold’s title sequence, ragtime music plays and various board games (including the Mad Magazine Game) are shown. Afterward, the rhyming narrator introduces the film’s plot.  “Once upon a time in a far away resort, three millionaire eccentrics played a game for fun and sport.” These demented millionaires recruit greedy weirdoes to compete in the “Game of Fear” for a million dollars. The players (a lawyer, an ex-con, two trampy women, and three country musicians) stay at a resort while the millionaires try to terrify them into leaving.

The resort is rigged with illusionary special effects that are not even remotely frightening. The halls fill with freezing fog. A skeleton pops out of the closet. A fake shark swims in the pool. A tarantula crawls out of someone’s soup. After these childish pranks, things get a little more warped. A phallic monster assaults a sleeping woman. A woman’s husband disappears and his hanging corpse shows up on TV. A woman is forced to play Russian roulette.  One player is an undercover cop who believes that the game is concealing real murders. It turns out that he is wrong, or maybe not. The Cold’s silly double twist ending does not make any sense. At the end, the film’s narrator even admits as much.

The Cold is pretty dumb. It awkwardly combines horror and comedy but without understanding either. Tarantulas are not scary. Watching old people squabble is not funny. The plot is so full of holes that the film feels like it is missing scenes, and the characters behave illogically. In the climax, a man goes murderously insane with grief when a woman he just met is apparently killed. By the final scene, when a ghost appears and freezes the millionaires to death, you will not really care what is happening. You will care even less when they come back to life moments later.

Rating: 4/10 Shrunken Heads. The Cold was shot at the Northernaire Resort in Three Lakes, Wisconsin. The resort is still open, but the building in the film was demolished in 1995.

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