I am not sure if this belongs in the Hall of Shame as there are moments that elevate it to at least B-movie goodness. But, for the fact that Mario Lopez is billed ahead of Gary Busey. Bo Hopkins, Rance Howard, and David Naughton, I will place it here. This does not mean it isn’t worth a rent, but I can’t recommend buying this DVD.
Crack in the Floor is a schizophrenic movie. At times it tries to be a straightforward stalk-and -kill movie (of the sort that the direct to cable/video store market was re-saturated with following the success of Scream) and at other times it is a quirky, funny, stalk-and-kill movie where very good actors breathe life into an otherwise atrocious script.
Strangely the movie takes a final thirty-minute long nose dive into absolute formulaic stupidity. Perhaps the directors Sean Staneck and Corby Timbrook looked at the footage of their good actors, compared it with the talent less pool of sub-talented sub-human actors and thought, “well crap, we have three minutes of Gary Busey... Let’s just one-take the rest of this crap and go get a pizza.”
I am at a loss. If this film were a jet plane this would be the equivalent of losing cabin pressure three miles from the runway and plummeting into the ground.
Okay... A little trivia in case you are ever on Jeopardy and faced with the category “Actors who should be tried for war crimes”:
Sean Stanek was the assistant director of “Dragon, the Bruce Lee Story” as well as an actor with such distinguished roles as - “Hot Rodder” in Starman and “Younger Hood” in Almost an Angel.
Corby Timbrook was Lance in “Ski Patrol”.
Sometimes I want to kiss the www.imdb.com....
Anyway, we should get on with what little story there is. We begin in the woods at a cabin (from the now famous Kaczinski Acres line of one room shacks) as Tracy Scoggins is burying her husband beneath a small tree. She is with her son Jeremiah, a young boy of about 9 years old or so. It never specifies any dates so I am guessing. I initially estimated that this was supposed to be somewhere in the late 1800s or so because Scoggins is dressed in the height of rustic antebellum southern clothes. A black mourning dress and head-kerchief while Jeremiah is in shorts and a cotton button down shirt. He is also playing persistently with a toy horse with small wagon wheels on it.
Anyway... a few days later two hoodlums directly from a community theater production of “The Grapes of Wrath” appear while she is hanging what appears to be completely dry laundry on a clothes line. She sends Jeremiah inside and asks the men to leave.
They decide to rape her instead. This scene is completely idiotic as both men have their way with Scoggins in front of the boy. However, neither man takes off his pants.
(Shakes head in disbelief) Since we have no reason to even give a shit about Tracy Scoggins the rape is nothing more than exploitation garbage. It serves only to motivate (I think) Jeremiah's strange behavior later in the film but since it is never explored they could have easily replaced it with her being eaten by a bear, or succumbing to cancer, or something... anything.
Okay, so Cletus and Roscoe dry-hump Scoggins for a short while then cut her throat.
Cut to an inter title that reads 33 years later. I am going to pause so you can do the math...
Since the 33 years later brings us to “today” then the whole Scoggins and the Oh Brother Where Art Though extras rape sequence actually took place somewhere around 1970.
I was unaware that pioneers still homesteaded in the 1970’s. This is only one example of several zillion of things that are very wrong with this movie.
We meet the first of our victims. Brad and Jesse are backpacking through the woods. They come to the same cottage (still with a manicured yard I might add) and decide to go in for some hanky panky.
Cut to an eye peering up at them through the floorboard. This is the perennial “Crack in the Floor” of the title. I will not even go into the whole physics of light and line of site thing here. Needless to say, from his vantage point below the floor Jeremiah would be able to see nothing, yet in this film he sees all.
Brad and Maggie die off screen.
Cut to (Sheriff Talmidge) Bo Hopkins having some Hee-Haw fun with his idiot deputy Kevin (Stephen Saux) and fat clerk Maggie (Jaqui Bambrook). There is also an old guy at the Sheriff’s office but I have no idea what his name is. He does resemble the bearded old guy on the Simpsons (That’s a paddlin’!) who lives with Abe Simpson at the old folks home... Anyway, they get two missing persons reports for Brad and Maggie and another report that a helicopter has spotted a car sunk in the reservoir.
Sheriff Talmidge goes off to investigate. I was kind of bummed to see Bo Hopkins in this movie. For me he will always be Crazy Dan in “The Wild Bunch” singing “Bringing in the sheep” with his hostages until he is gunned down. Bo Hopkins is a good actor, and even with a script as devoid of worth as this, he delivers his lines well and actually generates a little bit of sympathy.
Okay... where was I? Oh yeah, Sheriff Talmidge is on the way to the reservoir and we learn a few mostly useless expository plot points. The first is that Kevin does not have a working radio in his cruiser. This is not such a big deal really. But it does come into play. We also learn that his office is understaffed to the point of being the same law enforcement arrangement as they had in Mayberry back in the 1960s.
He arrives as the reservoir just in time for a guy to come charging out of the water wearing a wet suit and some swim goggles. He is frantic and explains that he hasn’t found one car, he’s found 25 cars!
Now how on Earth did a chopper miss the other 24 cars? If they could see one, then they should have at least seen some of the other ones... While I am on the subject, why in the hell didn’t anyone notice say, an oil slick, or the stink of gasoline emanating from the reservoir. Someone should have at least tasted that the water was screwy back in town.
It is at this point that the film offers its only logical dialogue. When asked why he thinks all these cars are in the reservoir, Sheriff Talmidge replies “It’s probably an insurance scam.”
After all, would you immediately jump to the conclusion that it is some deranged serial killer? I think not. But I know a whole shit load of movies that would have (and they are all better than this!).
Okay. Sheriff Talmidge deputizes the spastic guy in the wet suit who immediately begins barking orders to.... NOBODY! It matters not as we never see this guy again.
Okay, it’s time to meet the campers. They are:
Lehman (Mario Lopez of “Saved by the Bell”... er... fame)
Heidi (Daisy McCrackin who looks almost exactly like Heather Graham)
Kate (Justine Priestley) who has received disturbing medical news on her answering machine
Billy (Jason Oliver) boyfriend of Kate
Sunny (Francesca Orsi) a stoner/hippy chick who is working on a thesis that re-sensitizing oneself to violent imagery requires pot smoking
Johnny (Bentley Mitchum) Sunny’s stoner boyfriend who is also a bad poet
This movie alternates between Sheriff Talmidge and the campers for a while so try not to get lost in the intriguing twists and turns of the plot... um... if there is one.
Okay. So the reason all these victims go off together is that they made a pact in high school to get together every year and go on an adventure. All except Heidi. She is Lehman’s new squeeze, a part time exotic dancer and special-ed teacher in training. The rest of the gang “initiates” her with practical jokes and scary stories that are extremely annoying to the viewers of this film. They all ride in a big-ass behemoth Ford Excursion, and yes, there is s scene where they stop for gas.
Cut back to the Hee-Haw Sheriff’s office for some completely unnecessary comic relief.
Cut back to the sheriff. He’s stumbled upon the cabin where Brad and Jesse were killed. Inside he finds their camping gear and leaves them a note, or something... Since Bo Hopkins is an actor he doesn’t explain what he is doing. A real sheriff wouldn’t say, “I am going to leave them a note” he just would. That’s what Bo does.
We see Bo from the eyes of “the killer” but he does not strike.
Cut to the Sheriff’s office again. Now Maggie is gone for some appointment (which keeps her away for the rest of the film) and Kevin is complaining about the radio in his car to the Sheriff over the station radio. Kevin notices that the license of the first truck spotted in the reservoir belongs to the two missing persons Brad and Jesse.
Sheriff Talmidge asks Kevin to check the list of license numbers of the cars in the reservoir.
On a personal note. If 24 cars were also in the reservoir, wouldn’t there be a whole load of other missing persons reports? Perhaps I am over thinking this, but it irks me that the script is so poorly written.
The Sheriff goes back to the cabin where he is killed with a pitchfork.
Meanwhile Lehman and friends have stopped for gas on a dirt road. Why is there a gas station there? No reason other than to serve the idiotic plot. The sign is even misspelled but offers a free bucket of fried chicken with every fill up.
I am no civil engineer, but underground storage tanks on a dirt embankment at a gas station only accessible from a windy dirt road is probably a zoning violation. Also, how do they get the tanks refilled? The Ford Excursion brushes the bushes on both sides of the path so there is no way in hell that a tanker truck full of super unleaded is going to make it up there.
The gas station is fun by Floyd Fryed (Rance Howard). I think he is supposed to have one arm missing. This awesome effect is accomplished by having Rance Howard stick one arm inside his shirt and down into his overalls. Therefore, the arm is clearly visible under the shirt.
This is just another example of the quality of this film. Crap!
Okay, everyone breaks into little groups. Heidi and Kate head off to the toilet while Johnny and Sunny go off to smoke pot as Lehman and Billy banter with Floyd (it’s excruciating) and throw a football around.
Here we get our first inkling that all is not right with the merry group of campers. Billy has overheard the message on Kate’s answering machine and is worried that something is wrong with her. Lehman doesn’t show much care for his lifelong friend and brushes Billy’s fears off. Meanwhile Kate and Heidi have a little girl talk about Heidi and Lehman’s relationship.
Johnny and Sunny, now stoned, wander around the property until they find a yard filled with several decapitated chickens. This is the best scene in the movie because it contains the best actor in the movie. Gary Busey, dressed in blood soaked polyester suit, and wielding an axe surprises the two disgusted campers. He explains that the dog had his way with several of the chickens and that they all have to be killed in case the dog had rabies. When Sunny pukes at this revelation he suggests she take a dead chicken wing and stick it up her ass so that when she farts it smells like southern fried chicken.
I was rolling on the floor laughing.
Okay. That over, you can now remove the DVD from the player and throw it away.
If you are tempted to keep it in believing that another nugget of joy awaits later in the film, you’re wrong.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Everyone piles back into the truck and takes off with the bucket of chicken. About fifty yards later they all hurl the chicken out the window once Billy explains what was going on behind the shack-cum-gas station.
They park about 50 yards from the abandoned Sheriff’s truck and start hiking.
Lehman disappears and everyone panics. Since he is known as “the funny one” of the bunch the other campers think this is a Lehman sponsored practical joke. When they find his backpack in the middle of the trail they then panic. Well.... Heidi panics actually and runs off forcing the others to give chase.
This is extremely boring.
Lehman pops out of the woods after Billy has successfully leg tackled Heidi and he doesn’t know why everyone was so worried. His excuse for disappearing was, “I saw a rabbit and thought we could have it for dinner.”
Since he is carrying nothing but his hands I tend to doubt that even if he caught the rabbit he would have been able to do anything but get bitten, later rabies, then hallucinations, then a slow painful death which is what he deserves for being on Saved by the Bell in the first place.
As they say, it’s always fun until someone loses an eye. In this case it’s a sprained ankle. I guess Sunny is an orthopedic specialist aside from being a pot smoking violence peeper because she diagnoses her own ankle with ease.
Now she must be helped along the trail to... Jeremiah’s cabin.
There is some discussion as to whether or not they should stay in what is most likely someone’s home. But, since Sunny has a sprain they decide to stay anyway.
While collecting firewood Billy and Kate have a heart to heart and we learn that she’s pregnant.
Now there is some useless filler as Billy tells a ghost story about the Empty Man. Empty Man was an EMT who needed a transplant but couldn’t get one so kills accident victims to harvest their organs. Empty Man is played (without a single line) David Naughton.
Now I ask. What has gone so wrong for David Naughton that he would want to be in this movie? The scene sets up a placed for Johnny to read some of his crap poetry. Take my advise here people, mute the surround sound system, and turn off the subtitles as Johnny writes what can only be described as Vogon Poetry. If you have no idea what Vogon poetry is I pity you.
Jeremiah is prowling around the camp and we get some shots of his shoes and his pant legs.
Heidi screams when she sees a mouse inside the cabin offering ample opportunities for you viewers to scream expletives at the television.
Okay, this is the home stretch, there’s only 30 minutes of the movie left. Several reasons for the campers to separate from the pack are offered and taken by the assorted couples.
Lehman and Heidi go off to shag, then Lehman goes off to pee leaving Heidi alone.
Jeremiah twists her head around and breaks her neck. Lehman finds her and runs off screaming like a little girly-man. (this is actually an okay scene as Heidi’s head is left face-up while her body is face-down.
Johnny goes off to smoke pot alone and finds the basement where Jeremiah lives. He too has his head twisted.
Billy goes off to look for Lehman and finds Heidi’s body. It appears that he is all of fifty feet from the cabin, so why Lehman went running off into the darkness is even more stupid now than it was before.
As he runs back to the cabin he steps in a conveniently placed bear trap. Kate rushes to assist him leaving Sunny alone in the cabin.
Jeremiah kills Sunny with a kung-fu neck twist. I guess he is a ninja or something....
While Kate tries desperately to free Billy from the trap with what can only be described as a dry twig, Jeremiah shows up and buries a pickax in Billy’s shoulder and knocked Kate out with one punch.
She has a glass jaw I guess.
Cut to the basement where Kate is now tied up. She pleads with Jeremiah to free her so she can help Billy. Jeremiah then cuts her ropes. Now, why would he do this after going through all the trouble to catch and tie her up in the first place?
But I digress...
Billy thunders into frame and pick-axes Jeremiah in the shoulder this giving himself and Kate a chance to flee.
About twenty yards from the cabin Billy’s injuries catch up with him and he collapses. Kate doesn’t want to leave him and waits until Jeremiah is almost atop them before running off. Jeremiah kills Billy with the pickax then throws the pickax at Kate killing her.
Lehman runs out of the woods like a crazy man right in front of Deputy Kevin’s car. He is out searching for the Sheriff. He has a new radio and cannot understand why the Sheriff has not answered.
Lehman is arrested and taken back to the Sheriff’s office. He convinces Deputy Kevin to take him back to the cabin and look for his friends.
Jeremiah kills them both.
End of movie.
They just keep getting worse I tell you. There is no reason why this movie even exists. There are no truly sympathetic characters except for the Sheriff, and he dies in the first half hour or so. I am convinced that all viewers of this film will be praying for the deaths to the campers much sooner than they occur. I know I did. I especially wanted Lehman to die. The quirky cameo appearances only serve to break the monotony of the film and offer nothing in the manner of plot advancement.
There are some spring loaded cat sequences that aren’t worth mentioning. None of them gave me even an inkling of a shudder.
It is best to try and forget this movie now. Again I rented this for $.99 and I was cheated.
The DVD, like the film contained on it, contains nothing special. All this one has is a chapter search. If there were Easter eggs I didn’t find any. The film is presented in full screen format and it seems to have been filmed that way as no pan and scan was noticeable by this victim... er... reviewer.
There are several things you can enjoy rather than sitting through “A Crack in the Floor” gargling drain cleaner? A rectal entry root canal could be described as more pleasurable than watching this movie.