The Cellar (1989)

   
Directed by: Kevin S. Tenney

Written by: John Woodward

Screen Story: John Woodword & Darryl Wimberly

Short Story by: David Henry Kellar

Starring:

Patrick Kilpatrick .... Mance
Suzanne Savoy .... Emily
Chris Miller .... Willy
Ford Rainey .... T.C. Van Houten
Michael Wren .... Chief Sam John
Lou Perry .... Kyle Boatwright
Alan Pedersen ....Tommy Boatwright

Release Date: Direct-to-Video: November, 1989 (West Germany)

 

 

Rating:

 

A young boy named Willy (Chris Miller) lives with his father Mance (Patrick Kilpatrick), stepmother Emily (Suzanne Savoy) and baby half sister.
Mance one time goes to the cellar to hear some growling sounds down there and becomes afraid of what might be down there but is scared that his son won't love him if he shows his fear so he shrugs it off but his son realises that his floor nearly broke open and also enounters a deadly monsterous hand that nearly grabbed him at a small lagoon where he is playing but no one believes his stroy so he tries to find a way to trap this monster.
Well one of the locals that once lived at that house by the name of T.C. (Ford Rainey) tells Willy about his childhood experience on what lurked in the cellar and tries to give Willy a rabbits foot for good luck and to ward off the monster and a local native indian by the name of Cheif Sam John (Michael Wren) also tries to help the family out but Mance tried to ward them off saying that nothing is down in the cellar.
However, deadly incidents starts to happen with the people around them and Willy must try and battle this creature out himself whatever it takes.

 

An interesting beginning in the film here as there's great fast camera shots zooming over the desert as well as the rocky mounts and so fourth with a deep type of narration and brief scene's involving the monster as this can please the low budget horror fans.
Also some nice moments with an eccentric drunken type of a man named T.C. getting beat up by rednecks lead by the obnoxious businessman Kyle Boatwright which for sure looked pretty intense taking place at a pub as well as good camera shots looking down on him being pinned down.
A nice moment with young Willy being frightened after spotting something from his bed which is a nice start to a horror story. Also there's some good uplifting moments when he practisises boxing with his old man Mance and they have fun together wrestling on the ground and a good camera shot looking down on them with a surprising moment on a lizard zooming by and he catches this reptile. Also seems cute when they decide to keep it as a pet.
Things seem really cute when Willy uses his elctronic toy truck with the lizard on it and then the object goes towards the door to the cellar as well as this lizard going under the door like something snatched it plus a brilliant moment on Willy knowing as to what happened with a nice shot on his baby sister crying like she knows as what's down there adding some nice brief chills to the story especially when Willy tells his stepmom Emily that the thing in the cellar got it and not to go down there.
We also spot a good camera shot with him using a tire swing near a lagoon as well as a good creepy shot on a monstrous hand trying to grab at him which should please fans who enjoy low budget monster flicks. Certainly showed nice timing here.
Also a perfect shot with him place some bear traps down in the cellar when things seem still and then suddenly the monster tries to attack him which was quickly paced and necessary as well as him trying to get away which looked good too.
A good moment when Willy tries to prove to his dad about the monster as well as him trying to get him open up the cellar door outside and his Dad gets scared in which leaves a mystery wondering if he knew something about this. Pretty well written in.
A nice situation with Willy involving Chief Sam John revealing Willy's frustrations along with having a good light hearted discussion between the two of them near a bonfire about being okay to be afraid as this moment was strongly put into the story and in a good serious fashion too.
Plus we have some good moments with Mance having to deal with his arrogant employer which happens to be Kyle and his nasty sarcasm towards Willy after experiencing when he peed his pants earlier after experiencing the attack of the monster for the first time and what Mance does to Kyle in order to get even with him which looked good only to get fired by him but you think to yourself what he did was worth it. Nice timing here indeed.
Great dark camera shots with this monster pulling Chief Sam away which keeps you watching and wondering if he will escape or not.
We also have a perfect moment with T.C. having a pleasant discussion with Willy about the problems he's having about the monster in the cellar in which he offers him a rabbit's foot for good luck as well as him talking about the history as to what has happened which looked impressive to watch adding some good suspense.
A great moment with Willy and another friend of his at the lagoon and his friend falling in which made you watch wondering if he will escape as well as some perfect terrorising moments on the monster's hand grabbing at this kid which looked intense and making you wonder if it's too late for this poor lad.
The real dysfunctional moments start to occur here when Mance forces Willy to face his fears but keeping the cellar door open and to be alone in the house which for sure looked perfectly cruel and abusive for a parent to do all of this. Plus we do spot the monster lurking up towards Willy as well as him trying to find a way to protect himself. Plus we spot alot of good suspenseful moments with Mance trying to escape from this beast while we spot him going through the watery tunnels after escaping from the cellar which looked nice to waqtch since we see on the passageways that we haven't spotted previously.
We have a perfect moment with Mance explaining to Willy as to why he did what he did to him facing his fears which explains as to why he snapped like that unsolving a nice mystery element here and the moment looked good and heartwarming.
Bottom line: A film made on quite a low budget but overall a campy fun monster horror flick of every child's fear of a monster lurking in a dark cellar. The effects looked not too bad for the budget this film carried and nice shots on the desert land too. Also a good look on a father and son relationship too which was a labour of love and trying not to be afraid of things that go bump in the night.

The acting is failry descent but not Academy award winning. Still it's above average. Lead actor Patrick Kilpatrick (Mance) seems to pull off his part well as a southern type cowboy father trying to be protective and brave and great with his intensity as well. He has a nice macho type of speaking as well as having a nice charming presence towards him. Was believeable joking and playing around with his onscreen son. He shows off some terrific aggressions ina scene coming across as believeably abusive like and was believeable by hiding his fears too bringing this to life.
Suzanne Savoy
(Emily) made a perfect motherly type of character trying to sympathise on the issues going on. She really shows off a nice attention into what she did and comes across as believeably open minded to things. She speaks well too as someone who comes across as believeably kind. Also does a good job by being defensive as well as acting protective due to a dysfunational situation too. Let's out some good enegry and intensity in certain spots which she let it all out too.
Chris Miller (Willy) as the young heroic and vengeful son is a little rough with some spots of his performance but still carries through at other times. He acts natural when playing with his onscreen Dad as well as playing with his electric vehicle. Plus offers some intensity trying to prevent someone from opening a cellar door which he seemed to focus on pretty well. However when he get anxious by trying to help someone out of a lagoon before the monster gets him or his upsetting actions he is terribly wooden. However he improves while getting defensive while his onscreen father gets demanding with him as well as getting short with him. Plus seems to do okay while freaking out when he is going to be pitted against the monster.
Ford Rainey
(T.C. Van Houten) seemed to pull off his role well as an eccentric old coot and does well with his superstitions to bring good luck due to the dangers of the house and cellar. He does well acting drunk during the beginning of his perfornance as well as acting tense while being beaten up really reacting to all of this. Also shows off a nice charming attitude towards someone else by explaining a situation that happened in the past and really getting into this fairly well.
Michael Wren
(Chief Sam John) seems to perform well as the native indian and trying to be powerful about what is going on. He does a terrific job while sympathising to someone on a scared sitation and really knew on how to get into this moment a great deal with having a perfect personality acting believeably dramatic with this. He also does a good job with his intense energy when he is struggling in his last scene. Shows off a believeable sense of humor too in certain spots.
There's a supporting role by Lou Perry (Kyle Boatwright) who lived to play a jack ass redneck businessman as he stands out well with his part more so than in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
He offers some perfect nasty energy when he attacks and brutalises someone. Was good being sarcastic and nasty towards a kid thinking he can just do what he wants. Also shows off a perfect obnoxious and aggressive attitude too. All of this was drawn in nicely.

Two fingers are cut off
A monsters paw is chewed off
Other than that the gore is PG

We have excellent guitar riffs during the opening and closing credits of the film, some good ole native indian type music since it seems to fit in since the area takes place at a desert as well as showing the indian character and what he has to tell a child as this blends in superbly. Nice desert type playing with the whistle blowing sounding like an outlaw western stylish theme. Plus we hear the odd woodwinds sounds too and some cheesy synthesizer playing especially for when the real terror starts which seems to fit in well for what we spot here all composed by Will Sumner