Twice Dead (1988)

Directed by: Bert L. Dragin

Written by: Bert L. Dragin & Robert McDonnell


Tom Bresnahan .... Scott Cates
Jill Whitlow .... Robin Cates / Myrna
Jonathan Chapin .... Crip / Tyler Walker
Christopher Burgard .... Silk
Sam Melville .... Harry Cates
Brooke Bundy .... Sylvia Cates
Shawn Player .... Stony
Joleen Lutz .... Candy
Travis McKenna .... Melvin
Charlie Spradling .... Tina
Todd Bridges .... Petie

Release Date:
Limited Theatrical:
October, 1988





The Cates family inherits an old mansion of a deranged stage actor who killed himself decades before but they realise that a vicious gang of punks seems to make that property their own turf causing trouble for them but things get worst as the ghost of the actor haunts the mansion and is not pleased with their intrusion.


There's a prologue taking place in around the 1920's as the moments looked a bit wooden with the character Tyler Walker doing a dance spin acting emotionless and expressionless while doing this like watching some sort of a music box as well as the police trying to get in for being evicted to his home after what he's done which could've looked a bit more convincing but this scene wasn't terrible by any means as well as them bursting inot the room to spot something horrific to what this disturbed man has done which you think to yourself right away what has already happened.
Perfect tense moment when it takes place present day when the Cates family is about to move into the mansion and the gang of punks are residing there in which this makes you cringe wondering on if the family will be endangered by them. Nice add into the story on what could happen here. Plus some nice one liners coming from the family man Harry to bring out his shotgun.
Nice still setting when the son Scott hears some thumping up in the attic and he cautiously walks up the stairs with some candles to hear where the noise is coming from drawing in a nice spooky mysterious feel to everything and wondering if something scary is going to happen as this for sure can give you the chills for a second.
I enjoyed a scene when both Scott and his sister Robin goes to a ball park to hang out and meet up with the boy next door basketball player Petie to shoot hoops with him which seemed to work in well for the story and then the punks come in to cause trouble which looked intense by all that's happening. Seemed to work in nicely sometimes making it hard to watch. But yet a perfect moment when Scott steals a motorbike that belongs to Melvin and starts to chase after them with it which I thought worked great into the story as well.
Nice camera shot panning in on Scott sleeping which leaves a haunting feel to the story as well as an object wrapping around his neck having a cheesy ghostly feel to it all but it looked fun watching this moment unravel.
A good shot on Robin in her bedroom near a mirror and we see a haunting reflection of Tyler holding a knife and her spotting this getting scared which didn't seem to do the work to make this moment look creepy but still drew in the mild mysterious moments.
Nice moment when Robin is sleeping and her cat runs off as well as her trying to find her pet and we hear a screeching noise as well as trying to follow where this feline went off which leaves a sinking feeling that something devastating has happened by how this was all set out.
Perfect intense and hyped up moments when the punks terrorise both Scott and Robin in the front of their house and being violent about it all which was fast paced while watching all of this unravel. Plus a good moment on their father coming out with a shotgun trying to shoot them as it made me hope he would've gotten one of them.
Oddly interesting when Harry tries to teach his son on how to fire a shotgun in a junkyard but doesn't want to in which this parents certainly shows some hard assed behavior towards him as the moment looked mildly dysfunctional as this seemed to work in well to the story as well as nice shots on Scott then firing away which looked well done.
Perfect action moments when both Scott and Robin are speeding away in a funeral car they found at the mansion from the punks chasing after them as well as they cleverly find a way to lose them that involves a coffin in the back of the vehicle and what they do in order to distract these punks as this looked exciting while watching all of this.
There's situations when the punks try to invade the mansion once again as we get an impressive moment with Melvin driving his motorbike in along with seeing what seems like a gruesome quick spotting the siblings which made this a little confusing as to what was happening as well as what looked like fake slaughterings towards these punks but then this ends up as a trick which made me wonder more and more if the horror will happen again as it seemed like just a thriller so far.
Impressive moment when a mysterious pizza delivery person comes to their door when Petie is hanging out with them which leaves a chilling moment that this was all a set up for more trouble.
Perfect night shots on Petie trying to outrun from the punks taking short cuts and finding a way to lose them but leaves a chill down your spine that he won't succeed while you continue to watch al of this unravel.
Perfect camera shots on disco lights shining on both Robin and Scott with the punks displaying this partying at their home in which things looked perfectly wild as well as intense moments when Scott points a shotgun at the leader Silk as he dares him to pull the trigger which is a great eye catcher wondering if he has the guts to in which I was thinking shoot this prick!
Also we spot one of the punks Crip being obsessed with Robin and they end up being dressed in wedding suits in which this seemed to be a good drawing card to what we saw in the beginning of the story which this unravels the horror once again as it was about time.
Nice shot on an inside reflection of Tyler and then the mirror exploding which looked effective as well as Melvin's motorbike coming to life and constantly driving into him which looked mildly brutal but could've picked up the pace a bit more. Almsot seemed to pay a tribute to Christine.
Then exciting moments start to happen with a couple fornicating in bed and then more ghostly moments happening when they get electrocuted which seemed to look a bit effective.
Plus a nice moment with the police busting in and we have a shotgun controlling Silk which drew a smile on my face getting on what's coming to him.
Clever moments on when we think that the terror is over but makes us believe that it's not done yet along with the moments revealing that the last moments we spot here was just a nightmare or was it????
Bottom line is at first the story seems exciting as I enjoy films with punks causing trouble and getting their just desserts in the end but in many moments the story was quite slow and taking some time to get to the point of stuff along with some confusing moments too. It can be alot of fun if you're in the mood for it though. However it isn't as spooky as the makers were trying to make ir out to be.

The acting stands out in a mediocre pace in which Tom Bresnahan (Scott Cates) seemed to be one of the best performers in the film showing off good energy and enthusiasm into his role. He shines off as a kid next door type of appeal. Also knew on how to jump into the action of things or acting intense and aggressive while pointing a shotgun at someone else which seemed impressive as well. He was a fine character actor.
Jill Whitlow (Robin Cates / Myrna) however seemed to lack inspiration with what she did having a soft spoken voice as it works for her part but when she reacts to stuff when she talks it just doesn't seem to cut it at all. She wasn't terrible but needed to pick up the pace a bit. Her healthy girl looks did more of the talking than her performance.
Jonathan Chapin (Crip / Tyler Walker) really made his role incredibly creepy and effective as a freaky member of the punks with his obsessions and seemingly possessive on someone else as he brought alot of great adrenaline to his part of the story. He for sure made his part seem truly mysterious and just making his part unsafe. Also shows a nice versatality portraying another role acting emotionless and silent which he studied these characters inside out.
Christopher Burgard (Silk) certainly lived up to his role as the leader of the gang in which he shows a perfect obnoxious and vicious atttiude. Plus knew on how to act violent along with his vicious speaking. He was perfectly slick and destructive to what he did in his role. Plus had the right looks and appeal to this part.
Sam Melville (Harry Cates) however was a bit wooden in his performance as the family man in which he shows his aggressions yes but his characteristics were another story. He sometimes draws across not too shabbily and had the right appeal for his part in the story but needed a bit of an improvement to what he had to do to make it look more realistic.
Brooke Bundy (Sylvia Cates) as the family woman seemed to b reeze through pretty good in which she had the right wholesome looks as well as a good calmness to her role in the film along with saying her lines pretty good too. She proves her role quite worthy. Was convincing with her motherly attitude.
Joleen Lutz (Candy) looked effective as a tough girl of the punks in which she seemed to show off a high pitched slutty behavior as well as really getting into the things that she did during her scene's as she was very energetic throughout everything. Had the right looks for her role which was another plus.
Travis McKenna (Melvin) stood out strongly as the bad ass biker in which he for sure shows off his loud aggressions and plunging into the action of things. He for sure brought things to a great hype within all that he did here. Knew on how to come across as someone not to mess with.
Todd Bridges (Petie) brought out a ton of great spunk into his role as a typical teenager who likes to play basketball in which he delivered his friendly attitude greatly as a neighborly kind. He was another good example as a kid next door. Also shows off great fearful adrenaline near the end of his performance while trying to get away from the gang chasing him. Proves he can wear other hats than in Different Strokes.

Joleen Lutz shows it off barebreasted in a certain scene as well as fornicating with someone else in a bedroom.

Cat is bloodily impaled on the front of a house door.
A biker is bloodied while a motorbike runs him over a few times but not too gruesome.
Head is crushed flat in a dumb waiter corridor.
Person blows his brains out as blood splurts in the back of his head.

The music by David Bergeaud is pretty good in which there's nice high pitched smooth violin music making the moments seem pretty spooky especially for the still moments that were used in the scene's. Also there's some twisted sounds for the haunting moments as this indeed worked in well. Plus there's odd cheesy adventureous music for the chasing scene's with the punks yet it sounded fun regardless.

There's also a soundtrack which worked in nicely but only a couple stand out:

A nice moment when the punks break into the house and blast the music "Born to Rock" by Wildcats in which the vocalising and guitar riffs sounded great and wild as it stood out for an 80's flick such as this one
Then we have the closing credits by the title song "Twice Dead" by Poor Saint Christopher as the vocalising sounded a bit off but hey it sounded like a rockabilly group as I dig that style and it has a horror feel to it all.