Death Game (1974, 1977) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Mr. Suburban Dad is disappointed that he's spending his 40th birthday alone at home on a rainy night. It seems that one of his kids took sick while visiting grandma, and his wife flew to be at he child's side. Lucky dad won't be alone for long. Two attractive young females knock on his door. They are lost, and they are soaking wet. He offers to let them dry off by his fire and use his phone. The three of them are soon having a menage a trois in the hot tub.

Sounds like a porno movie so far, doesn't it? All it needs is a delivery boy.

Actually it is kinda like a porn movie - except with worse production values.

And the delivery boy will eventually appear!

After a night of sex, the suburban dad decides that it might not be such a good idea to keep the two gals around, since he has a wife and kids, and since the two women are acting demented - throwing stuff around, pounding on his piano as if they were toddlers, wearing his wife's clothes, and eating his food with the table manners of pigs. Unfortunately, the girls don't want to leave, and they make a persuasive case for why they should get their way: they are 15 and 17. They invite Suburban Dad to call the police and have them ejected, if he's willing to face the wrath of the law - not to mention his wife. The rest of the film basically consists of the two girls getting the drop on Mr. Dad, tying him up, torturing him, and destroying his house. Oh, yeah, and killing the delivery boy. This goes on for what seems like weeks until the film ends with a total deus ex machina device that comes absolutely out of nowhere and has nothing to do with anything that came before.

It's a very poor movie in virtually every way. The photography is grainy, the editing is incoherent, the dialogue is by-the-numbers, and the acting by the two girls is wildly over the top. Even though the girls' performances consist mostly of childish taunting, cackling, aimless piano pounding, and diabolical laughter, their noises are actually less annoying than the rest of the soundtrack, which consists of bizarrely inappropriate songs which I presume to have been the filmmaker's attempt at humor. Or something. An old English dancehall song recurs again and again in several scenes, and the hot tub scene is backed by what sounds like the instrumental introduction to the Love Boat theme. I expected Jack Jones to break into song at any time.

The film might have been partly redeemed by a good performance from veteran character actor Seymour Cassel as Mr. Suburban Dad, but Cassel inexplicably provides only the visual portion of the performance. His voice was provided a different actor - actually it sounds more like a radio announcer - who dubbed every single line of dialogue! There are also times when the mystery voice appears whilst Cassel is not moving his lips at all.

Death Game was filmed in 1974 and it was then considered awful and unreleaseable, and rightly so. But circumstances changed, and greed is greed, after all. Two years later, one of the stars of Death Game, Sondra Locke, hooked up with Clint Eastwood during the shooting of The Outlaw Josey Wales, and followed up with another Eastwood movie, The Gauntlet. This restored some luster to her faded star, which had once shone brightly enough to earn an Oscar nomination, but was essentially burnt out from 1972-75. Given the rebirth of Locke's career, Death Game was dragged out of the vaults and released in 1977

No Oscar nominations resulted.

Don't be fooled by the 4.5 at IMDb. Some pranksters have been inflating that with perfect tens. Death Game is certainly one of the 100 worst films ever made, and may even be Top (Bottom) 25 material.

Oh, by the way, the DVD producers should be proud. It seems almost impossible to make this film any worse than it already is, but by God, they succeeded. There are no features and, even though it is a full-screen transfer, there is black space on the side, so the working A/R is about 1.2:1, a phenomenon which I've never encountered before. Of course, that might not have been so bad if it were possible to see the movie.

No. Check that. My not being able to see this movie might be the proof of a merciful God.



  • No features
  • No widescreen. Even the full screen version has black space on the side!
  • Very poor transfer. Looks like a VHS tape converted to DVD.



Sondra Locke and Colleen Camp show their breasts and buns, although the scenes are often marred by graininess, blur, steam, and an overuse of dissolves.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews on file

Miscellaneous ...


The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 4.5/10. It has been punk'd by a rash of perfect scores! The correct score would be about half that.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's an F-. It would normally be an F for the movie alone, but the abysmal DVD production is the icing on the cake.

Return to the Movie House home page