Crash Analysis: SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK… AGAIN (1996) – 1 star

Greaser punks gone really bad… 

A father’s past haunts him when demons come calling.

Milestones are great benchmarks of achievement. They tell us how far we’ve come and grace us with some semblance of accomplishment. Therefore, when horror geek me celebrated watching my 1,300th horror, the only downside was that it was SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK… AGAIN.

Michael Gross, forever pigeonholed as the father from “Family Ties” stars as something completely different – a father. Well, he’s also a therapist, though that never really ties into the tale. Anyway, his mother just died and he’s off to close the house, with soon to be eighteen-year-old Michelle (played by a very young and toothful Hilary Swank). Soon enough, however, father is haunted by some old demons: the three boys who murdered his sister thirty years before. And now, they want his daughter.

The movie maintained a total low budget 80s feel with cheesy characters, a predictable plot and some horrendous special defects. What’s worse: Michael Gross knows better. He can act. I’ve seen him in TREMORS (1990) and its pathetic sequels, as well as other venues where he shined. Yet it seems that once on set, he realized what he had gotten himself into and decided to hold back. Then again, Swank gives us no indication of her acting prowess. Finally, Alexis Arquette, before his sex reassignment surgery, played the bad boy nemesis – and he couldn’t act either.

When there are that many actors not stepping up, and the rest of the cast was quite weak, except for Patrick Renna who truly glowed, the fault lies with one person only: the director. In this case, it’s Adam Grossman, the same culprit who also rewrote and directed CARNIVAL OF SOULS to much booing, hissing and dead cat throwing. His career fizzled into the ether afterwards.

As for the special effects, which should support the story, they were distracting. Special effects make-up should never look obvious, and visual effects should be clean and sharp, not clearly cartoonish and subpar. Now you know why many laugh at this film, which makes me wonder why no one has created a drinking game around this one.

But there is some good news: Christopher Baffa’s cinematography is solid. And his work has taken him to big time fare, such as RUNNING WITH SCISSORS (2006), and regular work as director of photography for “Nip/Tuck” and “Glee”.

Baffa and Renna are the combined reason for the one star. As for my 1,300th horror, I guess it’s fitting that it was a cheesy piece of laugh out loud garbage. After all, of those 1,300, I’ve only found a handful of brilliant films in the 4.5 star or better category – and you’ll learn about all of those soon.

1 out of 5 stars

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