Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Party Line Dial-a-deviant
Year: 1988
Director: William Webb
Stars: Richard Hatch, Shawn Weatherly, Leif Garrett, Greta Blackburn, Richard Roundtree, James O’Sullivan, Terence McGovern, Shelli Place, Patricia Patts, Tara Hutchins, Marty Dudek, Karen Mayo-Chandler, James Paradise, Hank Baumert, Richard Brandes, Angela Elay
Genre: Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  2 (from 1 vote)
Review: Degenerate rich siblings Seth (Leif Garrett) and Angelina (Greta Blackburn) use a sex chat-line to lure horny singles into bed before slashing them with a straight razor. Eager young Assistant D.A. Stacy (Shawn Weatherly) is assigned to investigate alongside hot-headed cop Dan (Richard Hatch). The latter is especially invested after Seth murders his cop girlfriend. With few clues and time running out till the killers strike again, Stacy and Dan seem at a loss until a surprise informant leads them to enact a desperate plan.

Erotic thrillers rose in the Eighties to become one of the dominant film genres in the Nineties supposedly, as many critics charge, in reaction to the AIDS crisis. Suddenly the freewheeling sexual mores of the Seventies gave way to panic and paranoia. This new uneasy atmosphere gave birth to a subgenre whose governing ethos was casual sex could kill you. Beneath often glossy surfaces and titillating thrills their outlook was cautionary, at times even conservative, taking to task certain social scenes and sexual subcultures. Here Party Line tries to do for sex chat-lines what earlier films did for the singles' bar, namely use it as the backdrop for danger. Given folks flirting on the phone-lines have no idea who they are really talking to there is potential in the premise scripter Richard Brandes engineers from a story by Tom Byrnes. But this cheap and tacky production is uninterested in psychological depth.

When we eventually discover the psycho siblings were abused by both their parents the plot does not do anything with this reveal. It is just a throwaway tawdry detail in a one-dimensional exercise in sleazy thrills. Yet even the sleaze falls flat. William Webb's 80s TV style of direction renders scenes intended as provocative or transgressive simply insipid. His murder sequences are similarly blunt and dull. Brian De Palma he is not. Meanwhile the narrative is surprisingly sprawling, given the slight premise, overpopulated with superfluous subplot characters. Alongside the dueling pairs of psycho-killers and investigators you have Richard Roundtree wasted in the stock stick-in-the-mud police captain role, Dan's ill-fated romance with a flirty policewoman, Stacy's deteriorating relationship with the self-serving D.A. and a host of horny idiots who all fall victim to the siblings. Strangely, rather than the leads, it is one such deceptively disposable supporting player who cracks the case. Jennifer (Patricia Patts), a chubby teenage babysitter who spends her spare time phone-flirting with Seth. She not only side-steps a potentially fatal in-person encounter with the killer but takes the initiative to hand Stacy and Dan a vital clue. Less sensibly she also gatecrashes their stakeout at the singles’ bar. One half expects her to turn up with a handgun at the climax and put paid to Seth once and for all.

Battlestar Galactica's Richard Hatch fails to convince as a tough-as-nails cop despite having a prominent poster for Sudden Impact (1983) in his living room. He shares a clichéd dynamic with future Baywatch actress Shawn Weatherly as the ball-busting assistant D.A. who inevitably dons a tight red dress to lure out the murderer. Having previously played a convincing psycho kid in cult horror Devil Times Five (1974) Leif Garrett here transitions to a more mature madman. Often dismissed as a lightweight Garrett is quite good in the role despite the filmmakers' seemingly repeated attempts at humiliating the faded Seventies teen idol by making him don a wedding dress, perform multiple sniveling self-loathing monologues or groove along with a crowd of 80s fashion victims to some lousy pop music.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 1791 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: