In the Dead of Winter (1993)

20 horror movies for $5; what could possibly go wrong?  Part XVII of XX (ithinkicanithinkicanithinkican).

This is only the 2nd film in this collection wherein I have never seen a single actor in anything else.  This was not a good omen for Teenage Zombies, but at least that had the excuse of being 54 years old and uber-low budget (or is that unter-low budget).  And it still managed to have cover art online.

Part of the problem with this collection — admittedly a small part of the problem — is the transfers.  The quality here is just as bad as with Curtains; and in both cases, the movies had some good qualities that were suffocated by it being such a chore to even look at.  Not to say the movies would have been good if better preserved; but certainly watchable.

The unlikely named G-Jo Reed plays Tucker, a convict getting out of prison today.  He comes out with that great American 2nd chance,  clean slate, never going back, cleaning up his act attitude — dressed in camo, flipping off a prison clerk, being met by some low-life pals driving a flatbed and getting a gat in his hands within 2 minutes of leaving the facility.

inthedead02His pal knows where the first stop will be.  Under the credits, we see some great images of the snowy Utah mountains as they drive.  Not that they are well-photographed, mind you.  It’s just that in certain areas like this or the Grand Canyon, it is so amazing, that it is almost impossible to take a bad picture.  See Adams, Ansel E.

They arrive at the home of Sheriff Steve — seriously, that’s how he credited — just as he is leaving for work.  Tucker puts 2 in the sheriff, causing blood to gush from his mouth.  He straddles the downed sheriff and puts 2 more in him at close range.  This is not going to look good at his parole hearing, especially with Sheriff’s Wife — seriously, that’s how she is credited — standing 2 feet away from him as a witness.

Just an aside — I don’t know if the ol’ “black stuff on the binoculars / telescope gag” has ever been once been pulled in real life, but it will always get a laugh out of me on-screen.

Next they encounter a couple in the classic wrong place at the wrong time whose truck has broken down on the highway.  This has a couple of fun shots of them driving off with the couple’s snowmobiles and leaving them tied up.  Not great, but there is a spark.

A yuppie couple’s ATV breaks down, and they trek to a cabin.  As in all movies, no one answers the door, so they just walk right in.  As in Axed, it turns out that the man has planned the whole thing and has a bottle of wine waiting for them.  Unlike Axed, he does not kill his wife.  However, like Axed, he does use an axe — but to chop wood.


Seriously, Utah in Winter? Wouldn’t this have required a backhoe?

Unfortunately, this was to be the gang’s hide-out.  They barge in and begin roughing up the couple until the man drives a knife through the foot of one of them.  They don’t see the humor and bury him up to his neck in the ground.

The wife manages to grab Tucker’s gun.  In a random act of violence equivalent to Vince Vega’s shooting of Marvin, she causes a snowmobile to run over her husband’s head.  Although, to Vince’s credit, he did not waste 4 bullets doing it.  The wife is distraught and points the pistol in her mouth.  It is admittedly funny when one of them ways, “Honey, don’t make a mortar of yourself.”  She pulls the trigger but those had been the last 4 bullets.  As they wrestle her to the ground, she accidentally falls on her own knife.

The gang takes off on the snowmobiles and quickly get lost.  If only snowmobiles left some sort of track that could be followed back.  As the brain-trust stops to assess the situation, a sniper begins firing at them.  The rest of the movie is the unknown sniper tracking the men across the Utah landscape.  Just as in First Blood or Southern Comfort, the men get picked off one by one.

Turns out the sniper — SPOILER– is the Sheriff who had been wearing a bullet-proof vest in the first scene.  Although I would have thought the blood gushing from his mouth indicated otherwise.  And I guess the off-screen 3rd and 4th shots were not head-shots.

I’m all for these vermin being exterminated, but it seems a little extreme.  He ain’t Josey Wales — they did not kill Sheriff’s Wife or Sheriff’s Son (as he is credited).  But it’s hard for me to care — good riddance. Plus, it was revealed that this guy was in jail for killing a dog.  Is that really motivation to murder the sheriff who busted you?

The ending is basically Sideshow Bob stepping on rakes.  Well, the logical end, not the actual end.  This movie is like Return of the King — it just won’t stop.  It goes on for about 7 minutes after it should have gone dark.

Definitely a low-budget joint, but probably watchable with a clean print.  I’m not going to be rewatching or recommending it to anyone, but it had it’s moments and the acting was not uniformly horrible.


  • Who is the girl snowboarding behind the car during the interminable ending?  It looks like the  yuppie girl, but her jacket is slightly different and that couple was on an ATV not a car.  Plus she is dead, and it is a different guy.  At first I thought it was an outtake, or behind-the-scenes footage, but then the movie continues.  Baffled.

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