Director – Mark Pirro (Nudist Colony of the Dead)
Starring – John McCafferty (Nudist Colony of the Dead), Robin Blythe (Alice Cooper: The Nightmare, Death Wish), and Beano (House of the Wolf Man)
Release Date – 1987
Rating – 2.5/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Tagline – “In the year 1991, contestants don’t play for prizes…they play for their lives!” and “Chuck Toedan Wants You … To Die Laughing!”
Deathrow Gameshow is a film that I had actually seen sometime ago. I love buying multi-film DVD sets. I usually buy them because they have a few movies I really want to add to my collection. Most of the time they come with a bunch of other films that I have never seen before. Sometimes you really strike cold with sets like these. You come across a rare gem that you can not find any other way, and sometimes your strike out and find a dud.
I bought one of these sets for My Mom’s a Werewolf and when it came in I watched the trailer for Deathrow Gameshow on YouTube. The trailer looked awesome and I could not wait to see it. I looked around online and most of the reviews rode the fence with this one. Curiosity killed the cat…
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows t.v. host Chuck Toedan (McCafferty). Chuck hosts the t.v. show Live or Die where convicts compete. If the convicts win they receive their pardons, however, if they lose they forfeit their lives. A lot of people love his show but there is a select few who do not. Some people find his show distasteful. Some time in the past, a crime boss was on his show and lost.
The rest of the crime family hired the world’s best hitman to take out the t.v. show host. However, the hitman does not kill him and offers him protection for a small fee. Unfortunately, the hitman’s elderly mother was mistaken for a convict and is killed on the show bringing about a spiral of events that has to be seen to be believed.**Spoiler Alert**
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the worst 80’s flicks are still entertaining for at least one viewing and this film is no exception. The movie is not good by any standard but does do a decent job at entertaining me, for the most part, the first time around.
The acting is not that great. Most of the cast could use a little more work, however, McCafferty was awesome. He easily stole the show and made his character totally believable. The story is actually pretty decent and with a little bit bigger budget would have been amazing. This is decent but the delivery fell little flat and reminded me a lot of one of my favorite Schwarzenegger films, The Running Man.
Though the film has a few death scenes it misses on the special effects. The film opts out of showing some decent kills and the special effects we are treated to are not that great. Finally, the film reeks of 80’s and I fucking love that. Fans of 80’s cinema should check this one out at least once.
Revisiting Deathrow Gameshow Documentary
Two Short Films
Trailer and TV Spots