Directed by John Pieplow
Written by Dee Snider
Starring Dee Snider, Robert Englund,
Linda Cardellini, Kevin Gage,
Elizabeth Pena, and Brett Harrelson
Running Time 87 minutes
Long before the Twisted Twins took on the underground world of body modification with their cult indie hit American Mary, Rocker Icon of the 80s Dee Snider brought the practice to the attention of the masses with Strangeland. It was more than just a statement about body mods though more importantly it took the frighteningly real subject of internet predation, in a time when many where fairly blind to the risks it posed especially to young adults. Few people at the time considered the possible very scary ramifications of chatting it up in private chat rooms, giving details of their lives to complete strangers, letting their children surf the internet with limited supervision, assuming it was safe since they were doing it from the security of their homes.
Not everyone was rocking it out in the 80s, so for those unfamiliar with 80s icon let me fill you in! The year was 1984 and the teen anthem of the day WE'RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT, and the guys leading the chant were Twisted Sister, with front man Dee Snider belting it out for all of us angst ridden kids of the decade. Hair bands and glam rock was all the rage, and Twisted Sister reigned with the best of em, with other hits like I WANNA ROCK and BURN IN HELL its easy to imagine why they spoke to the generation. They continued past the 80s but never seemed to find that same success as they had in the me decade. Now with the history lesson out of the way lets move on to the film!
I don't want to say too much about this one because I realize many out there may not have seen this one before. Its really kind of an overlooked film, thats got some fun twists and turns and honest to goodness creepiness to it.Truth be told it was ahead of its time and laid the groundwork for future films such as Megan is Missing and American Mary! When this film first came out I found it a bit unnerving, you didn't hear a whole lot about adults pretending to be teens hanging out in youth chatrooms, the very ugly and scary world of predation on the computer savvy youth just wasnt that big of a discussion. This was a film that made teens and parents a bit more nervous about what they did and who they talked to because it pushed the subject right into your face.
The film is about middle class suburbia too! When you watch this one you will know what I mean. It shows the misguided assumptions that people tend to make, especially in a time before things like bod mods became so much more mainstream. It shows how mob mentality can build until those who thought they were standing for something good and right can become just as wrong as the thing they are standing against. The film in whole is filled with so many deep messages that it is hard to remember it came from a man that helped us piss off our parents and say screw you to the authority of the day! Of course you don't have to delve into meanings, you can just enjoy it for the strange twisted creepy film it is!
Dee Snider and the director probably didn't intend for this film to become part of Horror History, but if you look at it realistically it is. They did a great job bringing these subjects into the light, and its cool to look at all those who have followed the path in the years since. The film is just as meaningful now as it was when it came out, the reality of these issues hasn't changed, which continues to make this film just a little bit creepy for me! Check it out and tell us your views, we would love to hear from you!