Saturday, July 16, 2011

Iced (Jeff Kwitny, 1988)

Other than stabbing one through the neck with the pointy end of a ski pole, I can't think that many ways to kill a yuppie in a ski resort setting. Oh, sure, you could smother the yuppie you want dead by holding their face down in the snow (a few minutes should do the trick - just to be safe, don't stop pressing down on the back of their head until their panicked writhing has completely subsided), tamper with the resort's ski lift (you know, in order to cause your yuppie victim to plummet to their death thanks to gravity, and, if you're lucky, the unforgiving embrace that only a bed of jagged rocks can provide), put poisonous spiders in their ski boots when they're not looking (if the deadly arachnids aren't crushed by the force of the yuppie's wool sock-covered feet being thrust into the ski boots when he or she puts them on, they should succumb the effects of the venom within a couple of hours), or string piano wire between two trees (if the yuppie is going fast enough, and they hit the wire in just the right spot, you could decapitate them). But those methods, the latter three in particular, are impractical, especially if you're working with a modest budget (spider wranglers don't come cheap). Besides, someone like me, a person with zero experience when it comes to dreaming up semi-elaborate murder scenarios that centre around skiing, should vacate the bloodstained slopes, and let professionals like, writer Joseph Alan Johnson (The Slumber Party Massacre) and director Jeff Kwitny (Lightning in a Bottle) handle the creative end of things. If I were them, I'd be insulted by the fact that some Johnny-come-lately would dare to suggest alternative ways to dispatch yuppies in a wintery environment, because Iced (a.k.a. Blizzard of Blood) is pretty much perfect in terms of being a ski resort slasher that boasts a start, a middle, and an end.

Icicles, animal traps, kitchen knives, bulldozers, hot tubs, and, yes, even ski poles are all used to dispatch yuppies in Iced, a synthesizer-laden, straight-to-video extravaganza with enough snowy twists and turns to confound even the most attentive of horror fans. Of course, just because they're yuppies does not mean that they deserve to be crushed to death by construction equipment. Well, actually, the guy who got a ski pole jammed into his neck had it coming simply because he chose to put a "Baby Doc On Board" sign in the back window on his car. At first I was like, why does this guy want other drivers to know he's traveling with former Haitian president Baby Doc Duvalier? Then it dawned on me, he's not referring to Jean-Claude Duvalier, he's a pediatrician. Anyway, those signs are obnoxious, and anyone who has one in their car shouldn't act all surprised and junk when they're inevitably murdered by a mentally disturbed psychopath wielding a ski pole.

Getting back to point I was originally trying to make before I got sidetracked, yuppies are human beings and have, believe it or not, earned the right not to have their bodies violated by sharp objects while on all-expenses paid ski vacations. It's true, I don't mean a word of anything I just said, but I thought I should say something along those lines–you know, so I don't come off sounding like a bitter, yuppie-hating reprobate with anger issues.

It's not the most surefire way to win me over, but from a visual perspective, the image of a bunch of skiers swooshing down a mountain in the dark while holding flares was quite striking. No, the best way to win me over is to have two blonde guys fight over the enchanting Debra Deliso, one of the leggiest women in the known universe. But let's get real, what are the chances that a movie would feature two men vying for the affection of a woman as statuesque, as graceful, and as alluring as Debra Deliso? Pretty slim, if you ask me. However, you shouldn't ask me, because that's exactly what happens in Iced, a film that, get this, not only has Debra Deliso (Dr. Caligari), but boasts three separate instances where the word "cozy" is employed as an adjective.

Who are these enviable fellas? Why their names are Cory (Doug Stevenson) and Jeff (Dan Smith), two guys who seem to have similar temperaments (they look like the kind of guys who enjoy tormenting nerds in their spare time), but it's obvious almost immediately that one of them isn't playing with a full deck. Flirting with Trina (Deliso Deliso), a vision of loveliness in pink snow pants and black earmuffs, at the bottom of a ski hill, Cory's coquettish conduct is interrupted by a crazed Jeff, who, after declaring that Trina is with him, challenges him to a ski race.

It should be stated that Trina isn't with Cory or Jeff at this point. Oh, sure, Jeff thinks he's dating Trina, but like I said, he's a tad delusional.

After losing the race, a brooding Jeff, a.k.a. Mr. I Skied The Alps, a derisive nickname given to him by Eddie (Michael Picardi), a friend of Cory's, sits at a table located in the smoky corner of the ski resort bar and rambles to, what it appears to be, himself. Bemoaning the fact that Cory and his catty gang had the gall to question his integrity as a skier, Jeff, in a scene with an eerie Café Flesh vibe about it, talks about the time he spent at a clinic in Switzerland in a manner that's quite disturbing.

The pure physicality of Trina is revealed in the next scene when Jeff, who is sulking in his room with a bottle of vodka, decides to pay her visit (he can hear her giggling in the room next-door). Now, in a normal movie, Jeff's rage would manifest itself as a result of the sex noises piercing the hotel's paper thin walls (the sound of her pleasurable moans slowly driving him even more insane than he already is), but in the Iced universe, what's irritating him is the sound of Trina and Cory arm wrestling. I've never seen a man dive headfirst into a jealous rage over arm wrestling before, but this film is full of kooky surprises.

Bursting into their room, Jeff chastises Trina for ditching him. She tries to tell him that they were never a couple ("I came here by myself"), but as she doing this, he threatens Cory with a ski pole. Too drunk to defend himself, Cory falls back onto the bed, which means that's it up to Trina and the plucky power lurking underneath her red headband to subdue Jeff, who's a little on the tipsy side as well. And, boy, does she ever subdue him. Pressing him up against the wall like he was a piss-flavoured ragdoll, the sight of Debra Deliso manhandling this massive tool, one who had the nerve to interrupt her impromptu arm wrestling session, was the epitome of exhilarating. This simple act made it clear to me that Trina was not gonna be your typical scream queen.

The pulsating rhythm that has started to throb on the soundtrack can only mean one thing: it's time for a night skiing-sex scene montage. While Jeff decides blow off some steam by skiing in the dark, Cory massages Trina's super-tight body, which is currently sheathed in a skintight pair of red pants and a white top (star-shaped earrings dangle from her ears), in an erotic manner. Removing her top, her headband, and her white bra via a latch located in the front, Cory proceeds to rub his naked body all over her naked body. Straddling him on a chair, all the while a hotel room television set struggles to maintain a clear picture in the foreground, Trina's taut organic structure quivers with ecstasy as it repeatedly plunges itself against the coarse surface of Cory's heedful genitalia. The same can't be said for Jeff, who, as Trina's back was being bathed in a staticky glow, winds up crashing in the woods.

We know his ski goggles were cracked during his tumble, but it's not clear if Jeff's dead or not. Well, flash-forward four years, and we're on the road with Trina and Cory MacGyver (yeah, that's right, the arm wrestlers got married) as they make their way to Snow Peak, an upstart ski resort hoping to attract investors. Sitting in the back seat of their car is their friend Jeanette Foster (Lisa Loring), a brunette woman who seems miles away. Seriously, Lisa's back seat scene seemed like it was filmed in another dimension, as it doesn't match up at all with what's occurring in the front seat. At any rate, Debra Deliso proves that she's more than just a physical threat when she reads aloud the contents of a letter hyping the ski resort's many attractions (they've been invited to stay at one of resort's chalets free of charge, the catch being they have to sit through a real estate pitch). The capable manner in which Debra read this letter gave me chills, which is a tough thing to do, especially when you consider the fact that the letter was chock-full of corporate mumbo jumbo.

"It's so cozy, so natural, I love it!" declares Jeanette, as they make themselves at home in the rustic chalet. Awaiting the arrival of Alex (Joseph Allan Johnson), the dreaded real estate agent, and their other friends John (John C. Cooke) and Diane (Elizabeth Gorcey), Jeanette chops onions and complains about her boyfriend Eddie (he hasn't shown up yet) while Trina works left her bicep with a smallish dumbbell in a Rockadiles t-shirt. What's Cory doing, you ask? He's gone skiing with Carl (Ron Kologie), a drug addicted goofball with a pathetic ponytail (the way it barely dangled was an embarrassment to the ponytail community) who was hiding in a closet when they arrived (he gave Jeanette a nasty fright).

At this point in the film, Diane bathers on about catheters, Carl snorts cocaine, John makes some asinine comment about skiing being his medicine, Jeanette wonders where Eddie is, and, of course, Trina does a couple of curls with a rolling pin. In other words, there's nothing much going on. Meanwhile, Alex, a self-proclaimed jaded L.A. thrill seeker, is still at his office. Don't feel too sorry for him, however, as he's in the middle of having a bathtub set sex dream that involves a woman who looks a lot like Jeanette. Oh, the dinner scene was interesting in that it gave Debra Deliso yet another chance to show off her acting skills, as her drive-in movie anecdote about the time she stuffed her bra with tissue paper was by far the best drive-in movie anecdote of the entire evening (I liked the way she told Carl to "quit staring at my chest" after she finished her gripping account).

Things pick up somewhat when Alex finally shows up at the chalet. The cynical Carl sees right through his yuppie nonsense, but Jeanette is all over him like an undiscerning yeast infection. Hoping to seduce him (she's long forgotten about Eddie) with her generous mane of brunette hair and a pair of white pumps, the public relations expert who works for a cosmetic company kisses him by the fireplace in full view of her friends. The evening takes a turn for the worse when the subject of Jeff is brought up. Isn't he dead? Wait a minute, is he the one lurking in the woods, the one who's been staring at us through his cracked ski goggles? Jeanette could careless, as she and her exquisite behind (it's ample and full of secrets) jump into the chalet's plugged-in space heater adjacent hot tub.

You think you're watching a tense thriller set at a ski resort, but in actuality, you've been watching Debra Delsio's latest workout tape.

Call me someone who is easily amused, but I get giddy just thinking about Debra Deliso exercising in Iced (not a scene goes by that doesn't feature her toning her muscles). The conversation I desperately want to hear is the one that took place between Debra and writer-actor Joseph Alan Johnson before they started filming. Since both were in the original Slumber Party Massacre, I like to think they were friends, but I have a feeling that Debra, despite their history together, still had some reservations about appearing in her pal's screenwriting debut. In order to appease Debra's concerns, Joseph probably made a deal with her: Appear naked and run around without any pants in the movie I'm currently writing, and I'll make your character someone who is always exercising.

If anyone had any queries as to how Debra Deliso manages to maintain the shape of her killer gams, the answer is quite simple: leg stretches in Iced, or more specifically, leg stretches on the kitchen counter while the other characters ramble on about who knows what.

As chaos is unfolding all around her (the unidentified creep in the cracked ski goggles has been busy all night trying to murder her friends), Trina and her flawless legs are in bed resting after a long day of off-the-cuff stretching. When she eventually wakes up, she finds herself all alone (oh, no, who's gonna admire her frightfully tone physique?). Sliding her legs out of bed (the sharpness of her knees glisten in the light as she removes them from their blanketed prison), Trina goes into sleuth mode. All the cardio Debra Deliso's been doing for the past eighty minutes is about to pay off big time, as she finds herself being stalked by a deranged skier. Wearing a blue shirt (one with thigh-accentuating slits located on the sides), white socks (the kind that bunch up around the ankles when the wearer is under duress), and an unpretentious pair of white panties, the mettle of Debra's stunning legs are about to be put to the test. Called upon to run through snow, climb up stairs, and kick would-be attackers director Jeff Kwitny treats her mouthwatering stems like the were a revered item, as he films them from every possible angle.

Is Trina able to survive this painful yet muscle strengthening ordeal? Should you be wary of snowmen that cry blood in the mid-'90s? Did I go overboard while talking about Debra Deliso's legs? And is it wrong that I want to own the socks she wore during the film's tumultuous finale? The answers to these complex questions will have to come at a later date, as my brain is totally fried at the moment. However, I do wholeheartedly recommend that you stare at Iced from start to finish, it's the best ski-based slasher flick/calve-tightening workout tape not currently on the market.

Special and regular thanks to the altruistic rocket scientists over at Cinema Gonzo for exposing me to this frosty treat.


  1. For the record, I am only one rocket scientist, and, I while I appreciate the kind words, I am truly selfish. I refuse to even show my rocket to people, lest they try to steal my design.

    Iced is still the greatest ski horror movie, or at least the most ski-riffic.

    I'd like to know your thoughts on the epilogue twist, but I realize you don't want to give it way. I didn't mind giving it away in my review, as I am a frosty prick.

  2. I know, but I like to think there's a team of people working on your blog. Actually, I like to think that everyone's blog has a team of people working on them.

    The epilogue twist was ridiculous. That being said, it is the funniest moment in the entire movie.

  3. That's quite an icepick.

    That Captain America you told me about is on SyFy tonight. And that's the second time in a row I've mentioned SyFy in a reply to one of your posts.

    We saw Barney's Version, the adaptation of that Francophone-hating Mordecai Richler's novel. There were some funny Canadian in-jokes--Paul Gross played a Mountie in some crappy television show, directed by the likes of David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan. Of course, a crappy television series might be a step above what Egoyan has been involved in lately.

    I hope you are staying cool.

  4. I don't usually post pics of icicles, but I was so impressed by the sheer length of the one used in Iced, that I had to post it.

    The Albert Pyun version from 1990, according to my deluded mind, is the definitive Captain America movie. ;)

    Exotica is the only Atom Egoyan film I like.

    I swept the "Scooby-Do" category. Can I get a fuck yeah? ;)

    It's like an oven out there.

  5. Great review! That icicle in that pic is hilariously ridiculous!

  6. Iced, Iced, Baby... Another good review of a bad film. Lisa Loring, it should be noted, was the original Wednesday Addams (The Addams Family, 1964-66). This is the 3rd in what I like to call her Trilogy of Trash. Three low-budget drive-in flicks from 1987-87 in which she did partial nudity -- following in the grand tradition of former TV/child stars. The other two titles are Death Feud and Blood Frenzy.

    This would make a nice double bill with Jack Frost -- the one with the killer snowman who also does some icicle stabbing.