Dangerously Close - Rebel Without A Cause for the 1980's
Year - 1986
Director - Albert Pyun
Starring - John Stockwell, J. Eddie Peck, and Carey Lowell
PLOT - A young college student discovers some of his classmates have formed an elite clique more or less hell-bent on running the school and ridding of what they deem to be its undesirables. It isn't long before he is recruited into this strange bizarre world of high class psychopaths and learns how violent and out of control they can really be.
LOWDOWN - Along with several other movies, Christine goes down in my top ten favorite films of all time. This is a movie I border line am obsessed over and adore everything about it. Of course being a respectful fan, I also followed the careers of all the young cast mates who starred in John Carpenter's 1983 classic. I think I speak for many female horror movie fans that Dennis, the poor helpless all American best friend played by John Stockwell was very easy on the eyes. John had a brief career in the 1980's and 90's before turning to the other side of the camera and directing surf movies such as Blue Crush, Into The Blue, and Dark Tide. John starred in a few very underrated cult classics after being in Christine. Two of my favorites were by the same director. First Radioactive Dreams, then Dangerously Close which John also helped co-write.
I'm a pretty big fan of the guilty pleasure Radioactive Dreams. Is it a great movie? No, not really? Does it have a clever storyline and one kick ass soundtrack? Hells yes! A year after filming Radioactive, director Albert Pyun decided to make his next feature about society in the mid 1980's The politics, the money, and the violence. Dangerously Close isn't your typical teen movie like the Brat Pack films that were being pushed out one after another. This isn't exactly what you would call a feel good film. It shows the dark side of the young generation that lived in that time and the dark underworld that was hidden underneath the glossy surface. I think a good movie to compare this to has to be Less Than Zero. It shows exactly how crazy people can go when pointed in the wrong direction.
Taking two different social classes. The lower middle class which our lead character (Peck) is from. A poor pool boy who lives in this cramped apartment with his father. His best friend and punk rocker (Bancroft) VS. The higher class jocks who have formed this team who act as "security" for the school and of course do a little after hours work rounding up the trouble makers that deem unfit for their campus. Playing it all off as just a sporting game, suspension begins to build as people begin to go missing and rumors fly that these guys just aren't playing around. They live to terrorize and maybe even kill.
What was most shocking to me was the fact that Stockwell for once wasn't playing the hero. In his past roles Christine, City Limits, Radioactive Dreams, My Science Project, ect. He always played the good guy. The one you couldn't help but root for and get the girl. This time he very brilliantly played a mix between the misunderstood leader, and villain. His character change through the movie is very interesting to watch and has a shocking twist that isn't revealed until the very end. You can't help but feel sorry for him due to the pressure and stress you clearly see he's under, but then again you also see a cold mirror of himself that Stockwell plays brilliantly. He becomes more and more unlikeable as the film goes on and for anyone who's seen the forced attempt bj scene in the school parking-lot knows exactly what I'm talking about. (But hey, she's a Bond girl...wasn't she asking for it?)
The film also features some bit roles from some pretty popular 80's actors such as Robert Rusler, Thom Mathews, and Miguel a. Núñez jr.
This movie also has one great soundtrack. In fact a lot of people remember this movie just for the soundtrack. The Smithereens, T.S.O.L, Fine Young Cannibals, Depeche Mode, and Robert Palmer. This is a movie I would die to have a vinyl record from.
Also the poster. Funny thing about this movie, I first heard about it and right away went on a hunt to find a copy of it. Sadly this movie isn't in print or has had a proper release from the studio. (I can dream about maybe there being a boxset with City Limits, Radioactive Dreams, and this title included.) Anywho, before even doing the smart thing and ordering the tape online I noticed the gorgeous one sheet poster on ebay for a very fair price. Now I all ready own two very beautiful prints from Radioactive Dreams, the second I laid eyes on this Dangerously Close print I knew I had to have it. In fact if anyone had a smart enough eye, they would notice that most of my framed posters are all John Stockwell themed. (Scary...I know.) So I ordered the poster first before I even watched the movie. I joked for a while saying that watch the second I ended up seeing this movie I would hate it and have this huge poster from the movie. Still, I couldn't help but think it looked cool hanging above my sofa.
A month or two later I attended the March show of Monster Mania in which I met the amazing guys from VHSPS. Here I got my hands on a great copy of Radioactive Dreams and asked if they happened to have Dangerously Close. The guys knew exactly which movie I was talking about and told me they were working on getting it released. I really have to hand it to these guys. This past fall they released it on DVD with a great menu featuring the theme song Blood And Roses. When I received this package in the mail, I couldn't help but have nerd tears in my eyes. You boys at VHSPS are the best!
But this summer I did happen to get my hands on an original copy of the VHS while on a tape hunt. I'm still keeping my eyes open for any thing else I can collect from this film and with this spring's HorrorHound show and the Christine reunion happening, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that maybe just maybe John Stockwell might be attending. I know he's a busy guy, but my God...the amount of shit I would have him sign wouldn't even be funny.
So closing thoughts on Dangerously Close is that it's a very well done movie that needs a proper transfer for it's release. This isn't some great award winning movie and sure dates itself, but I think it really does stand out for what it is. With a very well done storyline, actors, soundtrack, and a clever ending I feel this is a movie that deserves much more credit than it gets.