HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
   
 
Newest Articles
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
   
 
  Deadly Games SlayedBuy this film here.
Year: 1989
Director: René Manzor
Stars: Brigitte Fossey, Alain Musy, Louis Ducreux, Patrick Floersheim, Stéphane legros, Franck Capillery, Nicole Raucher, Gedeon, Charles de Feral, Francois-Éric Gendron, Mousse, Edmond Thanel
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Action, Thriller, Adventure
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Thomas de Frémont (Alain Musy) is a child prodigy obsessed with inventing and action films, who lives in a secluded mansion in a French suburb with his widowed mother (Brigitte Fossey, herself a child actress of some note), his diabetic, blind but still beloved grandfather, Papy (playwright Louis Ducreux) and dog J.R., who he keeps in a tent. On Christmas Eve, Thomas decides instead of sending a letter to Santa via fire, to use the Minitel (an early French pre-world wide web internet service), and accidentally finds an answer from a public terminal. This comes from a local vagrant, possibly an escapee from a mental institution. The vagrant (Patrick Floersheim) claims to be Santa, tricks the boy into admitting his address, and learns that the boy's mum works at a local department store, where the vagrant soon gets a job as a Santa. However, when he is fired for slapping a little girl who quickly susses his true identity, he steals his costume, and frosts his hair and beard, hitchhiking to the manor and killing the driver, as well as some staff. He comes down the chimney, watched by a patient Thomas, only to see his angry dog stabbed with a dining knife. Using the mansion's security system, Thomas decides to do what he can - to protect himself and his beloved grandfather from the nutcase.

One of the best horror films to come out of the 1980s, Deadly Games alias 3615 code Père Noël is overshadowed for several reasons. One is its tone. Though ostensibly a kids' film, it is subversive, savage and quite brutal. It is not afraid to kill a dog when you expect the canine to have a heroic moment. Also, it never got a proper English-language release, presumably because a. it was to be handled by a dying Cannon, and b. it had the bad luck to come out just before Home Alone (1990), a film which although similar enough, despite director René Manzor's attempt to sue John Hughes and co, is substantially different enough that coincidence is likely. Deadly Games is more of a survival story, and Thomas is less greedy than Kevin McCallister. He at first appears to be a French Bart Simpson, with a chubby mate in a Ferrari cap, and a haircut like Pat Sharp. But he is not a snarky show-off. He is a frightened cry-baby desperate to protect his family who nevertheless has enough resourcefulness to survive, if only by a hair. Musy, the son of the director, and now a top computer graphics designer under the name Alain Lalanne, is affecting in the role. Manzor himself had directed one film before, the odd Alain Delon supernatural cyber-thriller Le Passage (1986), and after seeing both that and Deadly Games, Steven Spielberg gave Manzor a job as director on the Adventures of Young Indiana Jones TV series. Since then, Manzor has remained a successful journeyman director in television. That is a shame. Although Le Passage despite its unusualness is a fairly ordinary film, Deadly Games is perhaps one of the most inventive films to come out of France.

Full of beautifully composed shots (Thomas in his Rambo gear crying in the snow, on the roof, as he calls for his mother) as the camera then pulls out to show the true gargantuan nature of the house. Little touches like grandson and grandparent's constant contact via walkie-talkie and the huge toy-laden wasteland that Grandfather resides in, one watches and thinks why didn't this film hit even the arthouse audience. Was it too commercial? It is also helped by the memorable villain performance of Patrick Floersheim.

Floersheim was a Franco-American actor whose fluent grasp of the English language ensued roles in the likes of Moonraker (1979), Frantic (1988), Bobby Deerfield (1977), Otto Preminger's Rosebud (1975) and televisual Europudding oddities like the BBC kids' series Kim & Co and Year of The French, one of RTÉ's myriad forgotten-even-in-Ireland attempts to break the international market. He also stayed close to home with roles in Diva (1981) and the terrible Miles O'Keeffe spy caper SAS - Terminate with Extreme Prejudice (1982), as well as voiceover work doing both English language dubs on the likes of Asterix cartoons, while also having a successful sideline as the French voice of many US stars. However, he perhaps never bettered his turn as "Pére Noel", both hapless and threatening, grimacing through the frosted highlights in his bushy black curls. He comes across as pathetic, even when he succeeds, as if luck has just gotten to him.

In all, perhaps one of the most underrated genre films. And with a Bonnie Tyler end theme to boot.
Reviewer: George White

 

This review has been viewed 758 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: