Quicksilver Highway (1997)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
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Overall Rating 44%
Overall Rating
Ranked #5,413
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Connections: Books Of Blood

Traveling showman Aaron Quicksilver tells horror tales: a psychotic hitchhiker falls prey to a relentless dangerously-sharp set of chattering teeth, and a human hand that comes alive. --IMDb
Christopher Lloyd
Christopher Lloyd
Matt Frewer
Matt Frewer
Raphael Sbarge
Raphael Sbarge
Missy Crider
Missy Crider
Silas Weir Mitchell
Silas Weir Mitchell
Review by Chad
Added: April 30, 2006
In tonight's made-for-TV offering, we find director Mick Garris tackling short stories from two of horror's finest. The first tale is an adaptation of Stephen King's "Chattery Teeth", in which a pair of mechanized... well, chattery teeth... takes on a mind of its own at a most opportune time. The second tale is by Clive Barker and is entitled "The Body Politic", and this one details the life of a man whose hands decide to rebel against the "tyranny of the body" (nope, I'm not making that up). Saying anything more about either would spoil them, so this is going to be one of the shorter plot synopsizes on the site.

I had high hopes for this movie, I truly did. Mick Garris is a hell of a director, and he's adapting short stories from two of the greatest writers in horror history in an anthology format. I've enjoyed the other films I've seen from Garris, I'm a fan of both writers, and I love the horror anthology format; so then, how could this movie go wrong? Perhaps I should change that last question to "How and why did it all go terribly, horribly wrong?"

Perhaps I should get this out of the way before I get into my thoughts on the movie. I've read Chattery Teeth, but that was back when it was first published thirteen years ago in the Nightmares & Dreamscapes collection; needless to say, I don't remember too many details about the original version, so I can't say how accurate this rendition of the story was. I haven't read The Body Politic, so obviously, I definitely can't say anything about that one. With those items in mind, I can't say whether this failure was Mick's fault, the source material's fault, or a combination of both.

The reason that this film fails is quite simple; it's a horror comedy, but it's neither scary nor funny. Now, granted, the two stories do not consist of the most serious and horrific happenings, so it would be silly to attempt to do anything else with the tone of this movie. I'll admit that I giggled a bit at the end of Body, but otherwise, this film delivered on neither the "horror" nor the "comedy" part of the "horror comedy" idea.

Another thing that bugged me about this film was the way that the stories had no point or morality tale to them, a fact that is even alluded to in the subplot that strings the stories together when one of the characters asks "What's the point?" of story-teller Christopher Lloyd. In the very first episode of Tales From The Crypt, we watch as an executioner is laid off from the job that he has performed all his life after the death sentence is abolished. This causes him to become a sort of vigilante, murdering those who he feels got off too easy for the crimes that they committed. He's eventually caught, and - surprise! - the death penalty has been reinstated, and he's the first one to be executed. It's an ironic twist, and that's the sort of thing that makes these short stories work out so nicely. Had that episode ended after the man was laid off and killed someone, you'd have a pretty good idea of how the two stories on this disc work out: something happens, roll credits, and leave the audience wondering what happened to the ending of the story.

As mentioned, this was made for television back in 1997, so I understand that the film couldn't get too horrific with the horror or too off-the-wall with the comedy. However, when you take a look at some of the other movies that have done so well even when confined to the limitations of network television, there's simply no excuse for how this one turned out. This would be an excellent purchase if your six-year-old kid wants to whet his or her appetite for horror (as my daughter does), but otherwise, leave this one on the shelf. 3/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 04/30/2006, 07:17 PM
The only reason I gave this film a shot was because of Christopher Lloyd. Sure -- I think Mick Garris is a pretty decent director, and I especially like how he usually translates Stephen King stories to screen, but this was just one big waste of time. Worthless stories, less than adequate from most involved, and utter contempt for the craft of filmmaking. It was horror stew. I hate, hate, hated it. 2/10.
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