The Halloween Movie Challenge has some very simple rules, well it’s just the one rule really. All you have to do is watch one horror film, every day in October, right up to Halloween. Now, this might sound easy. But this is a month long commitment. Thirty one days. Thirty one horror movies. And I will be writing a review, the very next day, for the film I saw the night before. Can I do complete the Halloween Movie Challenge? With a bit of encouragement and no sleep, I think I can just make it. This brings me to the first horror film I watched last night. It’s a good’in.
DR. RAGE (THE STRAUN HOUSE) (2005)
When Michael Dare (Stephen Polk) is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, he opts to join Dr. Straun’s (Andrew Divoff) science experiment to avoid jail time. During the tests Michael falls for Dr. Susan Verger (Denice Duff), his physician in charge of monitoring his behaviour. They soon discover there is something more to Dr. Straun’s experiments and uncover disturbing evidence proving their suspicions.
This is one of the cheapest, funniest horror films I have seen since Camp Blood (2000). With a name like Dr. Rage, what else could you expect? It had the production quality of a porn film, the acting ability of a porn film, and the location of a porn film. Strangely, it was missing the porn. There were a few “sex” scenes, but they really missed an opportunity to make some money back by making a pornographic movie.
Dr. Rage is a convoluted mess and delivers not one, but zero scares. It deservedly earned its 13% on Rotten Tomatoes. The plot starts off with Michael as he inadvertently beats up a homeless man and is given the option to either go to prison or become a lab rat. But before he leaves for the research facility (a warehouse hired for a weekend) we learn that Michael is actually going in to spy on the Straun Foundation for his lawyer. A car arrives and he is driven there by Moe Moebius (John Kassir), an over eccentric Igor. Once at the facility Michael is subject to a drug known as the rage drug. He is injected with it and is monitored by Dr. Verger. When his rage opens up they use an elaborate sponge machine (yes, a sponge machine) to extract his sweat, that has now turned yellow. Why are they collecting his sweat? I never figured that part out. But wait, it gets better.
Moebius has been slipping the rage drug to Michael and Dr. Verger without their knowledge. Their emotions soon take over and they start a passionate affair. She really couldn’t resist him when he has such a way with words:
Michael and Dr. Verger draw closer, their lips almost touch.
Dr. Verger: You should be studying.
Michael: Study this.
Michael moves in and kisses Dr. Verger.
Dr. Straun spends most of the movie spying on the two through his hidden (not so hidden) cameras. He watches them make love while strapped in a straight jacket and ordering Moebius to inject him with the rage drug. Meanwhile, Michael begins to really feel the effects of the rage drug and becomes unstable. He even tries to choke his own father – who randomly shows up for convenience sake. But Michael does try to stay on mission and discovers something hideous locked in the basement; an experiment gone wrong. Michael wants out and contacts his lawyer to pick him up. When she arrives it is revealed she is actually working for the Straun Foundation. She reminds him he has no choice, it’s either this or jail. Michael returns to the experiments but Dr. Verger is now having a crisis of conscience. She refuses to give him any more of the drug. She is convinced there is a cure for the rage drug and she’ll find it with or without Michael’s help.
Together they look for the cure but instead find only dead bodies with their liver torn out (one of them being Michael’s lawyer) and a tape from the 70’s. On the tape is Dr. Straun experimenting on his pregnant wife. The creature in the basement, watching Bum Fights, is Dr. Straun’s son. They go to the basement to have a look for themselves and find a disfigured two-headed monster. The creature escapes and chases Michael up the stairs where he is confronted by Dr. Straun. Dr. Straun’s entire end game was to have his son’s second head removed and perform extensive plastic surgery on the other one. Why? I haven’t been able to work that out. This film made very little sense.
What happens next is a poorly choreographed fight where both Dr. Straun and Moebius are killed. And Michael, feeling sorry for the poor fatherless creature, takes him home. It’s like the ending of the Goonies, only not.
Overall, Dr. Rage is a hilariously poor film, filled with inconsistencies in tone, plot, and character development. But it is definitely one for the list for ‘So bad, it’s good.’
Best Line: “You won’t even be able to volunteer at a SPERM CLINIC!”
Best Moment: When Dr. Straun pushes Moebius down the stars with his crutch and plays innocent.