There are films on Shudder that simply belong to another place, a place reserved for the indefinable, the indefensible, the irredeemable. Cinematic slime banished long ago to a dimension that’s only to be visited at the midnight hour. So leave your humanity behind, embrace the social mutant within, and enter the Midnight Void…
It was 1982 and thanks to Halloween, Friday the 13th, their sequels, and their bargain-basement imitators, slashers were in. Also in: Chuck Norris smacking dinguses (dingui?) upside the head with his boot. Eventually some subhuman genius thought to ask, what if Michael Meyers was that dingus? What if Chuck Norris kicked Jason Voorhees right in the hockey mask? What if this was the premise of a movie called Silent Rage?
A sweaty maniac named Kirby rents a room inside a house full of screaming children, and after riling up the chickens, axe murders everyone. Seconds later, Chuck Norris arrives. His character’s name is Sheriff something or other, but I’m just going to call him Chuck Norris. You may know him from a popular series of memes, but back in his heyday Norris was a renowned karate expert who wasn’t very good at acting. So in a way he’s always Chuck Norris, no matter the role.
Chuck’s assaulted by an ironing board and nearly shot by his inept deputy (Stephen Furst, aka Flounder from Animal House), but manages to knock Kirby silly with a two-by-four. You see, by making you wait for Norris to use his karate on this psycho, the filmmakers are building what’s known as suspense. Kirby is then cuffed, shoved into the back of a squad car, and shot approximately one hundred and thirty-seven times. It happens.
He’s quickly taken to a research facility that looks suspiciously like a boiler room, where his psychiatrist Dr. Halman (Ron Silver) performs emergency surgery alongside Dr. Spires (Steven Keats) and Dr. Vaughn (De Palma regular William Finley). Being that the entire local police force just unloaded into him, and his shrink is the one wielding the scalpel, Kirby dies. Luckily for him, Spires and Vaughn have this whole mad scientist thing going on. So they decide to inject Kirby with an experimental serum that’ll not only bring him back to life, but give him rapid self-healing abilities. Because why not pump the homicidal maniac full of something that’ll effectively make him invincible? They justify all of this by saying “the guy’s body is fantastic,” but I honestly don’t see how the two things correlate.
Upon being told that Kirby is dead, Norris says “ok, thanks anyways,” then joins his deputy for a quick bite. The two men have a close-knit friendship, illustrated by Norris letting him eat the onions from his omelet. This is surprising as the deputy appears to have zero redeeming qualities, and at one point tells a story about washing his dog in the toilet, and drying it in a deep freezer. I hate this guy, I think I’d rather be friends with axe-murderer Kirby.
Speaking of Kirby, he’s chilling out in a coma while the good doctors take turns cutting him open, and watching the wounds close by themselves. They remark that he has “the internal organs of a twenty year old,” which must be the ideal internal organ age. Sadly, this makes him unavailable for a good face kicking, so Norris hits up the local watering hole, where an old fashioned biker orgy is about to go down.
Norris orders his deputy to radio for backup, but instead he just gets on the horn and talks about boobs. Maybe because he’s a moron, or maybe because deep down he understands that Norris doesn’t actually need backup. What Norris needs is to hit everyone in the balls. You got balls, they’re getting kicked, punched, whacked with a pool cue. I may have even seen Chuck flick a pair, but the action was moving so fast, that I can’t say for sure.
Norris then winds down by taking his shirt off, throwing on some smooth jazz, and seducing Dr. Halman’s sister, Alison. This leads to hands down the most disturbing sequence in motion picture history: a Chuck Norris sex montage. Dismemberments, decapitations, even eviscerations I can handle, but a horny Walker, Texas Ranger is where I draw the line.
During this nauseating minute and a half, we’re made to witness a kissing (?) session that sees Norris so wooden it’d be easy to mistake this for a film about necrophilia. There’s violent hammock rocking; the rejection of fancily sliced fruit; Norris seemingly encountering a breast for the first time ever; and worst of all, the image of Chuck’s toes — mangled by years of training in the martial arts — curling in ecstasy. I think one of them may have been a bluish-green.
At this point I wouldn’t fault you for pointing out that a whole lot of this movie seems to involve Chuck Norris not kicking a slasher-killer in the face. But when Kirby does wake up, boy is he feeling stabby, and nothing can stop him. Not bullets, not knives, not being tossed out a window, set on fire, or run over by a truck.
Nothing except for Chuck Norris’s mangled feet and discolored toes. Which are thankfully now covered by a pair of cowboy boots, and on a collision course with Kirby.
Director Michael Miller does his best to ape Halloween, but winds up somewhere south of the syringe-to-the-eyeball-antics of Halloween II. It even comes with a score that sounds as if someone propped John Carpenter’s corpse up behind a synth, and let his fingers fall where they may. Having said that, it’s easily the third best of Norris’s career, behind Lone Wolf McQuade and Invasion USA — and miles ahead of that time he fought satan in 1990’s Hellbound. More importantly, it’s the kind of film that could only exist in one place, that dark dimension known as… the Midnight Void.