The Sleeping Car

1990 / d. Douglas Curtis
When glandular-challenged journalism student (David Naughton) moves into an abandoned railcar-turned-rental-home, he discovers that there are things in life more horrifying than his recent divorce. His life takes a turn for the worse when he’s forced to battle daily challenges, like ignoring noise warnings from his dark-arts-practicing neighbour, swallowing sarcastic comments from his ego-inflated professor, and coping with run-ins with the ex ball-and-chain.

Now as ridiculous as all this sounds, let me assure you that I’m only grazing the surface of this misbegotten little horror flick. With a plot as thin as half a split hair, it’s difficult to imagine that there was even a real script guiding the story.

Typically I keep these GUIDE TO GORE entries short — but if I may, let me give you just a few lines of backstory on this film. When I was a young(er) lad, I was absolutely fascinated with the VHS cover art on THE SLEEPING CAR. I was well-versed in the stories of all the slasher legends, but the tagline of this film suggested that it was unlike anything I had ever seen. It read: FORGET FREDDY. FORGET JASON. HERE COMES… THE MISTER! Unfortunately, my local movie store sold the copy before I had the chance to rent it, and I went 20 years until I gleefully happened upon it again on Netflix.

Did it live up to over two decades of expectation?

In it’s own way, I supposed it did. The “Mister”, that boogeyman whom the tagline boasted could knock both Freddy and Jason out of the park, wasn’t the maniacal badass I had imagined all those years. His specter-like appearance resembled the Creeper from JEEPERS CREEPERS (though I’d rather watch THE SLEEPING CAR a hundred times over before sitting through JEEPERS CREEPERS again), though he lacked any of the personality I always expected he’d have. Overall, the film was gloriously ridiculous, and while I could never in my right mind recommend it for serious viewing purposes, it was fun to watch with a group of like-minded horror fans.

Just be warned if your thought process follows like this: it starred David Naughton from AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, and that was a solid horror film, so, it follows that this film should be equally good… right?