MOVIE REVIEW : 'Twisted Nightmare' Writhes in Its Twisted Plot

If only the American Indians could file a class-action suit against Hollywood's horror-movie makers, claiming libel against the ghosts of their forefathers. Must every supernatural thriller now have as its explanation that the locale of its bloody terror is the site of Indian burial grounds? Couldn't the Incas, the Aztecs or maybe just some dead Italians share the blame once in a while?

The latest and possibly most pathetic in this cycle is "Twisted Nightmare" (citywide), an absolutely bottom-of-the-barrel spookfest about a killer and some evil Indian spirits terrorizing fornicating young folks at a summer camp. Surely there's a more intriguing story behind how this sleepy slimeball of a horror film ever earned a theatrical release than there is in the senseless plot line itself.

Like "Friday the 13th" (Part I), it has a female relative wreaking vengeance upon the inhabitants of a summer camp for the death of a young boy some years earlier. Like "Friday the 13th Parts II-VIII," it has that young boy somehow surviving his supposed death to bust some heads himself. What any of this has to do with his becoming a werewolf-like creature, or the aforementioned ticked-off Indians, is anyone's guess, except perhaps writer-director Paul Hunt's.

"Twisted Nightmare" (MPAA-rated R for the usual violence, profanity and plentiful female toplessness) does have its share of inadvertent, if infrequent, laughs: A sheriff drives up to the main cabin after it's been repeatedly established that the driveway's gate is locked. A couple of young men on a hunting expedition flee from the beast in the woods, never thinking to shoot at it. A character is shown engulfed in fire, his flame-retardant suit and mask clearly visible to all.

Most symbolic, if not quite most laughable, is the discrepancy between the film's two copyright dates: the opening credits date it as a 1982 production, while the closing credits claim 1987. Departing sleep-wracked onlookers will no have trouble at all believing that a good five years have elapsed since they first sat down to watch this amateurish exercise in bare breasts and exposed guts.

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