When Genevieve doesn't come home one night, her parents fear the worst... Has she become the latest victim of a vicious internet predator that is terrorizing the town? Her father, the detective, sets up an elaborate trap to capture the sadistic 'Captain Howdy,' but the police could never prepare themselves for the unholy torture chamber they are about to unlock from beneath his house. Now, Hendricks has been rehabilitated and released, but the outside world is not quick to accept him back into society...
Written by and starring Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider in the frightening role of Carleton Hendricks, STRANGELAND is years ahead of its time in tackling the subject of cyber terror and internet predators when chat rooms and instant messaging were still in their infancy. Snider's script is in no small way influenced by A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, but modernized to fit pop culture trends for the 90's. Although the dialog can be a bit pretentious and self-serving at times, the underlying theme of hate breeding hate is thought-provoking nonetheless (despite Snider's less than stellar performance). STRANGELAND explores society's most misunderstood subcultures: Goths, Punks, and Modern Primitives, and while it is knowledgeable and respectful to these lifestyles, it does more harm than good by exacerbating existing stereotypes that these types of people are prone to murder and violence. This is perhaps the film's greatest downfall, since the end effect seems contradictory to the intent. John Pieplow does an excellent job building the mood and suspense surrounding his mysterious villain, and like in TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, his creepy sets and implied violence make the audience feel like they have seen more than they really have. Cruel tortures like genital mutilation and lacerating cuts are rarely shown on screen, though hinted at constantly. STRANGELAND frequently teeters on excellence, but some of the weaker acting and derivative plotting devices hold back what could have been a much better film.
If you liked STRANGELAND, check out:
RED DRAGON, THE COLLECTOR, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.