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Mirage
Mirage (1989)
Movie
  • Director:
    Bill Crain
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Chuck Hughes,Bill Crain
  • Cast:
    Jennifer McAllister,Todd Caldecott,Kenny Johnson
  • Time:
    1h 24min
  • Year:
    1989
Three couples set off to spend some time in the desert. At first, all is well and they have a lot of fun. Watching them is a mysterious stranger, who has plans for some fun of his own that the youngsters aren't going to appreciate.
Casts
Cast overview:
Jennifer McAllister Jennifer McAllister - Chris
Todd Caldecott Todd Caldecott - Kyle (as Todd Schaefer)
Kenny Johnson Kenny Johnson - Greg (as Kenneth Johnson)
Kevin Masterson Kevin Masterson - Trip (as Kevin McParland)
Nicole Anton Nicole Anton - Mary
Laura Albert Laura Albert - Bambi
B.G. Steers B.G. Steers - Villain

Mirage (1989)
Conjuril
Conjuril
This movie, which starts out with a interesting opening of two hot blondes getting it on in the back of a driver-less, moving vehicle, has quite the quirky little personality to boot. The cast of seven (although one girl doesn't hang around for the bodycount, which is unfortunate because the death toll is already so small as is) are all super-hot, as our story centers around teens partying way out in the desert (an odd but effective choice of setting), who are hunted down by a creepy man in black gloves and jeans who drives a black truck. It predates many of the vehicle-inspired slashers to date ("The Trip", "Joy Ride", "Jeepers Creepers") where the killer's vehicle itself becomes an evil antagonist. The killer himself is quite creepy, and we find solace in the extremely likable heroine in Jennifer McAllister (look at the interesting symbolic contrast of the evil killer in all black, while our benevolent heroine sports all white attire, as scanty and stonewashed as it may be). Director Bill Crain does some really great things with his camera, some neat tricks on screen, and the cast tries their absolute best. There's enough gore in the low bodycount to please the gore fans, and enough T&A from a couple of the girls to please T&A fans. Overall, this flick is highly underrated and widely sought out in the slasher movie world as it's proved quite rare to find on video. Highly recommended.
Spilberg
Spilberg
Mirage (1990) is a very rare horror/chiller from 1990, released here in the UK on the "New World Video" label.

It's a desert based horror film about a group of young friends who are partying for the weekend, only to be killed off one by one by an unknown force who drives a menacing black truck!!! This film has some creepy scenes, and some gore here and there, but i have to say that the acting was so lame, even by low budget standards! But the film was oddly addictive and i liked it, and i never fell asleep or turned it off, which is always a good sign! I nearly gave this movie 6/10, but seeing as it built up steam along the way, had some good moments of gore and suspense, had some good nudity, and the fact that the blonde in the main female role was a hottie too! i'll give it 7/10.
Dori
Dori
Bill Crain's rarer than rare 'slasher' movie certainly doesn't follow the standard stalk and slash guidelines that have become so essential of its counterparts. The bogeyman this time around uses grenades and small arms as well as an awesome array of melee weapons; - a sin that's virtually unacceptable in most post-Halloween genre pieces. But there's still just enough familiarity to keep slasher buffs from checking the rule book and the plot never strays too far from the path that you've grown to expect. Just as Wally Koz's surprisingly decent 555 was seemingly put together with help from various members of his family, Mirage seems to have been a joint production from relatives of the director. Looking through the credits I noticed numerous 'Crains' listed in key positions throughout the construction of the feature. But despite fairly good distribution across the globe, the movie failed to make an impression either side of the Atlantic and now it has become pretty much a phantom of the VHS market. Nevertheless this only made it appeal to me even more and so I strained my resources to track a copy down…

It all takes place in the middle of the dessert, which as I'm sure you'll agree is hardly the most exciting location. With that said though, I must admit that there's certainly going to be no chance of any nosey John Q Laws turning up unexpectedly. Four undeniably beautiful youngsters head out into the sand for a night of debauchery and frolics that always seems to rub homicidal maniacs the wrong way. Chris (Jennifer McAllister) and her boyfriend Greg (Kenny Johnson) meet up with amusing new age hippies Trip (Kevin McParland) and Mary (Nicole Anton) at a make shift camp site in the midst of the dune-like wilderness. Greg's older brother Kyle (Todd Schaefer) and his buxom girlfriend Bambi (Laura Albert) soon turn up to join the body count applicants in their quest for an early grave. Kyle used to date Chris before his younger brother took the liberty of stealing his squeeze – something that Kyle doesn't seem too keen to forget. Sound like a motive for a massacre? Well what did you expect? Before long an unseen someone driving a truck with tinted windows joins the gathering with a unique set of tricks up his sleeve. Will any of the kids survive to turn up for a sequel?

I have had trouble tracking down any information at all about this feature. I don't even know if director Bill Crain is aka William Crain – the man behind Midnight Fear and Blacula among others. Mirage certainly doesn't appear on his official filmography, so your guess is as good as mine. Judging by the credible work behind the camera, I'd have to say that I find it hard to believe that this is the debut of a man with no previous cinematic experience. The film is stylishly photographed with some superb work from DP Michael Crain, and the director boasts a credible talent for building suspense when it's necessary. R. Christopher Biggs' gore FX are imaginatively created and gruesome, and kudos to the sleepy head over at the BBFC who inexplicably let this pass through UNCUT on a usually stringent 18 rating. A couple of the murders are indeed extremely macabre. One guy gets buried up to his neck in sand before coming face to face with a grenade, while another ends up literally legless after loosing a battle with a chain and a pick up truck! There's also some black humor that's surely unintentional. We spend the majority of the feature seeing only the killer's boots as he steps out of his vehicle and stalks the youngsters. But when he's revealed to hilariously resemble Keanu Reeves circa Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, I didn't quite know what to expect. Thankfully Crain knows exactly how to keep things creepy and the showdown is particularly mean spirited as the psycho taunts Chris sadistically.

There are some surprisingly good performances on display from an extremely inexperienced cast. The divine Jennifer McAllister does a superb job as the heroine and B.G. Steers portrays off his rocker dementia with finesse. The Casting director chose wisely to pick some of the most beautiful females ever slaughtered in slasher cinema and it gratefully doesn't come at the cost of thespian potential. The soundtrack works well to build the desolate atmosphere of isolation, which is carefully handled by a director that should have been signed and nurtured by Hollywood bigwigs. Watch out for the superb nightmare sequence that is truly horror film-making at it's freakiest.

Mirage is a good late entry to the cycle that was somewhat unfortunate to miss a boom year placing amongst the slasher elite. When you consider that this was made with just a cast of seven and a pick up truck, you have to say that they did a damn good job. The flaws are numerous, but never detract credibility from the net result. Unfortunately you've probably got more chance of finding liquid gold in your coffee mug than you have of ever tracking down a copy. If you see this one covered in dust on the top shelf of your local video store, then make sure you pick it up. Recommended.
Arith
Arith
I've seen some really obscure slashers in my day, but MIRAGE has to be one of the hardest to find. Never released on video in the US (no idea why not), it's near impossible to find on the internet or elsewhere. Sometimes, with certain movies, the obscurity is understandable (HEAVY METAL MASSACRE), but here, I am very perplexed.

Three couples decide to head out to the middle of the desert for a little R&R. However, they soon begin being menaced by a black truck and an unknown driver. Then the mysterious driver begins bumping them off one by one. Who is this man? What does he want with them? Is he real, or is it all just a mirage?

I imagine MIRAGE came about when someone thought to his/herself, "Say, I wonder what would happen is Steven Spielberg's DUEL was a straight-up slasher, and with a group of teens instead of Dennis Weaver?" Well, that idea culminates here, and it's actually not as campy as you would think. Sure, the acting isn't the best in certain spots, and some of the characters do dumb things, but those can easily be forgiven through what good things MIRAGE has to offer.

I've always said that in order to create a perfect (or at least near perfect) slasher is spend thirty minutes on character development and maybe one or two murders, forty to fifty minutes on stalk and slash, and ten to twenty minutes on killer confrontation. MIRAGE follows this nearly to a tee and it works wonders for it.

The characters were all likable and believable, and even the "jerk" character was likable to a degree. The setting doesn't feel forced (it doesn't feel like these characters came here just to get killed), as they actually partake in believable activities instead of just constant sex. They also act like they're all friends, as opposed to just non-stop bickering. There's also some entertaining montages, such as them playing football or one of the couples making love in the back of a pick-up while a weight presses on the gas as they roar across the desert.

The kills in MIRAGE are all gory and well-done, even if they aren't too creative. We get to see the aftermath of a messy meeting of a head and a grenade, an arrow through the head, a dismemberment, etc. However, don't think that the kills are all MIRAGE has going for it. There are some brilliant suspense sequences involving the truck menacing the final girl and whoever else is with her. The desert is one of my favorite underused slasher settings, and it's done to perfection here. They make this desert seem so vast and endless, which really builds on the isolated atmosphere.

I don't think it would be too much of a spoiler to say that the killer is someone completely random, however, one might get the feeling the film is trying to be a whodunit because of how the audience never sees his face until the final ten or so minutes. There is some good suspense when he gets out of his truck and chases the final girl around some rocks while taunting her. There's also a twist ending that I didn't care for, but oh well.

I love this movie with all my heart. It has nearly everything I look for in an entertaining slasher flick: Likable and fun characters, good gore, great pacing, lots of suspense, a phenomenal setting, and good acting to boot. I just wish they had used the concept of mirages more.

Highly recommended, if you can find it.
Budar
Budar
Three couples are having a vacation in the desert, drinking beer playing football, you know the usual. But when an uninvited guest in the form of a psychotic killer in a black jeep. The party's over and the 6 friends soon find themselves running for they're lives, but there's no place to hide in the middle of the desert.

Mirage is an odd little slasher, it's really any different from other slashers, except the only thing is that the people are partying in the desert (an odd choice) if you ask me. But the fact that the killer drives around in a creepy black jeep creates fear for the group and for the audience, because how can you get away from someone whose's driving a car and it works well for most of the time.

Maybe the script wasn't long enough or maybe it needed a small subplot, either way, it felt as if several scenes were played in slow-motion just to kill running time. Anyhow, Mirage is one of the few slashers from this era which is actually worth watching.

It's a shame really that this flick is so forgotten because it's actually really good, the acting is well a mixed bag but the main girl Jennifer McAllister did a pretty good job and she was really stunning. An annoying aspect is that we don't get to find out why the killer is there or why he's killing everybody off, but he does play his part well.

All in all "Mirage" is an entertaining slasher flick, not the most original movie ever made but then again Slasher flicks never are. A little odd but still worth watching.
Ubrise
Ubrise
Well, this was one of those films I caught on the off-chance, and it was good enough for me to record when it showed up next time... If, like myself, you enjoy many 80's horror flicks that branched out a little from the norm (i.e. not just another glut of generic sequels) then I think you may enjoy this. When the bad guy eventually turns up in person, he was definitely not what I expected to see! All in all, I wouldn't go out of your way for this one, but if you like the genre, then watch it if it comes up and you have an hour and a half to kill, I guess. I'd give it 6.5 out of 10.
Mbon
Mbon
I remember that i was a child when i first saw this movie, it was my first horror movie (maybe that's the reason why i can still remember some parts of it). I don't remember much about acting, nude scenes or other things but i do remember a male has head blown up with a grenade, a male dismembered over a tree and a male run down by truck and shot in head :) (Todd Schaefer, Kenny Johnson and Kevin McParland). I also remember the last scene when Jennifer McAllister riped of the killer stomach to get the keys of the truck. It's a movie that gives you the creep and it's worth a look. But where do i find it? How can i download it?
Hinewen
Hinewen
I saw this movie on Channel 5 in the UK nearly 10 years ago, I never heard of it before but quite liked it, it was about a group of young friends who go the desert to party but someone with a pick up truck with darkened windows follows them and starts killing them one by one, it was not as typical as other slasher films this one was quite quirky, I would not mind seeing it again.

The soundtrack to the film introduced to me to the American underground rock scene from the 1980's most notably fIREHOSE and The Minutemen, every other low grade horror got released on DVD I cannot understand why this one never got re-issued.
Dead Samurai
Dead Samurai
A group of friends decide to take a camping trip into the desert-and find themselves stalked and murdered by a mysterious killer in a black pick-up truck."Mirage" is obviously inspired by Spielberg's "Duel" and Craven's "The Hills Have Eyes".Still this slasher yarn offers plenty of nasty violence and gore.The film's gory highlight is a sequence involving a man having his arm and leg chained together around a tree and then having his limbs dismembered when the chain is pulled by a truck.There is also a little bit of suspense and some exciting stalk-and-slash sequences.The acting is pretty lame and the script is quite weak,but the film is fast-paced and shocking.B.G.Steers who plays the villain is fairly threatening.The desert locations provide some atmosphere and the gore is rather strong.Overall,if you like low-budget horror films give this one a look.8 out of 10.
HelloBoB:D
HelloBoB:D
This abnormally obscure early 90's slasher (it's nearly impossible to find) attempts to blend different styles and sub genres, like desert horror, textbook teen-slasher and psychological thriller. The story's main influence obviously comes from the stalking-vehicles-without-a-driver classics, namely "The Car" and Steven Spielberg's "Duel", but the atmosphere and especially the final plot-twists are more reminiscent to wannabe intellectual thrillers, which is quite a shame. Personally, I'm convinced "Mirage" would have been much more efficient without the pseudo-psychological end twists. As the title implies, the script wants you to constantly doubt whether or not the terrorizing black pick-up truck is real or simply a mirage. The structure doesn't really work and the film honestly isn't very good, but at least the straightforward action sequences and gory deaths make it worthwhile. Three young couples, stereotype hot girls and hunky boys, head out to the middle of the desert to go camping, play stupid ball games and have a whole lot of sex; preferably in driving vehicles (excellent opening sequence). Right from the beginning, and for no apparent reason, there's a sinister black pick-up truck with heavy lights following them around and observing their every move. Using the malevolent car as a powerful weapon, the teenagers are quickly wiped out and pretty soon Chris is the only one left to confront the psycho behind the wheel. The death sequences are ingenious and suitably gory (one poor bloke is dismembered when his legs are simultaneously chained to a tree and the vehicle) and the desert setting easily creates the right atmosphere of helplessness. The acting performances are atrocious, but the girls are pretty and provide some welcome – albeit totally gratuitous – nudity. The pick-up truck is simply awesome and undeniably menacing. "Mirage" is good fun as long as you completely forget the last five minutes.
Diab
Diab
Three couples visit the desert to do what many couples in horror movies do (party and sex). They are then stalked by a mysterious stranger in a black truck who just wants them dead. Unfortunately for me this horror movie didn't make the mark. Some interesting material is within the movie, but you seem to glide through a lot of sludge to get to it. Also not a fan of how it was shot. Seems to be a lot of close ups, low shots and long shots that tend to really drag. Mixed with some bad acting just can't recommend this rare horror flick.
Very Old Chap
Very Old Chap
Spielberg's DUEL, Harmon's THE HITCHER, and Craven's THE HILLS HAVE EYES seem to have been the main inspirations for this standard slasher yarn with artistic pretensions, which makes good use of an isolated and eerie desert location as its setting. Fans of the genre will find themselves well-served by heavy helpings of gory nastiness, with gruesome scenes involving the bloody mess of a head blown up by a grenade; an arrow through a man's skull; a couple of buckets of sticky fake blood; a rotting skeletal corpse; and, in the film's gory high point, a nightmare sequence involving a man having his arm and leg chained together around a tree and then having his limbs dismembered when the chain is pulled by a truck.

Although the film seems to be constrained by a rather low budget, director Bill Crain is obviously a fan of the genre and knows what to give his audience: plenty of stalk-and-slash sequences, a little suspense, and an atmosphere of brooding violence. Despite the eventual monotonousness of the desert location the film is well-paced and the action-based plot keeps you watching throughout, with the film getting better as it dispenses with the moronic supporting characters and concentrates on the battle of wits between heroine and villain. The script isn't exactly what I would call literate, but then the acting is also of a low calibre so maybe that's for the best.

Taking the lead part is Jennifer McAllister, an actress seemingly picked for her looks rather than her thespian skills as Crain constantly seems to dress her in the skimpiest attire possible throughout the movie. None of the supporting actors or actresses make much of an impact and are merely "slasher fodder" for the killer, apart from one woman whose job is to provide the film's nudity and then inexplicably leave again. As for the villain (he is given no name), as played by B. G. Steers; well, Steers should have been restrained a little with his "mad man" shtick in the finale but otherwise he makes for a fairly threatening - if a little young - bad guy. Perhaps Crain saw BLIND TERROR before he made his film as here also we only see the killer's shoes and legs for the majority of the movie before his identity is revealed, giving ample room for a few 'whodunit'-style interludes.

Despite a lack of originality all round, Mirage is one of a handful of films which actually seems to have been enhanced a little by its low budget, utilised to give the movie a "raw" feel of realism, helped a lot by the windswept desert locations. It certainly isn't memorable but it passes the time on a rainy night and undemanding genre fans could do a lot worse than giving it a go.
Bremar
Bremar
I cant help it but i seem to like films that are meant to be scary and are just plain bad. I have personally listed it in my own top 10 worst movies right under creatures of the abyss!. Watch this film and have a laugh just don't expect to see any academy awards for acting. More chance of understanding the film its self. In all honesty though i have seen much worse than this. Plus some maniac cruising round the desert wiping the same people out that just died is that unbelievable that its got to be original. i think its one of those love or hate movies. you can make up your own mind yes its awful but it pulls it off somehow thats why i love it
Rleillin
Rleillin
Here we have a film that would not appear to work on paper, but goes and works exceptionally well on the screen. It has so many generical good points that when watching it you forget how bad the acting really is. I would not personally say that it is a 'tongue in cheek' film but that it has some of the points that make it a film that will go down in history as being undernoticed and in turn underrated, i mean that it is a relitivly 'small' film in relation to some of the other ones that follow a similar plot but in many ways in mirrors and somtimes passes them in its plauseability(this could happen)and the boundrys that it goes to.
TheSuspect
TheSuspect
Although clearly made on something of a budget, this film has many striking qualities.For fans of shock/horror the explicitness of the violence will be well received. For those of a more nervous disposition,close your eyes. However,the acting is quite poor and the dialogue is stifled and unrealistic. And the director seems very keen to focus on the ample and very visible bosom of the leading female character.Overall,the movie is quite passable for the genre and in this viewers opinion is definitely worth a look.