My history with this atrocity goes back nearly thirty years to my youth when I was an assistant manager at a local video store chain.
It was the days of VHS, the rectangular, plastic hockey pucks that housed, at the time, a new era in entertainment: movie rentals.
To keep up with the burgeoning need for product, would-be directors were dusting off their products, no matter how quality impaired, and transferring them to tape.
I sat in on the buying sessions with the store manager and owner. Good guys who worked hard and had fun but they seemed to have a keen desire to buy the lowest possible priced tapes without regard to how entertaining it might not be and/or how a bad viewing experience might turn off customers.
Such was the case with Another Son of Sam.
One day I came in to an empty store to find the store manager, pale as all get out and watching the movie.
“Just awful…” he said, struggling to muster the words while trying to cope with anger and embarrassment.
It cost twenty dollars and with two dollar and fifty cent rentals, we both knew we would be hard-pressed to get the initial investment back. Making a rental profit off of it was pipe dream.
Anyhow, as I would come to learn, Another Son of Sam was the brainchild of a guy named Dave Adams from Charlotte, North Carolina, where the debacle was filmed.
Adams apparently served as a stunt coordinator on a couple of no-budget exploitation flicks before trying his hand at making his own movie.
Author Brian Albright, in his directory, Regional Horror Films: 1958-1990 A State by State Guide, explained that Another Son of Sam was about a lunatic, on the lam from the psych ward, and his murderous rampage which ends up at a college girls’ dormitory.
From the onset, Another Son of Sam is plagued by severely poor video and audio quality. It’s so bad at some points that you can see the film of the original print coming unspooled during the video transfer process.
Lighting was also beyond terrible. Sometimes it was too dark to see the so-called action.
Adding figurative salt to the already grim quality-related wounds was the acting. There were no hints of any skill or training. Not a high school acting class or a local dinner theatre veteran amongst the group. Easily the worst cast of unknowns ever assembled.
Writing, what you could understand of it, was hackneyed and loaded with clichés and exposition.
Editing made things even worse. At some point a local nightclub singer is filmed performing a number. It had nothing to do the story and you could barely see or hear the guy.
It even looked like some scenes were reused in assembling the catastrophe.
Finally, it was wholly evident that every expense was spared and no imagination was deployed whatsoever.
It’s one thing to see talent-challenged people plodding through some creative endeavor. It’s another to watch their arrogance in assuming that anyone can be actors or writers or directors.
Oh, before I forget, Another Son of Sam was originally called Hostage but Adams thought it best to change the name to capture the headlines of, at the time, a real-life nightmare.
Dave Adams, also known as Dave A. Adams, essentially disappeared.
While researching this article, I found some interesting but completely negative reviews on the movie’s imdb.com page.
One person, listed as Christy Dimon, asked if anyone knew how to get in touch with Dave Adams. Apparently, Christy put money into the movie but never got the courtesy to get to view the final product.
While the indignity was understandable, believe me when I say it was no great loss.
As for me, I eventually was promoted to store manager but the owner went out of business well before VHS became obsolete. Should you ever stumble upon a copy of this in some flea market or yard sale or online collector’s site, get away from it quickly.
Oh, and if memory serves me correctly, the store never made back its twenty dollar investment.
Easy come, easy go.