Great opening scene, Martin Landau at a diner, attacked by cook Donald Pleasence, but alas, it’s just a dream, and Pleasence ends up being the lax doctor in charge of the psychos, not a psycho himself. Nerdy Dr. Potter (Dwight Schultz, a Barbie movie voice actor) arrives to replace the retired Dr. Merton, but the psychos smell foul play and decide to kill the new guy and his family.
Famous last words in a movie we know will involve a blackout: “the only thing that separates me from them is electricity,” and poor Brent Jennings (Ernie from Lodge 49) is the Black Guy Who Dies First. Three killers on the loose: Landau, Jack Palance, and big Erland van Lidth (The Running Man). A fourth killer hides behind shadows and masks, and is the writers’ most clever invention, appearing at the end as Friendly Interloper Tom (Phillip Clark of Death Scream), the devil in their midst.
In the movie’s most 1982 detail, the wife (Deborah Hedwall, recently in After Yang) and sister (Lee Taylor-Allan of sexy aerobics movie Pulsebeat) are arrested while protesting nuclear power, which is how their little girl ends up home alone letting killers into the house. Palance is top-billed so he gets to escape.