Tennessee Torture – Rediscovering ‘Trapped’ (US/Can 1982 – 95 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - August 19, 2015
Tennessee Torture – Rediscovering ‘Trapped’ (US/Can 1982 – 95 mins)

A backwoods horror that pits college coeds against ruthless rednecks, William Fruet’s ‘Trapped’ is an entertaining slice of Deliverance-inspired mayhem. Coming rather late in the Canadian exploitation era, it’s a decent thriller buoyed by a manic turn by cult character actor Henry Silva.

After witnessing local redneck Henry Chatwill (Silva) murder a hillbilly for cavorting with his unfaithful young bride, a group of camping students lead by Roger Michaels (Nicholas Campbell), find themselves terrorized by the axe-wielding hick, until they’re forced to use basic survival instincts to fight back against Henry and his goons.

Also known as ‘Baker County, U.S.A’, ‘Trapped’ gave prolific cult actor Henry Silva a rare lead role, and he’s wonderfully nasty here, dishing out his own forms of justice. After supporting roles in mainstream movies such as ‘Ocean’s 11’ (’60) and ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ (’62), Silva spent much of the Seventies in Italian crime pics including Umberto Lenzi’s ‘Almost Human’ (’74) and ‘The Manhunt’ (‘75). Nicholas Campbell has one of his better roles as Roger, the student turned hero. Following small parts in ‘The Omen’ (’76) and ‘The Brood’ (’79) Campbell has gone on to have many supporting roles in cult movies, including David Cronenberg’s ‘The Dead Zone’ (’83) and ‘Naked Lunch’ (’91). Pretty Danone Camden was impressive here as Silva’s bored and abused young wife, and would go on to have the longstanding role of Ewing receptionist Kendall Chapman in ‘Dallas’ (’82-91).

Canadian director William Fruet was adept at the terrorising and revenge theme, having earlier made the controversial thriller ‘Death Weekend’ (’76) with Don Stroud and Brenda Vaccaro. Cinematographer Mark Irwin went on to greater success for photographing a trio of David Cronenberg horrors; ‘The Dead Zone’, ‘Videodrome’ (both ’83) and ‘The Fly’ (’86).

There is a lot more here though than just the usual chase through the woods, as the film also gives us car smashes, shotguns, the odd explosion and a memorably prolonged climax which features an impressive impaling. Other pluses are that the college kids aren’t portrayed here as dumb and naïve, and also Silva doesn’t overact his role which he could so easily have done in this type of genre picture.

With full-frontal nudity, plentiful action, and even some morality thrown in, ‘Trapped’ is an above-average rural revenge flick and (in the UK at least) surprisingly unknown. A shame really as this obscure offering is very well made and ideal for a late-night treat. Now pass me the beef jerky!

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