by: Dr. Boogie
When I think "horror," I think "dumb white people on a ski mountain". It worked so well in Shredder, but who knew that there was another winter sports-themed horror movie shot decades earlier?
Iced is a 1988 horror movie about skiing. You'll see a lot of it. It's also a movie about ass. You'll see a lot of that, too. It's a strange dichotomy that, I think you'll agree, doesn't work at all for a horror movie. Hell, the title doesn't even work. "Iced" is more of a title for a movie about ice skating, or ice hockey, or de-icing planes, but not skiing. It doesn't make any sense. Not making any sense, by the way, is the third of the film's major themes.
I'll spare you one montage of people skiing, but don't go thinking it's last one in the movie. No siree. I'm just anxious to introduce you to our cast of mooks who will spend way too much time at the front of the film not getting killed.
The girl is Trina. The guy she's smiling at is Cory, and Big Blue there is Jeff. They're all kind of dicks to each other, but Jeff is a major dick. He imagines that he and Trina are going out. They are not.
In true 80s ski movie fashion, he challenges Cory to a night race down the mountain along a path that takes them through quite a few trees. Sounds like a thrilling chase doesn't it?
A movie with a budget would have hired professional skiers to dress like the actors and race each other while being filmed from far off. Iced is a movie with no budget, so we get a lot of close shots of the actors slowly skiing next to each other. Worse yet, the composer decided to score this sequence with his Super Nintendo.
After an awfully long time of nothing happening, Cory appears to trip Jeff. He pauses to ask Jeff if he's okay, but Jeff throws a tantrum and Cory leaves.
People used to dress like this for real. I know it seems like they just put people in ridiculous outfits for fun, but there was a time when dressing like this was considered par for the course.
Anyway, Jeff throws a tantrum over losing the race. He winds up alienating all the people who are allegedly friends with him. What's an angry sociopath to do?
Jeff is so unlikeable that no one will even hang around to hear his exposition, so he's forced to rant alone. He talks about wanting to kill his friends and alludes to some unfortunate event that happened in Switzerland. Don't fool yourself into thinking this is some kind of foreshadowing. The director saw that this scene called for foreshadowing, so he put a stage light behind a stag head, thinking that was the same thing.
Eventually, Jeff ends his confession and the stag sends him to his room to do twenty Hail Maries.
Jeff is looking forward to a night of drinking alone, but his plans are interrupted by the noise from Cory and Trina's room. The two of them laughing like they just took a long pull off a tank of nitrous, but that's not what's pissing Jeff off. He whines about how Trina is his girlfriend, but she is quick to remind him that they are just friends. Why is anyone friends with this guy?
He blames Cory for making him into an unlikeable prick and goes out for one more night ski.
While Jeff is climbing a hill to start his run, we're treated to strangely graphic sex scene between Cory and Trina. No penetration or anything, but it's long enough that you'll begin to wonder if you've seen more skiing or more bodies grinding in this movie.
Jeff and Cory reach their respective peaks, and Jeff starts his run. Only this time, there aren't enough klieg lights on the slopes.
Jeff goes sailing off a cliff and lands on some rocks. When I say "some rocks," I don't mean a rocky outcropping. I mean a loose pile of rocks some prankster apparently left on the slope.
Bad news: Jeff's chest has been crushed.
Good news: he's dead.
Plus, they can use the rocks to build him a little cairn!
Four years later, the now-married Trina and Cory are on their way to a mountain chalet for a sales pitch from a local realtor. Trina reads from the invitation, which begins with, "Dear Mr. and Mrs. MacGyver." This movie came out three years after Angus Macgyver taught us all to love duct tape and paperclips! Why would they name their characters MacGyver?
Also riding in the car with them is Jeanette. Jeanette travels light, but as we'll soon see, she still has plenty of baggage. She and husband Eddie decided to take separate cars because they're fighting. About what? Who cares?
I wonder what Eddie's up to right now. I don't really wonder that, but here he is all same.
Maybe Eddie has a backstory that's worth hearing, maybe he doesn't. There's no sense getting into it now because he's about to take a wrong turn down a snow-covered road.
He plows into the snow and gets stuck. Little does he know, the killer, dressed like Jeff and wearing cracked ski goggles for some reason, correctly guessed that he would take this deserted road AND crash his car at this very spot. And poor Eddie. He's not even going to make it as far as the scene of the crime.
He barely lasted long enough to be identified. We don't even get to see him die. All we get is a shot of some red snow and shredded pants. What if he was the best character in the whole movie, and we never even knew about it? Oh Eddie, we hardly knew ye!
From one crime scene to another, we rejoin Cory, Trina, and Jeanette. The chalet is locked, but Cory manages to MacGyver his way in. Once inside, they spread out and pick which spots they want their corpses to be arranged in once they get murdered. Jeanette makes the comment, "I wonder what the bedroom's like?" Oh, I'll bet you do, you saucy little minx, you.
Upstairs, newcomer Carl jumps out of a closet to grab Jeanette and steal a kiss. Carl is the kind of guy you would be hard pressed to describe as anything other than "rapey". The women all seem to be getting this vibe from him, but Cory loves the way he seems like he's always on coke. Yeah, "seems". Carl explains that the realtor let him in and then took off. This kind of seems like the world's best open house.
The women settle into some cooking and gabbing while the men decide to hit the slopes. Jeanette immediately starts complaining about the problems she and Eddie are having in their relationship, and the movie cuts back to that red smear on the road in case you forgot what happened seven minutes ago.
In contrast, the men try to fling more limp backstory at each other that has nothing to do with any of what's happening in this movie. They do take a short break from their irrelevant reminiscing to laugh about Jeff being dead, just in case you felt like these two weren't unsympathetic enough as characters.
Cut to hotshot real estate agent, Alex Bourne. In the midst of his riveting paperwork, he has a vision of Jeff flying off that cliff, followed by some unidentified skiier at that same cliff looking for something. Is that giving anything away, to have a heretofore unseen character remembering something about one of the main characters? Well, we are talking about a director who thinks foreshadowing involves actual shadows.
We learn that Alex has a meeting with the group scheduled for 8:30 that night. That's not too late to make a sales pitch, right? Coincidentally, we also learn from his secretary that Alex's dad is kind of pressuring him to sell this chalet, but doesn't really think he can do it. So there's at least one character in the movie who realizes that Alex is a crummy realtor.
Are you ready for more unappealing characters? Meet John and Diane. John is a pediatrician who has weird mood swings where he lashes out at his wife and friends in equal amounts. Basically, if you are married in this movie, your life is hell. And if you're single, then you're Carl, and therefore not much better off.
While unpacking his things, John finds news clipping about a Harvard student dying in a skiing accident. Are we to believe this rogue's gallery of losers all met while attending an ivy league university? And if so, what does the writer have against Harvard to fill it with people like these?
Not to pile on Carl, but he does seem the least educated among them. They keep alluding to him being in "pharmaceuticals", which seems like a euphemism for him being a drug dealer. He isn't helping when he says his job provides him with plenty of blow and percocet.
Also, he brought along a doctor's bag full of pills, cocaine, and a gun.
There's still plenty more of Iced to see!
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