Back to the fun of another movie from the Pure Terror box set. It is funny but when I saw the name listed for this movie, I recognized it but couldn’t really figure out from where. So I looked him up and immediately recognized him as Iolaus from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. So, now knowing where I recognized the name, it will be interesting to see how a younger Michael Hurst is as an actor. So let’s get started with today’s movie, Death Warmed Up.
The plot: Michael Tucker is running across the park to a nearby hospital, and heads upstairs, where he witnesses an argument between his father, Professor Raymond Tucker, and his partner, Dr. Archer Howell. Tucker says Howell’s mutation is too dangerous but Howell accuses Tucker of trying to stop his progress in extending or saving human lives and threatens him. Howell notices Tucker had been watching them and as he is taking a shower, drugs him and carries him off, where he places Tucker in a chair and tortures/brainwashes him before driving him home. At the Tucker’s house, Tucker is watching a news story where Howell is being interviewed and grows upset over what Howell is saying but his wife Netty calms him down and takes him to bed. Michael enters the house carrying a shotgun and proceeds to shoot his parents and ends up being committed to a mental institution for 7 years. Meanwhile, Howell has moved his operations to an island off the New Zealand coast and has begun experimenting on human patients. Michael, his girlfriend Sandy, and their friends Lucas and Jeannie are on the ferry heading to the same island that Howell’s clinic is on. While their story is that they are going there to go camping and exploring some old WWII tunnels, Jeannie doesn’t know that the real reason for their going is so Michael can get revenge on Howell, an issue that Sandy argues about with Michael. Meanwhile, a medical van for Howell’s clinic is also on the ferry and the two drivers, Spider and Jannings, are watching Lucas and Jeannie having sex in the back of their car when one of them starts complaining about feeling bad. A hunchbacked crew member interrupts Lucas and Jeannie and the captain chastises him and tells him not to go on the deck but when they are back in the wheelhouse, the hunchback collapses and says he needs to see Howell before he begins convulsing and frothing at the mouth. Michael and Lucas notice the van is from Howell’s clinic and they go to investigate it for a bit before Lucas decides to pee on it. Spider and Jannings get out to confront Lucas and a fight breaks out between the four men but Michael and Lucas get the upper hand. As the ferry docks, Michael and Lucas get back in the car and as they wait to de-board, Spider rams bumps them a few times with the van before they leave the ferry and the van speeds past them. As they make their way through the hillside, Jeannie hears something and gets nervous, just as the van reappears and tries to slam into them but Michael avoids it and the van ends up getting stuck off the road. When they head into town, Michael freezes up a little when he sees Howell walking to a nearby market but he snaps out of it and continues to the beach. Meanwhile, Howell gets a page and returns to the clinic, where the hunchback is taken into surgery but as Howell starts to examine his head, which is pulsing, the hunchback’s head explodes. Michael and his friends leave the beach and head out to the hills to explore the WWII tunnels, but Jeanie gets nervous as they approach them. Inside the tunnels, Michael and Lucas end up getting separated from the girls and as the girls try to find them, they end up coming to an opening, where the hunchback body is suddenly dropped down, hanging from a noose. Sandy and Jeannie scream and run back down the tunnel and run into Michael and Lucas, as an alarm sounds and Spider and Jannings begin chasing them on motorcycles through the tunnels. After a while, Jeannie is injured and Lucas gets fed up and decides to confront them while the others escape and ends up causing Jannings to crash and impale himself on a metal pole. As they are leaving, Sandy says Jeannie needs to go to the hospital but Michael tells her that they can’t go there because the hospital won’t help them. Meanwhile, Spider takes Jannings back to the institute and asks Howell to help Jannings but Howell refuses and tells his assistant, Jackson, to get rid of both of them. Jackson attacks Spider with a device but Spider manages to run off and head down to the bottom of the institute and kills a guard before unleashing Howell’s mutations that were kept locked up down there. Michael and the others reach a pub and Michael and Lucas head inside to call for help while Sandy stays in the car and tends to Jeannie’s injuries. When they reach the institute, Jackson warns them to barricade the pub and wait for help but Spider and the mutants arrive and rip out the power and phone lines. Sandy makes it inside, leaving Jeannie locked in the car as the mutants start attacking the pub and the car. The mutants kill the pub owner and almost kill Jeannie before Jackson and his staff arrive and subdue Spider and the mutants, then take Michael and the others prisoner and take them back to the institute. When they get there, Spider and the mutants overpower the staff and start killing them, while Michael and the others run and barricade themselves inside a room. Michael goes to find Howell and while he is gone, the room comes under attack. Lucas places Jeannie inside a side room while he and Sandy fend off the attackers but there is a mutant in the room and as Jeannie tries to fend it off by throwing things at it, she throws a vial of liquid at a heater, setting both her and the creature on fire before the other chemicals cause an explosion. Meanwhile, Michael is captured and brought to see Howell, who says that there have been hundreds of patients that he has treated and will undergo the mutation. Howell says he needs to survive in order to stop this but Michael kills him, stabbing him repeatedly in the gut. Meanwhile, Lucas and Sandy are trying to find Michael and escape when Spider kills Lucas with an axe. Michael finds Sandy and confronts Spider, who stares at Michael before backing away, saying “I’ll get you. I’ll get you all.” Michael and Sandy leave but Michael starts acting strange and when they approach the burning wreckage of the bar, he stops the car and gets out. Sandy pleads with him not to leave her but he walks off a ways before he starts to break down and cry. Suddenly, a power line falls and electrocutes Michael and Sandy runs towards him but seeing he is dead, runs off into the night.
Well, this definitely fit the bill for this box set. This was a little confusing, but a pretty decent horror movie from New Zealand. The acting was ok, with Michael Hurst (Michael) and Margaret Umbers (Sandy) doing a good job. David Letch was also pretty good as Spider, but Gary Day (Howell) was a little too over the top in his acting. The story was a bit confusing, as some things were never fully explained, which kind of hurt the story a little. The special effects were pretty good considering when it was made and the low budget. While the copy in the set may not be the best possible version, the tone of the movie was very fitting, with a lot of suspense and some good build up during the latter half of the movie. Not the best horror movie out there, but some good scares that are worth watching it for.
Rating: 3 out of 5