The Cold Review (AKA: The Game)
This is probably the greatest box art I’ve ever seen.
Usually, I make note of alternate titles in the review somewhere, but this is a special case. The film was known as The Game for, as far as I can tell, almost its entire existence until it became The Cold later on DVD in the 2000s. Why? I’m no copyright expert, so I don’t know if that was involved in any way. I’d like to think that Triple H is suing Bill Rebane for defaming his character with this hunk of shit.
Yes, Bill Rebane. That Bill Rebane. We’ve visited his shitacular films before with The Demons of Ludlow which, like The Cold, is transcendentally rewatchable and yet can’t be taken seriously as anything approaching decent film. Over a year ago with Ludlow, I had made fun of Bill Rebane for living in Wisconsin and making horror movies there. Well, life is funny, and now that I live in Wisconsin I sort of want to meet the man. Before I get too into it, if anyone out there thinks this is the worst Rebane film, you couldn’t be more wrong; other projects like The Giant Spider Invasion and Monster A-Go-Go guarantee that we’ll see him again here.
"THIS FILM IS CALLED WHAAAAAAAAT"
The plot, such that it attempts to be a plot, is that a group of three rich people who look nothing like depicted on the video sleeve have a lot of money, so they decide to hold an annual contest with plebeians in an island hotel. The concept of the contest is that whoever stays on the island the longest wins a million dollars. Lest you think this is too difficult, the old people assure the contestants (and, earlier, us) that no danger will befall them. It’s just a bunch of spooky crap. Good thing they told us that. I was worried I’d take something in this film seriously.
So the group of (entirely white) poor people come to the island and start dancing to one of the worst musical numbers to ever be put to celluloid. Look, I make music, and few people would argue it’s not terrible, but I have never, ever, approached the ear-abortion on display here. Fortunately, Bill Rebane knows this, and responds with damn-near pornographic camera angles of the young ladies dancing, and also an incredibly unintentionally hilarious shot of an old person butt grab on some dude who looks like Adam Sandler's best friend in The Wedding Singer. Mustache dude responds by this strange twirl-to-white man’s moonwalk combo that sets back choreography by twenty years on its own. This is all within four minutes of the film staring.
And, yes, slowly but surely spooky things start to happen, like a fake shark in a swimming pool, or contrived kidnappings that, again, we know aren’t real because they told us so. So one of the plebes fancies himself an investigator and looks into files in the hotel that we barely give a damn about, because the plot has been laid out well enough that if a twist comes, we can easily determine if it’s actually going to have any effect on the ending. Toward the end, the hotel gets colder- my best guess is that after realizing they couldn’t scare anyone away, they just decided to have a mini ice age migration to see who can put up with it. And around that time a cold ice ghost appears, straight out of Luigi’s Mansion, but don’t worry, because again, we’re probably not going to take it seriously when there’s fake gags around here everywhere anyway.
By the way, I heard there’s a Luigi’s Mansion 2 coming out. Didn’t see that coming.
Aside from the plot being a 0/10, the execution of the plot being a -5/10, and the characters having an interesting lack of diversity, there’s very little to interest anyone with The Cold. In a lot of ways, I guess it’s a rip off of House on Haunted Hill, but without the interesting ulterior motives or scumbaggy noir cast of characters. It’s sort of like stripping a superior film for parts, but only taking the frame and half the engine. I guess it moves, but it doesn’t go anywhere.
Fortunately, this is a bad horror movie in the 1980s, so as you can imagine the 12 year old boy audience was in full effect. One of my favorite things about this era was, as I’ve stated before, that horror was relied on as a source of pornography that even a 12 year old could rent. By the time I rolled around, this was pretty much the past, but what a concept. This is why nudity almost always appears in horror films in the 1980s. But I digress.
Anyway, mustache dude is walking by a steam room and sees Southern Accent Girl laying in the steam room, naked, with no towel on. That’s sort of the worst idea I’ve ever heard, until mustache walks in and convinces her to have sex with him. “Is it safe?” she asks, blissfully unaware that President Reagan hadn’t even mentioned AIDS yet. “Of course it’s safe,” mustache returns educationally, “I’ve had a vasectomy.” Ding-ding-ding! When I have children, I’m not going to talk to them about sex, I’m just going to show them this scene. And then I wait for grandchildren.