As Clutch Guthrie shoots through the exhaust pipe and into Fort Knox he can’t help but think that this is pretty rad, even for him. The pipe soon turns into a luge and he is slipping and sliding his way to a gold medal when he tumbles out and into a room full of gold. But, wait… he’s not alone. In the middle of the vault is a small man dressed in a robe. “What thuuuuu…” he says and the man turns around, startled by his presence. But it isn’t a man at all. It’s a smoking hot woman! “Hey lady, I don’t know what you are thinking, but I need this gold to free the Vice President of the United States. First in line for succession. Ever heard of him?” Clutch says, grabbing for a bar of gold. “Well not all that glitters is gold and not all that’s gold is yours, bub,” she says, “And besides, I need it for something far more important: to save the whole goddamn world.” Clutch squints and asks her to explain. A mastermind who goes by the moniker Wishmaster has created a doomsday device. It’s powered by gold and he’s coming this way to get all the fuel he needs to (bum bum bum) melt the polar ice caps. “So you see, back off, bub.” Clutch shakes his head at the tall tale, “ I knew I should have listened to my mama and never talked to strangers.” But just at that moment The Wishmaster busts into the room, alarms blaring.
Patrick looks up again at that piece of shit hack Manfred Long. At this point he had entered a full blown quickening due to the power of the Dongle he possesses. Yet the page in front of him remains blank. That’s right! We are going deep in on the 90’s genre de jour erotic thriller and watching Never Talk to Strangers, the Banderas-De Mornay joint that everyone totally remembers for sure. Let’s go!
Jamie suddenly turns to Kyle. “I have an idea. Manfred is using the Dongle as a Wishmaster… and I think we might be able to piggyback on the power and make it our wishmaster, too. I just need one thing,” Kyle nods for him to continue, “Cover me.” That’s right! We are definitely doing a Playboy feature film (the inaugural one, in fact), but only because it had a video game adaptation and that’s fun… for no other reason. Let’s go!
Never Talk to Strangers (1995) – BMeTric: 39.0; Notability: 20
StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 10.4%; Notability: top 26.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 11.5%; Higher BMeT: Showgirls, Vampire in Brooklyn, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Fair Game, Congo, Jury Duty, Batman Forever, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Theodore Rex, Tank Girl, The Babysitter, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Judge Dredd, Nine Months, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, The Scarlet Letter, Operation Dumbo Drop, Jade, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Man of the House, and 6 more; Higher Notability: Batman Forever, Congo, Judge Dredd, Cutthroat Island, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Virtuosity, Showgirls, Four Rooms, Stuart Saves His Family, Tank Girl, Panther, Jade, Money Train, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Assassins, Jefferson in Paris, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Hackers, Canadian Bacon, Just Cause, and 46 more; Lower RT: The Big Green, Senior Trip, Delta of Venus, Jury Duty, Theodore Rex, Top Dog, The Walking Dead, Born to Be Wild, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, The Hunted, It Takes Two, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, The Pebble and the Penguin, Bushwhacked, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Vampire in Brooklyn, Fair Game, Canadian Bacon, The Scarlet Letter, Jade, and 6 more; Notes: Low 5.0s on IMDb is really rather low, especially for a film I’ve basically never heard of. Everything else about the credit checks out, mostly middling, although a surprisingly low Rotten Tomatoes score.
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Criminal psychologist falls for a charming, mysterious stranger, while at the same time unexplained, terrifying incidents begin occurring. Standard-issue thriller would be more at home on television. De Mornay also coexecutive-produced.
(Interesting call on the television note. I’ve felt that way about a few films recently. That they feel more like a television movie from the late-90s or a failed pilot than a theatrical release. Very interesting.)
(I’ll say this: I’ve watched this film already. Now, watch that trailer and realize that for the most part I never once in a million years thought Tony was the “bad guy” in the film. Not once. The trailer plays it up like “ooooooo, what a mystery, this mysterious guy!” … Yeah, it isn’t really. The film is really rather straightforward. That trailer makes it look a lot more complex than it actually is.)
Directors – Peter Hall – (Known For: A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Three Into Two Won’t Go; Perfect Friday; The Homecoming; Work Is a 4-Letter Word; Akenfield; BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: A big play director (and that’s why he was an odd choice for this film) in England. Got a special Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1999 for his general contribution to theater. Is the father of Rebecca Hall.)
Writers – Lewis A. Green – (BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: I am fascinated by screenwriting in general. To put this in perspective: He’s written 24 films, sold over a dozen, but only has four writing credits in general. I assume that is not abnormal, one of six screenplays actually getting through production to a credit on IMDb.)
Jordan Rush – (Known For: Club Fed; BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: Wrote an episode of Coach, and otherwise was a founder of TuneIn Entertainment Inc.)
Actors – Rebecca De Mornay – (Known For: Wedding Crashers; Flipped; Risky Business; Identity; American Reunion; Backdraft; The Hand That Rocks the Cradle; Lords of Dogtown; Runaway Train; I Am Wrath; Mother’s Day; One from the Heart; And God Created Woman; Testament; Thick as Thieves; The Trip to Bountiful; Apartment 1303 3D; Dealers; Music Within; Beauty and the Beast; Future BMT: The Three Musketeers; Raise Your Voice; Guilty as Sin; The Slugger’s Wife; Feds; BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for And God Created Woman in 1989; Notes: Been in a few television shows more recently like John from Cincinnati and Jessica Jones. Her father was a talk show host.)
Antonio Banderas – (Known For: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Frida; Desperado; Shrek 2; The Mask of Zorro; Ruby Sparks; The Skin I Live In; Philadelphia; Spy Kids; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; Official Competition; Shrek the Third; Pain and Glory; Four Rooms; Knight of Cups; The Laundromat; Shrek Forever After; Puss in Boots; Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!; Security; Future BMT: Original Sin; Life Itself; The Legend of Zorro; Machete Kills; Assassins; Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World; Play It to the Bone; BMT: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Dolittle; The Expendables 3; The 13th Warrior; Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Dolor y gloria. Born and raised in Spain, he worked there in the 80s, and then made the jump to Hollywood nearly 30 years ago in 1992.)
Dennis Miller – (Known For: The Net; Disclosure; The Campaign; Thank You for Smoking; Future BMT: Joe Dirt; What Happens in Vegas; Murder at 1600; Bordello of Blood; Madhouse; BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: Won a bunch of Emmys for his 90s talk show Dennis Miller Live. Was the Weekend Update anchor on SNL as well in the late-80s to around ‘91. Notably conservative.)
Budget/Gross – $6.4 million / Domestic: $6,858,261 (Worldwide: $6,858,261)
(Ah too bad. The stories around the film are interesting, with De Mornay loving the script and really trying hard to get it made the right way. It is rather too bad it couldn’t have been more successful in the end.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (3/20): Never Talk to Strangers — and never make the mistake of believing this silly stalker mystery is the best available viewing option.
(Zing. The quip in the Rotten Tomatoes consensus is rarer than you would think. You would think they would 100% be jokes all the time, but they usually play them straight I feel like.)
Reviewer Highlight: An adequate psychological thriller on a topical theme — Repressed Memory Syndrome — but with little special quality, few frills or thrills, and a relaxed, almost languid exposition. – Wally Hammond, Time Out
Poster – Stranger Danger Deluxe
(This feels ahead of its time in a bad way. Reminds me of the posters for a bunch of 2000’s thrillers. Font is bad, framing is meh, but I guess it gets the picture across: come see these two beautiful people make out and also maybe deliver some thrills and chills. C-)
Tagline(s) – In A World Where Love Isn’t Always Safe, Trust Can Be Deadly. (F)
(These are definitely words… and a lot of them at that. Love isn’t always safe… love isn’t always safe? I don’t understand this at all. Usually at least a tagline doesn’t confuse you. This actually makes it harder to understand what the film is about. Terrible.)
Keyword(s) – stalker
Top 10: Spider-Man (2002), Joker (2019), Deadpool (2016), Scream (1996), Death Proof (2007), The Green Mile (1999), Split (2016), Predator (1987), The Lovely Bones (2009), Halloween (2018)
Future BMT: 83.5 Prom Night (2008), 74.2 Black Christmas (2019), 71.1 Supergirl (1984), 70.3 Halloween II (2009), 68.3 Captivity (2007), 62.9 Valentine (2001), 61.4 Obsessed (2009), 60.9 When a Stranger Calls (2006), 57.8 The Return (2006), 56.7 They (2002)
BMT: The Bodyguard (1992), Vanilla Sky (2001), The Boy Next Door (2015), Halloween II (1981), This Means War (2012), Countdown (2019), Queen of the Damned (2002), The Snowman (2017), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), The Roommate (2011), Cobra (1986), Jason X (2001), Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), Fifty Shades of Black (2016), Perfect Stranger (2007), Swimfan (2002), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), Chernobyl Diaries (2012), Justice (2011), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Turbulence (1997), Never Talk to Strangers (1995)
Matches: Death Proof (2007), The Bodyguard (1992), Body Double (1984), Ingrid Goes West (2017), Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994), Blades of Glory (2007), Valentine (2001), Black Christmas (2019), Death Screams (1982), Go with Me (2015), Swimfan (2002), He Knows You’re Alone (1980), The Seduction (1982), Amusement (2008), Slumber Party Massacre III (1990), Deadly Switch (2019), Fear City (1984), The Stalker (2020), Lady Beware (1987), Blood Harvest (1987), Never Talk to Strangers (1995), After Midnight (1989), Ratter (2015), Cam2Cam (2014), The Cry of the Owl (2009), Kiss Daddy Goodnight (1987), Cherish (2002), Toughguy (1995), The Killing Floor (2007), Babysitter Massacre (2013), Vicious (2016), Striking Poses (1999), From the Shadows (2009), House Swap (2010), Let’s Not Meet in the Woods (2020), Quiet Kill (2004), Shiner (2004), Stalked (2015), Natural Prey (2013)
(Lots of bad one in the 00s as usual. We’ve seen a lot of these, and they mostly seem genuine. These do, in fact, have stalkers for the most part.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Antonio Banderas is No. 2 billed in Never Talk to Strangers and No. 4 billed in The Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (2 + 4) + (2 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 13. If we were to watch Assassins, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.
Notes – Raoul Ruiz was originally slated to direct this film.