Blood Rage director John Grissmer’s directorial debut. Robert Lansing plays a plastic surgeon who reconstructs a stripper’s face to pose as his runaway daughter.
The bonkers setup facilitates Grissmer’s exploration of incestuous desire and doppelgänger dynamics. Having Lansing’s character engage in a sexual relationship with a woman resembling his daughter proves just the beginning. When the real daughter returns home she accepts the doppelgänger’s presence leading to a bizarre triangle.
The execution hinges on the cast, and they deliver. Judith Chapman convinces in her dual role and Lansing’s great as a gleeful sociopath. There’s a paddleboat scene that had me laughing out loud.
This quirky sense of humor makes the film. At one point when discussing an inheritance, the script mentions the Gift Tax. I loved that oddball attention to detail. It balances the incestuous undercurrent pervading the story. And said undercurrent keeps the film from veering into total camp. It’s a tonal tightrope Grissmer walks with apparent ease.
A shame this and Blood Rage were his only films. Both demonstrate a deft ability to take a doppelgänger premise to ludicrous extremes. I wonder what he thought of