Well... no. Not exactly. Despite the killer title, Another Son of Sam isn't about another cherubic loser who claims a dog told him to put bullets into people. This "Son of Sam" is a somewhat more conventional maniac -- a lunatic named Harvey (yes, Harvey) who was "sexually assaulted by his mother at an early age," institutionalized for ten years, and "seems to enjoy assaulting young women." As expected, Harvey gets loose and racks up an impressive body count. But the fun here isn't Harvey's mayhem but, rather, the production itself. Yes indeed, Another Son of Sam is another hilariously low-rent regional rarity -- shot in Charlotte, North Carolina -- that was obviously made with little-to-no money, populated with local talent, and projects all the primitive charm and non-polish of a home-made movie.
Somehow slipping out of his straitjacket, crazy Harvey kills two orderlies before attacking his shrink who just happens to be the girlfriend of police lieutenant Claude Seltzer (played by Charlotte TV weather man RUSS DUBUC). Eluding the cops, Harvey skulks into the girls dormitory of the local university and hides under the bed of troubled Tina who has stolen some money. Apparently, a college girl swiping $500 is just as serious in Charlotte as a homicidal maniac on the loose, and Lt. Seltzer comes to investigate the theft just in time for Harvey to strike again. A motley SWAT team quickly descends on the school, but good ol' Harv strangles a cop, steals the cop's gun, shoots one of the SWAT officers, then starts shooting spectators from the dormitory window! Taking two girls hostage, Harvey seems unstoppable -- until his mama comes to the rescue....
All of which is told with some fairly effective subjective camera shots, badly intercut with mismatching closeups of Harvey's eyes. In fact, except for those eyes, we never get a good look at Harvey until the very end when the "faceless" killer has a grim reunion with his mommy. Also punctuating the film are a number of seemingly random, oddly arbitrary freeze frames. Why? Who knows. There's also a performance early in the film by lounge singer JOHNNY CHARRO who, garbed in a Seventies-style red-&-white polyester jump suit, is so unnerving that poor Harvey pales in comparison.
Cheesy fun, Another Son of Sam often resembles another shot-in-the-Carolina's oddity, 1972's Electric Chair which, truth be told, is a sophisticated gem compared to this. Electric Chair was the brainchild of magician-turned-filmmaker J.G. "Pat" Patterson. Another Son of Sam is the brainchild of stuntman-turned-film-dynamo DAVE A. ADAMS who is listed as producer, director, writer, editor, casting director, and stunt coordinator. The only other credits we could find for Mr. Adams were for stuntwork on Trucker's Woman (1975) and Bill Grefé's Whiskey Mountain (1977). Another Son of Sam is, apparently, his only producer-director-writer-editor-casting director credit.
From a 35mm Harvey-on-the-loose print.
-- Luther Heggs
Bonnie SchrierOther cast:
Bob McCourt, Pam Mullins, Kim SaundersDirected by:
Dave A. Adams