80's Thriller Throwback: Silent Rage (1982)

Silent Rage is one of the best Halloween films not starring Michael Myers

Seriously. Despite the fact that Norris is starring in this and most of the marketing material shows him doing a karate kick on the cover, this is pretty much a straightforward horror/slasher that easily comes across as much better than the countless slashers that saturated the market during this time. I will admit that it's a bit odd seeing Chuck in something like this, especially since it doesn't play out like a standard Norris flick and there are only 2 scenes where he actually does any fighting; one sequence involving a bar fight full of bikers (an obvious decision to satisfy the Chuck Norris fans), and later when he's fighting the killer.

After a somewhat painfully slow first half, the second half more than makes up for it by offering a straight-up horror slasher with some impressive set-pieces and confrontations between an unstoppable killing machine and a small Texas town sheriff (Norris). The always impressive Ron Silver (Blue Steel, Timecop) shows up as a scientist who worked on the formula that created this monster, but has reservations about it's use and potential. Stephen Furst plays Norris' bumbling partner and sidekick, to unnecessary comedic effect and it's this little annoying element that will test your tolerance for annoying unnecessary comedy in a film that doesn't ask for it.

I don't really want to get too deep into it because truthfully, while I enjoyed it there's really not a whole lot to say about it other than it's a better than you expect slasher, oddly starring Chuck Norris of all people. They follow all of the basic tropes that are found within this genre, including the love interest who gets caught up in the middle of it all. Interestingly though, this would be Chuck's first film as a producer and his first film playing a sheriff, ranger or what have you, which would be something he would be known for later with classics such as Lone Wolf McQuade and Walker, Texas Ranger. He's not the best or most versatile actor, but seeing him in something so different was a pleasant surprise.

I've heard people claim this as their favorite Chuck Norris film, and I can understand why. While I wouldn't personally classify this as even a favorite (I prefer his cheesy action films), it's a notable standout among his filmography of straight-up action flicks, and the first to dip into the horror/thriller genre, which he would dive into later with films like Hero and the Terror and Hellbound.

Mill Creek recently released this as part of their new Retro VHS-themed Blu Ray packaging and it's surprisingly cheap, going for roughly around $5-$8, which is a steal if you ask me. My viewing experience was on Blu Ray, but as part of a triple pack with some other films. If I ever feel the need to grab it again, this is the release I'll be buying.

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