Quicksilver Highway (1997)
By: J.R. McNamara on November 7, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
MRA (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 86 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Mick Garris
Starring: Christopher Lloyd, Matt Frewer, Missy Crider, Raphael Sbarge, Silas Wier Mitchell
Writer: Mick Garris
Country: USA
There can be no doubt that Mick Garris has a massive amount of love and respect for so-called genre films. From working for mags like Fangoria's sister publication Starlog, to hosting his own cable TV show 'Fantasy Film Festival', there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that Garris' intentions are completely faithful to horror, fantasy and sci fi. He has directed several horror films, including Critters 2 and Psycho IV: The Beginning, and has a major hard-on for the literary works of a certain Mr. Stephen King, when you consider his cinema and TV adaptations of The Shining, Sleepwalkers, Riding the Bullet and Desperation.

Now let's not forget his more recent forays into horror. His TV series Masters of Horror has caused a massive stir worldwide, with fans clamouring for more episodes by directors such as Dario Argento, John Carpenter and Stuart Gordon, and who can blame them. In some cases it is the only work some of these guys have done in years!!

Somewhere through all this 'horror love', though, is Quicksilver Highway.

Quicksilver Highway looks to have been a precursor to Masters of Horror, with Garris taking the directors role, and presenting works of (you guessed it) Stephen King, and Clive Barker. It does seem, however that a kibosh must have been put on the TV show, and instead, this uneven mashed potato of an anthology movie was released instead.

Quicksilver Highway tells of the mysterious Professor Quicksilver (Christopher Lloyd), a traveller and carny who likes to regale anyone who listens to tales that may effect their lives. The first half of the movie features a young bride (Missy Crider) abandoned by her new husband (Raphael Sbarge) who has made his way to a local town to get assistance with their broken down vehicle. Quicksilver stops by in his seemingly dimensional transcendental caravan where he offers her a bite to eat and tells her the tale of The Chattery Teeth, where a travelling salesman (Sbarge again) is attacked by a hitchhiker, Bryan Adams (Silas Wier Mitchell), only to be rescued by a set of wind up toy metal teeth.

…and no, I am not kidding.

The second tale has Quicksilver hosting a sideshow tent, when he is presented with pickpocket extraordinaire Charlie (Matt Frewer) who has decided to use his attraction as a place to hide out for a few minutes. Quicksilver tells him the tale of The Body Politic, where Doctor Charles George's (Frewer again) hands decide they need to be released from the oppressive attachment of his body, and try not only to cut themselves off, but also get other hands to join the revolution.

Of course each of the tales ends with a well telegraphed twist ending that involve the characters that are being told the stories.

I certainly hope that Garris was working on a micro budget with this piece, because the entire production feels cheap. Christopher Lloyd's role as the mysterious Quicksilver was inspired, but to get him to play Uncle Fester in drag makes no sense. When Lloyd does creepy, he can be quite menacing, but in this role he comes across uncomfortable and awkward.

The first tale, The Chattery Teeth, is based on a Stephen King tale. There was really no way to make this story seem like a good one. Killer wind up toy teeth? King, please, and Garris, or whoever made the decision to use this daft tale, probably deserves a slap as well. I will say though, that Veronica Cartwright as a trailer trash roadside diner owner was a real treat!

The second story, The Body Politic, based on the Clive Barker story of the same name from 'The Books of Blood' had so much potential. As a story it is certainly not one of Barker's best, but in the right directorial hands it could have been an interesting tale of revolution. Alas the second you hear the hands spur others to 'Join the revolution' in a cartoon-ish voice, this episode loses all its credibility. Matt Frewer plays the slimy pickpocket well, so well in fact that his 'doctor' character is kind of hard to take…which is a shame.

This is a made for TV movie (actually it is two unrelated episodes squeezed into one feature) and comes is a crisp and clear 4:3 presentation.
Presented in Dolby Stereo and while there is nothing wrong with it, it is nothing to write home about either.
Extra Features


The Verdict
This is an average TV adaptation of two of horrors legendary writer's more average tales. It should have been a gore-fest, ended up being a bore-fest. Avoid like a horny mule with herpes.
Movie Score
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