***/**** Image B- Sound B+ Extras A-
starring Jack Palance, Martin Landau, Tarah Nutter, Christopher S. Nelson
written by Lyn Freeman, Daniel Grodnik, Ben Nett, Steve Mathis
directed by Greydon Clark
by Bill Chambers A slasher movie in spirit, Greydon Clark's Without Warning sure opens like one, in that some cannon fodder is swiftly dispatched to establish the bogeyman and the threat he represents. But instead of the typical frisky coeds or vacationing couple, the first victims are a father (Cameron Mitchell) and his adult son (Darby Hinton) on a hunting trip, and their dialogue is freighted with an impressive amount of history and subtext. The son is rudely awakened at the crack of dawn by his angry father; he proceeds to criticize the taste of the local water, which the father stubbornly hears as girlish griping rather than the anvil it actually is. Though they're archetypal opposites (the Great Santini and his sensitive offspring), the son does try to call a truce of sorts and is soundly, sadly rebuffed. The father's macho anti-intellectualism--the boy brought books on a hunting trip!--makes theirs an unbridgeable generation gap, and there's an unsettling moment where he trains his rifle on his son, sniper-style, before thinking the better of it. Then suddenly the father is attacked by flesh-eating disks that burrow into his skin, and what can he do except cry out for his kid, who soon suffers the same tragic fate.