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Quicksilver Highway (May 11/05)

Generally speaking, it's hard to go wrong with an anthology movie; if you don't like one story, another is soon to follow. This is unfortunately not the case with Quicksilver Highway, which only features two tales - both of which are decidedly underwhelming.

In an unusual and somewhat confusing move, writer/director Mick Garris uses two wraparound stories to frame the individual tales (meaning that both shorts are essentially self-contained). Christopher Lloyd plays Aaron Quicksilver, a mysterious traveler who evidently spends his days regaling complete strangers with tales of horror. His first listener is a young newlywed stranded by the side of the road (she's waiting for her husband to return with help), while his second is a pickpocket who just wants to avoid the police for a few hours.

The first tale, Chattery Teeth, is based on a short story by Stephen King, and though it features a pair of impressive lead performances from Raphael Sbarge and Silas Weir Mitchell, the absurd premise makes it impossible to take it seriously (a toy, the "chattery teeth" of the title, comes to life and kills people). Having said that, Chattery Teeth fares a whole lot better than The Body Politic (Clive Barker's contribution).

The Body Politic revolves around a talented cosmetic surgeon (played by Matt Frewer) whose hands take on a life of their own and begin plotting their escape from his body. Silly doesn't even begin to describe this story, which has evidently been inspired by the mutinous-hand bit from Evil Dead 2. This is despite an impressively broad, go-for-broke performance from Frewer, who's clearly having a lot of fun playing a guy at war with his hands.

But really, The Body Politic becomes more and more ridiculous as it progresses, culminating in a sequence involving dozens of disembodied appendages pursuing Frewer and his remaining hand (which, they are convinced, is the messiah). And that's really the bottom line; in addition to being completely ludicrous, both of these stories are patently not scary.

out of

About the DVD: Anchor Bay Entertainment presents Quicksilver Highway with a sharp full-screen transfer (the film originally premiered on television), and a few interesting bonus features (an audio commentary with Garris and actress Cynthia Garris, a new interview with Frewer, storyboards, and a trailer).
© David Nusair