Chuck Norris’ karate move in the horror genre

The Revisited series looks back at Chuck Norris’ 1982 slasher action film Silent Rage, which is sort of “Norris vs. Michael Myers.”

I grew up in the era of the Chuck Norris joke. I didn’t even really know who he was, other than Walker, Texas Ranger the guy Conan O’Brien would pull a lever with to get the most random, out-of-context clip. I remember seeing the Chuck Norris Joke Book at a Barnes and Noble store and flipping through it to find a bunch of absolutely absurd and comical things that Chuck Norris could and would do to you or what he kept behind his beard . I just had to start looking at his overall contribution to cinema and a lot of it was action. I found him teaming up with Lee Marvin in Delta Force or face the great Christopher Lee in An eye for an eye. There is also a great fight he had with Bruce Lee in The Way of the Dragon this actually adds legitimacy to the fact that he was a Class A fighter. Being a hairy-chested guy myself, I always feel that scene pretty harsh when Bruce pulls a handful from Chuck. Norris ended up with a few horror films in his credits. Hellwhich I’m still not sure if I want to cover or not, and today’s movie Silent Rage It was a fun movie to watch again.

Silent Rage (watch it HERE) was a Brother Mark special. For those of you who have been watching since I’ve been a part of the channel, you’ll know that he was an integral part of my growing fandom when I was a kid. We stocked up on snacks at the convenience store before watching a laserdisc version of The ninth configuration or a Japanese import VHS from Buckaroo Bonzai. This seems like an exaggeration, but I assure you there are more scenarios where first-time movie viewings happened in ways I never expected. Watching it for the first time around the age of 14, I noticed something that critics of the time had also astutely pointed out. This movie is almost Chuck Norris versus Michael Myers. Now, there’s not the same beat-for-beat story of a madman returning home after escaping from an asylum and terrorizing his hometown on Halloween night, but they jump straight to a supernatural version of their killer. Michael had already been arrested twice when he should have been dead a long time ago if he was a normal human and Jason was going to trigger his 3rd outing, in 3D no less, where he quickly became invincible.

Silent Rage was written by Joeseph Fraley with uncredited work by Edward Di Lorenzo. Fraley only has the screenplay credits, but contributed the story to a previous Chuck Norris feature film. Good guys wear black. Di Lorenzo was a slightly more prolific writer with television credits on Miami Vice, Space: 1999, And Wild Wild West. He also wrote the screenplay for Joseph Cotten’s Italian horror film Lady Frankenstein. The director was Michael Miller who remained almost exclusively in the field of television films but also had Class meeting released the same year as Silent Ragewhich was National Lampoons’ attempt to tackle, if you’ll forgive me, the slasher genre with overly comedic elements. He got these two films based on the success of his previous two low-budget films. Street girls And Jackson County Jail. If these sound like Roger Corman films, that’s because they are; both were executive products of the legend.

Silent rage revisited

Silent Rage opens with an eerie stained glass window and eerie early 80s music as the credits roll. It definitely stands out from other Norris films and lets you know early on that this is unmistakably horror. A phone rings and wakes up who you might rightly assume is the main character if we hadn’t already seen Norris’ name in the credits. It’s John Kirby, and he’s not doing well. Kirby is played by Brian Libby who excelled in this guy’s roles in TV shows like the 80s. fuzzy area rebirth or Illegal work but i also had fun roles in movies like Heat, dreamscapeand what I probably know best, The Shawshank Redemption. He sounds different here than he did in later roles and although his voice is normally very recognizable, he barely uses it in Silent Rage. He truly personifies this title in his character work.

Kirby gets a call from his psychiatrist and tells him he can’t make it. He goes crazy and ends up killing a few people he resides with before being arrested by the police. At first he’s just going to be arrested but when he rips off his handcuffs and actually starts a fight, he’s shot and killed by the police. The way the camera follows Kirby as he heads outside to grab an ax and then follows him tracking the family into the house is really well done and this beginning sequence is one of the most memorable in the film . It sets up well and although it’s rarely matched, it’s a good start to the film. One of my few complaints regarding Silent Rage is that they knew how to use Kirby, but things between the two fall a little flat compared to his stalking and killing scenes. One of the cops on the scene and the one who, of course, subdues Kirby the first time is Sheriff Dan Stevens played by Norris. It’s funny to say this name, because Dan Stevens is now a very popular and successful actor. Also present are Kirby’s psychiatrist Dr. Hallman, played by Ron Silver, and Deputy Charlie, played by Stephen Furst.

Furst is basically the awkward comedy relief here and that makes sense because he was coming off recent comedies like Animal house, swim team, takedown, And Treasure hunt. Silver, who has perhaps the goofiest IMDB photo I’ve ever seen, may he rest in peace, was a wonderful actor in film and television. He could play both good and bad well with things like The entity from the same year as this one, keep an eye out for this video soon, and Timecop. My favorite among them has to be Blue steel opposite Jamie Lee Curtis. In this, due to the plot, he is not only the psychiatrist of our slasher villain, but also the brother of Chuck Norris’s love interest. Why not. Kirby is technically dead, but two scientists use an experimental serum to try to bring him back. It works but the effect is not great. Instead of making a normal human brain deranged, it just makes the deranged guy come back with Wolverine-like healing powers.

Film is split into a bunch of different subgenres that don’t always mix well. You could turn on different parts of this movie at different times without knowing that it’s all part of the same movie. Kirby stalking and killing his former doctor and his wife sounds like an 80s slasher movie, but you could have also stumbled upon this movie when Chuck and Stephen Furst were breaking up a hostage situation at a biker bar to properly show the Norris’ kung fu skills. Neither film is enjoyable on its own, it’s just a weird mix of styles and scenes at times. According to the writer and director, more of these fight scenes were shot because Norris had an easier time doing it on camera than regular acting and certainly the mostly improvised love scenes between him and his co-stars Toni Kalem.

Silent rage revisited

The star here, with very little extra dialogue, is easily Brian Libby’s Kirby. All the scenes with him are why I wanted to cover Silent Rage in the first place. In a similar vein to the opening sequence where we see him stalking and being very intentional with his movements, one of the other standout scenes in the film is when he goes after Dr. Hallman in his home. Hallman knows that Kirby has been brought back to some degree and is not happy about it. He comes home and when his wife goes out for pizza, we make the most of it Halloween POV ass afterthought since, well, Halloween. For some reason this also reminds me of Italian Halloween counterfeit Absurd by Joe Damato and George Eastman. Silver’s character is in his own house, but Kirby is still able to outsmart him. While Dr. Hallman owns a gun and intelligently does not hesitate to use it, he ends up falling victim to the stupidity of a horror movie character. I will say that even though we knew the movie needed a body count, it was surprising that Hallman and his wife as well as, spoiler for a 42-year-old movie, Stephen Furst were the ones who got eliminated. It’s impressive that the film isn’t afraid to kill off anyone other than Norris.

The film follows a great sequence with another when Dr. Hallman’s wife comes home with a pizza to find her body and her killer waiting for her. It’s another cat and mouse chase with real suspense as we don’t know if they’ll keep her alive for revenge. All the music cues or lack of music, cinematography and even use of blood works wonderfully here and I just want an entire movie on this topic. The two scientists attempt to kill Kirby to wipe their hands of the whole affair, but he uses his healing factor to return and kill them while still searching for his latest victims. It’s here that Stephen Furst’s Charlie dies heroically, buying Allison some time, and then we begin the showdown of Sherrif Dan’s fists against the invincible John Kirby. Dan holds his own, but there are a few times where Kirby is able to gain the upper hand and Allison has to intervene either with a weak attempt at fighting or simply by hitting him with a car.

Bullets don’t work, blunt force doesn’t work, and even burning him with a car crash explosion doesn’t work, so they lure Kirby to an open area with a covered abandoned well. After a short fight and excellent use of the slow motion flip, Kirby finds himself at the bottom of the well where we get the obligatory freeze frame jump scare that the bad guy isn’t gone for good. There would be no sequel even if the film grossed 10 million at the box office. To be honest, I can’t find any budget information on this, so I don’t know if it’s good or bad. The film is a fun adventure in horror that I almost tend to call Chucksploitation with its use of several elements to attract crowds. It’s a fun movie that’s easy to find streaming on Tubi or you can pick up the simple Blu-ray of Mill Creek. Give it a chance if you’ve never seen it or if you’re like me and it’s just been a while, you won’t be disappointed.

Two previous episodes of Revisited can be seen below. To see more of our shows, head over to the JoBlo Horror Originals channel – and subscribe while you’re there!