Hanging Heart 1983 Review

Hanging Heart 1983?

Director Jimmy Lee

Starring, Barry Wyatt, Francine Lapensee, Debra Robinson


Review by Luisito Joaquín González

How does that old Bruce Springsteen song go again, Everybody’s got a hungry heart? Well not everyone’s got a 67567478487378238289289298292Hanging Heart that’s for sure. This peak period entry from 1983 is so obscure that it has no reviews on its lonely IMDB page… Until now. I picked this up in Poland on VHS many moons ago, because its back-cover blurb sounded slightly slasher-esque. It’s been gathering cobwebs in my garage since that time, because I didn’t really think it was a genre entry until a SLASH 6546367378382982892922above reader Alexander Gretil contacted me and said that it certainly was. (Thanks for that Alex))

Much like Cards of Death the film was shot in California, but only secured distribution in a handful of countries outside of the US. I managed to source a Brazilian copy with much better visuals than my aging videotape and I also saw a Dutch cassette on eBay, which shows that it’s not ‘totally’ impossible to track down. There’s very little information that I can find scattered about on the web, so I really have no idea why it was never picked up in its country of origin. Although it’s MIA status did set off alarm bells that it may be utter tosh, I was still keen to give it a go.

A masked killer targets an up and coming theatre production, leaving the star, Denny, as the most likely suspect. When he is arrested and thrown in jail, his lawyer begins a campaign to free him. As soon as he is released the 6546746737838738289282892892murders begin again, which makes him look extremely guilty. Is he the killer?

At the time that this went to production, the film’s director, Jimmy Lee was a South Korean citizen who had emigrated to study in the US and chase his filmmaking dream. Since 1998’s fantastic horror adventure, Whispering Corridors, South Korean peliculas del terror have had a huge impact on the genre, which led me to believe that I may have been in for an undiscovered precursor of sorts with Hangin’ ❤️. Well, whilst this is not one that plays it by the typical slasher book, its tricks and twists are definitely those of the least 6746748738739839839839829834848484impressive variety.

Heart is, in fact, one of the strangest films that I have ever seen. Characters pop up out of nowhere, with no introduction, in scenes that are totally disjointed and we never really know who is doing what and for why. At first, I thought that it must have been an inexperienced editor that gave the feature the structure of Spaghetti Bolognese, but Steven Nielsen had three films under his belt before he worked on this, so that can’t be the case. It’s very hard to ascertain what went wrong and how no one picked up on the 6467478387383838939839839839832221333incoherent flow before it was packaged up for release, but it makes the film difficult to watch.

Lee incorporates an abundance of obvious homoerotic imagery that goes way beyond anything David DeCoteau has ever rolled out. Our lead character/suspect, Denny, is constantly pursued by his homosexual lawyer, who has the hots for him and this leads to a graphic scene where Denny dreams that he is sexually assaulted in the shower. Later, we watch full on as he is strip searched in a Police station, before being thrown in a cell with two guys that make out in front of him, much to his discomfort. We also get a flashback from his childhood that shows him being forced to perform a sex act on his stepfather and it’s all done in real bad taste. Whilst titles such as Hellbent have been gleefully accepted for opening up the slasher genre to a sexual preference that had been largely ignored for too long, Hanging Heart, whether 64674783873983983983983intentionally or not, conveys homosexuals as sleazy stalkers and that’s unforgivable. I’m 100% straight and I’m not interested in watching homosexual stuff. I can go the full hog and not watch the normal sex that made you and I exist either if it helps. In fact, we can cut it out altogether and be done with it. I think the only people that beg for nudity in movies are those too insecure to get it for themselves.

What is unique about HH though is that it follows the main suspect through a trial, into prison and then to a mental hospital, which begs the question is this more of a drama than a slasher movie? Well with only three blood-less killings (a stocking is used to strangle the first two victims) that’s actually a point that holds some weight. Whilst there is a hooded nutjob doing the rounds, the core of the story is most definitely the mystery, which is unfortunate, because the conclusion turns out to be the person that we expected it to be all along. Conveyed over 100+ minutes, Heart does rather hang on the borders of tedium. In fact, that’s a rather generous description, because it smashes through said borders to send viewers in to a coma-like state. Whilst my tolerance levels for trash cinema have weakened over the years, I am lucky enough 64637838738289298290290to have found a partner who is not as critical and generally enjoys everything from MaThe fact that she fell asleep three times (we had to watch the feature over a trifecta of days) should tell you all that you need to know. If a movie can’t keep someone as forgiving as my Mrs interested then it has got serious problems.

None of the cast featured here went on to do anything else, which is perhaps unfair because 6467373782828928929292they were by no means the worst actors to grace slasherdom. It can’t have helped that their debut received such limited exposure, but it still seems strange that all of their careers started and ended with this one film. One thing that I found interesting was that the IMDB has it dated as 1983, but it looks at least three-years younger. Jimmy Lee made another film nearly two decades later and I wonder if this has been listed incorrectly? I’d be keen to find out

It’s not hard to see why Hanging Heart wasn’t picked up for US distribution. It’s overlong, boring and possibly offensive to boot. Whilst its obscurity does give it a cult-ish sheen, it is not one that offers much more.

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise: √


Final Girl √




Posted on August 2, 2014, in Pure Eighties Cheese, Slasher and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Alexander Gretil

    Hi Luisito. Thanks for the review and the reply 🙂

  2. Hi Luisito.
    This is Francine Lapensee (female lead in film) your review is right on. We all (actors) new it while shooting it and it surprised us because his auditions were so hard only the very best (@the time) got through..most didnt even make it half way through..
    Altho someone possibly from a polish site has the new or old lol edit of it and they took so much out and tightened it up so much that it now actually works. See that one and it flows..i know when i did i was very impressed with this unknown editor.
    PS You are right tbe original was not really edited by the editor becausr Jimmy was over his shoulder making him put everything in sensible or not. Jimmy was just in love with his original work and wanted everything in weather it made sense or not. We were all crushed.
    PSS ive down over 25 films but i dont know about the other’s.
    My imbd page shows a few so i dont know where you got that info but my work is also on Backstage.
    Thank you for your time and review. Like i said as far as the old..original version goes your review is right on! But try to find the other..it flows n goes much much quicker.
    Have a great day!
    See Bounty Hunter 2002 in which i am the female lead for a good laugh tho.. Originally called the Rape of Eden lol! With Vernon Wells and Jeff Connaway from the show “Taxi” it was one of his last fims..so sad as it was so low budget we had to shoot it in only 2 weeks. Still its more fun to watch even tho its not a comedy. I had a friend..the mouse lol!
    Anyway..have a great day!

    Aka Francine Lapensee

    • My apologies Francine, I was in hospital when you wrote that. I’ll email you, have you done any other slashers?

      • Hi Luisjo,
        Yes of course, all winners lol! But unfortunately I myself am just out of the hospital and extremely tired cuz I have two little 10 lb service dogs to help me with my disabilities phone snapping seizures among other things and I’m going through a lot of drama as I was abducted and taken to another state against my will and it’s taking me two years to get back home and find out that my house was a part of his fraudulent deals along with many many other things and soon I’ll be having to do with the FBI regarding that but just a quick blurb and you’re not going to believe it I find it hard to believe myself but something about me intrigued Hollywood they love the fact that I was strong and yet fragile and tried to make me an A film star and this is quite a big deal in Hollywood as you know it’s run by nepotism and I knew nobody in the business but I soon became besides being a stunt woman when I did these things which was part of the reason I was constantly getting called in I became a producer and director myself and because I was a photographer with two studios as well as a professional makeup artist these things made me valuable on the other side of the camera but back to the a films although it was a big deal and even Playboy offered me 130 Grand plus a house and a Ferrari I never took all of these things because one I didn’t believe it was right to pose nude as you’ll notice there isn’t any nude scenes in any of my movies except one from the the back but still shows more than I intended as I was told I would be allowed in editing and was not but and twoI knew everything about lenses, photography and makeup for films and whatnot as I also was a photographer with two studios at the time these things made me valuable on the other end of the camera although directors writers and actors alike would get annoyed when I’d cut my own mind says it affected theirs I just didn’t believe in a lot of dialogue when things could be shown as opposed to spoken so anyways I didn’t want to be somebody that couldn’t go out in public somebody that had to be in hiding somebody that had an Entourage and all these things that just appalled me funny thing is those things happened anyways on a smaller scale but enough to make me run and hide even in those stupid movies there’s some kind of a following that’s been happening for years and years and I’ve never even spoke to any of these people or have been a good I hesitate to use the word celeb as I’ve never communicated with any of these fan clubs or people in general and I feel bad about that as I should they’re very kind people and have been true for what reason I know not but someday I will when I get settled and I’m back into my home and have more time to not be on the run and scared and in and out of the hospital I’ve already lost almost 5 in in Bones due to the bone-snapping seizures that take six mail orderlies plus to hold me down to keep things from snapping and still I’ve lost so I will get with you another time and give you the names of some of these films maybe we can speak in person on the phone as I find this difficult are you still have a 160 IQ now I believe it’s about 8:00 since all the times that I’ve been in the hospital with brain swelling that caused me to be within an hour of a permanent coma has caused permanent damage to my memory but the questions you have to ask were far before this damage was done and I remember most of it it will be a good laugh and a good talk when the time is right I don’t always get my emails on time but I try to keep up. I hope you are feeling better I don’t know why you were in but I’m glad you’re out and happy that someone out there is having a good time with these lower budget films and actors producers and directors who put their selves into them for entertainment is entertainment yes? anyways I wish you the best and look forward to a time when I can have a fun talk with you instead of being on a time crunch like I am every minute of the day even here as I’m in a hotel with my two little service dogs one’s 20 years old and she saved my life actually I died on the couch 3 months ago and she was sleeping underneath my left arm up near my heart where she could easily hear that it had stopped she got onto my chest and started bouncing up and down while barking at my face in the rhythm of CPR how do I know this well it’s true what they say you are floating away from your body with a string attached that’s what I was doing when I was awakened so to speak in the air looking down upon her and seeing what she was doing I’ve saved her life many times we’ve made a pact so I promptly Dove back in unfortunately I was apparently gone too long and could not receive any air was as if my lungs were stuck together or something and as if to say oh hell no Mama I need you you feed me or whatever as I said she’s 20 years old we’ve had a long life together since I rescued her from the streets but honestly I did not know that she knew how to do this I knew that she would put her throat over mine when I would faint from techcardia that’s where your heart races above 220 and you either have a heart attack or you faint I’ve had a few small heart attacks but mostly I’m lucky enough to faint she will put her throat over mine making sure I’m alive while barking to get help and will let the paramedics in but that’s the only thing I knew about that she knew how to do when this happened and I couldn’t come back one eye opened and I was gone again starting to drift and like I said she did not give up instead she did like a cancer jump where she jumped about 3 ft into the air and landed on my chest slightly lower than her original position causing me to bounce up kind of like those old black and white films where the vampire comes flying out of the coffin in a sit-up position when all my air was blown out of me that’s when I was alive and present the 42-year Long haul trucker who brought me back to LA from Florida along with my two little 10 lb service dogs yes she’s a 10 lb 20-year-old Chihuahua that saved my life who is from the streets like I said saw the tail end of this the part where she jumped way up in the air and brought me back and I told him the rest which he promptly believed because it was in procession to what he saw 4 days later he ran up to me excited and pointing at his phone watch this watch this and it was a YouTube video of law enforcement now training their small and medium-sized dogs to do exactly what she did verbatim exactly and in the video the dogs aren’t fully trained yet so how did she learn this we have no idea except this and I’ve known it before by other things that she did that my guardian angel lives in her and she is an angel incarnate as I said she’s done other things in the past she’s never let me go anywhere alone because I faint she won’t let me go to the bathroom alone because I fainted in the bathroom three times before hitting my head on the counter the door and the tile floor I can’t believe I’m still at around after all those years of stunts and a horribly abusive childhood that according to all the therapists and books I’ve read most people would not have survived I know most of the reason that I assume I was saved was because I’ve done so much for the planet and runaways and other things that matter in to the well-being of others and for those things I’m grateful because they made me feel alive and of service. let us talk soon until then take care of yourself stay out of that hospital lol! send me a blurb to let you know you got this and you can tell me why you were in and we can talk about the rest at a later date. take care of yourself until then.
        Yours truly..
        aka Francine Lapensee
        there is one video that I wrote produced and directed it was my first time doing any of those things let alone all three at the same time called runaway look at my page on backstage it’s on there along with the little stunt reel.
        Talk to you soon..
        Take care

      • I’m very sorry about what’s happened to you. You’ve had a hard time. My IQ unfortunately was never 160, it was 153. I’d be extremely keen to speak to you, perhaps we could arrange an interview. My email is luisjo.Gonzalez@outlook.com – we can swap numbers there. I’m proud of your no to nudity. Means you are a proud woman. Drop me an email

      • Also, only you can see the comment as you wrote it, I hid it from everybody else

  3. Rob/TheSlasherSpotlight

    I watched this last night on DVD and one thing to note is that the date on the DVD packaging itself as well as on the end credits of the film is 1989. I agree that it does look like it was filmed much earlier than 89 though. Perhaps this 1989 date is inaccurate but with it being on the actual credits I’m not sure. For what’s it’s worth it’s a made on demand type release (the DVD) but quite professional as these things go. It even throws in the trailer. Normally these made on demand releases don’t have any extras at all.

    • I had no idea of was on DVD, one of the actresses from the film told me it was made in 1983, but released much later. At a guess, I think it didn’t get picked up for distribution because it’s not great

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: