How Is Twisted Still M.I.A.?!

Twisted is a nifty little psychological thriller starring Christian Slater that does a fine job living up to its name.  Released in 1986, he's visibly considerably younger than in Heathers and his subsequent teenage heartthrob career (or even his picture on the poster), but he's terrific in it, smartly cast as a sinister bad seed.  If you're a fan of films like Bad Ronald, Apt Pupil, or Julie Darling, this is a must, and a much smarter, and better acted, work than similarly themed examples like Orphan or The Good Son.  There's just one problem: you can't get it anywhere.
The film opens with a riff on Friday the 13th's famous score, with a mother's distorted voice whispering "Mar... kkk, kkk, kkk... Mar... kkkk kkk, kkk..."  And we meet the Collins, who arrive home late at night to find their housekeeper dead, so now they need a new babysitter for tomorrow night.  Fortunately, they've just backed over a mentally ill woman (Lois Smith) with their car, and she's available.  But as she soon learns, her predecessors death may not have been an accident.  Their eldest (Slater) is small-for-his-age nerd who compensates for the bullying he receives at school by imagining himself a great Nazi mastermind.  And indeed, he does have secret command of his household, tapping his parents phone calls and controlling the home stereo system from his room so he can shout commands (and bombastic Wagner records) to terrorize whoever's unlucky enough to be downstairs while the parents are away.  Not that Slater's out for blood, just domination, but he's got some pretty demented ideas to go about achieving it.
That description probably reads like a sequel to The Discreet Charm Of the Bourgeoisie,- nearly every scene with the parents implies a new instance of infidelity - but the irony and commentary is played completely straight, if not always subtly.  Now, don't get me wrong; this ain't Shakespeare.  The message seems simply to be that parents who don't care to instill proper morals in their children may reap more than they're prepared to sow.  And maybe something about the importance of screening before hiring or accepting a babysitting job.  But when you're in the mood to explore some dark psychodrama, you're not gonna hit disturbing notes like these in your basic slasher.  Slater walks an incredible line between a genuinely evil little villain and an authentic, vulnerable child at the mercy of an even crueler world. 
I used to own this on VHS.  I sold it at some point in the 90s, confident I'd pick up the inevitable DVD edition soon enough.  Well, a quarter of a century later and where the heck is it?  And I don't mean there's no appropriate special edition blu-ray, there's not even a generic VHS-rip DVD in any other region.  There was never a laserdisc.  I'm loathe to suggest a streaming service, but none of them have it anyway.  The only way I've been able to find to watch this movie these days is a low-fi, watermarked webrip, even though this is apparently an MGM catalog title.  After so many boutique labels have raided the MGM vaults, how has this been left on the shelf every time?  There aren't any pop songs in the soundtrack to suggest music rights issues, which tends to be the culprit in these cases.
is based on a two-act 1972 play called Children! Children!, which featured three evil children, and Gwen Verdon in the Lois Smith role.  Naturally the play confines all of the drama to the home, presumably eschewing the driving scenes and the school bully subplot.  It also sounds like it was more sexual... apparently one of the boys and one of the girls each tries to seduce the babysitter.  Did I mention these kids are, like, twelve?  Yeah, the movie's dark, but it doesn't go to those places.  But from everything I've read, the bulk of the story and its memorable moments were present even then, from the housekeeper to the cat.  I'd love to have been able to see it and compare the two more fairly, but I suspect putting all of the antagonistic weight on Slater's shoulders was a wise move.
I remember Twisted getting fairly heavy rotation on cable and being a pretty decent rental you could find in the horror sections of video stores that didn't even have a particularly robust selection and were missing a lot of other interesting titles.  So again, I'm surprised this film hasn't been allowed to resurface.  But this also means we've all only had the opportunity to see this movie in dupey, boxy 4:3.  However, Twisted was shot on 35mm for a 1.85:1 theatrical presentation, so even a mediocre HD presentation today (taken from a worn print, for example, if original film elements are hard to find) would be a revelation, and further increase the film's standing in horror fans' eyes.  An interview with Slater is probably too optimistic, but if any of the cast or crew could be found, and maybe a featurette comparing the film to the play, this could be a strong, consistent seller.  I mean, look at what MVD did with Mikey, and that's a drastically weaker film.  So where's Twisted?

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