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DVD REVIEW: FTN reviews Casino Of The Damned (Dead Man’s Hand)

April 22nd, 2013 by Marc Comments

The Haunted Casino (18)
Directed by: Charles Band
Starring: Wes Armstrong, Michael Berryma and Kristyn Green |

After Matthew Dragna inherits a rundown old casino from his deceased uncle, Matthew, his loyal girlfriend JJ, and several other friends decide to check the place out. Alas, the casino turns out to be haunted by the lethal and angry ghosts of vicious Las Vegas mobster Roy “The Word” Donahue and his equally pernicious flunky Gil Wachetta. Will Matthew and any of his friends survive a night in the casino with these vengeful spirits?

The Haunted Casino is a casino themed horror film released on DVD. Casino based horror movies are an unusual genre that has a significant amount of potential. All horror movies involve at least a degree of paranoia, and casinos with their eyes in the sky and their floor walkers and pit bosses can also be fairly paranoid locations. Everything might seem fine on the surface, but scratch the veneer and you might discover hell.

So how does The Haunted Casino live up to this promise? The film was first launched in 2007, but then it was called Dead Man’s Hand. The title was an allusion to a poker hand which is said to consist of two black aces and two black eights and an unknown hole card. It got its reputation as it was the hand that Wild Bill Hickok was holding during a game of Draw Poker when he was shot dead.

The film was subsequently released under the revised title of The Haunted Casino in 2010. It was directed by Charles Band who had directed a series of horror films including the Puppet Master and Subspecies series.

The theme of the Haunted Casino involves a young college boy who inherits an ancient and decrepit casino which is located in Nevada in the suburbs of Reno. He had been left the casino by an uncle he had vaguely heard about yet never met. Forty years had gone by since the casino had last been open.

The new owner along with his love interest decided that they would restore the casino to its former glory but suddenly their plans are interrupted by an apparition; two ghosts turn up. The ghosts turn out to be those of two mobsters which are determined to find two million silver dollars.

The plot develops into a situation where the casino’s owner and some of his friends are forced to play for their lives, yet every time they make a bet the house wins. Although the ghosts, played by Michael Berryman and Sid Haig are quite effective, the film is less than riveting and does tend to peter out rather than achieving a climax. Casino games bring some excitement to film and to the life of the viewer, but so would just playing  JackpotCity online slots instead of watching the film at all.

Certainly this was not one of Band’s best efforts, but it is worth watching if you enjoy B movies.

1 1/2 out of 5 Nerds

Guest reviewer

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Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….