Death Valley – USA, 1982


Death Valley (1982) is an American horror film starring Catherine Hicks, Edward Herrmann, Peter Billingsley, Stephen McHattie, Paul Le Mat, Mary Steelsmith and Earl W. Smith. It was directed by Dick Richards and written by Richard Rothstein.

The chilling soundtrack score was composed by television composer Dana Kaproff.


Divorcee Paul Stanton has talked his son Billy into being sent off on holiday (of sorts) to California to join his Mother, Sally and her old high school sweetheart (and current new boyfriend) Mike who are going into Arizona.

Deciding on checking out Death Valley, they’ve yet to find out that it is currently the new stamping grounds of cowboy serial killer (wearing a stetson and a neckerchief to hide his identity) and his equally demented twin. Both have just done away with a teenage couple residing at an abandoned gold mine (with the aid of the couple’s own chopping knife). Billy, stretching his legs, stumbles across their camper filled with death, missing the carnage he comes across a frog pendant lying on a shag pile.

His moment of kleptomania somewhat seals his fate as its owner returns to find his trinket gone and so he takes off after Billy and his family, who wind up seemingly in the safe vicinity of a nearby Wild West novelty town. But for how long?

Death Valley 2

“It is a little slow at times (the scene where the killer is taking the bathroom door off its hinges so he can get to Billy is painfully slow and pretty damn ridiculous if you ask me. Just break the damn thing down already!!) , and the body count isn’t very impressive, but there is just something about the film that I liked in general…” Todd Martin, Horror News

Death Valley is a pretty decent thriller that would have benefited from a tighter script. As it stands, too much information is given away early on that takes away the impact of the ending. What works in this movie really works however: the eerie music, the stark setting, some tense cat-and-mouse sequences, and little itty bitty Peter Billingsley in a cowboy outfit.” Final Girl

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