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Playroom (1990)

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An archaeologist is haunted by a nightmare in which his family is murdered.


Manny Coto


Keaton Jones (screenplay), Jackie Earle Haley (story)



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lisa Aliff ... Jenny
Aron Eisenberg ... Daniel
Christopher McDonald ... Chris
James Purcell James Purcell ... Paul
Jamie Rose ... Marcy
Vincent Schiavelli ... Roman Hart
Kimberly Beck ... Secretary
Maja Sabljic Maja Sabljic ... Dr. Petrovic (as Maja)
Petar Bozovic Petar Bozovic ... Jelko
Sinisa Copic Sinisa Copic ... Orderly #1
Dragana Marjanovic Dragana Marjanovic ... Kaley
Ann Pesic Ann Pesic ... Chris' Mother
Mihailo Pesic Mihailo Pesic ... Little Chris
Slavoljub Plavsic-Zvonce Slavoljub Plavsic-Zvonce ... Guard
Dragomir Stanojevic Dragomir Stanojevic ... Orderly #2


An archaeologist is haunted by a nightmare in which his family is murdered.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Last stop... is hell. See more »


Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 September 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Schizo See more »

Filming Locations:

Belgrade, Serbia

Company Credits

Production Co:

Smart Egg Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Filmed in April, May, and June of 1989, but not released until going straight-to-video on 20 September 1990. See more »


Roman Hart: I've always wondered - can you sever somebody's neck with three shots?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Dutch Excalibur VHS release of the film features an alternate ending of the film, with Jenny now committed into a mental institution, suspected of the deaths of Chris, Paul, Marcy, Roman and Jelko. This ending is omitted from the U.S. Republic Pictures VHS and the Canadian Alliance/MCA VHS. See more »

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User Reviews

Intriguingly bonkers but slow and daft oddity
3 December 2010 | by BloodwankSee all my reviews

A while back I saw and greatly enjoyed the loopy medical themed slasher comedy Dr. Giggles, so with that in mind I was very much looking forward to hitting up an earlier horror from director Manny Coto. Playroom is a very different beast though, a serious minded and strange take on childhood imagination, archaeology and the supernatural. It gets off to a good start with a camera scroll over freaky wall carvings, strange figures and symbols, numerous people in various states of distress, it sets up an arcane atmosphere before entering a more visceral nightmare scenario via a child drawing. This is before we get to the main bulk of the film, which involves a reporter/explorer/archaeologist type (profession never specified) who gets a clue as the the hidden resting chamber of an ancient prince and so sets of with his editor, a camera man and his girlfriend in tow to find the tomb and thusly exorcise his personal demons (tragedy claimed his family when he was younger). Within an ancient monastery, the past comes alive, with deadly consequences…The main thing that sticks out about the is film is the setting. Leading up to the monastery in which the bulk of the film is set we get some great exteriors, but the monastery itself is where things come alive, it's a terrific place. Candles and cobwebs, skeletons and statues, nooks and crannies and strange carvings, shot with unearthly urinary hues for maximum atmosphere. Unfortunately other aspects here aren't up to the quality of the setting. The worst decision is having a bratty child as pivotal character, in regular children's garb he looks nothing more than a generic irritating kid and simply isn't scary, moreover he never gets to anything vicious enough to invest him with effective creep value. Basically he'll make most viewers want give him a good kicking, and not in a good way. The film is also slow, only really getting to the boil at around the hour mark, which leaves it up to the actors to keep things going. As the lead, Christopher McDonald isn't great, a one note performance that's compelling enough but goes from zero to crazy so quickly that he simply isn't too interesting. James Purcell does little of note as the washed up photographer while Lisa Allit is a competently likable but un-dynamic heroine. Fortunately Vincent Schiavelli appears in a side role and relishes it, burning up every moment of screen time he has as a wild eyed headcase. He has far too little screen time though, so can't quite keep the fun going. Director Manny Coto works well enough, but the film is quite dull in the first two thirds and even when things do get moving its never scary and mostly fun for trash geeks. The final half hour does get pretty mental though, moves at a belting pace with a cheerful disregard for sanity, there are a couple of decent tense scenes, a little meanness, some unfortunate cringe making silliness that's just about forgivable and even a few fun gore shots. Things really go out on a high note, but I cant bring myself to rate this one too highly, there are a few too many bad decisions and it disappoints with a great concept. For fans of the more dopey and unusual side of horror trash this one is worth a peek, but I suspect many will find it more frustrating than anything else. Still, I had a good enough time with it, more or less. A contented 5/10.

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