Dean Koontz's Mr. Murder (1998) (part 10 of 11)

Next we get a stock footage shot of the Capitol Building in Washington. Daddy Oslett is telling his friend at the Department of Justice about the whole Alfie project. (Why a guy from the Justice Department is meeting people in the Capitol Building is anyone’s guess.) The Justice guy then promises to take this “straight to the Attorney General” and walks off. The Attorney General, as it turns out, is also hanging out in the Capitol Building, which sure makes things easier. As the Attorney General turns around, surprise, surprise, we see that he’s one of those Really Important People who were present for Alfie’s birth and are presumably behind the whole thing.

Back at the cabin, a red station wagon pulls up and Drew, Jr. gets out. Oh, sure, they could have shown how he got the station wagon, but let’s just be thankful this movie’s not any longer than it already is. Somehow, Drew knows to head for the mill, but before he gets far, his cell phone rings. On the other end are the three Really Important People on a speakerphone. Drew says he’s almost got Alfie, and that “the Gavin Lumbacher scenario should play out quite nicely in an abandoned lumber mill”. In case you’re as clueless as I was the first time I heard this, Gavin Lumbacher is a character out of one of Marty’s books. Remember how they were going to recreate stuff out of Crimes of Fashion? No? Well, don’t worry, because it hardly matters at this point.

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The Important Guys tell him that Daddy Oslett is going to go public with his accusations. They want Drew to talk to his dad, but Drew has a better option. He tells them to have his father killed, saying Daddy will “do the world a lot more good by leaving it then he ever did while he was here.” I wholeheartedly agree. He certainly hasn’t done anything, good or bad, in this movie.

Marty and his kids are running down a long catwalk in the mill. A wooden board snaps under Marty’s foot and he falls through, screaming bloody murder. Nice going, Marty. For future reference, when you’re being chased by a super-powered telepathic murderous clone of yourself, it’s a good idea to keep noise to a minimum. Naturally, Alfie hears his screams and heads in that direction.

Meanwhile, Daddy Oslett is at home in his study, pouring himself a brandy in a snifter glass. Outside, a guy has a strange weapon that looks suspiciously like a modified paintball gun. He loudly cocks the weapon, then steps into the study. Daddy blows a smoke ring [?] and decides to have a deathbed chat with the shooter, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the time of Shakespeare:

Drew, Sr.: I’ll pay you ten times whatever my son is paying you.
Shooter: You spent your whole life thinking everything was about money! [Shoots.]
Drew, Sr.: What do you think it’s about? [Dies.]

As he dies, we naturally get a “cool” shot of his brandy snifter shattering in front of the fireplace.

Dean Koontz's Mr. Murder (1998) (part 10 of 11)

Neat “O”! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

So, let’s review. James Coburn, as I already mentioned, has top billing on this movie, right behind Stephen Baldwin. So it’s worth going over all the important stuff his character supposedly did. First, he popped up at the airport when Drew, Jr. was getting Marty’s blood sample. He delivered some exposition, and left. Then later on he was told by Drew, Jr. that Kingman Flagg’s death was his doing. Again, some expository dialog from Coburn, and nothing more. Then he started poking around into the “Triple W” project, and found out what it was all about. Then he told the Attorney General, who was already part of the project in the first place. Then, he was killed. So, we now have our final tally:

Number of times James Coburn’s character has influenced the plot: now and forever, zero. So, I think it’s fair to say that they could have more or less cut him completely out of the movie and not affected it much. I mean, it’s almost like they wanted someone respectable to come in and do about a day’s worth of work to lend some “class” to this whole sorry affair. Well, unfortunately, it didn’t work.

We cut back to Marty and his girls. He’s trying to crack the password to Drew’s Palm Pilot, but he needs “a six-letter word that begins with F!” He knows this because of that wonderfully secure feature I mentioned earlier. The first one Marty tries, by the way, is FATCAT [?]. His younger daughter suggest FRIDAY, but that ain’t it. (In the next shot, the password has magically changed to “FLARES” even though Marty never typed anything).

Meanwhile, Paige is still holding her ground. Alfie quietly comes up behind her, and she spins around and blasts him. The force of this rifle blast, hilariously, is enough to send Alfie careening through a wooden door. Before I saw this scene, I would have guessed that Paige would have experienced a little kickback from a blast this powerful, but I guess not.

Marty and his daughters are still brainstorming for an “F” word. “Daddy,” Older Child says, “It’s so obvious!” Which is why it took her so long to come up with it. “It’s you!” Younger Child says. Marty gets it, and then types in FATHER, which turns out to be the correct password. Wow, it’s all so apropos. Also, it’s good to know that government secrets are being protected with a password that can be found in any dictionary.

The instant he logs in, a voice [?] announces, “Welcome to Oslett Technologies!” Instantly, a picture of Alfie appears, offering forth all sorts of personal details, like “Sight: 20/20” and “Reproductive: Sterile”. Then a picture of Kingman Flagg pops up on the screen, accompanied with an article about how Oslett Technologies took over his company. (Just out of curiosity, is this what Drew, Jr. always sees when he logs in?) Next he sees the document authorizing the Alfie project, and we zoom in on the signatures of the Really Important People. Among the signees are Grace Wetherall and “Senator Ewald [sic]”, who apparently is one of the few politicians with a single moniker.

“We got him!” Marty exclaims, just as he receives an incoming message informing him that “Stillwater’s parents are dead”, and that this will “fit right in”. So, this is how Marty learns his parents are dead, and he’s quite upset. We can tell he’s upset because Stephen Baldwin furrows his eyebrows together a little bit. Not saying anything about it, he has his daughters help him up. He then screams because of that whole “bullet in the shoulder” thing and tells them to go on without him. “He’s after me,” Marty says. “Not you.” Which is not completely true, but who’s counting? Before they take off, the older daughter hands Marty a scarf. Marty says, “I’m not cold, Pumpkin.” The daughter then has to clarify that it’s meant for his arm, letting me know exactly who Alfie takes after in the intelligence department.

Multi-Part Article: Dean Koontz's Mr. Murder (1998)

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