CULT FACTION

For all your cult film, tv, cartoon, comic and video game needs

The Star Chamber (1983)

“They are the most powerful members of our community.
They have a shattering secret.
A secret that will affect us all.
Only one man is willing to stop them.
On August 5, you’ll know who they really are.”

Judge Steven Hardin (Michael Douglas) is an idealistic Los Angeles jurist who gets frustrated when the technicalities of the law prevent the prosecution of a man who was charged with numerous murders of elderly women for their welfare money and two other men who are accused of raping and killing an eight-year old boy as part of a suspected child pornography ring.

Hardin is even more distraught when the father of the boy attempts to shoot the criminals in court but misses and shoots one of the arresting officers instead. Subsequently, the father commits suicide while in jail only after he informs Hardin that another boy has been discovered raped and murdered and tells him “This one is on you, your Honor. That boy would be alive if you hadn’t let those men go.”

After hearing all this, Judge Hardin approaches his friend, Judge Caulfield (Hal Holbrook), who tells him of a modern-day Star Chamber: a group of judges who identifies criminals who fell through the judicial system’s cracks and then takes action against them outside the legal structure with a hired assassin.

Judge Hardin participates in one of these proceedings in which he presents the case of the two criminals. The Star Chamber declares them “guilty” and dispatches the assassin.

Soon afterward, however, police detective Harry Lowes (Yaphet Kotto) comes to Hardin with conclusive evidence that someone else raped and killed the boy. Realizing that he and the Star Chamber have just sentenced two men to die for a crime that they did not commit, Hardin implores the Star Chamber to recall the assassin, but is told by the other judges that the hit cannot be canceled. For the judges’ own protection, their system includes a buffer between themselves and the assassin; they do not know who he is, and he doesn’t know who they are. They rationalize to Hardin that although an occasional mistake is inevitable and regrettable, what they are doing still serves society’s greater good — especially, they argue, considering that the two targeted men are clearly criminals who are guilty of numerous other crimes, even if not of the specific crime for which the group convicted them.

Hardin makes it clear that he does not accept their reasoning. Caulfield warns him to back down because the group will do whatever they have to in order to protect themselves. Hardin refuses to heed this warning and says he will do whatever he can do to stop the men from being killed. He then tracks down the men in an abandoned warehouse in an attempt to warn them. However, when he arrives, they do not trust him, as he has now stumbled across their illegal drug operation. After they attack him, Hardin is saved by the hitman, disguised as a police officer, who kills the two men before they can kill Hardin. The hitman points his gun at Hardin, but at the last moment, Lowes arrives and kills the hitman.

The film ends with the Star Chamber deciding another “case” without Hardin, who is outside in a car with Lowes recording their conversation.

Related Posts
Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999)

Based on Marilyn Sadler and Roger Bollen's book of the same name, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century was directed by Kenneth Johnson and set in the year 2049. It Read more

Yatterman

Originally running between 1977-1979 for 108 episodes, Yatterman succeeded Time Bokan and followed what happened after fragments of a mysterious stone known as the Skull Stone are scattered across the Read more

Yaphet Kotto – The Alien, Running Man, Bond Villain Actor

Yaphet Kotto, whether you remember him as the worst Bond Villain or a member of the Nostromo crew or as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s running mate in The Running Man, it is Read more

Welcome to Paradox

Debuting in 1998 and running for thirteen episodes, Welcome to Paradox was an anthology show where all the stories took place in the fictional future city of Betaville although the Read more

Timecrimes (2007)

Written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Timecrimes (aka Los Cronocrímenes) is a Spanish science-fiction thriller. In the documentary Future Shock! The Story of 2000 AD Nacho Vigalondo credits 2000 AD comic magazine Read more

The Rise of Skywalker – One 40 Something’s ‘Obsessed Fanboy’ pre-release thoughts…

No one likes an 'I told you so', so let's get the unpleasant bit out of the way. I told you so. Back in Feb 2018, whilst I was still Read more

The Maze (1953)

Directed by William Cameron Menzies, The Maze was 3-D horror film that deals with teratology and prenatal phylogenetic evolution. It begins when Scotsman Gerald MacTeam (Richard Carlson) abruptly ends his Read more

The legacy of Santa Claus: The Movie

Santa Claus: The Movie was supposed to be the holiday hit of 1985. Such was the confidence that farther and son producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind had managed to get Read more

The Herculoids

Somewhere out in space live The Herculoids! Zok, the laser-ray dragon! Igoo, the giant rock ape! Tundro, the tremendous! Gloop and Gleep, the formless, fearless wonders! With Zandor, their leader, Read more

The Degrassi Legacy and why it matters

In a time when the world was over exposed to glamorised American teenage dramas where teens were being played by thirty years olds a dramatic shift happened. The seeds of Read more

Founded Cult Faction in 2014. Some would describe him as a teacher, writer, dream weaver, and visionary... some would not...

%d bloggers like this: