TAG: The Assassination Game

Longtime John Carpenter associate Nick Castle (who played the Shape in Halloween) made his writing-directing debut with this overlooked little beauty about the popular campus game TAG, which involves students stalking one another with rubber-dart guns. One of the players — Bruce (Re-Animator) Abbott in his first film, looking a lot like Travis Bickle — is a loner who takes pride in his perfect “kill” record. When another player inadvertently “kills” him, Abbott goes nuts and returns the favor — with real bullets. Campus-paper reporter Robert Carradine wants to interview champion TAG player Linda Hamilton (in her first film, making a great-looking film noir heroine), the only “assassin” who can beat Abbott. Very slickly done, not without humor, and undeserving of its obscurity and its mostly negative reviews. Also with Kristine De Bell, Michael Winslow, and Frazer Smith as the sleazeball who organizes TAG — he’s like a junior James Woods, and he’s named (ahem) Carpenter. Hamilton and Abbott later married and divorced.

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