Truth or Dare? (1986 film)

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Truth or Dare?
Film poster
Directed byTim Ritter
Produced byYale Wilson
Written byTim Ritter
StarringJohn Brace
Mary Fanaro
Joel D. Wynkoop
Terence Andreucci
Raymond Carbone
Music byJohnny Britt
Ken Karlson
CinematographyNed Miller
Christopher M. Burritt
Edited byJack Behrend
Distributed byPeerless Home Video
Release date
  • June 1, 1986 (1986-06-01) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States

Truth or Dare? is a 1986 horror film written and directed by Tim Ritter, and based on his short "Truth or Dare?" from 1985 anthology film Twisted Illusions. [2]


Mike Strauber, a businessman with a history of mental illness, walks in on his wife, Sharon, having sex with Jerry, his best friend. Mike storms off, and wanders aimlessly as he contemplates suicide while flashing back to his time with Sharon, and a childhood incident where he cut himself with a razor while playing truth or dare? Mike picks up a female hitchhiker, and the two go to a campsite, where they play truth or dare? The game turns violent, and ends when a park ranger finds Mike, who had mutilated himself at the behest of the hitchhiker, who was just a hallucination.

Mike is admitted to the Sunnyville Mental Institution, and is released over a year later due to good behavior, overcrowding, and budget cuts. Immediately after being discharged, Mike tracks down and murders Jerry, and is readmitted to Sunnyville after being wounded while trying to kill Sharon. Once back in Sunnyville, Mike hallucinates playing ‘truth or dare?’ with two disfigured patients, and cuts most of his own face off with a knife he had smuggled into the facility. Five months later, Mike, who has taken to wearing a frowning copper mask, goes berserk in his room after an employee taunts him by giving him a picture of Sharon. When an orderly tries to calm him, Mike stabs the man in the eye with a pencil, then escapes the institution, hijacking a car full of weapons on his way out.

Mike goes on a rampage, indiscriminately slaughtering men, women, and children on his way to Sharon's house. Realizing where Mike is going, Detective Rosenberg and Doctor Thorne head there, with Thorne arriving first. Thorne is unable to save Sharon, and is killed in a shootout with Mike. Rosenberg happens upon Mike, bleeding heavily from being shot by Thorne, and manages to talk him down, and disarm him. Mike is taken by paramedics, and placed back in Sunnyville.


  • John Brace as Mike Strauber
  • Mary Fanaro as Sharon Strauber
  • Bruce Gold as Jerry Powers
  • AJ McLean as Young Mike Strauber
  • Priscilla Duff as Mrs. Strauber
  • Kerry Ellen Walker as Hitch-Hiker
  • D.C. Goff as Park Ranger
  • Rick Paige as Doctor Burt Thorne
  • Mona Jones as Doctor Emma Evans
  • Bruce Paquette as Garage Attendant
  • Edward L. Elliott II as Man-Next-Door
  • Therese C. Elliott as Woman-Next-Door
  • Raymond Carbone as Detective Jon K. Rosenberg
  • Geoffrey Miller as Wes
  • Tami Smith as Doctor Bachman
  • Norm Rosenbaum as Bald Man
  • Asbestos Felt as Warty Man/Newscaster Voice
  • Anthony T. Townes as Steve
  • Joel D. Wynkoop as Guard #2
  • Pam Weitzman as Woman With Carriage
  • Terence Andreucci as Officer Pournelle
  • Richard K. Day as Officer Down
  • Si Stillerman as Medical Examiner
  • Scott Weitzman as Baseball Player
  • Angelina Rodell as Old Lady


Truth or Dare? had a budget of $200,000, was shot on 16 mm film, and was made specifically for the direct-to-video market.[3] Writer and director Tim Ritter was seventeen when the script was sold, and eighteen at the time of the film's production. It was shot on location in Palm Beach County, Florida.[4]


Tom Becker of DVD Verdict wrote that Truth or Dare? was "a typical, entertaining, and typically entertaining low-budget, direct-to-home-video '80s slasher/horror entry. It contains all the requisites: some nudity, lots of violence (some graphic, all cheesy), a masked madman, and plot holes so glaring, it seems like big chunks of the film are just missing (they aren't)".[5]


The film was followed by three sequels, all of them written and directed by Tim Ritter, and released direct-to-video. They are 1994's Wicked Games, 1998's Screaming for Sanity: Truth or Dare 3, and 2011's Deadly Dares: Truth or Dare Part IV. Funds for a fifth film, titled I Dared You! Truth or Dare 5, were raised by Ritter and Scott Tepperman through the crowdsourcing website Indiegogo.[6] I Dared You! saw its official DVD release in March 2018.

An unofficial sequel called Writer's Block (subtitled Truth or Dare 2 in some versions) was released by Dead Alive Productions in 1995.[7][8]


  1. ^ Fangoria #146, Page 53
  2. ^ Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness Director's Commentary
  3. ^ Variety, January 15, 1986, Page 218
  4. ^ Kathryn B., The Palm Beach Post, Entertainment Section, June 1986, Article: Teen Puts Screams on Video Screens
  5. ^ Becker, Tom (13 August 2010). "Truth Or Dare? A Critical Madness". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  6. ^ Allen, Don (29 August 2014). "Truth or Dare 5 Dares to Return to Madness". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Writer's Block: Truth or Dare 2". B-Independent. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  8. ^ Gonzales, Luisito. "Wicked Games 1994". A Slash Above. Retrieved 6 March 2014.

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