Anchor Bay Entertainment
resurrects some fairly choice horror movie with "Superstition",
one among several in what looks like a long-term program for them.
So what we have here
plotwise is an alcoholic priest and his family moving into a house
on Mill Road. The house has something of an unpleasant history to
say the least, and not too far from the house, a witch was drowned.
Another priest, meanwhile, is staging an investigation into the
house along with a cynical police detective--ostensibly because
priests generally can't get search warrants. So now we've got priests
gone wild, houses gone crazy, and the weight of a church about to
go up against the great haunted house phenomenon.
If it looks a little
old and dated to you, it's because it is. This is actually a rerelease
of a much older movie--if I've read the box right it's from the
bad old days of 1982, which means strap yourselves in, folks...it's
either going to be a long and bumpy ride on through the night or
electric candy nightmare country for the next hour and twenty minutes.
And there's plenty of
1980s-style silliness abounding in this little beauty. Take the
first five minutes (please!)--you're going to have make-out coercion
AND people jumping and screaming at the sight of badly designed
mannequins dropped onto cars from a height of four feet.
Frankly, as much as I'm
not in favor of watching movies made before 1980 (the quality of
the playback is usually so godawful that it gets in the way of the
story), more and more I'm grateful for the cleaned-up rerelease
of some of these old gems on DVD. The rediscovery of some of these
gems, some lost beyond repair to the ravages of time and the necessity
to clear space on video store shelves for DVDs, is an important
event in the history of horror.
Plus, I'm also leaning
toward the necessity for today's self-styled horror mavens to watch
these old movies just for the sheer laugh factor.
Not laughing? Try this
thought exercise at three minutes thirty five seconds:
"In theatres in
1982, half the audience probably screamed at that."
NOW see if you're laughing!
And yet, at the same
time, the shoddy quality of the special effects throughout the movie
also shows just how spectacularly dependent on plot and pacing movies
of this era were. They were doing great things with very little,
and as a result, they managed to make some pretty sweet movies back
then. Sure, they had their dogs, but sometimes, they could have
a real bang-up splatter flick on their hands.
Examples? Sure. Try the
sequence at ten minutes and seven seconds. Clearly, this is a fake
head. And yet, when it blows up in that microwave, even I'm willing
to put disbelief on hiatus and follow the movie's lead.
Even as I'm shrieking,
"Just BREAK the window, idiot!" just a little over thirty
seconds later, I'm still kinda freaked out by what happens next.
And check out the shocker
that hits eighteen minutes and thirty eight seconds in! Man, that
was cheesy and I STILL jumped at it!
The rest of the movie
frequently develops a kind of chill-inducing quality by virtue of
good storytelling and suspense-building easily on par with the best
of Japanese fare. Apparently, at one time, we knew how to do it
too. I guess we just forgot for the sake of better effects. Sad,
Though it was probably
a bad idea to, at the fifty one minute thirty six second mark, show
the witch laughing so broadly that her dental fillings were perfectly
visible. Especially given the fact that this scene was supposedly
taking place in 1692....
The ending is a whole
lot of thrills, some pretty decent surprises and just a bit of horror-standard
stupidity packed into one fairly confined space. It's a beauty,
The special features
include trailers for "The Evil Dead", "Dellamorte
Dellamore", "Superstition", "Warning Sign",
and "Baby Blood".
All in all, "Superstition"
makes for great watching, whether you're just now seeing it, or
you've already had the pleasure of it the first go-round.
DVDDirected by James Roberson
Written by Donald G. Thompson
Starring James Houghton, Albert Salmi, Lynn Carlin, Larry Pennell
Produced by Ed Carlin
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