FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Aug 17, 2007

wash your face and hands

You may not know this about me, but I consider myself to be a fairly simple girl. I don't mean "simple" as in "stupid", it's more like...plain. I don't mean "plain" as in "not attractive", it's more like...uncomplicated. I don't mean "uncomplicated" as in...ah, you get it. I just like to keep things simple. I like my burgers and pizzas mostly unfettered. I don't wear clothes covered in sparkly appliques. Why should I go through the trouble of freebasing my coke when I can simply snort it? See what I mean? Simple. What does this have to do with anything? Well, my love of the simple sometimes correlates to my love of a film, both potential and realized. Why should a plot unfold like this:
A monster lives in a cave, but the monster only emerges from the cave once every 13 years during a red moon so he can feast, but the monster will only feast upon the left pinkies of virgins who are direct descendants of the man who wrote a book about this monster 800 years ago and the book is bound in the flesh of the man's enemies and the descendants of his enemies are totally working for The Government on a Top-Secret Project that involves cloning the monster and creating an army of super-monsters but then this one Top Advisor in the project is planning on stealing all the research to sell to a foreign conglomerate and it turns out that he had an affair with a woman who is a direct descendant of the guy who wrote the book and their sweet sweet lovemaking produced a child who has grown up to be not only a virgin but also, as the only descendant of both the book-maker and his enemy, the only one who has the power to defeat the monster once and for all.
when a plot can unfold like this:
There's this abandoned house, and a pissed-off witch-spirit lives in it. She kills people.
I must say, however, the first plot seems to have potential. Hollywood, call me!

That second easy, breezy, 'n beautiful plot is basically what you get in Superstition (1982), an Amityville/Exorcist/Italian Horror wannabe that surprised me with its delightfully delightful schlockiness.

Like all the best horror films, Superstition opens with a young couple necking in a car. The young lass, however, is distracted: they've gone a-parking near a spooky old abandoned house, a spooky old abandoned house where there's been murders and rumors of hauntings! The young man counters her trepidation with a convincing argument: there's nothing to be afraid let us proceed to Necking 2: The Humpening.

Suddenly, a horrible corpse-ish thing slams against the car window! The kids smartly stop the necking and peel the fuck out of there. The corpse-ish thing, however, is a fake. There's pranksters about, son! They're hanging out in the abandoned house and...err, waiting for some unsuspecting horndogs to happen by for the purposes of prankery, I suppose.

The wiseacres are chuckling and celebrating a joke well done when it becomes apparent that someone is stalking them. The Goblin/Carpenter-esque music kicks in, we get killer POV shots moving throughout the darkened, empty house...and I'll be damned if it wasn't a little spooky. Then, out of nowhere, come two of the most awesomely bizarre and bizarrely awesome killings I've seen: one prankster gets beheaded, then his head ends up in a microwave where it explodes, while his buddy ends up cut completely, grossly in half by a window. Looks like the jokes on you now, jokesters! Ba-ha-ha-HOOM!

I know it's a horror film, but I honestly wasn't expecting such violent violence in a supernatural-themed movie. It was great.

After the mysterious deaths at the abandoned house, the police pay a visit to the hip Reverend McCool (we know he's hip and cool because he's young and he smokes and he wears jeans). It seems that said abandoned house is actually church property; though there are caretakers on the property (a weird old crone and her mute son), the house has fallen into disrepair. The city is ready to tear the place down if the church doesn't make good with the house, the land, and spooooooky Black Pond out back.

The most important piece of information culled from the church-police exchange, however, is that within moments- moments, I tells ya- I figured out that I knew the Inspector from a few episodes of Dallas. In case you're wondering, he played the slimy dude who wanted Afton to sleep with him before he would sell his oil refinery to Cliff. Cliff really needed that refinery, you see, because JR was also looking to buy it because he was stockpiling oil as part of his plan to beat Bobby for control of Ewing Oil, you know, that whole scheme that Jock set in motion in the codicil of his will. So anyway, if Cliff got the refinery, then he'd beat JR for once and he'd feel like a big man and Afton loved Cliff for some reason- I don't know why, because personally I can't stand Cliff and Afton could do so much better. Anyway, so Afton sleeps with the slimy oil refinery owner, and I mean ga-ross!- but Cliff gets his refinery and JR is thwarted (but only for a short time, because come's JR). The thing is, though, that Cliff didn't know about the whole Afton-sleeping-with-slimy-dude thing; he thought he won the refinery through his powerful wheeling and/or dealing. When he found out that Afton basically prostituted herself, Cliff threw her out. Threw her out like a common whore! Which she kinda was, but only that one time. Anyway, they got back together after Cliff's mom died, because Cliff was a mess after his mom died because he felt all guilty because he was supposed to be on the plane that ended up crashing, not his mom. That's about as far as I've gotten watching Dallas DVDs, but I think Cliff and Afton end up getting married or something at some point.

Wait, where was...oh yeah, Superstition, right.

Renovations on the abandoned house get underway so a new minister and his family can move in. Inspector Slimy Dude from Dallas tells Reverend McCool a bit about the house's history- in fact, there have been many houses on the foundation, and all of the tenants have met with a grisly end. Will folks around the property meet with a grisly end now?

Yes...yes they will.

A cop walking around Black Pond drops some change; when he reaches down to pick it up, a slimy-yet-crusty arm reaches up from the murky depths and pulls him in! A circular saw blade goes flying off of a running saw; it hits a priest in the chest and keeps on a-spinnin'- it cuts right through him! Someone gets a face full of broken mirror! Someone is hung! Someone is slammed about the room like a sack of potatoes! And on and on, in '80s-style gory fashion. Again, you don't normally see this type of violence in a supernatural film, but Ol' Witchy was one bad mutha.

But really...just who is Ol' Witchy? Fear not, for we learn her sordid history in flashbacks. In 1692...or maybe 1784 (the movie said the former while the VHS box says the latter, so...whatevs), Elondra Sharack was crucified and dunked in Black Pond for being a witch. The kicker is, however, unlike 100% of the women killed in Salem, Elondra really was a witch! In your stereotypical garbly "demon" voice, Elondra proclaims that she's the daughter of Satan and they'll all pay pay pay for this outrage! Her face bubbles, she goes into the drink, and a curse is born.

What can I say? Superstition fucking rocked. By turns gross, funny, and yes, even scary, they just don't make 'em like this anymore. From the synth music to the darkened corners to the creepy glimpses we get of Elondra stalking the halls, this movie is chock full of grody, cheesy, schlocky '80s fun. Though I caught the film on VHS, it's available on DVD, so what are you waiting for? Check it out- it's simple!


FatalPierce said...

Awesome, it is available at BB online . That means they earn a point (that gives them one).

Hey wait a minute, that head in the microwave reminds me of the dog head cake from "Lovers Lane." This could be like a game, where in the kitchen will the next head show up? And what kind of head will it be!?

Anonymous said...

That first plot was 100% believable which is kind of sad....

Matt said...

I had the super fantastic lucky opportunity to see this movie in a theater recently (in a double feature with the Shatnerific Devil's Rain, no less), and your review is spot on. It doesn't pretend to be more than it is, and a theater-full of appreciative horror fans made it all the better. Definitely a recommend.

Anonymous said...

Very well written as usual, Stacie. And you got me to laugh out loud (very hard to do) with Necking 2: The Humpening.

insomniac said...

I just put this one on my netflix, it seems right up my alley.

Good job Stacie, good job :)

FatalPierce said...

Oh man after seeing it I must say, that was one persistent saw blade! Also, Sheryl totally deserved every bit of that slap.

I found out that the actress that played Sheryl is married to Willie Aames, how awesome is that?

Amanda By Night said...

This movie rules. I mean, it's unexpectedly rules, which makes its ruling even more, uh, rule-ful.

You get the point.

Anonymous said...

Reasons why this movie rules, #342: The elderly priest who plays catch-the-sawblade is Stacy Keach's dad.

Eddie The Head said...

I finally found the DVD of this movie again after skipping on buying it the first time and its one fun ride. I liked how they got straight to the gore and didn't let up, and seeing the two-dimensional family, particularly the young son killed was ruthless, Elondra Sharack is one evil creature.