Julie Darling (1983)

Between Pin, Cathy’s Curse and this film, what is it about Canadian families in horror films? Beneath a surface of politeness, is everyone this psychotic north of the border?

Julie (Isabelle Mejias, Scanners II: The New Order) just wants to play with her pet snake, hunt with her dad and, well, lie in bed with him. But when her mom takes away her snake, she just watches a delivery boy (Paul Hubbard, who played Flash Gordon in the deleted scenes in A Christmas Story) violate her and does nothing to save her life, even though she’s holding a gun. It’s a horrifying scene, as the man is shocked that he’s knocked the woman’s head so hard into the ground. He’s more upset than Julie when he sees the blood seeping out of the back of her brains. Julie just watches, fascinated yet removed.

Julie thinks she has her father (Anthony Franciosa, Tenebre) all to herself, but he soon finds a new wife, the alluring Susan (Sybil Danning!). She brings sex appeal and a stepson. And because she may have been dating daddy before mommy died, maybe Julie’s dad is taking advantage of the death she caused.

One thing he’s definitely taking advantage of is the opportunity to make sweet, sweet love to Susan. He doesn’t know that his daughter is watching the entire time and enjoying things way too much, imagining herself in bed with her father! Ugh!

And it gets worse and worse, as Julie does things like lock her stepbrother in a refrigerator, nearly killing him, and then brings the rapist who killed her mother back to the house to take out her new mom in a blackmail plot. Yep, she even tells him, “You can rape her all you want!” It all adds up to an ending that totally shocked me that I don’t want to cheat you out of.

Yep. This is one rough little film, which makes sense when you realize it’s by the writer and director of Chained Heat, Paul Nicolas (that movie also has Danning in it, plus Linda Blair, Henry Silva, Tamara Dobson, John Vernon and Stella Stevens for a movie that transcends the WIP genre).

It’s not for everyone. But Mejias is great in it. And it’s the kind of movie that you are amazed that exists and even more astounded as it plays in your DVD player (or streams over YouTube).

This movie was nearly impossible to find until Code Red put it out on blu-ray awhile back. The good people at Diabolik DVD have it right here. You can also watch it under its alternative title, Daughter of Death, on Amazon Prime.

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