The Orphan (1979)

This movie was originally called Friday the 13th until the makers of that franchise negotiated with this film’s producers to use that title. Well, the tales of Crystal Lake are better known than this film, but man, this is one weird slice of 1979 and that’s the way we like it.

It starts with our hero, David, being forced to kiss his father’s dead lips as he lies in a coffin while other kids snicker, “Now you’re an orphan.” If you think, “Well, that’s pretty dark,” you might want to stop watching right now.

It turns out that David watched his parents die in a murder-suicide and now suffers from horrific migraines while being raised by his puritanical aunt. It turns out that our hero’s father was obsessed with Africa and one of his father’s friends encourages the same thoughts in David, encouraging him to believe in ancient non-Christian deities.

This movie was started in 1968, is missing about thirty minutes and is still a dreamlike force that has stuck in my head since I watched it. It’s not perfect by any means but it’s weird in all the best of ways. It’s a movie obsessed with elephants, bread and kids making their own monkey gods to deal with death.

This movie moves as slow as it gets, like a doom metal band obsessively playing the same riff over and over with only slight deviations until suddenly you’ve been lured into a hazy daze and then they hit you over the head with an entirely new section of music before slowing down again and lurching right back into that same riff for another long, slow and grinding near-infinite length of time.

I say this as a compliment.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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