JEAN ROLLIN-UARY: The Escapees (1981)

Also known as Les paumées du petit matin (The Dawns of the Early Morning) and The Runaways, this begins in a mental asylum run by nuns. There, Michelle (Laurence Dubas) has returned after escaping and is placed in a straitjacket. She’s soon freed by a new patient named Marie (Christiane Coppé) and the two run off for a series of adventures, such as watching a burlesque show, meeting a thief named Sophie (Marianne Valiot) and becoming part of a sailor crew who promise to take them away. Yet at the bar of Madame Louise (Louise Dhour) a series of rich people — one of them is Brigitte Lahaie — take our heroines to a mansion and attempt to assault them. What follows is death, both murderous and suicidal, as the runaways attempt to escape a world that won’t allow them to.

I’m a big fan of movies where women find friendship and escape in doomed journeys. Beyond Thelma and Louise, we can also add Baise-moi and Times Square. There are many more, but this feels very close to the punk of the latter, as Jean Rollin leaves the beaches and castle behind but doesn’t forget to have doomed and dreaming girls as they wander and seek something, anything.

There are no vampires in the world of this film but can these two women find magic? Perhaps not. There is an incredible figure skating sequence which is not something that I thought I’d ever say about a Jean Rollin film.

JEAN ROLLIN-UARY: Zombie Lake (1981)

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can read another take on this film here

Zombie Lake feels like someone watched Shock Waves and said, “Well, let’s make a zombie Nazi movie right where this stuff actually happened.”

It was supposed to be directed by Jesus Franco, who left the movie over its budget — just imagine how bad that budget had to be — and Eurociné got Jean Rollin on board with just a few days’ notice. It’s not in his official filmography, despite making money, so again — just imagine.

Julian de Laserna also directed parts of the film under the supervision of Rollin, which is why this movie is credited to J.A. Lazer. It was written by Julián Esteban and Eurociné producer Marius Lesoeur using the name A.L. Mariaux.

Twenty years after the second war to end all wars has ended, a small French village has a lake of the damned within it, yet women still skinny dip within it. I mean, if you knew Nazis had been drowned in a lake, would you even go near it? Like some kind of French Larry Vaughn, Howard Vernon keeps denying that there’s any problem.

That’s when reporter Katya Moore (Marcia Sharif) gets to the bottom of things: a woman (Nadine Pascal, you know you’re seen too many Eurotrash when you pick up the actresses without IMDB) in the village had nursed a young soldier back to life and returned this kindness by doing a little bisecting the triangle with her and leaving her with child just in time for him and his entire platoon to be shot to pieces and drowned in the river, as well killing that women moments after he gave birth to their daughter Helena (Anouchka, the daughter of Eurociné’s Daniel Lesoeur; she’s also in Franco’s White Cannibal Queen).

After an entire women’s volleyball team and two cops — including Rollin — are torn to pieces by the Aryan walking dead, the mayor decides to use Helena to lure her undead father and his troops into a mill where they can burn them up.

This movie makes so many mistakes — like being filmed at all, to start with — that it becomes charming. If the war was twenty years ago, how does 1980-1945 = 35 years? Why did they pretend that the water in the beginning is a lake when we can clearly see that it’s a swimming pool and even view an exit sign? Did no one notice that the zombie makeup was rubbing off? Did no one notice that Daniel White just was remixing songs from other movies like Jess Franco’s Female Vampire and The Awful Dr. Orloff? Can you believe that they shot clothes and unclothed versions of this movie? With Antonio Mayans showing up as a one-eyed zombie, can we play six degrees of separation here with Rollin and Franco as well as consider this a Eurociné all-star film? How amazing would this have been if Franco did stay on and made this as another Orloff movie? Isn’t Oasis of the Zombies this movie all over again? Was Charles Band that hungry for content that he bought both those movies for his Wizard Video imprint? If this is not set in the 80s, why are all the roads, signs and buses modern?

If you’re looking for a movie where the crew shows up as often as the cast, this is it. Crew members wander into some shots, show up in mirrors and often leave their cables lying around in nearly every shot.

Yet you know, it’s kind of adorable, if a movie about the French killing soldiers who rise back up at some indeterminate time can be cute. There are bright green men wandering about, mauling nude women and getting their green skin all over everything, all while you can obviously see Howard Vernon in one scene waiting for his cue.

DISMEMBERCEMBER: Ghostkeeper (1981)

EDITOR’S NOTE: I wanted to have a New Year’s movie to end 2022, but how many times can I repost New Year’s Evil and Bloody New Year? This one which was originally posted on October 24, 2019.

Filmed in Banff, Alberta and using the Canadian tax shelter rules that have produced so many of our favorite films, Ghostkeeper rises above its unstable finances and near-unseen theatrical run to become a fun piece of somewhat forgotten slasher fun.

This one is all about the Wendigo, even if it spells the monster’s name Windigo. It’s a monster that lives off human flesh and is one of Canada’s few unique monsters, but the movie doesn’t spend all that much time discussing it.

Basically — if you wanted another snowmobile slasher after The Chill Factor, here it is.

Jenny, Marty, and Chrissy spend New Year’s Eve in the Rocky Mountains but end up seeking shelter from a blizzard in an abandoned hotel. There’s an older woman who claims to live there with her two sons.

Of course, one of the sons named Danny ends up drowning Chrissy, slitting her throat and putting her in a freezer. That’s also where the Wendigo lives in the body of her other son.

By the end, Jenny has shotgun blasted the old woman and assumed her mantle of the Ghostkeeper, which takes hours to happen and plenty of darkness to wade through. But the end is really effective, so if you have the patience to take it this far, the movie is totally going to reward you.

The music for this comes from Paul Zaza, who also composed music for My Bloody Valentine, Curtains and Prom Night. In fact, most of the music in that Jamie Lee Curtis disco dancing slasher was recycled from this film.

I just want someone to explain to me why the UK VHS of this movie has a mutant chicken rising from an Incan temple under the hot sun. Because…I kind of want to watch that movie, too.

You can watch this for free on Tubi or order it from RoninFlix.


Directed by Lau Kar Leung, My Young Auntie introduces us to Cheng Tai-nun (Kara Hui), who has married her master, an elderly landownerm so that the old man could keep his estate from ending up in the greedy hands of his brother Yung-Sheng (Wang Lung Wei) and instead go to his favorite nephew Yu Cheng-chuan (Lau Kar Leung) and his son Yu Tao (Hsiao Ho).

Everyone Cheng Tai-nun meets expects her — an auntie, as the title says — to be an old woman and she’s continually upset by the rudeness of modern China, rudeness that she returns in kind by beating grown men into whimpering pulps. Because this auntie is also a martial arts champion, or course.

The centerpiece of this film is a costume party in which Cheng Tai-nun fights an entire room full of evildoers while dressed in the finest of clothes, using swords, kicks and near-dance like moves to easily best numerous men. It’s like a musical sequence with violence and such a thrill.

Kara Hui is really wonderful in this. She had trained as a dancer, which will be obvious when you watch it, as she’s incredibly graceful even when she’s brutalizing dudes. It’s also kind of awesome to see a Shaw Brothers movie where the entire story revolves around the modern world and how the China of the past must come up to speed with it, including redefining the role of what had been seen as the weaker sex. That said, it’s not a boring message movie. Instead, it’s totally fun.

ARROW VIDEO SHAW SCOPE VOLUME 2 BOX SET: Mercenaries from Hong Kong (1982)

If the Shaw Brothers made The Dirty Dozen, well…they did. Mercenaries from Hong Kong starts with Luo Li (Ti Lung) killing two criminals who are attacking a young lady, earning the hate of the biggest crime boss in town. He has to leave Hong Kong before he’s killed but then He Ying (Yu On-On) offers to erase the price on his head. All he has to do is go to Cambodia and find Naiwen (Phillip Ko), the man who killed her father.

To do that, he needs an army. What he gets is a crew that includes explosives king Brand (Nat Chan), knife expert Ruan (Michael Chan Wai Man), gunsmith Lei (Lo Lieh), hand to hand expert Hung Fan (Wang Lung Wei) and a thief by the name of Curry (Wong Yu), all working together to get $1 million each if they successfully complete their mission.

Directed by Wong Jing (God of Gamblers, City Hunter), the last twenty minutes of this movie are absolutely berserk with double crosses, battles in public, a knife throwing backpack, a car blowing up real good, a tragic ending and a grenade death that blew my mind, well…this movie is everything I wanted it to be and so much I had no idea that I needed even more.

THANKSGIVING TERROR: Home Sweet Home (1981)

Also known as Slasher In the House, this is one of the few Thanksgiving slashers that I can think of — that said, I can tell you others are Deadly Friend, Blood FreakThanksKilling, ThanksKilling 3Blood Rage, the remake of The BoogeymanKristy and Intensity — and it’s also a section 3 video nasty, so it has that going for it.

It also stars Body By Jake star Jake Steinfeld, who legend says refuses to discuss that he was ever in this movie. Dude, if he had Cameo, I’d pay to ask about this movie every single day. He plays PCP addict Jay Jones, a guy who has already destroyed his parents.

Harold Bradley should have never made Thanksgiving dinner for the nine victims in this movie, including his heavy metal son “Mistake.” But here we are, with car trunks getting slammed onto heads, stabbing nice young ladies and the aforementioned KISS loving son getting electrocuted.

Director Nettie Peña was an editor and associate producer on Dracula Sucks, so there’s that.

This is also the first role for Vanessa Shaw, who was Allison in Hocus Pocus (and also appeared in Eyes Wide ShutLadybugs and the remake of The Hills Have Eyes).

Seriously, Mistake should have been the killer, or better yet, he could have just run away and survived, heading off to Wisconsin where he and Marvelous Mervo would start a band that would destroy minds and reap souls when they both weren’t playing practical jokes, peeping on women and crying about how tough life was for them.

Also: more movies should have killers that inject PCP directly into their tongue before grunting like maniacs and killing everyone around them. Remember when people did PCP and would go nuts and turn into criminal supermen? Whatever happened to it after the video game NARC?

You can watch this on YouTube.

KINO LORBER BLU RAY RELEASE: Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally on the site many years ago. June 15, 2018 if you want an exact date. Yet now it’s back because Kino Lorber has re-released it on blu ray along with so many extras, including an interview with actress Tracey E. Bregman, new audio commentary by co-screenwriter Timothy Bond moderated by historian and filmmaker Daniel Kremer, three TV commercials from the U.S., one from the UK, two radio ads and the trailer. You can get it from Kino Lorber.

Seriously, how many great movies were directed by J. Lee Thompson? The original Cape FearConquest for the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud10 to MidnightKinjite: Forbidden Subjects and so many more.

Virginia “Ginny” Wainwright (Melissa Sue Anderson, TV’s Little House on the Prarie) is popular, rich and pretty. She’s a member of the biggest clique at the fancy pants Crawford Academy — the Top Ten. These snobbish, rich and rude assholes rule the school and — if you’re anything like me — you’ll celebrate their brutal deaths. Just look at how they act at their local pub, the Silent Woman. Total dicks.

One night, Top Ten member Bernadette (Canadian scream queen Lesleh Donaldson, who has been in several films we’ve featured recently) is attacked in her car by someone without a face. She plays dead, then finds someone she knows. As she explains what has just happened, the real killer slices her throat.

The rest of the gang? They could give a shit. They’re all at the bar, putting mice into old men’s beer. It’s enough to make you want to be the killer and wipe them out. But it gets worse. They play chicken on a drawbridge and are all nearly killed. Ginny even yells “mother!” as the car goes over the opening bridge. Everyone survives, but Ginny runs away, all the way to the cemetery where she tells her mother that she’s been accepted by all of the rich kids.

When she gets home, her father yells about how she’s out past curfew. And while that’s happening, Etienne, one of the Top Ten, sneaks out a pair of her underwear.

The next day, Ginny and Ann arrive late to class, leading principal Mrs. Patterson to put the entire Top Ten on notice, threatening a ban on their favorite bar. Soon, a frog dissection leads to Ginny having flashbacks that she shares with Dr. David Faraday (Glenn Ford, slumming it after a career in films like SupermanGilda and Pocketful of Miracles), her psychiatrist.

This is where Happy Birthday to Me pulls the rug out from under us — thirty minutes or more into the film. After the accident at the drawbridge, she underwent an experimental medical procedure to restore her brain tissue.

Meanwhile, the Top Ten are thankfully getting bumped off, one by one. Etienne dies like Isadora Duncan, his scarf caught in the wheels of his motorcycle. Greg gets killed lifting weights. Here’s where the film has a bit of a giallo feel — all of the murders are done by black-gloved hands, until Alfred (Jack Blum, Meatballs) follows Ginny to her mother’s grave, only for our heroine to stab him with garden shears. What?!?

During Ginny’s 18th birthday weekend, her father leaves town, so she goes to a school dance. There, she invites Steve (Matt Craven, Meatballs) home to smoke weed, drink wine and eat kabobs, as you do. However, while feeding Steve, she stabs him in the mouth, a murder so memorable it ended up on the poster and box cover.

The next morning, Ann comes over while Ginny takes a shower and has a major flashback. Four years ago, she was having a birthday party but none of the Top Ten would come. Her mother flipped out, got drunk and tried to take her to Ann’s competing party, where a groundskeeper told her that she would never be anything more than the town whore. Her mother gets drunker and drives off the bridge from earlier in the film, where she drowns and Ginny barely survives.

Ginny begins to think that she has killed all of her friends, including Ann who she finds in the tub. Dr. Faraday has no answers, so she kills him with a fireplace poker.

Whew! What happens next? Well, Ginny’s dad gets home and sees blood all over the place, as well as Amelia (Lisa Langlois, PhobiaThe Nest) outside in shock. Running to the cemetery, he sees his wife’s grave has been opened and Dr. Faraday’s body is in it. Then, entering the guest quarters, every one of the Top Ten members’ bodies are arranged around a table, celebrating a birthday.

Ginny arrives with a cake, singing to herself, when she slices her father’s throat. He never sees that his daughter is really there, the only living guest at the party. The second Ginny, the killer, screams about having done all of this for Ginny, but it turns out that she is Ann! The girls are half-sisters, sharing a father! What?!?

Ginny escapes and stabs Ann, just as the police arrive to ask, “What have you done?” The film fades to black — never letting us know if Ginny will be jailed or proven innocent. Then the film closes with a goofy — yet awesome — closing song by Stevie Wonder’s ex-wife Syreeta.

Columbia Pictures went full William Castle promoting this movie, suggesting theaters re-create the film’s closing scene in their lobby, inviting people to celebrate their birthday party while watching the movie, preventing anyone from entering the film during its last ten minutes and also conducting a scream contest for radio stations.

Happy Birthday to Me arrived in theaters at the height of the slasher boom, but it defies expectations. At times, it’s a giallo. At other times, it’s supernatural. And others, it’s a teen comedy. It’s also crazy that such a directorial talent made it — albeit one who was rumored to spray blood all over the set to make the film even gorier — and Glenn Ford are in a slasher!

BLUE UNDERGROUND 4K BLU RAY RELEASE: The House by the Cemetery (1981)

EDITOR’S NOTE: I love this movie so much that it’s been on the site at least three times. Well, thanks to Blue Underground, it’s four thanks to their new blu ray re-release. Beyond the best that this movie has ever looked — and will probably ever look, until they figure out how to beam it directly into your skull — you get an entire disc full of extras, such as new audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films, deleted scenes, trailers and extras like: 

Meet the Boyles – Interviews with Stars Catriona MacColl and Paolo Malco

Children of the Night – Interviews with Stars Giovanni Frezza and Silvia Collatina

Tales of Laura Gittleson – Interview with Star Dagmar Lassander

My Time With Terror – Interview with Star Carlo De Mejo

A Haunted House Story – Interviews with Co-Writers Dardano Sacchetti and Elisa Briganti

To Build a Better Death Trap – Interviews with Cinematographer Sergio Salvati, Special Make-Up Effects Artist Maurizio Trani, Special Effects Artist Gino De Rossi, and Actor Giovanni De Nava

House Quake – Interview with Co-Writer Giorgio Mariuzzo

Catriona MacColl Q&A

Calling Dr. Freudstein – Interview with Stephen Thrower, Author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci

There are also trailers, a TV spot, posters and image galleries. 

You can get this Blue Underground release from MVD.

Here’s the first time I wrote about this movie on February 26, 2018.

The House by the Cemetery is one of my favorite films ever. I cannot defend its lack of story, the fact that it’s influences are pinned to its sleeve or that it makes little to no sense. The first time I watched it — at a drive-in marathon that also included Zombi 2 — was an experience that burned the film into my brain.

The beginning will grab you in seconds, as a woman searches for her boyfriend in an abandoned house. She finds him dead, stabbed with scissors. Just then, she’s stabbed in the back of the head and the blade of the knife comes out of her mouth! We see her dragged away as the movie begins.

Meanwhile in New York City, Bob Boyle (Giovanni Frezza, Warriors of the WastelandManhattan BabyDemons) and his folks, Norman (Paolo Malco, The New York Ripper, Escape from the Bronx) and Lucy (Katherine MacColl, City of the Living Dead, The Beyond) are moving to the abandoned house we saw in the beginning of the film. Sure, Norman’s friend Dr. Peterson killed his mistress and committed suicide there, but why would that be a problem?

In one of the eeriest scenes in the film, Bob looks at a photo of the house and notices a young girl moving from room to room. This is the most subtle of all frights, a small moment where reality is not as it should be, and far more potent than even the goriest of grue that Fulci will soon serve up with glee. Only Bob can see this vision, which warns him to stay away.

As his parents get the keys to the house, Bob sees the girl again. Inside the rental office, Mrs. Gittleson (Dagmar Lassander, Hatchet for the Honeymoon) is upset that the couple has the Freudstein keys to Oak Mansion, but she promises to find a babysitter from Bob.

The mansion is a mess. Yet when the babysitter (Ania Pieroni, Inferno) comes, she enters the previously locked and nailed-shut cellar door. Strangeness follows, like a librarian recognizing Norman despite never meeting him, the discovery of a tomb inside the house and a bat attack.

The Boyles demand a new house as Norman goes to the hospital. Mrs. Gittleson comes to tell them that she’s found a new property, but the Freudstein tombstone in the ground holds her while a figure stabs her in the neck. The next morning, Ann the babysitter cleans up the blood and avoids questions.

While the Boyles are at the hospital to treat Norman’s injuries from the bat, Mrs. Gittleson arrives at the house to tell them of a new property. Letting herself in, she stands over the Freudstein tombstone, which cracks apart, pinning her ankle. A figure emerges, stabs her in the neck with a fireplace poker, and drags her into the cellar.

The next morning, Lucy finds Ann cleaning a bloodstain on the kitchen floor while eluding Lucy’s questions about the stain. As they drink their morning coffee, Norman tells Lucy that the house was once home to Dr. Fruedstein, who conducted horrific experiments in the basement. He decides to go to New York City to learn more and on the way, he finds out that Freudstein killed his old friend Peterson’s family.

Ann can’t find Bob, so she goes to the basement where Freudstein slashes her throat and decapitates her. Bob finds her head and screams, but his mother refuses to believe the story. Bob goes back to the cellar but gets locked in. His mother tries to open the door, which can’t be unlocked. Norman returns and they make their way down to see Freudstein’s hands holding Bob. One axe slash later and the hand is cut off as the monster goes away to recover.

Inside the basement, Norman and Lucy find mutilated bodies, surgical equipment and a slab. Turns out that Freudstein is 150 years old and has learned to escape death. He returns and attacks Norman, who returns the favor by stabbing him. The twisted doctor replies by ripping out Norman’s throat. Lucy and Bon try to escape, but Freudstein drags her down to the basement where he rams her head into the floor until she dies.

Finally, the doctor grabs Bob, who is rescued by Mar and her mother, Mary Freudenstein. Mary tells them that it’s time to leave as she leads Mae and Bob down to a world of gloom and ghosts. The film ends with this quote:

House by the Cemetery is a mash-up of FrankensteinThe Amityville Horror and The Shining. And it’s another in the series of classics that Dardano Sacchetti (working with Giorgio Mariuzzo here) wrote for Fulci. If you think it’s nonsensical, imagine how early American audiences felt when the original VHS copies released in the U.S. had several of the reels out of order!

Seriously, this movie makes no sense whatsoever. There aren’t plot holes because there’s not even a plot. And sure, some say there’s too much gore. Yes, I’ve heard these complaints and I say no to all of them! Look, you’re either going to become an evangelist for this film (if you meet me in person, there’s a good chance I’ll have on a t-shirt with this film’s logo, I wear the shirt all the time) and you’ll think it’s the biggest piece of garbage ever made.

Here’s the second time I watched this on January 19, 2020.

Have I ever told you how much I love Lucio Fulci?

Oh, I have? Like, thousands of times?

Like when I talked about this movie a few years ago?

And when I talked about Don’t Torture a Duckling?

Or when I talked about his deeper cuts, like ConquestMurder Rock and The Devil’s HoneyAenigmaContraband and Perversion Story?

Yeah, I love me some Fulci.

So this review isn’t going to be objective.

You have no idea how happy I am to own the 4K version of Fulci’s classic Quella Villa Accanto al Cimitero. Blue Underground has been releasing some astounding versions of Fulci’s masterworks this year, such as Zombie and The New York Ripper. Now, they’re giving the same high quality treatment to Dr. Freudstein and, of course, little Bob.

Norman and Lucy Boyle (Paolo Malco, Thunder and Catriona MacColl, who is also in Fulci’s City of the Living Dead and The Beyond) have just left New York City behind to live in the country, which Norman will work on the same research that his friend Dr. Peterson was undertaking — you know, before he went nuts and killed his mistress and himself.

Why should Norman tell his family that they’re moving into such a frightening house? He can just scream at his wife and demand that she start taking her pills again when he isn’t exchanging sex eyes with Ann the babysitter (Ania Pieroni, Mater Lachrymarum!).

70’s scream queen Dagmar Lassender (The Iguana with the Tongue of FireHatchet for the Honeymoon) shows up as a real estate agent, Fulci himself appears as a professor and Giovanni Frezza owns the film as the female-voice child Bob Boyle. You’re either going to hate Bob or love him. I belong to the latter camp. Frezza also shows up in Warriors of the WastelandDemons and Manhattan Baby.

Hey Blue Underground — I’m the only one asking for it, but where’s the 4K Manhattan Baby?!?

I adore this movie because it’s really all over the place. It’s kind of, sort of The Amityville Horror by way of The Shining while also being a zombie picture and at other times, becoming a slasher. Dr. Freudstein is a mess, falling apart, losing his hand and killing everyone Bob loves for reasons that are left up to you — the viewer — to define.

It also ends up a great quote — “No one will ever know whether the children are monsters or the monsters are children” — that is attributed to Henry James but really came from Fulci. I have no idea how it ties to this movie at all and I’ve watched this film potentially hundreds of times.

I’ll be honest — I first discovered this movie at an all-night drive-in series of zombie films. I wondered why it was part of the show and thought that it surely would suffer compared to the other movies shown that evening. I was completely wrong.

Xie ying wu (1981)

The bloody parrot of this film’s title is a legen of a bird that was born on the devil king’s birthday when all of the lesser demons gave him their blood, creatin a bird that grants three wishes to whomever discovers it. Those wishes, however, have a tendence to go poorly. One exampe is Guo Fan, a government worker who has lost a treasure and begs the bird for their return. The prize does come back at the cost of his son’s life. He then monkey’s paw wishes for the son back, so his wife kills him and commits suicide.

The treasure disappears again and that’s when fighters from around the world learn that if they find the parrot, they will become rich. Swordsman Yeh Ting Feng (Pai Piao) an constable Tieh Han (Tony Liu) start hunting for the truth, which ends up with Tieh killled and Yeh carrying his coffin like some Shaw Brothers Django. There’s also a Parrot Brothel where Pei-yu (Jenny Liang) works. There’s a whole hall of mirrors for her to show off her curves in.

If you liked the gross-out side of Shaw Brothers — HexBlack MagicHuman Lanterns — then this is what you’re looking for. It also has plenty of sleaze and Wuxia moments to make one strange cocktail. Director Hua Shan has so many cards to deal you, from nudity to martial arts battles, sword fights, maggot eating, autopsies and demonic possesion to just name a few. Who are we to deny the man who made Infra-Man?

I mean, this is a movie where a woman sews a man’s face onto a Frisbee and uses it as a weapon.

If that doesn’t make you watch this, is there any hope?

As a warning, this movie makes no sense whatsoever and I’m not advising you to engage in mind altering substances — you may not even need them — but if you can’t get high and watch a movie that combines Bava colors with kung fu and obscene levels of puking, then what are you living for?

Deadly Blessing (1981)

Alright, I’ll admit it, while I don’t like Wes Craven, I liked this movie.

The Hittites are a religious community who “make the Amish look like swingers,” and even when people like Jim Schmidt escape it, they keep getting pulled back in. His wife Martha (Maren Jensen) is pregnant and he soon needs help from midwife Louisa Stohler (Lois Nettleton) and her daughter Faith (Lisa Hartman) but is killed by tractor before that can happen.

Also, William Gluntz (Michael Berryman) keeps calling Faith an incubus.

Martha’s friends Lana Marcus (Sharon Stone) and Vicky Anderson (Susan Buckner) come to comfort her when they should be trying to get her out of this crazy place. William gets stabbed and killed, Martha gets called an incubus by other Hittites, her husband’s brother John (Jeff East) ends up getting smitten with Vicky, Jim’s body gets dug up, blood gets in the milk and Martha has a dream where people put a spider into her mouth. Yeah — it’s a wild one.

I wish I’d not been spoiled by the end of this movie and I will not spoil it for you. It’s so incredible that even if I hadn’t liked what I watched — and how did I forget to mention Ernest Borgnine being in another religious horror movie after he supposedly never would be after The Devil’s Rain! — I would have to like the whole thing just because the ending is so perfectly unexpected. I mean, who the killer is…that’s wild. The ending after that? Producer imposed upon magic.

Also — Craven ripped himself off later with that snake in the bathtub scene.

You can watch this on Tubi.