Let’s get some nostalgia.
Since 2019 has been a crapfest for movies, I decided to watch this old cult classic.
80s horror takes a unique viewer to fully appreciate, and I guess I just don’t have the sophistication necessary. I see the decade as a bit of mixed bag overall, and while we do have some good ones, we also end up with a lot of films that are more absurd than anything else. Horror truly embraces the spectacle in this period, and we end up with ridiculous horror/comedies that I’m not sure were meant to be comedic.
Like most horror movies of the period, this one takes place on Halloween where we follow some teens as they go to an exciting party where idiots are going to experiment with witchcraft. The film offers a decent helping of nostalgia, but complete with the horrid sleaze and cheese current 80s based horror chose to omit. It is funny to me that people want manufactured nostalgia when these films (complete with gender problems, homophobia, and often racial insensitivity) are widely available. In a way, this is a more authentic experience of the 80s as it was produced in that time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning any of this behavior, but it is odd how we are bowdlerizing such a recent cultural cornerstone.
Anyway, back to the damn movie. At about 19 minutes we have people actually pull up to the spooky mansion, which indicates the first 19 minutes are basically character fluff. We get the idea that most of the people in this film are degenerates or morons (or perfectly cast?) and it is had to find anyone to sympathize with. As almost the entire cast is destined to go through the demonic meat grinder, why waste time getting to the party?
The party also looks mind-numbingly miserable. There. I said it.
About 26 minutes in we get the mention of the séance, which obviously summons the demons, but also indicates that even the crew thought the party was lame. I also almost fell asleep and had to have a cigarette before continuing on.
The bummer is that we get some cool shots after the séance. The shattered mirror showing all of the characters is a nice touch. The creature effects are cool, and the chaotic vibe that overtakes the last hour of the film works well. If you can get through the first 30 minutes, it does pick up after. However, it still falters with needless dead space at a lot of moments. For every good five minutes expect ten dull ones.
The film borrows heavily from the much superior Evil Dead, but it still does well enough to be entertaining. This film lacks two important things that helped make Evil Dead the epitome of awesome 80s horror. First, good lighting. This film lacks a clear visual design and the harsh orange lighting for most of the film gives everything a blurry feel. Second, and perhaps more important, interesting characters. The characters here are interchangeable versions of idiotic horror tropes.
Some of the demonic stuff is cool, but the film resists going over the top with the madness for too long. Even when things finally get crazy, we end up with the demons just growling as the survivors run around an increasingly dark house.
I see why some folks really dig this one, but for me it is too much of a mixed bag of fun and crap to be worth it. I think there are better and similar films out there to watch over this one.