Data incomplete… Human blood required. Thus spake the computer.
Computers and Satan. Two tastes that go great together! Evilspeak was one of my favorite horror movies as a young teen. It contained all the things a growing boy needed in the ’80s- computers, boobies, and Satan. This computerized Carrie stars Clint Howard as the nerdy Coopersmith, who is so tormented by his classmates at the military academy that when he finds spooky books in Latin in the chapel basement, he becomes obsessed with performing a black mass to summon the devil.
Yep, Satanism was everywhere back then. Kids caught it from the heavy metal or the Dungeons and the Dragons, and it made them spray-paint pentagrams under highway overpasses, and sometimes stick shotguns in their mouths. Evilspeak‘s story begins hundreds of years ago in Spain, where we see Father Esteban (Richard Moll, Bull from “Night Court”) being exiled from the church for heresy when they catch him performing a human sacrifice.
How he got to America, no one knows, but centuries later Stanley Coopersmith, the shittiest guy on the soccer team, finds his book in the cellar of the chapel he’s forced to clean. There’s a fantastic cut when he cuts the topless woman’s head off with a jewelled sword, and we see her head flying off into the ocean… and then, a soccer ball flies past Stanley. No one at school likes him, who they cleverly call “Cooperdick.” Even the soccer coach says he’s forced to play him, but if something “happens” to him, so he can’t play, then everything’s cool.
Poor Stanley. He’s a welfare case that the school has only accepted because they need the money, and the administrators remind him every chance they get. He has one friend- the token black kid named Kowalski- who stands up for him, but he spends most of his time in the cellar typing away on a biege Apple ][e, asking the computer to translate the Latin from Esteban’s book. I loved computers in the movies back then- they could do everything.
Finding a good Latin-English dictionary online is difficult even nowadays. But this one even knew how to perform a Satanic black mass! It tells him he needs blood, desecrated host, and corrupted holy water! I couldn’t even get my Atari 800XL to GOTO 10 half the time. We had Apple ][e’s at school, though, and you bet your ass I tried asking it how to perform a black mass after I saw this movie. It didn’t work. So I played Ring Quest instead.
The only other guy who treats Stanley with a scintilla of human compassion is the cook, played by wrestler Lenny “Luca Brasi” Montana. He has a bushel of puppies, and gives Stanley the runt of the litter, which he nurtures in the basement. When “Sarge,” the drunken bum who is for some reason given free range of the campus finds out that Coopersmith has taken over the chapel cellar as his little nerd-cave, he gets furious. He wants to twist the puppy’s head off. Luckily the Apple, possessed by Evil Father Esteban, helps his new acolyte by breaking his neck via some cheesy computer graphics:
Colonel Kincaid (Charles Tyner, the warmonger Uncle Victor from Harold & Maude), the school leader, loves to bring Coopersmith into his office just to torment him, while his sexy secretary Ms. Friedemeyer sits around and… looks sexy. She’s got the big glasses, short skirt and plunging neckline thing going on. Stanley has the book with him, and hides it in the trash can, where she finds it- and tries to pry off its pretty pentacle with her nail file. The evil spirit of Esteban must reside within, for the pigs that they raise on the Academy start going wild. Later, they get their vengeance on her in the bathtub.
By then the jocks have pushed Coopersmith too far. They’ve killed his puppy. They pull his pants down in front of pot-smoking girls right before the Colonel walks over, so he can expel him for moral turpitude. Now that Stanley has nothing left to live for, he decides to raid the chapel for the chalice, and one of the officers follows him down, to his doom. Now that Esteban’s Apple ][ has the final requirement of Human Blood, Coopersmith’s wishes are fulfilled- Esteban returns and possesses him, so he can wreak- and scream for– vengeance on his enemies.
Unlucky for the padre, the Reverend is giving a speech upstairs, and when he sees blood dripping from Jesus’s wounds on the crucifix, it ain’t no miracle. The nails fly out and spike him in the head! The altar explodes, and Coopersmith flies forth, holding Esteban’s sword and a haircut somewhere between Eraserhead and Clint Howard’s future role as “Rughead” from the evil car movie, The Wraith.
The pigs break out and storm through the complex, gnawing faces left and right. One of the bullies is McDorfus from Joy Sticks, and it’s funny to see him eaten by pigs. Satan loves irony. Who the pigs don’t get, Coopersmith beheads with his cool new sword. Satan triumphs! Yay, Satan!
Wait a minute! Satan can’t win, can he? Better tack on a lame-ass epitaph about how Stanley was admitted to a mental institution for catatonia, so kids won’t go sacrificing people. And one more after that, telling us that he will return!
Evilspeak is like no other movie of its kind- combining ’80s-era computer geekery with Satanic horror. Name another movie with a title card reading the ominous words starring Clint Howard. I’ve admired Clint since I saw him as Eaglebauer in Rock ‘n Rock High School, but nowadays he only seems to turn up as a bit part in his brother Opie’s movies. He’s quite the prolific character actor, and his nerds of the ’80s are unforgettable. Evilspeak is definitely classic ’80s trash, and worth your time if you’re in a nostalgic mood for silly horror, or want to remember when we thought our Apple ][e’s were magix boxes that could do anything, if we could only program it (and give it human blood).
Beers Required to Enjoy: 2
Could it be remade today? Fear.com, Pulse… sure why not?
Quotability Rating: zip
Cheese Factor: devilishly hot pepper jack
High Points: the Satanic Apple ][
Low Point: weird boobies
Gratuitous Boobies: the devil gave us boobies, but with a catch!