Tom Selleck vs. the Daughters of Satan!

A friend of mine asked me to find this movie. His wife is Filipino, and because this was filmed in the Philippines and stars Tom Selleck- who he has a man crush on- he wanted to see it. Let me tell you, James, this is no Jesse Stone movie. It’s pretty bad, but in a good, witch-sploitation way. They get the titillation out of the way in shot one, frame one, as we see a Filipino witch suspended topless over bamboo stakes by her evil coven, who demand she renew her vows with El Diablo. She is whipped by a witch with crazy eyes, who we later learn is named Kitty Duarte, and finally gives in… we see a rogue’s gallery of obvious baddies, including a guy with a witch’s peak doing down to the bridge of his nose, and a skeletal cackling fellow… we’ll see them all again.

We immediately cut to Tom Selleck, resplendent in a perfectly trimmed porn ‘stache, as he goes into a creepy little antique shop run by Mr. Widow’s Peak, who is selling a clueless tourist a witch’s knife. It’s a huge dagger with a serpentine handle, and the tourist is buying it “for luck.” I’m a knife nut and even I don’t have a Lucky Sacrificial Dagger… maybe I should get one? If I go to the Philippines, I’ll look for one. Maybe I’ll be attacked by titwitches. That would be awesome, except for the sacrificing me to the devil part. At the shop, Selleck sees a painting of witches being burned at the stake, where the lead witch is a dead ringer for his wife. Horror movie rule #43: Never buy a painting of a dead person that resembles you or your loved ones. It is haunted, you dumbass.

Even Tom’s hairy chest cannot protect him from what is to come. He looks like he rolled around on a barber shop floor, doesn’t he? (Thanks to Milky for that one.) His wife is played by Barra Grant, a hottie best known for being Miss America Bess Myerson’s daughter, and starring in the Bill Cosby flick MOTHER, JUGS & SPEED before giving up on film. She is immediately freaked out by the painting, and who wouldn’t be? There are two witches, a black dog, and a mustached Spaniard in conquistador gear in the painting, who looks like Selleck, of course. Even though she’s playing the Typical 70’s Housewife, who jumps on chairs when mice attack, and still faints at the sound of a dog fart, it’s pretty creepy for your husband to come home and say “Hey, I bought this painting of a woman being burned alive because SHE LOOKS LIKE YOU!”

Lies. He never fights Satan.

I mean, if Firecracker came home with a photo of a guy being hanged who looked like me, I’d hide all the damn rope. And her instincts are correct. Not long after the painting comes home, than weird things start happening. A black Rottweiler appears in the yard, and he loves Barra but snarls at Selleck. We see the dog run off, and fade into the grass. Wouldn’t you know it, the dog in the painting has faded away? Hmm, wonder what that means. Soon, one of the women in the background fades, just as their new housekeeper shows up for work. And guess who she looks like? Cue the theremin! Creepy shit be afoot!! Really, I hope the horror movie association gave Dr. Theremin some posthumous award for all he’s done for these films. The soundtrack here is relentless, and it does help, because it’s all rather silly.

Soon Barra falls under her housekeeper’s spell, and investigators are brought in, and die suspicious deaths! Tom gets knocked out, put in his Triumph roadster on the edge of a cliff, with blocks of ice chocking the tires.  Will he survive? This is a rare case of a film giving away plot twists with its lobby cards, as you can see below. Wifey gets witchy, and shows off her jugs at the one hour mark as she too is suspended over the bamboo spikes, forced to say the devil’s prayer. It’s all rather predictable and over the top, and can be a lot of fun if you know what you’re getting into. I was surprised that Turner Classic Movies showed it uncut, because the topless scenes aren’t quick shots. This is pure ’70s exploitation. I liked the ending, but wish there were a lot more witchy goings on, and that Tom Selleck battled Satan, like the poster promises.

I love a good ’70s occult flick, and this one delivers. I also love cheesy films from the Philippines, like the Weng Weng James Bond spoofs. So this is a win-win for cheesy horror, perfect for this witchy time of year. If you can track it down, it’s worth seeing, if only to see early Tom Selleck battle a coven of sexy witches.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

the four horsemen race with the devil…

Horsemen a derivative dark thriller reminiscent of Seven, The Cell and Japanese teen ennui and rebellion films such as Suicide Circle. Dennis Quaid plays a Detroit Homicide profiler so dedicated to his job that it veers toward child abuse; his son Alex, played by Lou Taylor Pucci, raises his younger brother and is used to Dad bailing out after a cell phone call and dropping a $20 for cab fare, whether they’re in church or about to go to a Red Wings game. We’re introduced to him when a hunter finds a banquet of freshly yanked human teeth on a silver platter in the middle of an iced over lake in the woods. A bizarre image for sure, but what does it mean?

The film is only 90 minutes long and is the worse for whatever cuts were made, because it seems like the murders occur so swiftly. The next victim is a housewife, a mother of three children, one adopted, who is found suspended by fish hooks in her bedroom. A custom rack holds her up, much like Vincent D’Onofrio’s insane killer in The Cell, and she was stabbed perfectly between the aorta and lungs so she’ll drown in her own blood over a period of hours. Looking back on this, the script by Doom penner David Callaham- CallaHAM!! When yer last name’s Pluck, you cherish these moments of schadenfreude– is pretty convoluted and contrived. The room the body is found in has the words “Come and See” painted on the walls, and this leads super-sleuth Quaid to the Biblical book of Revelations, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

I don’t think the movie will hook you.

Visually the film is intriguing and director Jonas Åkerlund, who’d previous done Spun, manages to keep us watching even as the plot holes widen into chasms. The performances are mostly quite good- Quaid is against character and adopts a scowl that hints at the inner pain that would make him so driven as to leave his dying wife’s bedside for the job. As his son, Lou Taylor Pucci perfectly captures the “here we go again” attitude of the neglected child, as he raises his younger brother in the face of the invisible Dad. Zhang Ziyi, as the adopted daughter of the first victim, chews the scenery so thoroughly I was reminded of the cartoonish bad girl from The Crow (full review).

I’m sorry son. Grisly murders are just cooler than bein’ a Dad.

Horsemen has nice visuals and the interplay between Quaid and his son Pucci is interesting enough, but the story is one we’ve seen done better before, and has holes that the Ice Truckers could navigate through with their eyes sewn shut. At 90 minutes it seems like whole swaths of interconnections were cut for time or should have been written in the first place, and the ending is so preposterous that you’ll know that whoever wrote it not only watched The Cell, but never asked how D’Onofrio managed to hook himself in that bizarre suspension rig he used. It’s an unfortunate film for all the actors involved, who deserve better. (Note: Lou Taylor Pucci is my cousin, but as you can hopefully tell from this review, when he’s in a stinker like this or 50 Pills I won’t sugarcoat the review).

Rating: Stinky

Race with the Devil has Warren Oates and Peter Fonda as motorbikers on vacation in a big honkin’ RV, chased by Satanists after they see them sacrifice a nude girl in an arcane desert ritual? Sounds like a recipe for hot buttered awesome! and it is!
Directed by Jack Starrett- the incoherent master of Authentic Frontier Gibberish from Blazing Saddles, and the director of exploitation classics Cleopatra Jones and The Losers– the movie rides on the fearsome energy emitted by the incomparable Mr. Oates. He and Fonda are dirt bike racers who decide to take an RV trip to the Rockies for some skiing, with wives Lara Parker and Loretta “Hot Lips” Swit in tow. When they park the Winnebago in a remote stretch of wasteland and go to explore the lonely desert, they realize they are not alone. They witness what they first believe is a bunch of hippies cavorting naked around a bonfire, but soon realize it is something far more dark. A hooded man plunges a knife into a woman’s chest, and as the men stare blankly through the binoculars at what just happened, their wives saunter up and the Satanists notice. Oops.
They give chase, but after a harrowing run back to the mobile home they manage to hightail it out of there, with cultists banging on the windows as they careem through a gulch on the way back to the interstate. But their hell ride is far from over. They pull into the nearest town to notify the Sheriff, and he leads them back to the location with an eerie sense of ease. When they find blood, he says it could be an animal’s. So Peter Fonda sneaks some into a jar to be tested at a lab. But back in town, their wives feel like they are being watched, even when in public. The townsfolk seem to be giving them the evil eye. And it turns out to be true, for when they return to the RV, Loretta’s pooch has been killed and hanged from the door.
And worse, once they’re on the highway they find some new pets in the trailer, rattlesnakes! After nearly crashing and killing everyone, Warren Oates decides to fight back. Fonda is eclipsed by his fury, and plays the quiet husband who can barely believe what’s going on. They buy a 12 gauge at the general store, but the game is on, and the highway out of town is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. And about a billion Satanists in pickup trucks with molotov cocktails! The long chases in the RV as trucks full of cultists hop on and try to set it on fire definitely influenced The Road Warrior a few years later, and are pretty exciting. The film has a dark ending, but it comes so abruptly that you wonder if they ran out of money. After Rosemary’s Baby, the Devil winning seems a bit like a cop-out, but it’s a lot of fun while it lasts.

Rating: Worthy

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demonic duo: Faust and The Devil’s Rain

Movie Nights with Milky

My pal Milky and I have had a weekly tradition of renting random crap to watch over Chinese food, Lil Burgers, or sushi. Last week we happened to both receive Satanic flicks in our Netflix queues: he had Jan Svankmajer’s surrealist take on Faust and I rented The Devil’s Rain after Final Girl posted about it. It intrigued me. Shatner, a goat-faced Borgnine, John Travolta’s debut, Tom Skerritt in full mustachioed glory, and a tale of Devil Worship set in the barren West? Who could resist?

I’d totally rock out to a metal band called “Borgnine”

The Devil’s Rain is pretty awful. We meet the Preston family one dark and stormy night when Poppa comes home without no eyes! And then his face melts off in the rain. Momma (Ida Lupino of all people) and her idjit manchild servant run to get son Mark, who’s a sheriff round these parts, played by William Shatner in all his dramatic, shirtless glory. They tell him of his family’s peculiar destiny, to keep a Satanic book from the hands of devil worshipper Jonathan Corbis (Ernest Borgnine). The next day, when Mark goes to confront Corbis at the old abandoned church in the desert, they have a quiet stand-off where Borgnine exudes malevolence. How great the movie could have been, with these two giants butting heads.

Butt heads… get it?

But no. Mark returns to find Momma kidnapped and the idjit trussed upside down, and then he himself gets captured by Corbis’s devil cult and tortured, shritless of course, until he becomes one of the many eyeless minions. As Borgnine performs the creepy ritual, he becomes a goat-faced devil, and the effects are actually pretty good. But the story is a huge mess that put us to sleep. From here, we learn there are more Prestons, played by Tom Skeritt in his pre-Dallas from Alien days, and Joan Prather as a psychic girl in the mold of The Fury (full review). No offense, but at this point the movie is better than Ambien and we both dozed off. Once they track down Corbis, they get attacked by a young, eyeless John Travolta, and then join forces with Sheriff Eddie Albert to disrupt the final ceremony.

Shatner’s contract demanded a shirtless scene

We get a flashback to pilgrim days to see how the familial curse began, and learn that Corbis’s book contains the names of all the people who sold their souls to Satan, and without his rolodex he loses all his power. They don sacrificial robes and sneak in, and something that looks like the clock in Grand Central Station is declared to be “the Devil’s Rain,” but I never understood why. Does it matter? There’s also a hole in the desert floor full of explodium, since whatever falls in there explodes. Maybe it goes to Hell. The Sheriff throws the “Devil’s Rain” in there and it of course explodes, and frees everyone from Corbis’s curse. It also makes it rain, which makes all the eyeless minions’ faces melt off. And Corbis’s goat-face too. I’m guessing they wanted to call this movie The Devil’s Reign and misspelled it, and then had to put rain in it so people wouldn’t be confused.

Mista Kotta… I’m meltin’!

Directed by the man who brought us the Dr. Phibes movies, I expected better. It’s worth seeing to watch Shatner do his thing, and more importantly to see Ernest Borgnine play the Devil’s Left Hand. He’s always amazing, even when he’s reading a terrible script. Not only was Ernie the first guy to make an ugly momma’s boy gets the girl movie with the Oscar-winning Marty, he was perhaps the evilest-looking of The Wild Bunch, the cabbie from Escape from New York and most recently, the 92-year-old coot who authored an autobiography titled I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire, I Just Want to Keep My Nuts Warm. The man is something else. He said he got the title from a guy selling roasted chestnuts in New York. And he’s grumpy that in the U.S., the title got changed to avoid offending the Midwest. Gotta love this guy.

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Faust is the first Jan Svankmajer movie I’ve actually sat down to watch; I’d seen bits of Little Otik on Shotime Beyond, heard of his surrealistic take on Alice in Wonderland, and of his fantastic stop-motion animation work. I’ve always liked that form of animation and his style is rather unique. Darth Milk has always wanted to read Goethe’s Faust, but the mix of dramatic theater and epic poem is a bit daunting even for us snooty English majors, so he put this in his queue and brought it over. Say what you will about Svankmajer’s style, but the bizarre concoction of surrealism, stop-motion effects, full-size marionettes, and the play-within-a-movie structure certainly are gripping.
I like David Lynch like any good internet film nerd, and also Luis Buñuel and Peter Greenaway. So this wasn’t a shock to my sensibilities. I was unsure of exactly what Svankmajer was going for, but that’s part of the fun. As a story, it works in a circular fashion and as a dreamlike take on all the forms the Faust story has taken- opera, film, play, moral folktale. He has a morbid sense of humor and in one hilarious scene, the devil sends a demon disguised as Helen of Troy to seduce our Czech everyman who’s been forced to play Dr. Faustus. What’s the disguise? Well, he drills a hole in the life size marionette and pats on a little tuft of hair, and slaps a mask on him. The claymation effects for the summoning of Lucifer and how he appears are quite memorable too. It begins with a clay baby with a spell stuffed in its mouth; this disintegrates into three egglike blobs that roll around, merging into a horned and fanged face, or merely eyes and a mouth, depending on its whim. In the Englush version, all the voices are dubbed by one man- Andrew Sachs- who’s been in many small roles, including Gerard the Frenchman in Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part One.
If you’re in the mood for an odd one, this one gets Milky and I’s approval. Svankmajer’s Alice and Little Otik are queued for future movie nights.

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The Arnold Project #13: End of Days

The millennium. Y2k. SATAN. These all come to a head in Arnold’s supernatural cop thriller End of Days, where he plays a suicidal cop destined to save the world from the Antichrist. With a bad case of stubble and his tongue planted firmly in cheek, with Kevin Pollak as his partner and Gabriel Byrne as the Devil, Arnold faces his toughest opponent yet: Lucifer himself.

The beast will have a mark, of 696969…

A prophecy is foretold; a child is born with a mark. The Pope is told that a woman must be killed, to save the world; he says that our salvation is also prophesied, and we must depend upon the man destined to do so. That man is Jericho Cane, NYPD cop with problems. When we meet Jericho (Arnie, that is) he has a gun to his head in his dark and dreary apartment. Before he can pull the trigger, his partner Bobby Chicago (smart-ass Kevin Pollak) shows up. This scene recalls Lethal Weapon, an infinitely better cop movie. This one has its moments, and there are many, but it is so confused and lacking a central vision that you wish it was a bit shorter.

We meet another nameless man, played by Gabriel Byrne, who is innocently washing up in a restaurant when a fiery presence explodes from the manhole covers down the block. It invisibly seeks him out, looking a bit better but reminiscent of the Predator in camo mode, and possesses him in the shitter. Doesn’t Satan know the rules? No eye contact in the men’s room. But ol’ Nick don’t follow the rules. He even kisses someone’s hot wife and grabs her tit at the dinner table. And the restaurant conveniently explodes as he exits.

I know it’s New York, but exploding restaurants full of rich people tend to make the news. But the big news is when Arnie gets shot at protecting an investment banker… who turns out to be our friend from the restaurant. The cops chase him down in an exciting sequence where Arnold hangs from a wire from a helicopter to get at the sniper running across the rooftops. The gunman obviously has no concern for his life, shooting at Arnold when he’s hanging onto him. They follow him into the subways and he spouts frightening imprecations before Arnold shoots him. Then it is discovered that he has no tongue. So is Arnie just having drunken hallucinations?

Christine is haunted by hallucinations, too. Homeless people taunt her in subway cars, telling her straightforwardly, “He is coming to fuck you, Christine.” And cackle as they explode into a thousand metal shards. The movie has a huge CG budget, but it doesn’t know how to use it. For example, Satan meets one of his worshippers, Udo Kier, and decides to warm up his demonic member on them. He melds their bodies into one, for a badly animated menage a trois. It’s so bad that even a nice set of tits couldn’t distract me.

Byrne’s blase’ Devil

Jericho and Bobby follow clues found on the tongueless priest assassin’s body, which leads them to his decrepit lair full of cryptic symbols and religious prophesy. His church is led by Father Kovak (Rod Steiger, how far you have fallen) who Arnold tries to question. He even follows him into the church’s secret spooky basement where a nun writhes on a bed with bloody stigmata. Steiger says the equivalent of “nothing to see here!” and shoos Arnold away. You’d think cops would care about bloody nuns and exploding restaurants, but hey this is New York.

I don’t even have a one-liner worth mentioning.

Before Lucifer finds Christine, a group of Vatican assassins try to kill her before he can slip her the Satanic pork sword. Arnie and Pollak just happen to be walking by, and shoot their way through her apartment before a priest can administer her last rites and slit her throat. And that’s all in the first hour. Gabriel Byrne’s Satan is the best part of the film- once he realizes his minions are incompetent and goes after Christine himself, things really start moving. When Arnie and Pollak are protecting Christine in her apartment, he has a novel way of dealing with their police van and the squad car guarding the building. The king of Hell’s urine is quite flammable, and he takes a leak in the street, tosses a cigarette and blows them to smithereens.

Arnie gets her to the church of the bleeding nun and has a little talk with old Lucifer. He offers him back his wife and daughter- and shows us how they were killed, by the mob, because Jericho testified against them. He’s one of those guys who’ll always do te right thing, even when the Devil is stepping on his bloody hand as he hangs out a highrise window. Byrne makes a fine Satan; he’s not as loud as Pacino, but just as dramatic and hedonistic. The movie is steeped in Hollywood Catholic Magic, where Satan is all-powerful and God sort of sits up there eating Cheetos and playing WoW, because we have to solve all our all problems with our own faith. Satan tells him, “Let me tell you something about God. He is the biggest underachiever of all time. He just has a good publicist, that’s all. Something good happens, “It’s His will.” Something bad happens, “He moves in mysterious ways.”

Satan can also walk right into a church and kill a bunch of priests, but Jericho manages to escape with her. Here he gets one of his best lines- as one of the Vatican assassins tries to sacrifice Christine, he shoots the blade off the knife. And then shoots the priest in the hand. “I can do this all day!” There’s the famous Arnie levity. We have so little in this dark and dreary film, which recalls the New York City of the ’80s. By 1999, Times Square was almost Disneyland, but End of Days makes Y2k truly feel like the Devil had returned.

“Get behind me, Satan! Um… on the other hand…”

By the last half hour, it feels more like an Arnie movie; Satan has Christine but must have some special fuck-pad planned for her, since he doesn’t just deflower her in the back of a cab. Jericho gets crucified on the Brownstone of Woe, but Priest Steiger saves his bacon, and he heads to the police station to load up with a grenade launcher and to use the NYPD magic people GPS to figure out where Christine is. It’s in a Satanic underground sewer pipeline filled with a billion candles, which actually looks pretty cool. If the Devil weren’t into foreplay, the world would have ended. But instead, Arnie gets to blow up natural gas lines with a grenade launcher and set a bunch of Satanists on fire. But hardly enough.

Byrne starts looking like Arnie did as the Terminator, as he gets more and more chunks shot off him- there’s a fun sequence on a moving subway train where they separate the cars and fire grenades the Devil, who acts like a zombie instead of the Prince of Evil. The final battle is in a cathedral, where Jericho has a religious epiphany as he loads his MP5 and grenade launcher under the the crucifix. He asks for strength, but it’s tough to take seriously in a movie where the Devil’s Urine has blown up cop cars, and Arnie eats a blender full of pizza and Pepto Bismol for breakfast. To make things utterly ridiculous, we get to see Satan’s true form as a mushy brown bat demon with tentacles, as he bursts through the floor.

Lame choppa chase screengrab stolen from Evil on Two Legs (see bottom for links)

It makes you wonder why he didn’t just pop up and grab Christine, 2 hours ago, to save us the trouble. In case you never saw The Exorcist, the only way to kill a demon is to let it possess you, and then kill yourself. Jericho’s reward for the ultimate sacrifice is getting to see his wife and daughter as he dies. You’d think Jesus would stop playing Nintendo for a minute to give him a thumbs-up and a “good one, dude.”

The movie wants to be a mix of The Devil’s Advocate, Seven and a cop movie with Arnold and Kevin Pollak vs. a Satanic Cult- Cobra, perhaps? It doesn’t feel like an Arnie movie at all, and probably should have starred a smaller star. While it does have a few moments, sadly Arnold is not a part of many of them. It’s more Gabriel Byrne’s turn to shine as Satan, and Kevin Pollak’s cop sidekick is nearly as entertaining as he was in The Usual Suspects, which also uses the Baudelaire quote, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing man he didn’t exist.” It doesn’t have the same power here, and my favorite line is Pollak defending his treason: “You’d be amazed what you’ll agree to when you’re on fire!”

If I was da Devil, I’d fuck someone hotta. Just sayin’.

Part of The Arnold Schwarzenegger Project is to watch every movie he’s in, even if you know it’s bad. Like Batman and Robin, which I saw in a dollar theater and wanted $2 back, I know I hve to endure it again. End of Days is another one I dreaded; I saw it in theaters, and along with Eraser and The 6th Day, made me look forward to his career in politics. However, I really can’t do this movie justice. Having read Corey’s review over at Evil on Two Legs where he declares it The Worst Movie of All Time, I have to agree. For a huge star on a big high concept project, it seems like it was put together on bar napkins, and perhaps written in hooker’s lipstick on a coke mirror.

It jams so much together, can’t decide if it’s scary, funny, or both, and makes very little sense. Sort of like a hyperactive fat nerd trying to be cool at a convention, trying to distract you from his body odor. Directed by Peter Hyams, who’s never been known for great movies- he’s sort of a Walter Hill with no style- this is probably his biggest movie. I like some of his older films like Outland, Running Scared (the Gregory Hines/Billy Crystal one from ’86) , the serviceable 2010: The Year We Make Contact; but he also did Timecop, Sudden Death and A Sound of Thunder. Add End of Days to Hyam’s crap list.

Rating: BULLSHET!

All the entries in The Arnold Project

Evilspeak

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!

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