(Frank Laloggia, US, 1981)
This 1981 horror entry was rereleased on video here in the UK a couple of years ago on the BMG label. The sleeve was dreadful and things didn't look to bode well when, bar the title, the only other text on the front was "Soundtrack includes The Sex Pistols, Talking Heads and The Boomtown Rats". As if that little trio of artists was going to clinch it for you were you in two minds when browsing the shelves in your local Blockbuster.
The back sleeve blurb went further still in this direction: "a stunning soundtrack... Patti Smith, The Ramones and The B-52s" Oh dear... this might help move a few copies in the States but in the UK you can probably count the number of Patti Smith fans who are into horror movies on one finger. Then, at the bottom, after the brief synopsis and the 'stunning' bands mentioned above, BMG got really desperate: "Assistant Editor on the film is Joel Coen, half of the Coen Brothers writing, directing and producing team, responsible for Fargo, Miller's Crossing, Blood Simple and many others". (I promise, I'm not making this up.) "That doesn't it" says the wavering prospective renter, "I must rent this film!". It is a shame that this modest chiller had to suffer such indignity - imagine how director Laloggia would feel if he saw that pitch for his film.
It deserves better than BMG gave it anyhow. For this is about equal parts The Omen and Phantasm and if you're gonna steal inspiration from other sources those are two pretty good choices. It's a good verses evil type thing with a shy teenager turning out to be the Devil incarnate who starts to cause some trouble in his small home town (well, it helps keep the budget in check). But before he can get to spread his evil ways all over the world, two archangels turn up to take him on. The outcome will not surprise anyone, not even the braindead. But getting there isn't as dire a journey as BMG's sleeve blurb would have you believe and there are some spooky images at times and some cool (if very cheap) psychedelic special effects at the end.
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