It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of slasher films, and here I've tried to compile a list of…
Pray You're Not Blessed!
A former Hittite (a member of an Amish-like sect) dies in a mysterious tractor "accident", and his widow is left to face the frightening Hittites who view her as "the incubus" and may have sinister designs on her.
"You find (that shoe). And remember the wages of sin!"
Such a great movie. From a young, eager Wes Craven (before Elm Street), a young, eager Sharon Stone (before Basic Instinct), it's got everything you could want; people hating on the band Incubus (or something to that effect), crazy Hittities that "make the Amish look like swingers", spiders and snakes, an absolutely batshit crazy Ernest Borgnine, and Michael Berryman running around like a loon.
Seriously though, it's really good. Just a classic pitch perfect horror film, set in the mysterious countryside full of religious zealots. What could possibly be scarier? I love that Wes always casts women, and they play a crucial role in this one as well. Other than…
"Deadly Blessing" proves that, even before "A Nightmare on Elm Street," Wes Craven was not interested in making typical slasher films. Though "Deadly Blessing" borrows tropes from the slasher subgenre, Craven deftly mixes them into an original story that earns it thrills from more than just a villain with a knife.
The story follows the tension between the pious Hitites and a woman who was married to man who left the sect. Bad things then begin to happen to both sides. The narrrative progresses from straightforward to twisty and is appealingly compelling. There is enough mid-western American atmosphere to flavor things, and the film is measured in its pacing. Interestingly, some dream imagery and a recognizable bathtub sequence show Craven building the foundation for Elm Street.
"Deadly Blessing" is far from perfect: a hammy Ernest Borgnine and some questionable effects shots mar the film to some degree. It is, however, an effective, sometimes unsettling horror film.
The October Ordeal 2012 day #14a: Deadly Blessing
Wes Craven, despite being four decades into his career, is still without anything resembling a definable style. Deadly Blessing signals his career second-act entrance into mainstream cinema, it being mostly bloodless and aesthetically close to a soapy TV-movie. Deadly Blessing exploits both the rural panic of Deliverance and the religious horror of The Exorcist, within the framework of a slasher. Its reference points seem dated by 1981, a few years out of the decade of Avon Gothics and movies-of-the-week like Dark Secret of Harvest Home and Crowhaven Farm.
Like Dark Secret, Deadly Blessing suggests supernatural evil through domestic surrealism and close-knit religious community, here represented by the "Hittites", a kind of Mennonite…
Atmospheric but completely mad Wes Craven chiller from the early 1980s. It makes little sense and plods along for most of the time but there are some creepy moments and Ernest Borgnine steals every scene he's in.
"You are a stench in the nostrils of God!" A murder mystery set in a rural area populated mostly by a Hittite community, whose patriarch Isaiah (Ernest Borgnine) warns anyone who will listen to watch out for the "Incubus." It's a unique premise that suffers from sluggish pacing, but it's a pretty good vehicle for director Wes Craven's preoccupations (religious/conservative panic, communities out of sync with civilization, dream imagery) and features several effectively creepy sequences, including one involving a snake that (as my friend Jason Alley pointed out) serves as a dry run for an iconic scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street. And the out-of-left-field ending is definitely memorable. Also, Borgnine's beard.
Early '80s curiosity from Wes Craven about a rural religious cult, long out of print, is currently available on Netflix streaming. Utterly ridiculous but pretty entertaining, with an awesomely stupid ending (or is that stupidly awesome?)
A mess of a plot, poorly edited but with some standout hammy performances. Deadly Blessing dares to be interesting but buckles under the weight of clunky dialogue and bizarre premise. Certain characters aren't fleshed out enough, while a love triangle sub-plot muddies the focus.
A far-too-long rural horror that can't quite decide whether it's a basic slasher or has something deeper to say about the religious ethics it depicts.
Strange goings on - Michael Berryman, Sharon Stone and Ernest Borgnine trying to avoid an Amish serial killer. Brilliant.
A slightly bizarre and choppy chiller from Wes Craven before he transformed the horror genre with A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. Granted, Deadly Blessing isn't a slasher film but it does borrow from the mechanisms of that sub-genre, sometimes successfully, sometimes not-so-well.
The set-up is undoubtedly intriguing and Craven builds the atmospherics to solid effect but it's let down by inconsistent pacing, nonsensical plotting, and a rather dull leading lady (Maren Jensen). Still, it has cult status written all over it, boasts a bit of originality, and features a pre-Basic Instinct Sharon Stone. Forgettable but worth watching to satisfy your curiosity.
A rather unfocused, tepid affair from Wes Craven, attempting to tap into a certain fear or suspicion of the unknown. In this case the practises of a Hittite community (blatantly a PC substitute for the Amish).
There's too much going on for a simple horror flick. The three main girls are all dealing with separate personal dramas that either have nothing at all to do with the main plot, or lead to dead ends. There's a lot of stuff thrown into the mix that muddles and dilutes the thrust of the story, stretching out an already water-treading middle act.
Try as it might, the film never manages to present the locals as any kind of legitimate threat. They're strict on…
well that wasn't very good on any level was it? there's a great amish horror film to be made but this is about as far as you can get from good film making. if wes craven hasn't disowned this, he bloody well should... gets two stars because it's fun to watch when drunk with friends...
Muddled lesser Craven tries to do too many things. We get Amish-like "Hittites" (they named themselves after pagans? Bad move Christian cult) who Craven works to make sinister by having Ernest Borgnine be their leader. We get mysterious murders being committed by a figure in black...almost reminds me of the Scream outfit aside from the mask and fringe. We get Sharon Stone having visions of spiders that may or not be related to the INCUBUS that the Hittites are ranting about. The eventual resolution is refreshingly not supernatural and kind of whackadoodle, with the sisters doing it for themselves and taking down the killer but then we get what I read was a studio mandated (though I can't find any…
"Beware... the incubus!"
This one keeps you guessing with every death, every dream, and every moment of lust. The incubus isn't real, right? Who's the killer? Right up until the end, we think we know — and then the movie goes straight for a particular horror movie ending trope of which I'm particularly fond. It's the kind of thing that makes me want to watch the movie a second time. I'm a little surprised that this isn't a very kindly regarded Wes Craven film!
Dated & lacking in any atmosphere, shocks or tension, this is disappointing from Wes Craven.
- Black Christmas
- The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
- The Burning
- Whistle and I'll Come to You
- The Woman in Black
- The House of the Laughing Windows
- Who Can Kill a Child?
We're about half way through the Underrated Series and have finally reached one of the big genres. I'm expecting lots…
- The Beyond
- The Deadly Spawn
- Night of Death
A lot of people have made a "Top 100 Horror Films" list but that's physically impossible for me. If you…