Sunday, October 13, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Satanic Saturday

Staying in all day. Let's have a Satanic Sunday!

Jaws of Satan (1981)
Druids, Witches, Cursed Priests, and Satan.  It sounds like a great mix. And a young Christiana Applegate and her real-life mother to boot!  Well... the movie is not great, but for 1981 it is not bad.

Satan comes to terrorize a small town in the form of a snake.  Not a giant snake, just a regular-sized snake. But I guess it does some strange things to the corpses and moves really fast, so that is something right?

Well, the Devil-as-a-Snake controls all the other snakes in the area so that is kinda fun.  This is more of a snake movie than a Satanic one.  Though I am not sure what is worse though, the snake or the casual misogyny and racism.  Well, this is the danger I knew I would run when I decided to go through every horror movie in the "Basic Era" (1977-1981).

The priest does have a nice "magical" battle with the Satan Snake, so that is cool.  Something I would have loved my cleric to have done back in the days of Basic D&D.

Monster Idea: Demonic Snakes.

Demonoid (1980)
A mine in Mexico uncovers a Satanic cult long buried. The soundtrack is pure 70s, but the movie stands up to be honest.  Again, if you don't mind the casual racism and sexism (are nurses supposed to show that much cleavage?). The movie is not great mind you, but the basic premise is solid.   The movie doesn't really pick up until about a third of the way in.  At no point, however, do the events depicted in the poster actually occur in the movie itself.

Though I expected a little more emotion from the protagonist.  She takes the death of her husband and then him getting up and walking from his grave in stride.

I could not help but think about how this would be a good set up for any sort of evil hand-like artifact focused adventure.  The hand gives up strange powers but at a cost.  Combine it with a bit of the Doctor Who serial "Hand of Fear" and the Hand of Vecna.

Monster/Plot Idea:  Demonic Hands.

Evilspeak (1981 or 1982)
An evil priest,  Father Estaban (an almost unrecognizable Richard Moll), is excommunicated by other priests in Middle Ages Spain.  Estaban shows how evil he is by cutting off the head of a perfectly nice Spanish girl.
We come to the modern age where we meet Stanley Coopersmith, an orphan in a military-like school played by B-Movie stalwart Clint Howard.  Coopersmith is picked on by everyone, the other kids, the teachers, even the priest.  While cleaning the chapel he finds Estaban's diary.  The diary, of course, is full of Satanic fun.  Coopersmith in true early 80s fashion types it all into a computer and it translates it automatically.  He begins to put more information into his schools' Apple 2e and soon he has the power.  Not sure if this is first mix of Satanic rites and computer technology but I am hard-pressed to name something that would have scared the Religious Right of the 1980s more.  I do love the Atari 2600 sound effects though.

This movie follows a cliched formula of the odd kid getting picked on and the kid turning to evil to get revenge.  We saw this to better effect in "Fade to Black" and the trope turned completely around in the Harry Potter books and movies.

The ending though is really fun with Coopersmith getting revenge on everyone by summoning up undead pigs from hell.  Interestingly enough, in the end, Coopersmith was admitted to the Sunnydale Asylum.   I have to admit this one was a lot of fun.

Monster Idea: Devil Swine

Lorna the Exorcist (1974)
Ok, this one is fairly notorious even by Jesús Franco's normal standards.  When I did my Franco October series a while back I had heard about it, but could not find a copy.  This year I did and saved it for tonight.  After all, if  Hall of the Nephilim can make Succubus Sundays a thing, I can contribute.
So right out of the gate.  "Lorna" is not an Exorcist. Nor are there any exorcists in this movie.  I can only assume that the English name was used to capitalize on the recent "The Exorcist" movie.  The original title in French is "Les possédées du diable" or roughly "Possessed by the Devil".  That's a better title really.
There is another bit to get over too.  There are two versions of this movie, an 81 minutes NR version and a 99 minute X rated one.  The X rated one features some rather graphic scenes featuring Lorna (Pamela Stanford) and Linda (a very young Lina Romay).

The plot is basically Rumplestilskin with demons.  Patrick Mariel is an out of his luck man who makes a deal with a woman named Lorna. She will make Patrick wealthy, but in 18 years he must give her his daughter.   He doesn't believe her but becomes wealthy all the same.  Nearly 18 years later his daughter Linda is a wild teen and Lorna has come back to make her claim on the girl.
Lorna can only really be described as a succubus (that would also explain the green eye makeup).  She seems to invade Linda's dreams where the two have some fairly graphic sex.  Likely these are the part of the edited out 18 mins.  There are also a few other scenes that are fairly notorious like the crabs' scene and one between Linda and her father Patrick.  The most notorious has to be the one where Lorna finally claims Linda as her own.

There are plenty of Franco hallmarks in this. Gratuitous nudity, jazzy soundtrack, casinos, weird almost psychedelic cinematography, and Franco himself making a cameo appearance.   He once talked about how much he loved seeing Lina Romay (aka the future Mrs. Franco) in all these scenes and how much she enjoyed them herself.  I will give her credit in this one. She actually is putting forward a good performance.  There is a marked difference in Linda before and after Lorna.  It also seems to me that Lorna turned Linda into a succubus herself.
There is also a bit with a madwoman, who I took to be a former lover of Lorna who still seems connected to her.
Franco is hit or miss, and mostly miss, to be honest, but this is one of the better ones I have watched.

Monster Idea: Succubus

Watched: 19
New: 14



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