Saturday, March 24, 2012

Prime Evil (1988)

My stomach dropped a bit when I saw this one was directed by Roberta Findlay; an exploitation old hand who went from making porn with her husband to horror with her husband to losing her husband in a tragic helicopter accident and then back to making porn and horror on her own until her death, Findlay has maybe one decent film to my mind: Tenement, which isn't exactly that decent. Admittedly, though, I haven't seen her entire body of work, so maybe there's a Juliet of the Spirits in there somewhere.

This aint it. This one has to do with some monks in the 1400s who decided to play for the other team and started worshiping Satan with the pretty lame promise that, for each relative they sacrificed, he'd give them 13 years of immortality- maybe nobody explained to them that "immortality" is supposed to last more than 13 years- anyway, they're still around and serving the Church, which must be really behind in its records not to notice. The leader of the Satanic Priest pack is Father Seatan (hammed up like crazy by William Beckwith) the sort of Priest who seriously would arouse suspicion, even if he weren't 600 years old. In a surprising plot twist, however, he seduces women who are neither prepubescent or male- the Church might look at this as progress.

Luckily, a few Catholics are on to him and they send a nun to infiltrate the devil cult, which is really, really easy- she just has to burn her habit, smash a porcelain Jesus with a hammer, and voila! it's smooth Satanic sailing! Then the question is whether she'll get the cops to stop the sacrifice in time or get pulled out of the cult too early- nuns being inexperienced at pulling out. The cops are idiots, frankly, one of whom uses sophisticated insults like "fart breath" to show he's been on the streets too long. As we know from many a hip hop song, the cold, hard, dirty city can turn anyone into a poopy head.

There's also this girl Alexa, who is the descendant of the cult and being seduced by Father Seatan. Played by Christine Moore, she does a decent job, which isn't easy with dialogue like a scene in which she explains that she doesn't like sex because her father's buddies used to take pictures of her in fake-sex poses with a little boy. Ewwww! She's unfortunately got a friend who's horny all the time and who has the best line of the film: "Don't cha wanna get poked?!?"

There's also a hulking moron stalking around and kidnapping women, and Satan himself, who is naturally a rubber puppet that looks cool enough that one assumes it was the entire justification for making the movie. Is there a justification for watching the movie? Well, the direction is workmanlike, Beckwith is fantastic in a Shatner sort of way, and the whole movie is funnier than it's intended to be, so yes!

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