Monday, October 04, 2004

The Unholy (1988)

So I got this tape in a lot (that means a quantity of items rather than just one) of 30 on ebay. It was not the main reason I bought this collection, but it was a plus. Included were a couple killer tapes, a bunch of slightly-above average tapes (this one), and several crap tapes, but at $24 including shipping, I said "what the hell". I'd seen The Unholy on video store shelves before, but always passed it up. I was newer to horror and there were many classics to see before renting what looked like a mediocre Excorcist clone. Well the classics are all behind me now and it will be all obscure films from now on. The time to watch The Unholy had come.

It's not like The Excorcist or The Omen at all. The first thing I noted about the movie from my pre-watching internet research was that it was written by Philip Yordan. I had just seen his masterpiece, Night Train to Terror, a collection of three of his full leagnth films, shortened and narrated, turned into shorts, and pieced together with a wrap-around story of God and Satan on a train. It's all the gore and horror of three films packed into one! Sensory overload! I have, in my collection, a tape of the final film that makes up the last segment of Night Train to Terror. My tape is titled as "Shiver", though it has a completely different title. I'd tried to sit through it twice, but never got past the first twenty minutes. In condensed mode it's totaly sick though! Anyway. this here is not a review of Night Train to Terror, I watched that a few weeks ago before I had this blog, so I'll stop the paragraph here.

The Unholy has the feel of those three 80's horror flicks he wrote that will be for ever be known as segments in the earlier mentioned Night Train to Terror. Yordan is the writer, not the director, but the films do share other cast and crew members in common as well as a basic horror philosophy. Each of his movies features evil-doers killed off by a more supreme evil force and while that is not uncommon to horror, it's more than evident here. There is no claymation in The Unlholy, but there are other crazy eighties effects and miniatures. Rubber-suited mini demons will remind many of Ghoulies and the the big demon, well, he consists of a very big rubber suit. Someone pukes out their guts and their eyes bleed, like in a certain horror classic we all love. The film lags a bit in the middle, but the last half hour is nothing, but the goodies I just described. Beware of a blue and red light beams showing through the fog. It's common in eighties horror movies such as this one along with the synth and saxophone soundtrack. Can you predict the end? Yes, and it's very satisfying.

Interesting fact about Philip Yordan from the IMDB

"Although also a prolific writer himself, he served as a front for friends and other writers who had been blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Living in Paris during the blacklist days, his basement was often filled with blacklisted writers working in cubicles, churning out screenplays."

Here is a great article about Philip Yordan and his horror films


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