Thursday, February 02, 2006

Evil Altar (1989) with Robert Z'Dar

I'd like to write a movie review this morning before I clean up all my bunny's dirty newspapers and stray turds, something that pisses him off because I guess he feels he put those turds there for a reason. I can only pray that he will drift off when I'm writing, and then if I'm stealth enough I can sweep up with waking him.

Evil Altar is an awful movie where I could not determine who in the cast was a teenager, a kid, a grown-up, a brother, a sister, a boyfriend, a step-mom, or a whatever. There are a bunch of important relationships making up the dynamic, but I just couldn't, or couldn't be bothered, to sort them out. From the start, with a coed baseball game, where I could not figure out weather it was little league or grown-ups playing. Then the father takes what seems to be his little boy hunting, but later after the baseball cap is removed, I see that this character is the female lead. If you think that this movie might be trying to challenge my preconceived assumptions about gender roles, it's not, it's just damn confusing. While trying shoot a woodland creature, the girl blows away a vagrant by mistake -not as funny as it sounds, who we already know to be the hired goon for the towns satanic priest. In fact the man is carrying a young black child in a sack at the time, but the father and daughter don't bother to rescue him, and once the town cop is on the scene, it's too late, for he too is in league with satan. The officer is played by Robert Z'Dar, Cordell in the Maniac Cop series.

If you are intrigued, don't be. It might seem like fun to watch a bad movie that borrows heavily from Nightmare on Elm Street and Phantasm instead of the usually plundered material from Halloween and Friday the 13th, but this is none the less a real bore. I'll share with you the two most amusing scenes. In one, the female target is watching TV and sees the news reporter get her throat slit by Freddy... I mean, the villain. We don't see the blood fly out of the television, but sure enough her shirts is splattered with the stuff. When her father runs to find why she is screaming, he does not believe her, insisting that the blood is "just pizza sauce" from dinner.

In the most amusing scene, a baseball flies in threw our heroines window and floats about, smashing up her room, and bouncing off of her somewhat gingerly as she screams in mortal terror. This scene is good for a laugh, but most of the movie will not entertain. For the most part we get bad dialogue and lots of tough talk from the movies male characters who all despise each other. The adults in this movie have mostly made deals with the devil, in a sense setting up their children to be punished for the sins of their fathers, giving this movie an unspoken Nightmare on Elm Street vibe where the disbelieving parents are responsible for creating Krueger through their past secret actions.

Are you familiar with the false horror stereotype, pushed by false horror fans and horror movie spoofs, that states that a black character is always killed first in horror film? I can't think of a movie where that actually happens (and you know I watch many genre pictures -tell me if you can name a single example), but Evil Altar was almost the one! Of course it turns out that the black child is still alive so once again the stereotype does not completely ring true. The child's father, a lawyer from the city who spends most of the movie trying to find his abducted boy, is by a mile the most sympathetic character, but still, even when he finally has to shoot his own possessed son at point blank range with a shotgun, Evil Altar fails to move the viewer. That scene worked a whole lot better in The Beast Within.

1 Comments:

Blogger John said...

Hah.Oh no,not another character trying to be freddy. I saw enough of that in 976-Evil 2.

2:58 PM  

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