Witches! They are undervalued. Consider the pagoda of movie monsters, a bogus edifice I have hoisted for the purposes of this review. The upper echelons are reserved for your vampires and your zombies. Witches wouldn't occupy the bottom floor (that's probably where you would find the predatory, blood-starved unicorn from The Cabin in the Woods), but it's fair to say that they are not utilized with cosmic potency. We either get fine-feather family features or edgy entertainment pepped up with Pagan spices. Hey, I enjoy Hocus Pocus. And who doesn't want to bang the clover buds out of Fairuza Balk in The Craft? But when it comes to the black arts, I'll take Ugly Crones for $500, Alex.
1990's The Witches was a well-rounded genre film geared towards kiddies. It succeeded in the scares department, but again, it was geared towards kiddies. You can deride 1982's Superstition for being a bit mindless. You can even badger the cast, but you can't accuse it of dodging a restricted rating. Kiddies? This film kills those little shits. The first act walks and talks like a "haunted house" trek. A few nobodies are brutally dispatched in ghostly ways (my thesaurus is broken, Diego...help!). Eventually, our transgressor bares her broomstick, and the rest of Superstition plays out as a mean-spirited slasher. There are flashbacks to Salem-style witch trials. If I may be candid for a tick, they have more in common with The Exorcist than Lords of Salem.
This occult hayride is glutted with unearthly atmosphere. Gore is the cardinal selling point. I detected a tailgate full of creative death sequences, the body count approaching any Friday the 13th sequel in numbers. Think I'm fudging the statistics? Early on, we see a severed head explode in a microwave (because magic). That dash of insanity is compounded with a teenager rupturing into two whole pieces What's that saying about God closing a window and splitting a motherfucker in half? Maybe I have it all wrong. In any event, Superstition is a grim flick. I won't spoil the ending, but if I didn't know better, I would guess that the script was glued together by George R. R. Martin.
Director James Roberson makes interesting choices behind the camera. The evil hag's face is never revealed to the viewer. The budget does allow for nifty optical effects, including an overblown light show wherever the apparition appears. Flaws? Perils? Mousetraps? Every now and then, a "stalk" segment will wear out its welcome. In addition, none of the characters are realistic or readily likable. Superstition clocks in at a lean 85 minutes, and yet, it seems flatulent. Hand me a pair of scissors. I can prune it down to a muscular beast. Leaving the fat, you still have yourself a merry vat of chills. Rob Zombie would have a field day ruining this sick puppy.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:15 PM