Thursday, August 27, 2009

In short: The Dark Power (1985)

John "Foureagles" Cody (Robert Bushyhead) has been guarding the place called Totem Hill for a long time. The Native American is convinced that the hill is the resting place of a group of evil Toltecs that somehow made their way far north into the US and that said evil Toltecs still like to rise and do what evil Toltecs do if not held bound by his rituals.

Too bad that the man dies before he can make his testament and give his hill to a group of "mystics" we'll never get to see. So instead, his son David (Tony Shaw) inherits the place and does the obvious, namely rent his father's old place out as a dorm for female college students.

Soon, a quartet of comedy zombie Toltecs rises and raises quite a stink. What a stroke of luck that the typical modern sorority girl knows how to treat a zombie and that Cody's old friend, the local forest ranger Girard (whipwielding hero of many a poverty row western Lash LaRue), still knows how to wield his magic whip. When he's not flirting with a reporter who could be his great granddaughter.

Oh my. The Dark Power is once again one of those films that would lead most sane people to questions like "What is this? Why am I watching this? Am I insane?". Fortunately, I have never been one with much of a hold on sanity, so I just look at a film like this and sigh wistfully.

So nothing except boring college student shenanigans happens for most of the film? There's more bad acting than in any soap opera you'd care to mention? Lash LaRue is by far the best actor? The jokes in this horror comedy aren't funny at all? Sexy Grandpa LaRue makes you uncomfortable? As does action hero smack talking Lash? I can take it!

I can even feel kind of amused by it, especially when out of the mire of nonsense that make up this thing suddenly enticing shapes arise (and I don't mean the badly done zombies, or the naked sorority girls) and try to form some sort of anti-racist message. Not that they succeed, but the effort really is endearing, as is the obvious love the film has for LaRue (even if some people might call it misguided).

To be honest, nothing about The Dark Power works as it's supposed to do, yet its constant efforts at being funny, or an ode to Lash, or just plain competent are as sweet as can be.


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