Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In short: Superstition (1982)

Terrible murders and mysterious deaths are happening in a boring house somewhere in the US. A dead witch who's supposedly trapped in a pond on the property is the guilty party, but only the mad caretaker and her mute son know the truth. Mum prefers to do the mad inconcrete warning bit, though, and the son feels it to be his duty to protect witchy-poo.

The utterly ineffectual police think the son is guilty of the deaths, but those guys couldn't even catch a cold.

Because the house is church property, the new parish priest decides to put an annoying alcoholic colleague, his two stupid and annoying daughters, his perfectly annoying wife and their transcendentally annoying little boy up in the house. After a renovation that costs further lives, that is. Nobody cares about the body count, so the family moves in, and dies, dies and dies. Other people get killed too. Between the killings, the young priest tries to find out what is wrong with the place (probably something he should have checked before he sent people there?) and is rewarded with some unhelpful flashbacks into the story of the dead witch. He learns that she's a dead witch out for revenge.

Could somebody please explain to me why this is a comparatively well-regarded example of early 80s US horror? Sure, I get that it's neat that Superstition is vaguely influenced by Italian horror, but the only thing its director James W. Roberson really seems to have learned from Italy's output is to put only the most punchable of characters into his film.

Well, okay, the story doesn't make much sense either, but where the lack of proper plotting in an Italian film is usually helpful in enhancing a film's uncanny or just plain strange mood, Superstition is just kinda boring and slow without much on screen that could keep one awake.

I just didn't find anything of interest in the film beside the killings. Those come fast and in large numbers, but are (after a promising and ridiculous beginning with a microwaved head that proceeds to explode and a defenestration of the gory kind) mostly much too plain and boring. If a film is only interested in the murders, then it needs to be creative with them. Superstition is as far from being creative as I am from being King of Luxemburg.

The film's complete lack of creativity and life is further reinforced by its terribly bland look. There's just nothing about Superstition that works.



Anarchivist said...

This is "a comparatively well-regarded example of early 80s US horror" -- and actually, that bar can be kind of low -- so I have long meant to watch it. Sometimes procrastination pays off!

houseinrlyeh said...

But perhaps you'll still love it? I don't want to talk you out of getting a more comprehensive picture of 80s horror than you already have.

Anarchivist said...

It's scary that you know me so well, considering we've never met.

houseinrlyeh said...

Informed guesses are a wonderful thing.