Thursday, December 10, 2009


(Don Dohler, 1980)
The deficiencies are prominent and should by all rights be terminal - Dohler has real trouble with basic framing and composition, the pacing is nonexistent, and the Baltimore-school actors are mostly wooden, if endearing. The special effects are limited to stage blood and a cheapo optical involving glowing hands. But one way or another the deficiencies match the quirky specifics. This is a movie where Evil rises from the dead, moves to the suburbs, and opens a music school! So why should it provide a thrill a minute? The slack tempo and workaday details end up enhancing the movie's portrayal of early-80s suburbia as a scrub-encircled cul de sac, a perfect setting for the bizarrely genteel hulk Don Liefert to drain people's souls. While he may be a murderous demon, the film also gets digs in at the conformist impulse behind the neighbor dad's clumsy sleuthing, and ultimately the banality and improbable mildness of the whole film give it a unique kind of charm.

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