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John’s Horror Corner: Deadly Blessing (1981), a bonkers tale villifying Hittites and house spiders

October 28, 2012

Despite the clear implications of this movie poster, this is not about Sharon Stone’s cleavage or her mouth…or any soft core porn nonsense!

MY CALL:  This movie was made with a few things in mind.  Spiders are scary, slamming doors are scary, and snakes are scary.  Therefore, simply having all three in one movie equals super scary, right?  Nope.  Bad, bad and more bad; inadequate even for its time.  [D+]  WHAT TO WATCH INSTEAD:  Equally crazy but better done and more interesting for the era was The Sentinel (1977).  Even the misdirected and awful The Nesting (1981) was better than this.  DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND READ THIS REVIEW:  Despite the awfulness of this movie, you’ll find some [bold bracketed] statements tracking our understanding of “the incubus” throughout the storyline and you’ll get a critical list for oft-taken for granted facts of life at the end.  You’ll thank me, really.  Enjoy.

This poorly stated religious lesson takes place in a simple farm community.  Within minutes the man-child Hittite William (Michael Berryman; the bald guy from the original The Hills Have Eyes; Weird Science) is screaming “incubus” at some abstract landscape-painting non-Hittite farm girl.  Also among the normal people are Martha (Maren Jensen; the original Battlestar Galactica) and Jim (Jeff East; Pumpkinhead) ,a young, expecting amorous couple, one of whom may represent the alleged incubus.  [Do they mean “succubus?”]

One night after some tasteful lovemaking, ex-Hittite Jim investigates some strange noises in the barn and dies in a freak tractor accident—or was it an accident?  From afar, a group of Hittites congregate to oversee exiled-Hittite Jim’s burial and say “the evil one is among us.”  Curious?  There’s our mood-setter.  [Is the “evil one” the incubus?  Who is the incubus?]

“Pillow fight!”

Lana (Sharon Stone; Total Recall) and Vicky (Susan Buckner; Grease) come in from the city to comfort the recently widowed and never-a-Hittite Martha.  Meanwhile we learn of Jim’s shunning Hittite father Isaiah (Ernest Borgnine; Gattaca, Escape from New York) and how he strong-handedly manages his sin-hating family.  To his flock he admonishes “She [Martha] is with incubus.  She could not speak the truth if she knew it.”  He even offers to “buy” their child for “a good price.”  [Okay, so is being “with incubus” like being “with God?”  Or is she pregnant with an incubus?  Or is she possessed by an incubus?  Or do they really mean “succubus?”]

This guy ALWAYS looks like this.  PISSED!

Now a bunch of random, really weird shit just starts going down.  Lana sees a tarantula—which I doubt you’d find in Nebraska or where ever the Hell they are—on her bedroom ceiling, the man-child Hittite gets murdered and disappears, more and more spiders show up doing regular unmenacing spider things, the already dead man-child is hanged in a barn to scare Lana, a farm chick is painting creepy shit…

…Lana eats a spider…

…Hittites are behaving badly…

…a python ends up in Martha’s bath tub…

…no, really, an African constrictor snake is in the F’n tub with her in her little home on the prairie!…

…a Hittite-ette in a night gown goes homicidal, Lana has a mental breakdown, more Hittites are exiled, Martha has a blind date with corpse Jim…

…Vicky is hitting on Hittites…

…and a country tranny gets rough with Martha but she’s saved by the stabby homicidal Hittite-ette.

WTFF is going on here!?!?!?!  Are the Hittites behind the killings?  Is it Martha’s friends…probably not?  Maybe other folks in the community, who knows?  Is this schizophrenic word salad of “things” strung together meant to be considered a plot!?!  What about African constrictors and aggressive trannies in your Midwest farm house?  That’s probably abnormal!  You could probably report that as an attempted tranny murder snake!  [Okay, at this point the damned snake may even be the incubus.  I give up on the incubus!]

This movie is so FUBAR-ed.  Nothing makes sense!!!!  After 80 minutes of running time we have no more idea of what’s going on than we did after only 20 minutes—in fact, maybe way less amid the confusion.  It’s just a series of scenes with “things” in them that aren’t scary and have nothing to do with any of the other scenes of “things” in them.  It’s baffling that someone edited these clips together and thought “Yup, we’ve got a solid horror movie here.”  [They also must’ve thought “this incubus idea is working out GREAT!”]

All this movie does is illustrate a few key facts of life that we often take for granted…

1) Your love life sucks if you’re dad is still alive and you’re a Hittite.

Ear puller!

Cock block!  All in a Hittite father’s day’s work.

2) Spiders are evidently terrifying even with they just sit there doing regular spider shit.

3) Country farm bitches love to throw down for a good catfight scuffle.

4) Even in the early 80s movie cars were exploding whenever they came into contact with fire for even a moment.

5) “The Hittites make the Amish look like swingers.” –Sharon Stone, as Lana

6) A 3-foot python in the bathtub is not an adequate attempt at murder.

7) MOST IMPORTANTLY, if you fill a coffin with live chickens it WILL BE TERRIFYING for the next person who opens that coffin!

IN CLOSING:  This movie actually has the worst ending I’ve ever seen.  At the end, some hermaphrodite or bitch with Turner’s syndrome or drag queen or Thai boy-girl or something gets killed.  Then Isaiah says “the messenger of the incubus” has been killed or whatever and leaves Martha in peace.  Not two minutes later Jim’s MF’n ghost appears in her living room to warn her of some shit.  Well that came a little late didn’t it, Jimbo!?!  She takes not five steps from where she was standing and a MF’n incubus bursts through her living room floor, grabs Martha and drags her to Hell!  [Well, shit!  At least we’ve solved the mystery of the incubus.  It was NONE OF THEM!  FML!!!!]

Ghost Jim

Evidently that’s what the gateway to Hell looks like.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. Stuart lee permalink
    July 8, 2013 11:56 am

    Though the story makes little sense and the ending was really dumb, there were parts that were scary and creepy. I saw the movie back in 1981 and being only 12 at the time, I must say the creepy paintings were the scariest part. The painting of the hot, demonic bride with the intenses blues eyes was the scariest thing in the movie. The demonic bride looked like the widow and it gave me nightmares (at age 12). The chickens in the coffin routine was pretty cool. Even at 12 I was not scared by the ending, it was corny.

    • johnleavengood permalink
      July 8, 2013 12:15 pm

      Love those coffin chickens. hahaha

  2. September 14, 2015 4:00 pm

    Wes Craven directed this! I never knew that.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 14, 2015 4:06 pm

      And wrote the screenplay.

      • September 14, 2015 4:12 pm

        With the bathtub scene and dream stuff it seems like a Nightmare warmup.


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