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John’s Horror Corner: The Oracle (1985), the boring Ouija-esque Christmas horror crime thriller you should be glad you never heard of.

March 30, 2019

MY CALL: This film is really trying to be good. So I feel badly saying it’s really, really, really boring and best left forgotten in an old dusty box of VHS in the basement. Only recommended for bad (really bad) B-movie night viewing. MORE MOVIES LIKE The Oracle: More Oujia-themed films include Witchboard (1986), Ouija (2014), Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) and Veronica (2017). For more Christmas horror (that better ensnare the Christmas theme), try movies like Better Watch Out (2016), Black Christmas (1974, 2006 remake), A Christmas Horror Story (2015), Krampus (2015), Silent Night Deadly Night (1984), Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) and Gremlins (1984).

During her Christmas party, Jennifer (Caroline Capers Powers; who only ever acted in this one film) entertains her guests with a planchette to contact spirits like a Pictionary-Ouija board. After the game gets a bit awkward, the planchette communicates with Jennifer alone and, well, eventually slimy little squid monsters emerge from the planchette box. So now you think this is a weird little tentacled demon movie, right…? Wrong. We take a hard right into crime thriller territory with a psychic-medium angle and there is nothing good about it! Boy does it get dumb! But God help the filmmakers—I felt like they were really trying to make something good.

Emerging in the horror genre after a career in the adult film industry, director Roberta Findlay (Prime Evil, Lurkers, Blood Sisters) has generated typical B-movie fodder—although not really the kind I’d recommend. From its opening scenes it feels no different from any other one-(watch)-and-done throwaway horror flick from the 80s. Not as bad as Dark Tower (1987) or Things (1989), but definitely not as good as House (1986) either. And while it may transcend B-moviedom in its lack of utter silliness, it’s still silly in its lack of quality despite its best efforts.

Green hazy light indicates magic and supernatural occurrences, low budget gags have objects moving on their own, flicking lights on and off or knocking over some books indicates an evil presence—these are weak cues and weakly executed. It’s also juuuuust a bit raunchy even though there wasn’t any nudity.

Christmas music and holiday themes decorate this cheap quirky film and I’m left wondering why since none of the story or concepts actually relate to Christmas—unless this is a far reach analogous to the “Murdered Ghost of Christmas Past.” But in the third act this theme is completely absent, and that certainly says something about the filmmaking.

The blood and gore start out so weak you’d want to stop the film, but it does amp up to grosser and sillier levels that should conjure a few giggles. Especially the “self-murder” scene and the evil diminutive cephalopod-like creatures—just plain B-movie delight. Also watch out for the toxic waste melty face scene, which produced the online images that lured me into watching this film at all.

There’s really nothing redeeming in this film. It smacks just a little bit of The Sentinel (1977) in delivery and The Changeling (1980) in premise, but brings not even remote honor to either. I’d skip this and let it be forgotten in the VHS video vaults of pawn shops and basement storage.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2019 1:00 am

    Unfortunately I have heard of this one and actually seen it. Yes, it’s as bad as you make it sound.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      March 31, 2019 8:37 am

      We must preach aloud to save as many others as we can! hahaha

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