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Superstition – 7

Director – James W. Robertson

Cast – James Houghton, Albert Salmi, Lynn Carlin, Larry Pennell, Jacquelyn Hyde, Robert Symonds, Heidi Bohay, Maylo McCaslin, Carole Goldman, Stacy Keach Sr., Kim Marie, Billy Jane

Release Year – 1985 (USA)

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Films like Superstition give me hope that there are still numerous great horror films from decades ago that have yet to receive their light of day. I had never heard of this film before viewing it, but after reading the storyline I dove into this experience with hopes of coming out satisfied, and very satisfied I was (Yoda talk). The 1980s gave us all sorts of awesome horror experiences in various sub-genres; like slashers, creature features, and one of my personal favorites…the supernatural tale. With a story so simple yet so well executed with good spooks and awesome kills, Superstition is one of my favorite 80s horror films to date, and a truly under-appreciated one that deserves your attention.

When strange murders begin plaguing an old home now owned by a local parish to provide a home for the unfortunate, Rev. David Thompson tries desperately to save the home from being demolished by a local detective. With the authorities looking for a physical person as the perpetrator of the murders, Rev. Thompson soon discovers that the home was the sight of a witch’s execution three hundred years earlier, and she is back for revenge.

I knew from the get-go that I was going to enjoy this one after its incredible 10 minute opening sequence, a sequence that took its time developing and gave me a preview of what the rest of the film would consist of: good spooks and good kills. The majority of the story consists of Rev. Thompson trying to get to the bottom of the murders, both with the help and hinderance of local law enforcement who would prefer to just tear the place down given the bad omens they believe it has brought the town given its swimming pond is often used by skinny-dippers. Of course, there are more heinous murders occurring during this investigation, which ultimately explodes into a highly tense third act when the Rev. learns of the home’s history in which its pond was used as a witch’s execution site. I never once found myself bored during this piece, thanks much to its awesome storyline that fed me with plenty of enjoyable kills and a satisfying mystery/investigative element.

Director James W. Roberson did a great job with this piece, giving us the most he could with such a minute budget. His atmosphere was dead-on creepy with his low-lighting and excellent usage of the sets and locations employed. It was his atmosphere that made this flick such a creepy watch, and he complimented that with great execution of the kill sequences as well. I loved that nothing was held back with the kills, giving us good gore and plenty of scenes involving awesome dismemberment, all done with a low budget that I have seen force other directors to heavily edit the kills, but not Roberson in this case. The acting performances were so-so and good enough, and nearly every other element of the film was directed well enough that it did not detriment from the film at all. Sure there are flaws here and there with this piece, and it will not win over the hearts of non-horror fans, but in the end Roberson’s execution made for a good experience that I wish I would have seen years ago.

Overall, Superstition is an awesome 80s supernatural flick with an enjoyably engaging story and loads of horror to leave you satisfied with this spooky and gory under-appreciated effort.

Rating: 7/10

  1. April 19, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I totally put this on my Netflix queue. Thanks for the info! Looking forward to watching this.

    • April 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      You are welcome. This is one I’d love to own on DVD.

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