This 1982 horror isn’t what you’d call a ‘good’ movie in the conventional sense, but I had a really fun time checking it out recently as it had slipped under my radar back in the day when it was first released and it’s filled with nostalgia and unintentional fun. Superstition tells the story of an abandoned piece of property with a history of violence and death dating back to the 1600s where a witch was supposedly murdered and a curse placed over the land and lake where her body was cast. But the property is still owned by the church who is in need of funds, so they assign young Rev. Thompson (James Houghton) to renovate the house and property for rental, despite the recent gory murder of two teens…not to mention that former tenants have all met ‘bad ends’ there. The inspector in charge of the case, Sturgess (Albert Salmi) thinks it’s the work of the hulking, mute caretaker Arlen (Joshua Cadman), but Arlen’s mother Elvira (Jacquelyn Hyde) warns it is the witch who haunts the property and wreaks vengeance on all those who trespass. But despite the recent deaths, the fact that bodies continue to pile up and that Arlen is lurking somewhere on the property, the new tenants, which include the alcoholic Rev. George Leahy (Larry Pennell) along with his wife, son and two nubile teenage daughters, move in. Can Rev. Thompson and the police find the source of these horrible crimes and protect the Leahy family and if it is truly the work of a centuries old witch, can she be stopped or will blood continue to flow?
As this is an 80s horror flick, I think the answers to those questions aren’t hard to figure out. Superstition is an odd flick with some very unintentionally funny scenes, as well as, some cheesy but graphic gore which earned it an unrated release. James W. Roberson directs this flick very seriously despite the absurdity that the police would allow a family to move onto a property with a suspected murderer on the loose and with continuing deaths and disappearances…or the fact that his heroic young man of the cloth, Rev. Thompson, ogles Leahy’s teen daughters like an adolescent who’s just found dad’s Playboy magazines. I actually do think the director gives the film a nice visual style for an obviously low budget flick and makes good use of the old house setting. The film, despite it’s supernatural story, is structured like a slasher with victim’s being dispatched one by one in gruesome fashion, including microwave and elevator wire. It does go all Exorcist in it’s final act when the young Reverend Thompson finds out the truth of what happened in 1692…relayed to us in an amusing flashback…and heads to the property to throw down with the 300 year old Elondra Sharack (Carole Goldman) with the Leahy’s lives in the balance. And if this flick sounds a little loopy, it is and is all the more entertaining for it. Is it scary?…no…does it’s plot make sense?…no…but it is a lot of cheesy fun and there is plentiful gore and a couple of hot young girls to run around scantily clad while a killer is on the loose…all in delightful 80s fashion. Everyone makes the stupidest decisions possible, especially the cops who don’t appear like they could catch a cold, and when someone goes missing, it’s shrugged off despite there being a suspected murderer lurking about. Everything you could want from a cheesy 80s horror flick and as such there is a load of entertainment to be had.
Superstition is a silly movie that takes itself very seriously and is all the more entertaining for it. It’s a bloody good, fun flick that doesn’t need a logical reason to gorily dispatch a victim, or have it’s young lasses walk around in front of priests and cops wearing next to nothing. I love a “so bad, it’s good” movie and this one highly qualifies and in a very good way. I also give it credit for doing something different than just having a random maniac running around like a number of early 80s horror and the added supernatural elements provide additional fun to it’s cockeyed story. And with the added 80s nostalgia, this flick can be a fun night on the couch with like features and favorite beverages. Recommended!