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Evilspeak is an early 80s possession/revenge flick that is a lot of fun…mostly for the wrong reasons, but is still a goofy, gory good time.
The story opens with a sequence from ages past where a Spanish priest, Father Esteban (Richard Moll) is expelled from the church for his apparent turn to Satanism. We then open in modern times (well, 1981) at the West Andover Military Academy, whose chapel was founded by none other than that same Father Esteban. We also meet Private Stanley Coopersmith (Clint Howard), an orphan assigned to the academy and a sad and lonely misfit who is constantly picked-on and abused by both the instructors and the cadets. While on punishment assignment cleaning the church cellar, he finds a hidden room and a sinister looking book. Coopersmith uses his advance computer skills to translate the book and soon unleashes the demonic spirit of Father Esteban through his computer and uses the fallen priest’s powers to exact cruel and bloody revenge on all those who have tormented him.
Directed and co-written (with Joseph Garofalo) by Eric Weston, this movie comes across as Carrie meets The Exorcist and Weston takes his flick very seriously, despite being a very silly movie at heart. Even with a serious approach, the camp factor is prevalent and accentuated by Roger Kellaway’s ridiculously melodramatic score, complete with over-the-top chorus vocals, and it makes the already ludicrous moments all the more fun. The script dumps every indignity possible on poor Stanley and it becomes quite laughable, but not as much fun as when the Esteban possessed Coopersmith takes his bloody revenge out on those who have done him wrong in the overblown finale set inside the chapel. The film is certainly entertaining up to this point, but really takes off in the last act, with a levitating, sword-weilding Coopersmith leading an army of hungry wild boars to decimate his enemies. Yes, you read that right. The gore is quite graphic and Weston saves most of it for the climax, so it has the impact it needs. The cast all appropriately overact though, we do sympathize with the bug-eyed Coopersmith as it seems the deck is always stacked against him…till he starts to mess with Esteban’s Satanic textbook. Add in all the 80s nostalgia and this flick definitely is a lot of fun…especially with some brews to accompany it.
Not a great flick, but a very nostalgic and entertaining one. It combines the loner revenge story with a possession movie and while given a serious tone, has a lot of fun with the elements of both. The cast all ham it up despite Weston’s straightforward direction and the director does know when to cut loose and when to hold back. There is a lot of graphic gore especially in the climactic scene and overall, this is a wacky flick that really entertains in grand 80s style. A lot of bloody fun and the type of flick that seems to be a lost art. Also stars R.G. Armstrong, Hamilton Camp, What’s Happening’s Heywood Nelson and That 70s Show’s Don Stark as chief antagonist Bubba.
3 (out of 4) wild boars.