FEAR NO EVIL (1981)
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This 80s religious based horror is an absolutely terrible movie from future The Lady In White writer/director Frank LaLoggia. It literally takes the on-going battle between Lucifer (Stefan Arngrim) and three Archangels, Mikhail (Elizabeth Hoffman), Rafael (Frank Birney) and Gabrielle (Kathleen Rowe McAllen) and places it in a small town high school setting. The film has The Devil incarnate as an odd high school student named Andrew (Arngrim) who allows himself to be teased at school yet, demonically torments his parents at home. He is pursued by archangels in the form of a priest (Birney), a local woman (Hoffman) and a pretty fellow student (McAllen) that leads to a castle set confrontation between good and evil with a small town, a Passion Play production and a host of zombies, caught in the middle.
I’m not a fan of LaLoggia as a filmmaker but, at least The Lady In White had some positive qualities. This flick is a dull, schizophrenic mess that is both laughable and tragic. While I can appreciate the risk of taking a biblical battle of good and evil, literally involving Lucifer and The Archangels, and setting in a small town high school, this just comes off as a ridiculous mess. LaLoggia throws in everything but, the kitchen sink when some subtlety would have work much better. We get zombies, homosexual overtones that don’t seem to have a point…other than to shock, as it was the early 80s…and a laughable demonic assault on a production of The Passion Play. The final showdown resembles a cheesy 80s heavy metal video as Arngrim goes from creepy school kid to androgens rock star, when Lucifer finally battles Gabrielle in her cute, girl-next-door guise. Add in some truly cheesy special visual FX and some only moderate effective make-up and gore and you have a mess that is barely coherent and overly bombastic. Yes, in a way there is some entertainment to how blatantly awful it is but, ultimately it’s a waste of your time. Too bad, the story at least has an audacious, ambition to it but, it is just carried out in the worst possible way on pretty much every level.
So, while I let a lot slide with some films as long as they entertain…especially 80s flicks…this one is just too much of a ridiculous and misguided mess to enjoy. While I do feel the basic idea was a bit daring, the execution and result is too bad to even laugh at…OK, I did chuckle a little. It’s an incompetent and sometimes ludicrous attempt to combine a high school horror with a battle between good and evil straight out of the pages of The Bible. Maybe a more gifted filmmaker could have pulled it off but, LaLoggia loses control from the first frames and never gets it back. Awful.
1 androgynous, 80s rock star-ish incarnation of evil.