Director: James W. Roberson
Starring: James Houghton, Albert Salmi, Lynn Carlin, Larry Pennell, Jacquelyn Hyde, Stacy Keach Sr., Robert Symonds, Heidi Bohay, Maylo McCaslin, Carole Goldman, Kim Marie
(out of 4)
WARNING: Some spoilers ahead.
Superstition is a Canadian flick (I think) from 1982, but I would swear it was directed by somebody like Umberto Lenzi or Lamberto Bava. It plays like an alternate universe version of Argento’s Suspiria, if it was directed by somebody like Lucio Fulci. In other words, it’s just plain bad, but gory enough and silly enough to keep one interested. There are no real characters in this movie, just meat for the grinder. Basically, Superstition is a succession of kills strung together to a funny prog soundtrack (by David Gibney, doing his best Goblin impersonation). It’s also partly produced by Kassar and Vajna – how the hell did they get involved in this?
Some of the kills are gory (spinning blade through the torso), some disturbing (spike through a girl’s forehead), some stupid (guy cut in half by a window pane – how the hell does that happen?), some funny (exploding head in microwave) and some downright boring (hanging, body thrown around room). But there certainly are a lot of them.
So who’s causing all this commotion? Well it turns out that many years ago, a witch was sentenced to drowning, and in order to keep her in the lake, a special cross was tossed in to make sure she keeps out of trouble. Folks, it didn’t work. The priest who sentenced her to a watery grave gives no good reason why she isn’t just burned. I guess his heart wasn’t in it? As soon as she hits the water the village burns down. Bad sign #1. Soon the poor priest finds himself crushed to death. Bad sign #2. That cross must obviously be defective.
It’s years later, and the witch is still at it – killing anybody who comes near the lake, and the old house in front of it. I think the creators of this movie wanted an Amityville vibe, but there isn’t much time to build up a mood in that regard, with all the slaughtering going on. What we do get is a clueless reverend named David Thompson, a cowardly dad, a few babes, a kid, a priest, a strange old lady and her retarded son, an incompetent detective (played by Albert Salmi, who in real life would later die with his wife in a murder/suicide), and a girl who may or may not be a ghost. The priest is killed early on by a spinning circular saw blade, which flies across the room at him. The fact that it is still spinning under some ghostly power as it burrows through his chest seems to be of no importance to those who witnessed it. Rev. David Thompson says he’s shaken up, but otherwise reacts as if he just witnessed a minor rear end collision. The rest of the running time is filled with people running back and forth in full panic mode, but for some reason failing to run in the one direction that might save them, namely out the front door.
Spoiler: everybody dies in Superstition. Well, why shouldn’t they? They have created a monster (not shown, by the way, except for monster hands with claws) that has pretty much been established as invincible. You gotta wonder about movies like this where Satan can do whatever he wants. Crosses don’t work (well, one cross sort-of-works) ,priests are useless. Hey, God! We could use a little more help down here! After a while, one wonders if they should just drain the pond, bulldoze the place and put up condos or something. Maybe the witch will want to be superintendent.
- Bill Gordon