Abby (1974) Poster

(1974)

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"My soul is a witness for my Lord..."
Vince-52 May 2001
Scary, hilarious, and vastly better than its reputation suggests, Abby has a number of moments where you don't know whether to laugh or scream. I, personally, ended up laughing most of the time. One of these scenes has Abby (Carol Speed) beating up a concerned family friend while chanting, "Here we go 'round the merry-go-round, merry-go-round, merry-go-round...." Another moment has Abby obscenely salivating over chicken blood. Still another is when she rips open her blouse and begins spouting four-letter words at a marriage-counseling session. Then there's the discotheque exorcism, with the demon bellowing and swearing as the joint is telekinetically demolished. A lot of the movie is ridiculous, yes, but that's why it's so horrific. If it were rational, what would be the point?

Some scenes, however, fall off the humor-horror fence onto the comedy side. The best example of this is Abby's performance of the soulful "My Soul is a Witness" in the church choir. The problem is, Carol can't sing! Another character mentions her "angelic voice." Apparently the angels live in her sinuses! Then there's the use of fried chicken as a constant theme and Juanita Moore's sage pearls of wisdom about "lovin' a good man."

The performances range from passable to quite good. The best comes from the always dignified, commanding William Marshall as the exorcist. Paula Henderson's main theme, "Will We Find Our Tomorrows," is memorable, as is most everything else about the movie. Though it's often silly, Abby is never dull.

Trivia: Made for $500,000, Abby was a substantial success, grossing $9 million during its month in theaters. After that month, Warners sued and profits were frozen. Director William Girdler died two weeks after the suit was settled and never saw a dime.
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Wonderful blaxsploitation spin on The Exorcist
pooch-84 January 1999
One of the strangest, wildest, and weirdest blaxsploitation movies, Abby is an African-American retelling of The Exorcist, with Carol Speed as the possessed title character. The chaste and devout wife of a reverend, Abby spends her time as a marriage counselor in her neighborhood parish. Through mind-boggling misfortune having to do with the accidental release of a vicious demon, Abby begins to exhibit odd behavior (giving out salacious marital advice in one hysterical scene) and a noticeable change in the vocal register. Transforming from the practically virginal naif into a sex-starved ghoul with a hyena's chortle, Abby takes off into the night of dance clubs and singles bars. Father-in-law William Marchall races home from Africa to perform the exorcism, but will he be too late?
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5/10
Funny and cheap 70's Black version of The Exorcist
Derek McCallan9 April 2004
I had been wanting to see this movie since I saw the trailer way back in "74 and I was a young lad. Finally found a copy through ebay in 2002 and it was just as fun as I thought it would be. It is a blatant but cheap (and I mean cheap) version of The Exorcist with all black actors. Definately worth a look if you like really bad rip-offs that are SO bad that they are funny. It's too bad though that Pam Grier wasn't cast as the lead character. Maybe she thought it was even too bad for her to do. Personally, I think it's fun and should be in anyone's collection if they are into campy movies of this genre. Some others that should not be missed are Anticrist, L aka The Tempter and The Antichrist in USA and Beyond the Door which stars Juliet Mills (Nanny and the Professor). Both are Italian movies and really fun. In the first, the possessed woman actually rims a goat and in the latter, Juliet (Nanny) Mills does a lot of throwing up of black gook, levitations, and spinning. The first of a stream of Exorcist rip-offs. Look for the newest installation of The Exorcist coming out later in 2004. Should be interesting.
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Wild Blaxploitation Twist On The Exorcist!
Ian Fab!29 September 1999
ABBY DOESN'T NEED A MAN -- THE DEVIL IS HER LOVER NOW!! This very rare film which I was lucky enough to see the one week it played here in downtown Los Angeles during the Seventies (the prints were destroyed soon after the makers of The Exorcist sued for copyright infringement and won) is not only a great entry into the possession genre, but also one of the prime examples of true blaxploitation cinema. It stars William Marshall of Blacula fame as the exorcist, Carol Speed from The Big Bird Cage as the possessed woman, Austin Stoker from Assault On Precinct Thirteen, Terry Carter, and Juanita Moore from Imitation Of Life... truly an exceptional cast brought together in a film that must be seen to be believed.

Carol Speed portrays the girl named Abby who is a minister's wife and marriage counselor, qualities that do not prevent a demon from entering her body in one unusual shower scene. Abby then spouts foul language, goes nuts in a church, scares a white woman to death, jumps a funeral director in a hearse, acts like she's on drugs and generally gets very weird throughout. William Marshall is the man who must deal with the demon, and here his Shakespearean training shows. Austin Stoker is the friend who helps Terry Carter deal with a possessed wife. Juanita for some reason keeps talking about having a good man and eating fried chicken. All the cliches are in this one, and only the truly jaded won't be offended in some way!

SEE Abby throw a man across a room! SEE Abby seduce a man in a hearse! SEE Carol Speed talk like Isaac Hayes! SEE one obviously derivative yet well done scene after another! SEE an exorcism in a disco! SEE Abby fight her way out of a hospital! SEE Juanita Moore look like she wished she was elsewhere! Try and catch this one if you can, and become one of the initiated!
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9/10
Lower Grade Exorcist? Not Much Lower.
AllNewSux12 August 2012
A minister's wife becomes possessed by a demon that was probably unleashed by his father while he was excavating in Nigeria. If you take 'The Exorcist', 'The Amityville Horror' and 'Scream Blacula, Scream', and mash them all together, you have 1974's 'Abby'. I was not expecting much from this film and maybe that's why I am SO shockingly surprised at it's quality. It's not "so bad it's good", it's just good! Although the disco music seems out of place in a horror setting like this, the acting is decent and the story is well told. There is no doubt that the plot is a REALLY close copy of a much more popular movie, but to me that doesn't hurt it one bit. In fact when you see the lead character Abby starting to act weird, you almost feel true sorrow for her and her family because if you ever watched 'The Exorcist', and I'm sure 99.998% of you saw that film before this one, you have some idea of what is in store for them all. Because of Abby's age, they are allowed to show a little more sexual deviance which is a nice evil touch, especially from a minister's wife. The special effects are well done and the constantly changing voices within the possessed lead female are great. The movie itself has a very creepy element to it and it is a little more action packed than it's big studio twin (slightly older twin). In fact, if you just look at it as a sequel to 'The Exorcist' rather than a rip off, I think you'll enjoy it much more. Trust me, Friedkin would much rather have 'Abby' as his sequel than the real 'Exorcist Part 2'! The crew of 'Abby' had plenty of original ideas outside of the film that they were copying and the movie deserves a lot more respect.
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7/10
Though one can't blame the Warner Bros. lawsuit because of similarities to its The Exorcist, AIP's Abby is a good horror thriller in its own right
tavm11 February 2012
Though I knew there were some DVD copies around, I guess I should thank YouTube for finally being able to watch this movie since that's where I discovered it. Having seen it, I can see why Warner Brothers sued and won their lawsuit against American International for blatantly copying WB's hit The Exorcist. Sure, the differences are that one involved a girl child and the other a grown woman but they both have shaking furniture and demonic possession in which they both say very vulgar things involving sex. Okay, with that out of the way, let me say what I think of it. I thought it was hilarious whenever the title character played by Carol Speed had-through the voice of Bob Holt-said all those blatantly provocative remarks to various people but after that, I managed to also find some genuine scares and thrills. Both Ms. Speed and William Marshall as Bishop Garnet Williams who tries to get the demon out of her provide great presence in their scenes together. But the supporting players of Terry Carter (Rev. Emmett Williams, Abby's husband and Garnet's son), Austin Stoker (Abby's brother Det. Cass Potter), and especially Juanita Moore (Miranda "Momma" Potter) also hold their own against them. If there's one thing I have a beef with, it's the print I watched. Perhaps because of that lawsuit, no one's bothered to restore it. So the one I saw looked washed out. Still, the sound wasn't bad so that's a plus. Really, all I'll say now is if you get the chance to watch Abby, go for it! P.S. How interesting that after not sharing a scene in The Mack, Ms. Speed and Ms. Moore played daughter and mother in this. And nice to hear Carol's writing and singing skills with the song "My Soul is a Witness".
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8/10
The Cinefear DVD is very good
Woodyanders25 October 2006
It always ticks me off when the drooling fanboy geeks on various internet web sites specializing in rare, obscure and offbeat cult cinema savagely ridicule particular DVDs because the transfers aren't polished and spit-shined to crystalline sparkling perfection or the discs don't have enough fancy-schmancy extras to appease their picky snotnose expectations. The unjustly vilified Cinefear DVD for William Girdler's enjoyably trashy 70's blaxploitation demonic possession hoot "Abby" is an excellent example of what I'm talking about. 70's drive-in flick aficionados the world over should be rejoicing that this heretofore hard-to-find and never officially available on video feature has been rescued from oblivion and put out on DVD so the option to see it is a valid and easily pursuable one. The fact of the matter is that whenever a movie comes out on DVD it gets a second lease on life and another chance to be discovered by a new audience that might have missed it when it first came out. Cinefear should be applauded for putting "Abby" out on DVD instead of being fiercely ridiculed for same. Contrary to what the hateful naysayers have articulated on numerous DVD review web sites the DVD itself is actually quite good. Besides a perfectly acceptable quality transfer, the extras alone make it a solid and praiseworthy release: Said tasty extras include the theatrical trailer, a radio spot, a still and poster gallery, and, best of all, an intelligent, informative and well-written essay on the troubled history of this gnarly little nugget. So ignore all the undeserved negative criticism and give the DVD a chance. It's well worth checking out and makes for a sound addition to your horror exploitation library.
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6/10
pretty good, *very* 1970s*, surprisingly foul language!
FieCrier27 November 2004
"The Blackorcist," as this was supposedly nearly called, is actually not as blatant a rip-off of Exorcist, The (1973) as Chi sei? (1975) AKA Beyond the Door, or Seytan (1974) AKA The Turkish Exorcist. The latter in particular steals many scenes shot-for-shot (though not actual footage), but does actually steal same recording of the music "Tubular Bells."

Abby is pretty enjoyable. I saw the Cinefear DVD of it, and hopefully some other company will be able to do a proper transfer of the film at some point. Credit to Cinefear for getting it out, though, and even including some extras.

Abby is sort of the equivalent of Linda Blair's character in The Exorcist, but Abby is not a young girl but a young married woman; her husband and father-in-law are both priests. I'm not certain what denomination they were. The father dresses like a Catholic priest with black shirt and white collar, but has a wife and son. The son wears a khaki shirt with a white collar.

The father unwittingly releases a demon in Africa, which for some reason possesses Abby in the US. The demon causes Abby to swear rather profusely - I was surprised.

If a new DVD is ever released, there was some Greek, Hindi, and an African language spoken by the demon and the priest, and it would be interesting to get some optional subtitles for those scenes. The text of the lawsuit against the movie would also be interesting.
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3/10
A Look at Abby, from 2 points of view
domino100326 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I recently bought "Abby," more out of nostalgia than the actual film. I was 7 years old when I saw this at a drive-in. The film gave me the creeps and gave me nightmares for over a month.

A lot can change over the years, you know. Things that creep you out at 7 may just simply make you howl with laughter at 37.

Such is the case with "Abby." Carol Speed plays Abby Williams, the caring and loving wife of Emmett, a minister(Terry Carter), who have just moved into a new home and life seems to be o.k. Until Abby starts foaming at the mouth, and talking about the size of her husband's...parts. Was she the victim of toxic mold in her house, or has she become a druggie? Of course not! She has simply became the new host of a sexual demon, who was accidentally released by her father-in law, Bishop Williams (William Marshall)while he was on an archaeological dig.

By today's standards, the film is laughably bad. The storyline has enough holes to resemble a fishing net and a lot of questions remained unanswered (Like, who paid for all the damage during the exorcism at the club?).

The people behind the film was sued by Warner Bros. because of the similarities between this film and "The Exorcist," and you can see why they would take action (Levitations, spewing mouth, foul language), but what film HASN"T ripped off "The Exorcist?" ("Beyond The Door" was a rip-off, but they weren't sued. Possible racism issue here? You decided).

The DVD quality is not up to snuff (It's a bad copy),but for the die-hard fans of this film and of the genre (Blaxpoitation,horror,or bad cinema), this would have to do.
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Pulled from initial release -- for good reason!
weho9006913 August 2000
"Abby" made it into the Golden Turkey Awards book as a nominee for the Worst Blaxploiotation Film of All Time and it's easy to see why! The film was released within weeks of "The Exorcist" and, as the story goes, was yanked from theaters and locked away in a vault since it bore such libelous similarity to the now classic blockbuster which so terrified audiences and caused infinite controversy of its own. No doubt, audiences that attended the few screenings of "Abby" before the film was summarily retired were pretty scared too, but in a much different way! "Abby" is truly a dreadful film on just about ALL levels, but what is most pathetic about it is it's lame attempt to exploit legitimate African-based Vodou iconography and lore into what is quite obviously a mad pastiche designed solely to trade on black heritage in order to copy "The Exorcist." The addition of Vodou-inspired and gospel religious references which could have potentially added a culturally-correct flavor to any other film does little more here than betray the attempt to "cash in".... Now, all this said, "Abby" is a hoot to watch! Dialogue, direction, and editing are lousy through and through. The acting is terribly stilted, and this film must have been a devestating dissapointment to all involved, especially then-rising star Carol Speed. Her nothing less than lewd performance (with tongue action) is splendidly embarassing. "The song" (sung by Carol Speed) is a dog you'll be tempted to howl along with. If you are lucky enough to land a copy of this shlocky African-American Blaxploitation gumbo (and check on eBay -- there's usually a copy floating around!), pair it up with another misguided masterpiece (which features one of Richard Burton's most horrendous performances as well as a bewilderingly coquettish, re-possessed Linda Blair): "Exorcist II: The Heretic" Magnificent movie masochism!
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