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Eyes of Fire (1983)

R  |   |  Horror  |  21 October 1983 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 394 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 9 critic

A preacher is accused of adultery and he and his followers are chased out of town and become stranded in an isolated forest which is haunted by the spirits of long dead Native Americans.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Rebecca Stanley ...
Sally Klein ...
Fanny Dalton / Narrator
Karlene Crockett ...
Leah - Queen of the Forest
...
Sister - Calvin's Wife
...
Kerry Sherman ...
Caitlin Baldwin ...
Erin Buchanan ...
Meg
Will Hare ...
Ivy Bethune ...
...
Bret Pearson ...
Rose Preston ...
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Storyline

A reverend, Will Smythe, and his followers are chased out of town after Smythe is accused of adultery and polygamy. Joined by a rugged woodsman, Marion Dalton, who wants his cheating wife, the group ventures into a valley, where dwells an ancient evil spirit. As members of the group start to disappear, the witch-bred, insane Leah must discover how to thwart the spirit. Written by Melissa Martin <martin@ccu.umanitoba.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sinister evil is waiting in the woods. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 October 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cry Blue Sky  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$2,600,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Eloise Dalton: She's crazier than a rat in a brandy keg!
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Connections

Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Valley of the devil witch
24 August 2010 | by (Cleburne, TX) – See all my reviews

Taking place in 1750 during the early colonization of America, "Eyes of Fire" is a remarkable hybrid of horror and mysticism within a western setting. Will Smythe (Dennis Lipscomb) is a hypocritical, but charismatic preacher who is relatively new to the small settlement of Dalton's Ferry. Traveling with him is Leah, an odd girl who seemingly possesses magical powers. Her mother, suspected of being a witch, was burned alive. Leah would have been torched as well, but Smythe saved her. While residing in the settlement, the reverend beds a bevy of different women, among them the wife of Marion Dalton (Guy Boyd), a trapper who spends most of his time away from home. The townsfolk disapprove of Smythe's extracurricular activities and attempt to hang him, but he is rescued by both Leah and a small group of the settlers who see something in the man. Smythe and his followers flee the township hoping to find their own personal "promised land" in which to settle down. When Marion returns to Dalton's Ferry, he goes after the group since his wife dragged their daughter along with them. Once he catches up, they're all forced into a valley by marauding Indians. The Indians won't follow, however, as they believe the valley to be cursed. This, combined with the abandoned cabins located within the valley, prompts Smythe to declare it the place they've been seeking. As they begin to start a new life, little do they know that this place is already inhabited by a devil witch and her ghastly minions.

Filmed in the wilds of Missouri, Avery Crounse's wondrously offbeat gem is one of the most beautifully photographed horror films of the 80's, American or otherwise. The dense woodlands are naturally pleasing to the eye, but they become something else entirely when seen through the stunning direction of Crounse. His style combines the contemplative visual poetry of a Terrence Malick with truly nightmarish imagery and acidic color fades. Crounse makes sure that, while lovely in appearance, these woods are deeply foreboding. There's an eeriness in the air, one that never quite goes away. Brad Fiedel's score adds to the unease of the situation and gives off an otherworldly vibe to match.

In spite of a low budget, the period setting feels authentic. You never once believe that these people aren't living in the colonial days. It was a fascinating period, the colonial era, and I feel that more horror films should be set in and around that time. The all-encompassing isolation, the lack of modern weapons or technology and the endless amount of rich history are all elements which are positively ripe for tales of the macabre. Most of all, though, there are the superstitions and folklore which were so rampant back in those days. This continent was still a relatively unknown place then, none of the settlers really having a clue as to what they might encounter. I don't think there is anything more terrifying than the unknown, so what better time than the days of the unknown to tell a story of this nature? Crounse certainly realizes this, as he milks the period setting and the olden days mythology for all that they're worth.

I've seen many reviews deriding the special effects, but I'm going to disagree with such opinions. I found the effects to not only be perfectly believable, but quite well-done at that. The hideous look of the devil witch herself and the surprisingly numerous explosions were especially impressive. On the acting front, Lipscomb plays slimy as if it were second nature to him. Boyd is strong in the role of foil, while Kathleen Crockett steals the show as Leah, a character that could have fallen into camp if not played correctly.

"Eyes of Fire" is right up there with "Black Rainbow" as one of the unsung genre classics of the 80's. It is in desperate need of a proper release, one that allows the scope photography to shine through to it's fullest extent. True gems like this one shouldn't be forgotten.


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