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The Dark Power (1985)
"there's the old man......" "yeah, those were noisy feeesh".
first off i love this film. You know when a film is so unbelievably bad but yet you just can't turn it off as you wonder how or why it was ever made... "the dark power" is like that but worse, with many hilarious moments thrown in.
Basic plot is that a bunch of schoolkids move into a house on an ancient Indian toltec burial site, only to have a few of the toltec zombies to come out the ground and terrorise them during the night for no other reason than it just happens to be "evil day". (dont ask). This then becomes a fight for survival featuring that elderly western actor lash larue who appears out of nowhere, brandishing his trademark whip and some godawful one-liners to save the teens from certain death!
Along the way we experience horrendous editing, dialogue which needs rewinding at least ten times and moments of "did he just say that??", some hideous special effects, a lot of 80s synth music, random scenes that don't make any sense and probably the worst collection of actors EVER seen.
The guiltiest of all pleasures, you will either absolutely hate "the dark power" for being utterly, utterly rubbish, or you will revel in it's ineptness and sheer incompetence, cheering on the hapless fools who dared to shame themselves forever by starring in this.... Of course i'm in the latter camp. So if you can get a cheap copy of this, have a few beers (or something stronger!) and cheer on mr larue as he shouts "feeeeel my whip!"
I cannot recommend this film enough. Arguably one of the finest "trash cinema" has to offer.
Decent enough backwoods horror thriller
If it's originality you're looking for, best go else where, as this films influence clearly lies in the survival-horror genre seen in films such as the "texas chainsaw" movies, "deliverance", "just before dawn", and doesn't really deviate from material that has been produced before. However, that's not to say it isn't enjoyable as a no-brainer for hour and a half....
A fairly similar plot setup which seems to loosely combine "severance" and the new "hills have eyes 2" sees a group of office colleagues go on a team building paintballing exercise in the woods, before falling foul of a particularly vicious religious cult who see the men as outsiders and the women as reproductive carriers to breed the next generation. It's paperthin plot and limited characterisation is helped by a fast paced and occasionally genuinely exciting film that speeds by in a blink of an eye.... The actors do an OK job with what little they've been given and although it by no means looks of a theatrical quality, the production looks a million times better than those cheap straight to DVD horrors like "camp blood" and "butchered".
Gorehounds beware though: there's quite a bit of brutal violence that lends itself more to the "action" genre rather than bloody gore you may be hoping for. There's a few glimpses of the red stuff but most the violence appears in the guises of punching, headbutting, kicking and shooting etc. So although it clearly takes its influences from films such as wrong turn and it's sequel (complete with going into an abandoned house to find a phone!) it is somewhat missing the gory thrills that made those films so fun. My TV guide said that this was an "18" (in the UK) but I highly doubt that!
However, "backwoods" remains a decent enough film that is at least enjoyable for its whole hour and a half running time. Certainly not a masterpiece but as a fun popcorn movie to pass the time with it more than does the job. Worth a watch at least once.