Deadly Love (1987)
Mind-numbingly dull US horror from the 80s, without even the benefit of excessive gore to break the tedium.
12 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Slow-moving enough to induce a coma, uniformly wooden acting, with a take on the supernatural that usually only appears in bad Gothic literature and 'Scooby-Doo'. I want my 90 minutes back.

There apparently wasn't enough movie to go around in post-production, so endless flashbacks are used to fill in the gaps. Gore fans won't be impressed either. There are a couple of passably bloody killings, but they are very much too little, too late.

If you want my advice, don't bother. Doesn't even make the cut in the `so-bad-it's-good' stakes.


The intro: 1965; a couple meet for a stealthy tryst by night (or at least day for night) to provide viewers with the plot background; the bimboish Ann has a somewhat over-protective father, who doesn't approve of her relationship with Buddy, her leather-clad bike-riding boyfriend. Meanwhile, someone is watching them, and carving her name into his hand. The troubled couple vow to elope together, but Buddy is killed during a confrontation with her dad's henchman. 22 years and a poor aging job later, present day 1987, and "crazy Ann" is still alone, obsessed with her past love, and has turned to 'The Encyclopaedia of Ancient and Forbidden Knowledge' (hey, I had a copy of that in the 80s too!) to bring back the shade of her past love...

At this point you'd be forgiven for thinking that the film might be about to go somewhere interesting, at least insofar as the limitations of American horror movies of the 80s will allow. Ann is harassed by a bunch of bored teens in a jeep, who are driven off by a local do-gooder. And then she kills herself, for little apparent reason.

And we have to wait another three-quarters of an hour before anything of note happens.

Ann's long-lost niece comes to town, makes friends with the aforementioned do-gooder, reads her aunt's diary, and alienates the creep who delivers her car. That night, everyone shows up at her place: do-gooder, bullies, rapacious creep, and what may or may not be the resurrected form of her aunt's lover.

Unfortunately, by this point we're pretty much beyond caring as the leather-clad form takes out the bullies one by one (although there is a decent impalement along the way), rescues the girl from the creep, and takes her to his lair in the eerily well-maintained barn. He turns out not to be what he seems, do-gooder has to rescue her, and dear gods I just don't care any more.

The film's conclusion is ambiguous in a way that would almost be intriguing, if this were a better movie. But it isn't, and one just gets the impression that the film-makers had several different ideas for an ending, and filmed them all.
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