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Friday, 10 August 2012

THE DARK POWER (1985)

“It looks like a refuse heap and smells like a fart!” 

That's just one of the golden lines from DARK POWER, a slice of pleasingly stupid horror nonsense from the early-to-mid eighties. Blatantly ripping off The Evil Dead (right down to the camera-through-the-forest shots) and Poltergeist (ancient spirits returning to exact revenge on the living), the film gets all of its exposition out of the way in the first ten minutes or so.


This is done by explaining the Dark Power and how it can be controlled with a certain artifact, during conversations between whip-toting Exorcist/grizzled old Ranger Girard, played by the grizzled old Lash LaRue (I swear that's his name, and it's amazing) – who offs bad guys and demonic zombies with a magic whip (this just keeps getting better), a lardy hick and a typically 80s news reporter.

Bugger characterisation, here's a bunch of dialogue about the Toltecs and their mystical ways, bashed about the viewer's head minus any subtlety, but somehow delivered in such a boring manner that you're soon desperate to flick forward to the bits where teenagers are being massacred by rubbery zombies.

One night, a bunch of students have a bit of a party in the house they've moved into together (despite the fact they'd hate each other if any of them even actually met), but of course, the house is over the ground where the Toltecs buried themselves alive in order to return from the dead and butcher the living every now and again.

Subplots? Pah. Subtext? Pssshh! Stereotypes, cheese, crap acting, an atrocious script, wonderfully cheap effects and woeful production values? Come on in! The Dark Power is a really, really bad movie, but it is also a really enjoyable movie too. It's so inept and deliciously, incredibly bad, but there's enough black comedy in the script and enough typically 80s kill scenes that it makes for a pleasant enough evening's viewing, but only if you've already been desensitized to crap and enjoy it as much as the rest of us genre addicts. In fact, it does bring to mind the later (and better) films THE VIDEO DEAD and NEON MANIACS thanks to the group of undead entities turning up out of nowhere and slaughtering everyone in sight (while wearing costumes which look like torn old clothes and discount shop Halloween masks).

The cast of teenage girls are uniformly awful, but so are the rest of the cast. The glorious presence of Lash LaRue and his magic zombie/demon destroying whip is the icing on a very cheesy cheesecake.

If you want lashings of gore and mayhem, then the first half of the movie is going to bore you stupid, but once the fun kicks in, the entertainment value skyrockets. If you're happy to sit through endless bad movies for the sake of cheap entertainment, then feel free to come sit next to me. I'll crack open a cold one and we can watch this slice of ultra-low budget nonsense.

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