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Movie Review: Deadly Blessing (1981)

This is an early offering from Wes Craven, the man who gave us the 'Scream' trilogy.

Martha and her husband Jim live in a remote rural area, right next door to the Hittites, a conservative, repressive religious sect. Jim used to belong to the sect but was expelled for marrying Martha. After Jim dies under mysterious circumstances, Martha's two friends Vicki and Lana (Sharon Stone) visit to help her out. Soon general unpleasantness befall the three women.

The Hittites come across as a community of ultra-religious mentalists who are dominated by their intimidating (and demented) leader Isaiah. Lana comments wryly: "The Hittites make the Amish look like swingers." The Hittites don't exactly endear themselves to their neighbours by ranting about serpents, Satan and the incubus all the time. The Hittites believe in and fear the incubus and see evidence of its work everywhere. So when Martha, Lana and Vicki wander around in their hot pants and fetching night attire, there is a culture clash. Then the deaths begin.

There's a stabbing, a mean dog attacks, Vicki wears neon yellow jogging shorts, Lana is menaced in a barn and Faith, the neighbours daughter keeps popping up all the place. Then Vicki falls for Jim's younger brother John. Soon John is being consumed by lust and throws away his chaste nice Hittite girl to make out with Vicki in a car. Isaiah (Ernest Borgnine) reacts badly to John losing his faith due to his manly urges and banishes him from the sect thundering: “You are a stench in the nostrils of God!”

Then there's an arson attack, Martha is menaced by a snake in her bathtub, Lana has a breakdown and Martha learns too late that the bitter killjoy sect are not the only twisted neighbours she has. All this take place to the tune of an Omenesque score. This is a good film, even is the ending is truly bizarre as something only hinted at becomes manifest. (2021 update: Maren Jensen who played Athena on the 1978 version of 'Battlestar Galactica' played Martha!)

Best Lines:
"They that dwell on the Earth shall wonder”.

"Incubus!"
"You retard!"

"Go to thy whore!"

"She goes on about death running after her wearing a black bathrobe or something."


Deadly Blessing (1981) - IMDb

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