Cinefamily’s Video Nasties #5: EVILSPEAK

Manna from heaven for a struggling pubescent. 

Sometimes one needs to see the deep connection between things, and director Eric Weston saw the deep, implicit connection between Anton Levay-like satanic ritual empowerment and first generation home computers. Both are cool, teenage boys like both and pentagrams look really good animated in proto-level DOS-based graphics. Yes, once again, I find myself judging this nasty by how much it tickles the fancy of my inner 13-year-old boy - the true audience for most horror movies - and Evilspeak is manna from heaven for a struggling pubescent. This Carrie-for-boys Satanic revenge flick is sure to please the struggling loner in all of us, taking two thirds of the movie to pile on bullying  and humiliations delivered from all manner of scary authority figures - from teachers and priests, sexually mature secretaries and physically developed jocks - and spending  the last third sending them to hell in a fiery maelstrom of ungodly vengeance delivered with the assistance of killer boars, medieval swords and the power of Lucifer himself.

Any boy flipping through Deities and Demigods before playing Ultima IV on his Apple IIc would be ecstatic.

And our avatar is that misshapen mixture of child and adult body, that character actor for men of taste and distinction, Clint Howard. With a proudly gigantic skull and tiny mouth, he is a model for the awkward age of puberty, when our body parts have all grown at different rates leaving us all with various forms of mutancy. Howard’s a really good actor, too, and willing to his let pain and embarrassment spread across his face, and here is given more to chew on in any film outside of Ice Cream Man. He owns Evilspeak, and as a vessel for us all, it’s both enormously satisfying and oddly humorous to see him empowered by the end with all the forces of darkness.

Of course, Evilspeak is kind of the beginning of the '80s for our little Nasties series, and begins a transition into the borderline-mainstream horror mode we’re all raised on. The next week of screenings is probably the most “fun” week of the series, with a run of '80s “party” horror fit for any Saturday night slumber party, like The Burning, Evil DeadVisiting Hours and even Cannibal Holocaust, a film a lot more fun than its borderline pornographic title sounds.

I’m not sure if the “banned” version in UK had more than the US print we saw - which was chopped up so bad that most of the prominent gore was gone, including a Temple of Doom-like moment where a bully’s heart is removed from his chest by hand and shown to his face - but even without it, boars eating a woman alive in a shower delivered the necessary goods. I regretted the loss though. It’s not that I’m a real gorehound, but the film’s building crucible of rage was castrated a bit at the end with all the bits and pieces gone, and I could feel the audience’s subtle disappointment in the climax - a climax I knew would have whipped them up into football stadium style cheers had all the sword cleavings, etc, been left intact.

But that’s okay. 'Cause what we did get is enough computer error mayhem, electronic music and Clint Howard to fill a lifetime of memories.

Nasty-meter: 4
Fun-meter: 8

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