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You'll Believe It Just Before You Die: SUPERSTITION (1982) Review

I would like to make it publicly known that I do not like witch-flicks AT ALL. I find most of them to be slow, boring, and just a bad time (with the exception of Suspiria and Inferno). So, when I heard the plot details of Superstition, I was not thrilled at all. It just sounded like your typical, boring haunted house/witch movie. But the trailer made it seem like a hybrid of the supernatural and slasher sub-genres, there were some good reviews out there, and I thought it looked kind of scary, so I decided to watch it, not really expecting much except a few entertaining kills and maybe a scare or two. But after viewing this movie, I must say, the good reviews of this film are anything but...

Superstition 1982 Review

The film starts off as most films did during this time period: Two horny teens have their car parked right in front of an abandoned and supposedly haunted house. Just as the boy begins to get some, a noise startles them and ghost slams into their windshield! As the scared teens drive away screaming, a teen about their age comes out of the bushes, laughing. Turns out it was all a joke! He goes to get his prankster friend who was watching from the attic window of the house. The kid enters and finds that his friend is gone. However, in the kitchen, he finds his friend's head in a microwave! As the door to the microwave pops open, the head inde explodes, and the teen stumbles over his friend's decapitated body. When attempting to climb out the window, the ll suddenly closes, chopping him in half. A short while later, Reverend David Thompson (James Houghton) and Reverend Maier (Stacy Keach, Sr.) are told by Inspector Sturgess (Albert Salmi) about the two deaths at an old house that is church property, and are given the task of cleaning it up for a new family that will move in. The creepy caretaker, Elvira Sharack (Jacquelyn Hyde), wrans the duo that terrible things will happen if they go through with it. Maier is killed in an "accident" at the house, which leads David to do some research on the old place. Then the Leahy family moves in. There's alcoholic father George (Larry Pennell), concerned mother Melinda (Lynn Carlin), pre-teen son Justin (Billy Jayne), and their two daughters, Ann (Heidi Bohay) and Sheryl (Maylo McCaslin). After more deaths and disappearances, David discovers that there's a witch haunting the place, so he, Sturgess, and the family all confront each other at the house, and that's when the $hit really hits the fan. Let me sum it up right here and now: Superstition is everything I would hope for in a horror movie. It's scary in all the right places, awesome in all the right places, and it ends just how I would want it to. It just seems to hit all the bases in terms of an entertaining flick, and is a home run through and through. There were actually some really great jump scares thrown in, and coming from someone who hates jump scares in most films (usually if the film solely relies on them, like Paranormal Activity 2 or 2010's A Nightmare on Elm Street). The film's atmosphere is mply superb, with some dark, creepy scenes inde the house and some great uses of fog. Actually, the atmosphere and mood of the film bears a strong resemblance to that of Italian horror flicks, and before I watched it, I actually thought this was Italian (judging by the trailer and the religious undertones)! The only part of the witch we really see are her hands, which are very scary with the monstrous fingernails and blackened skin. Superstition was directed by James Roberson, who really hasn't done much elseexcept serving as the cinematographer for countless TV shows. It's a pity, because if someone can turn out something as entertaining as this, you would think he would go on to do more horror flicks that would hopefully be as good as this. I found the acting to be strong from everybody, even if there's a little bit of overacting and a touch of underacting here and there, as well as some poorly written dialogue. The gore effects were handled nicely, and the make-up effects were realistic as well.

This is a great movie in every sense of the word. Even if some of the plot twists I saw from a mile away, you genuinely do not know who will live and who will die. The ending was a perfect way to conclude the movie, bleak as it was. The score really shone through the multiple layers of awesomeness this movie had, especially in the last twenty minutes or so. The trumpets added a special sort of something that spiced up the picture, even if the part of the muc sounded like it was directly taken from 1972's Tales from the Crypt. Great mood, gore, scares, acting, cinematography, score; it's all there! Halloween's coming up, and what's more appropriate than a slasher witch-flick that's actually good? Give Superstition a spin this October 31st.The Verdict: Great fun in all the right ways! Highly recommended!

Don't trust my judgment? Here's four other opinions: The Bloody Pit of Horror Horror Fanzine Cool Ass Cinema Retro Slashers
ObscureCinema101 Saturday 10/15/2011 at 10:12 PM | 85170
sounds good for sure

but ya dissed PA2 in the process, and if there was anything chilling about that one, it had NOTHINg to do with jump scares.

Now, to find this flick....
Matt_Molgaard Sunday 10/16/2011 at 06:09 PM | 85214
I saw this movie mainly because you were reviewing it and I seem to enjoy the odd films you find. I definitely wasn't expecting much from this so boy was I surprised when I watched it. I think this has become a favourite film of mine. There's literally not a dull moment to be had here. It's non stop from start to finish which makes it a blast to watch. I think there was a death in just about every scene I can't believe I've never heard of this gem till now.
Zombie Dude Friday 10/28/2011 at 03:43 AM | 86006
I had to dig this one out of my archives. A total blast of a flick.

With me witch movies are hit or miss. Although when they hit, like the original Wicker Man, they hit hard. (I do have a soft spot for the terrible The Craft knock off "Little Witches"...if you've ever seen it you can probably figure out why)
Cecil Thursday 11/03/2011 at 01:52 AM | 86360