Mar 9, 2018

Prime Evil (1988)


"A terrifying force that cannot be resisted is here ..."
Satanists from the dark ages are in 1980s NYC doing their satanist shtick: holding black masses and capturing women for sacrifice.

I have high hopes for this film.  It's directed by Roberta Findlay.  We first ran into her as a chick tied to a pool table in the Yoko Ono film Satan's Bed (1965).

Findlay also narrated the film Janie and went on to act, direct and produce a number of B-movies that time forgot.  Let's see how she does with the satansploitation genre, shall we?

A group of satanists have been sticking around since The Black Death, maintaining their youth by drinking the blood of virgins and what-not.

This scene is pretty good: You think this chick wandering around in the basement is going to get offed by the creepy dude following her.  As it turns out, she's one of the satanists, just delivering this serial-killer custodian the satanists list of victims.  "Make it look like an accident."

Alex (Christine Moore), Cathy (Ruth Collins) and Sam (Scott Rhodes)
Cathy was a college graduate with good prospects, but she turned to a life of prostitution and drugs.  Thankfully, social worker, Alex, came along and helped her get her life back on track.  Now, she's got an interview on Wall Street and a boyfriend smart enough to read a book with Einstein on the cover.

It's all so very happy and optimistic.  Surely, there isn't tragedy waiting right around the corner... right?

Alex (left) and the comic relief, Brett at right (Amy Brentano)
Alex and her friend Brett workout at the gym.  How can I describe Brett?  She's clearly meant to be funny - but comes off as a spastic mildly retarded doofus.  Imagine that Screech from Saved by the Bell is crossed with Steve Urkel; but even those characters are more subtle than this chick.

Alex shakes her head at her silly and preposterously buffoonish best friend. 
Brett says she's picked up a pack of multi-colored condoms at the Korean deli preparing for a night of sex.  She can't understand why Alex is so virginal.

Sister Angela (Mavis Harris) meets with the bishop.  She is given a mission - a mission to infiltrate this satanic cult.  It'll be dangerous, but she's up to the challenge.

Remember the creepy dude lurking in the basement given a kill list by the satanists?  Well, his name is Ben and he's sneaking into Cathy's house.

Cathy hears someone coming.  But it's too late - Ben straight up murders Sam's ass.  (I had a feeling something bad would happen with happy turned-her-life-around Cathy.)

Cathy tries to escape down the stairwell, but Ben catches up to her and drives a hypodermic needle into the back of her neck.

The film's serial killer, Ben, earned some points for this scene.  The way he killed Sam and stuck Cathy all with a smile is a real disturbing effect.  Quite a departure from the preternaturally expressionless Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and other stoic slashers of the eighties.  Let's give it up for actor George Krauss in his only IMDb listed role as Ben.

A nice touch: Ben is carrying the unconscious Cathy and some dude happens upon them.  Instead of being suspicious, he just says:
Too much to drink?  Have fun.

Alex and her boyfriend Bill enjoy Christmas in Central Park in a horse-drawn carriage.  Inexplicably, Alex decides to use this time to tell Bill that her father sold her into sex slavery at the age of six.  WTF?

She goes on to explain that her father disappeared years ago.  She has plans to meet with her grandfather soon.

Grandpa George meets with Thomas, the head of the satanic coven
As luck would have it, her grandfather, George (Max Jacobs) is, right now, promising to deliver his granddaughter to the satanists.

Grandpa George fellow satanist, Alison, played by Roseanna Peterson in her only IMDb credit.  A couple of devil worshipers enjoying a relaxing evening.

George tries to make the moves on Alison but is spurned.  Why does Thomas get her affections, and but he can't.  George vows to one day take down Thomas and assume his rightful position as satanic cult leader.

Cathy is being held beneath Thomas' church (topless, of course).  Thomas puts her under his hypnotic spell - h has devilish plans for Cathy (who was a prostitute, so clearly not a virgin... so I guess the whole virgin thing was a wash).

From Left: Grandpa George, Evil Thomas, Boyfriend Bill, Virginal Alex, and her Lush Mother
Alex convinces her mother, Frances (Cameron Kell), to attend Grandpa George's party.  They haven't seen each other in thirteen years.  Thomas introduces himself.  Frances is not impressed.

Frances, George and Alison
At the party, George tries to convince Frances that Alex should come live with him.  Frances says hell no to that terrible idea.

This would prove to be a fatal decision for Frances.  That evening, masked intruders burst into her bedroom and force this liquid (poison?) down her throat.

A pretty brutal scene.  Prime Evil definitely has its horrific moments.  Mama Frances R.I.P.

With her mother six feet under, Alex decides to go live with George, despite Bill's protestations.

Remember Sister Angela?  Yeah, her story got kinda lost and forgotten.  She's back, and she's deep under cover with the satanists.

Another prostitute is brought to Alex to rehabilitate.  This whore's name is Judy (Jeanne Marie) and she's one tough cookie.

Judy crashes at Alex's new house - George's palatial estate.  I'm not really sure what gives here.  I get that Alex has a job where she takes hookers under her wing... but does that mean she has to bring them home with her?

Hey look, it's wild-and-crazy Brett!  Alex is back at the gym with her brain-damaged, comedic sidekick.

Alex should really reevaluate her life choices.  She's living in a home for satanists, inviting whores to spend the night, and hanging out with functionally retarded sluts.

Ah, man.  Now I feel bad for insulting Brett.  She's in the pool doing laps when Ben arrives, and sticks that needle in the back of her neck just like he did to Cathy.

Ben then goes on to straight-up murder Alex's one and only ally - her ever-faithful and patient boyfriend, Bill.  This was totally unexpected.

George and Alison drink a toast; tomorrow is the Winter Solstice and their group plans to do their big sacrificial offering using the gals Ben has procured.  George also has plans to step into Thomas' lead position.

Ritual time.  Thomas leads the service and commands the three ladies under his hypnotic influence to disrobe.

Hey - I recognize these girls.  It's Cathy, Crazy Brett, and Judy.  If this satanic cult had in mind to procure three virgins, they couldn't have screwed up worse with an ex-prostitute, a goofy slut, and another prostitute.

Meanwhile, a couple of drunken detectives are busy trying to solve this case - hilariously using this chalkboard to get to the bottom of it.  Who the hell is Mrs. Quinto?  Did I miss something?


The plan is to sacrifice Alex; somehow this gives George ultimate power for 13 years or something stupid like that.


The satanists, as they are always wont to do, start going into orgy mode.  But undercover nun, Sister Angela, suddenly springs into action and kills satan as soon as he rears his ugly head.  All the satanists (except Thomas) immediately grow old and die.  THE END

Hm.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  It held my attention, there are a respectable amount of boobs, and the story is your standard satansploitation fare that we all know and love.  And yet, it still kind of sucks.   I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to bad acting, but this is just too awful to look past.  A lot of this film is just talking - which isn't a bad thing... unless the dialog is terrible and the acting beyond bad.  And the final nail in the coffin - it's just not campy enough to at least capture some fun energy, a la Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers or a Troma film.

★☆☆

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