Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Night Visitor (1989)

...aka: Never Cry Devil

Directed by:
Rupert Hitzig

High school student Billy Colton (Derek Rydall), living at home with single mom Brooke Bundy, develops a crush on sexy new next door neighbor Lisa (Shannon Tweed). Meanwhile, a hooded Satanist serial killer is offing prostitutes. The killer turns out to be an asshole high school science teacher (Allen Garfield), Lisa turns out to be a hooker and, because he has a history of lying and being a trouble-maker, no one believes Billy when he witnesses her getting killed. He finally convinces a cynical former detective (Elliott Gould) and a couple of his friends (Teresa Vander Woude, who is secretly in love with our hero, and Scott Fults, the nerdy third-wheel) to help. Michael J. Pollard is his usual weird ass self as Garfield's goofy Satanist brother, Richard Roundtree is the investigating police chief and Teri Weigel (who, like Tweed, started her career in the pages of Playboy magazine) gets some practice for her later descent into porn by playing a kidnapped topless hooker kept prisoner in the basement of Garfield's home. There's also a supremely cheesy teen love montage (complete with a matching groan-inducing ballad) and the horror music score is one of the most annoying, loud and overbearing Omen-type chanting scores imaginable.

Horror fans will probably be disappointed with a half-assed script that bounces from drippy teen romantic melodrama to high school comedy and back to horror with too much regularity; the latter being partially ruined when the aforementioned grating music is played. However, it's reasonably well acted (what a fantastic B-movie cast, huh?) and has a couple of good scenes and ideas.


1 comment:

spookyx3 said...

m. j. pollard and andrew garfield were walking a difficult tightrope and their choices always seemed schtick-y to me. in devil garb with the heavy-handed choral music on the soundtrack it was too absurd for words; might have worked better if they'd kept the satanic-panic thing out of it. spent the length of the film wondering where i'd seen roundtree's partner, kathleen bailey, before; turns out it was in WITCHTRAP, seemingly her only other horror role. loved elliott gould as the timid detective -- i had him pegged the whole time for some sort of bigger reveal and was relieved when that didn't happen.

the boy-who-cried-wolf-sees-murder setup is very similar to that of ted tetzlaff's THE WINDOW, one of my favorite films of 1949, currently sandwiched between ken anger's PUCE MOMENT & ozu's LATE SPRING.

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