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Thursday, March 7, 2013

SCREAM FACTORY APPRECIATION MONTH: Deadly Blessing (1981)

Today we're here to talk about Wes Craven's 1981, cult classic, Deadly Blessing as released by our ever present benefactor, Scream Factory. Let me preface this entry into the Appreciation Month by stating that I have never truly been a fan of this movie. I had only really watched it as a kid, cut on TV and couldn't really find it comparable to movies like Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street which were in heavy rotation during my youth. Hell, there was a time I couldn't even enjoy My Bloody Valentine. Unfortunately getting reacquainted with this movie didn't really generate amorous feelings say nothing of the quality of the release which will be discussed later. Let's figure out what it is that prevents me from latching on to the nipple of D.B.

I caught Deadly Blessing when I was kid. I didn't enjoy it all that much and quite honestly I'm still not a huge fan. Ernest Borgnine may be the one gleaming beacon in the entire movie though I would hardly call this his best performance. This roles is a caricature of a character that Borgnine should play well if it were a more serious role.  Wes Craven is at the helm, pre Nightmare on Elm Street but after some of the greatest shock flicks of the 1970's we can hardly call Deadly Blessing comparatively crass. What we get from this 1981 release is a gruesome look at the seedy underbelly of the Hittites, a religious group even more conservative than the Amish.  Well, maybe less gruesome and more eerie. Maybe less eerie and simply disturbing would be a better way to phrase it. Maybe not even disturbing... mysterious?


It's not that it's a difficult movie to watch or filmed poorly. Deadly Blessing plays out like a common slasher movie set in a very odd environment yielding a strange cast of suspects and with a clever eye for what might make the viewer feel slightly uncomfortable or at least like a fish out of water. The basic premise surrounds unexplained murder that has some of the locals playing Nancy Drew while getting themselves good and killed in mysterious ways all the time being accused of being sinners by the ultra mega super religious Hittites who are one step away form burning everyone at the stake (though they're not Puritan's and no one actually gets burned at the stake). Ultimately it's a who-done-it?


While there are a few creative creep-out moments, most notably a snake/girl in the bathtub sequence (does this serve as the foundation for the Craven's Nancy/Freddy bathtub attack?) and a spider lovingly dropped into a nice young ladies mouth, there's just not much more to it. Nothing revolutionary or at least nothing that exemplifies what I love  in early Craven pictures. Fans of early 80's slasher films should find something to appreciate even if they don't fully latch on to Deadly Blessing's charm. It's a must see for Borngine-aholic's though, as previously stated, this is not my favorite of his films. Sharon Stone is in it as well in a very early work. It'll be about 11 years until you get the infamous vag (vaj) shot.



Scream Factory put this one out for fans of the movie providing a nice assortment of special features and even the option to purchase with a special edition poster limited to only 500. It's an excellent transfer. It's got some very distinctive new cover art from Nathan Thomas Milliner. While I love Milliner's work I almost appreciate the original boobies up front cover... purely for the supple aesthetic of course. The Blu-ray includes:

Bonus Features:
Audio commentary by director Wes Craven
Interview with actress Susan Buckner and Writers Glen M. Benest and Matthew Barr
TV spots
Theatrical trailer- See more at: http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/216286#sthash.6f7wogSK.dpuf

There are plenty of great reasons to put this one in your collection.


You can pick it up at DiabolkDVD HERE (supporting the little guy is important). Also make sure to "like" Scream Factory over on FaceBook and follow their releases. You can also stop by their website HERE to peruse more titles and get acquainted with their product line and upcoming releases of which there are many. Save your pennies. Start a swear jar. Start a masturbation jar.

-Dr. TERROR

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