As part of a challenge to myself to see all of the movies on the Video Nasty list last year I had the absolute pleasure to enjoy Evilspeak for this first time. You guys know what the Video Nasty list is by now. It’s a shopping cart full of movies that were either prosecuted as being obscene or confiscated in the mid-80’s in the United Kingdom under the Video Recording Act of 1984. It was amended to include additional titles both formally and other titles would be confiscated even though they were not on the black list. While the reason I watched Evilspeak was because it was on the list, I was not altogether unfamiliar with it. The cover glared down at my from the shelves at Long Valley Video growing up, and though I didn’t get the chance to see it, I knew that I wanted to and badly. Scream Factory aligned with Code Red have given us an opportunity to see it on Blu-ray for the first time, the DVD release having previously been available through Code Red. If you are not familiar with Code Red I urge you to check out their product line. They put out some classic horror, action and Sci-Fi titles that are must buys, some Blu-ray and others on DVD. For today we’ll stick with the Scream Factory release of Evilspeak.
Synopsis from Scream Factory:
I want you to think about 1981. Computers. Heavy Metal. Fraternity comedies. The movies that would prod the horror world created a frenzy of sequels, rip offs, copycats and out and out cash grabs, but for as for Evilspeak we are introduced to a truly unique picture that seems to play on major themes of late 70’s and early 80’s horror without being redundant. The major innovation in this particular release is the inclusion of a monochrome computer, rather archaic by our standards today, as the call to worship at the mighty hand of Esteban, the bringer of evil and super techno-murder. Hell, the alternate title for this release is The Computer Murders. It plays out movies that would follow shortly like Electric Dreams and Weird Science though both of those movies obviously have comedic intent. Further down the line we see a similar storyline in the early 90’s release of Brainscan. The heavy metal influence of Evilspeak isn’t necessarily apparent as our main character played by Clint Howard isn’t a metalhead looking for revenge against his peers, but he certainly embodies the same character structure as will be found in movies like Trick or Treat in about five years. Hey, the guys into evil and calling up strange old priests. He may not be playing records backward or wearing a leather jacket and studs, but the archetype is there. He wants revenge, nerd like even… a future member of Lambda Lambda Lambda. Remember Scream Factory heads… Final Exam is also coming at you from Scream Factory, also an alumni of the Class of 1981.
Evilspeak is a gory good time with plenty of obscure or cult iconic favorites to keep the movie fresh. Richard Moll as Esteban, the Satanic Priest? Check. Luca Brasi aka Lenny Montana of Godfather fame with a handful of puppies for everyone! Stanley Coopersmith embodied by Clint Howard in a performance that is both eerie and endearing; it’s hard to believe you feel moments of real sympathy for Coopersmith before he realizes that the power he wields can be used to a most vulgar end. How about R.G. Armstrong? He’s featured in another Scream Factory release, The Beast Within, but I remember him best from his appearance in Friday the 13th The Series as evil Uncle Lewis who releases all the cursed objects into the world and beginning the hunt for Uncle Jack, Mickey and Ryan. If you can’t get into these performances, there are always a gang of man-eating hogs to keep you entertained.
With iconic Blu-ray cover in hand preserving one of the traditional posters for the release, the Scream Factory Blu-ray gives us something to feel powerfully evil about; the interior displays two different foreign representations of the same cover. The transfer is a 1080p HD supervised and approved by director Erick Weston who also provides the commentary track. Interviews include Joseph Cortese, Clint Howard, Hayward Nelson, Claude Early Jones, Richard Moll and Don Stark. I cannot stress enough that the interviews with Howard and Moll are reason enough to upgrade to this release if you’re not a quality hound. Moll is a riot, but his insight into the world of horror movies during the 80’s and acting is eye opening. Clint Howard is a consummate professional who deserves all the attention he’s been receiving in recent years due to a cult following that has embraced his perfectly planned awkward performances. He’s not Ron Howard’s brother. Ron Howard is HIS brother! This is a great looking disc, restored to pre-X rating built to test your Video Nasty Button.
You hear the rumor that Anton LaVey loved this little picture, and it’s important to remember that he also had a minor role in Devil’s Rain, another supernatural horror picture with a Satanic thread. That should be enough to get you on board. If you don’t want to take the head of the Church of Satan’s word for it, then maybe you’ll take mine. In the last year, we’ve seen two releases that feature Richard Moll as a bad guy in a horror movie (Night Train to Terror released by Vinegar Syndrome). Maybe it’s time to start your Moll collection to go along with your Howard collection. Hear EvilSpeak. Speak Evilspeak. See Evilspeak from Scream Factory