"There can be no justice for the citizens of a town where murder and violence have taken over their lives.
But the townspeople receive their horrific justice in the form of a large figure shouldering a lethal scythe who enters from every storm determined on violent annihilation.
The townspeople take to the church for forgiveness, but they cannot escape the madness that is the stormbringer."
Think back to 1981. A time when the slasher subgenre was at its height; a time when every camp counselor beheaded or high school trollop eviscerated meant that box office trilled non-stop to the sound of body parts hitting the dance floor. So, if you were keen to cash in on the stalk-n-slash craze splattering the nation's cinema patrons in brightly coloured grue you'd find yourself a natty mask and an abandoned summer camp filled with nubile teenagers, right? Well, the director of STORMBRINGER obviously had loftier ideas. Why not try and spread some Carpenter magic using the backdrop of a Godless American town (let's call it Dullsville) during the Great Recession of the 1920s? On paper it might have sounded like a winner: bring in a creepy looking Grim Reaper, armed with a mean looking scythe, and then chop up some of those good-for-nothing teens as they Charleston their way to damnation and hellfire. Admittedly, that could have worked. Unfortunately, it would be tempting to say that STORMBRINGER is like LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PARARIE with slight slasher trappings. The trouble is, LITTLE HOUSE was often scarier.
There are a couple of teens - including a girl named Mitzi who looked like she had her makeup done by John Wayne Gacy - but most of the action (and I use the term advisedly) concerns the adulterous, mean-sprited and murderous doings of the town's adults. I apologise if that makes it sound interesting, because really it's not. It's like watching Am-Dram in never-ending purgatory. To sum it up, the town's preacher has given up the ghost because his only congregation are three old ladies dressed in black. He can't even leave town with his dignity intact because the bank manager hounds him for unpaid bills. Meanwhile, a mean old lady scolds local children and then poisons Doodles, their pet goat. A petrol pump attendant tricks his parents into signing their own condemnation to the asylum so he can get his inheritance early (which could have been a nice little John Waters moment had the film had the sense to be a bit campier). So, all around people have just gone plain bad. Not particularly interesting mind, just bad.
However, on the way out of town the priest sees the Grim Reaper pulling into town on his cart and wagon as a storm approaches. He does what any good Christian would do, and lets the slasher set about the business of carving up the townsfolk without intervening. Well, you would pray for that kind of payoff after sitting through an arse-numbing 90 minutes of period vignettes. Unfortunately, despite the promise the storm never really comes - it's more of a drizzly afternoon in Huddersfield if truth be told. Despite one coma rousing decapitation by scythe right at the end of the movie, the Grim Reaper is sorely underused - and that's a great shame. With his Cropsy'esque charred skin and glowing eyes - not to mention the long flowing black cape and whooshing scythe - this villain could have cut quite a figure in a half decent slasher flick. Sadly, STORMBRINGER is not a half decent slasher flick - to be honest, it's hardly a slasher flick at all.
At the end of 100 minutes my brain had shriveled to the size of a walnut and my arse was in near need of CPR. I barely had the energy to slap my forehead (repeatedly until it bled) as eventually became depressingly obvious that CDH Reynolds really never had any intention of making a horror movie at all. What he really was making was a Christian morality play. Seriously folks, the ending had me re-enacting the bit in the original OMEN when Damien is driven up to Guildford Cathedral. Surely even the Spanish Inquisition wasn't this cruel.
If I can bring myself to say anything nice at all about STORMBRINGER then at least they managed to get some decent period detail on a shoestring budget, and not all the acting was atrocious. However, the film has all the momentum of a slug on a skateboard. Amazingly, many of the cast also turned up in the next year's DEATH SCREAMS (aka HOUSE OF DEATH) which - whilst it had its own faults - did the early 80s slasher thing with a whole lot more panache.
BODYCOUNT 9 female:3 / male:61) Female pulled underground and burnt