SUPERSTITION- 'VTC' UK pre-cert video cover
3 and a half stars   Cheese Rating: 75% Feirce Fondue!

"You'll believe it just before you die..."

directed by: James W. Roberson
starring: James Houghton, Albert Salmi, Lynn Carlin Larry Pennell

(back of video blurb):
       "In 1784 (sic), the witch Elondra Sharack is sentenced to death by crucifixion, but as Satan's daughter, her evil spirit cannot be destroyed and lurks in the lake (known as Blackpond).

       200 years later, a series of bizarre killings shock the area and the young Rev. David Thompson assists the police with their investigations while installing the new vicar and his family into the house by the lake. The last family who lived there all met with gruesome deaths.

       The Reverend's daughter is attacked and his son meets a hideous death, and while Thompson researches the horrible facts of Elondra's past, the rest of the family and the chief of police are brutally murdered."

choice dialogue:

"There was another family who tried to live was hung...
one was spiked to the attic was literally torn apart!"

Slash with panache?

       SUPERSTITION maybe a guilty pleasure, but I can unashamedly declare my undying love for this movie. As video-schlock from the early 80’s goes this is way, way up there. In turn; unintentionally hilarious; hokey; never boring and even, at will the cross protect him from THE WITCH?times, pretty scary. And indeed it did scare the shit out of me and a group of school friends back on an Autumnal video afternoon back in 1983. SUPERSTITION was one of those ‘nasty’ wannabes- an AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979) meets FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980), taking in a smidgen of THE EXORCIST (1973) on the way. Always the Bridesmaid and never the Bride, this gory pot-boiler complete with a meaty and highly inventive body count , amazingly, never did make it onto that infamous list. Thus, and somewhat sadly so, it never did gain the recognition it so richly deserved- well before I get carried away I better get on with things!

       SUPERSTITION isn’t a ‘slasher’ movie as such, it’s a melting pot of all of horrors’ subgenres, taking a little from here and there. But the beginning of the film the head in the microwave gag!certainly falls into the ‘teenie-kill’ category- and how!....Two thespianally challenged teens make out in a car outside a spooky, deserted mansion. In time honoured tradition the girl starts to get nervous and whines to her horny and oblivious beau, "This place is freaky. All those stories about murders...and ghosts...". Before you can say "BOO!", a horribly disfigured face slams into the car window. The girl screams, the boy panics, a dustbin is knocked over and as a result two teens meet untimely, but spectacular demises- including that ,once seen never forgotten, exploding head in the microwave.

       Apparently the old Sharrack place, which is owned by the Church, has something of a reputation. "There have been many houses on this foundation- all of them and their tenants have come to bad ends." an elderly priest solemnly tells a Elondra Sharrack- the witch, is seen, crucified, in flashback...younger contemporary- David, something which, somewhat amazingly given the recent murders, hasn’t put them off using the accursed place to house a minister and his family. Not that the murders go un-noticed, the local detective and his exceptionally dopey side-kicks suspect the houses’ mute handyman. The detective hangs around the grounds and is prone to, somewhat amusingly, popping up into frame from under a bush barking orders like, "Follow him!". As the house is being done up ,and just to confuse matters more, a bratty girl in a white part dress- called Mary, starts skipping through the Sharrack house and muttering spooky things to David putting him off cleaning his brushes. The repairs to the house don’t go smoothly- the body count claims another three victims, including the memorable sequence where a circular saw becomes unattached and spins messily through someone’s chest! Following the logic of the film so far it comes as no great surprise that the recent messy demise of five people comes as no hindrance to the new family moving in- THE WITCH is coming through the door!the recovering alcoholic minister (an unfeasibly wooden and wizened Clark Gable look-a-like), his bland wife, their goofy son -Justin (!) and his two teenage daughters- one blonde, the other brunette, who bicker constantly- "Shut your bitchy mouth!",and ,somewhat at odds with what you might expect of ministers’ daughters, wear the tightest hotpants and flimsiest nighties in all Christendom! ....Bad Karma doesn’t take long to take effect, kicking off when one of the girls finds a disembodied hand attached to her ankle when she goes for a dip in ‘Black Pond’- a murky pool of water next to the house. David with his interest piqued by all the strange shit goin’ down decides to try and make some sense of it all (at last!). He manages to prise a little information out of the handyman’s mother- a particularly campy old dear with arched eyebrows and a bleak disposition, "they have doomed them all churchman!", she theatrically tells him that the troubles started way back in 1692 THE WITCH stalks disco bunnies in fluffy slippers...when a witch was crucified and submerged in Black Pond by hysterical townspeople- cue some hugely enjoyable flashbacks. BUT she never actually died- she was condemned to spend all eternity in Black Pond, a place where she was imprisoned by a holy artefact from Rome. A crucifix thrown into the lake by Catholic priest, the same crucifix which David recovered when they dredged Black Pond.... OOOPS! Naturally all Hell breaks loose- the Witch is free to stalk disco bunnies in fluffy slippers..... I knew there was some reason why I included this review here!

       Anyway, I’ve waffled on for far too long, but I haven’t given away too much! SUPERSTITION lurches from one inconsistency to another with little regard for anything so boring as logic. It is a cheapskate production without an originalTHE WITCH was the film's new title for its cinema and video UK release thought in its head, but there’s more than enough gory goodies and cheap jump-frights to keep all but the most sober viewer entertained. It is also blessed with a derivative, but highly evocative score- all OMEN-esque and Cathedral caterwauling. A film that manages that most difficult of things- being both occasionally campily amusing and downright scary. SUPERSTITION is the epitome of early 80’s video schlock and I loved every God damn minute of it!

       (....I seem to remember that SUPERSTITION was hugely successful in the UK during the early 80's video boom, so much so that it actually got a brief cinema release under the new title of THE WITCH. It was then relaunched under that title again onto video by 'Stable Cane'. Despite a BBFC18 certificate it doesn't appear (although I wouldn't stake my life on it!), that it remains the same unedited version put out by 'VTC'.)

BODYCOUNT 15  bodycount!   female:5 / male:10

       1) Male teen decapitated (offscreen)- head put in microwave and subsequently explodes!
       2) Male teen messily chopped in half with sliding windows
       3) Male drowned
       4) Male gets it with a dislodged circular saw blade   to screen captures from this scene...
       5) Male hung in lift shaft
       6) Male (pre-teen) killed (offscreen)
       7) Female crucified and drowned (flashback)
       8) Male crushed to death in wine press (flashback)
       9) Male decapitated (offscreen)
     10) Female clawed and battered to death
     11) Male turned into a human pin cushion when a mirror explodes in his face
     12) Female teen has spike hammered into forehead
     13) Female teen has throat gouged (offscreen)
     14) Female (pre-teen) impaled on crucifix
     15) Male drowned