#758 Halloween 2017: Deadly Blessing (1981)

Wes Craven’s Deadly Blessing is often seen as a transitional work between his 1977 horror classic The Hills Have Eyes and the huge commercial success that followed with A Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s an original, professional but not mainstream experiment suffering from a slight identity crisis.

In Deadly Blessing Craven has all the right pieces set up, but when the show really starts, he’s not quite sure how to put them all together to make a solid story. There’s an interesting concept of a strict religious group with a strong leader (Ernest Borgnine) and his rebellious son (Jeff East) clashing together and the latter tightroping between the tempting freedom and being shunned out of the community. This intriguing tension alone would’ve been enough to craft a tight thriller.

Instead, Deadly Blessing tries to plaster on a horror element in form of spiders, snakes, tales of succubi and such. These never quite seem to stick with what’s seen on the silver screen, leaving the viewer puzzled what exactly to make of all this. Especially the ending seems weak, and a lost possibility considering the vast possibilities here.

80s-o-meter: 65%

Total: 62%