An interesting film this, which showcases Wes Craven’s talents. He’d already had success with Hills Have Eyes and Last House but this is something different taking his style in a new direction, one which has been present with him throughout his 40 year career.
The story involves some shenanigans with a religious community, Amish types by the name Hittites who are convinced of a demon in the camp taking the form of a female. The son of the order is murdered, suspicion falls on his wife who invites two friends from the outside world to visit and console her in her time of grief. Bodies start stacking up with murder by a black gloved hand. The plot also, based loosely on ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ by Lorraine Hansberry.
This has some really inspiring set sequences, later used in the Elm Street and Scream franchise. Female lead role, here played by Maren Jenson taking on a whole community with people either not taking her serious or ignoring the truth, who takes on the villain single handed which shows up in many forms. Chickens, demons, knife attacks, gun toting, spiders and snakes. It’s a real mixed bag of murder and intrigue. There are dream scenes which are stunningly good. One with a young Sharon Stone, held by hands around the head as she is forced to choke on a spider is dramatic stuff, beautifully filmed. Another scene has a bath sequence, later used in Elm Street, frame for frame.
Notable performances from a great cast include Susan Buckner, Ernest Borgnine and Michael Berryman. Sharon Stone shows some real promise. Maren Jenson is perfect in the lead, a fine talent. This is a great film, cheap on production, big on imagination and ambition. Odd ending though.