Sitting between his two classics, The Hills Have Eyes and A Nightmare On Elm Street, Deadly Blessing is a virtually forgotten entry on director Wes Craven’s CV. Made in 1981, it’s a ridiculous pile of nonsense that’s not without entertainment value. Certainly veteran Ernest Borgnine is having fun as the leader of a strange Amish community called The Hittites, getting a chance to roll his eyes, pull his beard and spout lines about an ancient incubus that’s terrorising the two girls (one a very young Sharon Stone) who have come to visit their friend, Martha. Martha is an ex-Hittite, banished for marrying a man outside of the cult, and after his mysterious death they try to drive her away from the community.
Craven handles the relationship between the three women well, shying away from the usual horror clichés, but the surrounding horror is drastically over the top, deadly arachnids, bathtub crawling snakes and possession all called up from Borgnine’s incubus. There’s a nicely done scene involving a fornicating couple (a staple of early 80s horror), with a stabbing and petrol/matches to notch up the tension, but the climax is predictably daft, with chanting masses, sacrificial altars and a final voice-over that talks of the incubus rising out of the bottomless pits of the Earth. It all looks very dated, but with some messy gore, Stone’s eating of a spider and Borgnine screaming, ‘You are a stench in the nostrils of God!’ Deadly Blessing is a lot of fun.
Deadly Blessing is available on DVD from 21 November