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June 8, 2011

Fear No Evil

(1981, Dir. by Frank LaLoggia.)

It's not often that I'm truly at a loss for words about a movie I see.  I know it reads like I am sometimes, but that's just my scatterbrain/potential dyslexia kicking in - I actually do have coherent thoughts about these movies, it's just that I don't know how to transfer them to my fingertips like a normal human does.  But today, as I sit here and think about Fear No Evil - well, I'm struggling mightily to come up with something to talk about.  Not because there aren't thoughts going on in my head, because there's too damn many of 'em and almost all of them make less sense than an astronaut wearing Crocs and dancing with Eva Marie Saint on a fishing boat.  I do know, however, that we all owe a large debt of thanks to Emily over at The Deadly Doll's House of Horror Nonsense, because her love for this movie is what propelled me to check it out.

Sometimes I complain that the slasher craze of the '80s killed off the intelligent supernatural/spiritual horror craze of the '70s, because the latter group of films is the one I'm generally more fond of.  But it's not exactly like '80s filmmakers that were making supernatural horror movies were actually all making good movies.  If nothing else, I guess Fear No Evil kind of represents the fact that there was clearly a changing of the guard somewhere around 1980, because I have to think the religio-horror movement reached its breaking point somewhere late in the '70s.  Heck, maybe it was earlier than that.  I'm not really sure, but my point is that I shouldn't blame slashers so much when I find that the movie I pick specifically because it's not a slasher turns out to be one of the most baffling movies I've ever seen.

Fear No Evil basically follows a weird teenage boy who is also Lucifer, the Son of Satan.  At the beginning of the film we see him being chased around a castle a generation ago, evading a priest, showing off his yellow eyes and sideburns, apparently humping a tree, turning into a young girl, and then sacrificing himself via impalement so he can come back in another generation.  Then he comes back, turns 18, goes to a high school with a lot of punk music, and starts to realize his Antichrist powers.

There's more going on, particularly a gigantic amount of homoerotic weirdness, man ass, and pent up high school aggression.  Most of the characters do that typical "I'm in high-school and I don't understand people so I harass them in and after gym class" thing that we always see in high school movies (and real life, it's not like we all never got abused in a locker room, right?), but the catch is that awkward Andrew - who is also Lucifer - is the wrong kid to target.  Y'know, because he's Lucifer - and thus can target his bullies back.

The pinnacle of Andrew/Lucifer's powers are shown off in one of the most frantically ridiculous yet enthralling scenes I've ever seen - which involves a gym class and the masochistic game of dodgeball.  I don't think I can do the scene justice in words - and you're better off not watching the full movie - so here's the YouTube version.  Prepare yourselves.
Why exactly did the short kid try to tackle his teammate in the midst of the action?  And why is this more frantic than the opening of Saving Private Ryan?  Haven't these kids played dodgeball before?  My high school football coach would say that these kids look like a bunch of monkeys humping a football...and he'd be right.

Later in the movie, Andrew gets a chance to get revenge on a kid who tried to tell him that smoking pot makes you grow boobs.  And yeah....I'm just gonna tell you that there's boob growing involved.  It's another one of those weird moments that the film is full of where our Antichrist turns the whole plot strange and sexual, and it just kinda creeps the hell out of me.  Not in a good way, in a "Who thought up this movie and what the hell were they on?" way.

I'm sure it's hard to believe the things I'm telling you about Fear No Evil, but I can assure you that this odd, inept, punk version of The Omen does indeed exist.  It's a movie that must be experienced to be understood...but then again I kind of never want to experience it again after having experienced it.  Is it better to have seen death by dodgeball and grown manboobs and lost, or to have never seen death by dodgeball and grown manboobs at all.  I can't make the choice for you, but I'm pretty sure that - if nothing else - Fear No Evil is gonna go down as the most awkward thing I watch during '80s horror month.  

And the scariest thing is that something tells me the filmmakers were taking this seriously.  I fear their evil.


deadlydolls said...

Thank you for making me feel like life is worth living this morning. it's good to know I've made a difference.

B.STANK said...

I need to see this! I refrained from watching the clips to keep the experience pure...I'll get back to ya on it!

Anonymous said...

I too was compelled to check this one out by the dearest Emily. A truly WTF movie. Loved the soundtrack.