The Power (1984)

OCTOBER 19, 2008


There were only two films in the New Beverly All Night Horror Festival that I was completely unfamiliar with. One was Teenage Mother, which isn’t even horror (it’s like Reefer Madness for teenage pregnancy), and the other was The Power, which as best as I can tell, isn’t on DVD. Being directed by the guy behind Soul Survivors wasn’t much of a draw, and the brief plot description got me temporarily confused with the film The Dark Power, another unappealing factor. Still, I needed a film for today, and it was the only one of the festival (post 12 am) that would qualify, based on the announced lineup (I lucked out with House).

As I might have predicted given its non-pedigree, it’s pretty forgettable. There’s some nice bits here and there (such as when a professor uses his Aztec powers to get back at a wiseass student early on), and I like that our would-be hero turns out to be the inadvertent villain (he becomes possessed by the little Aztec doll and essentially turns into a jerk), but I mean, it’s been less than 24 hrs and I’ve already forgotten most of the movie. To be fair, it came near the end of a long marathon, so I was a bit delirious from trying to stay awake (and DID doze for about 20 min or so), but still – if there was anything about the movie worth noting, it would stick out regardless of the circumstances, no?

One thing about the movie is the lack of a body count. There are like 5 kids in “the group” and our guy never actually kills any of them. There’s an impalement early on (on a flagpole!), and a dude melts at the end, but otherwise, I’m not even sure what the R rating is for. This was post PG-13!

In a way I’m kind of glad I didn’t care much for the movie. It’s not on DVD, the VHS is obviously hard to find, and no one else really knows about it (the one link on IMDb’ external reviews is dead). I hate it when I like a movie and can’t get anyone to watch it because it’s so under the radar, so with this I don’t have to bother. What little I remember will be forgotten entirely in a week or so, and I probably won’t have to deal with “How could you not love this movie?!?!?!?” b.s. either. Adios, little movie!

It’s not horror, but I should talk about Teenage Mother a bit while I’m sort of on the subject. In addition to a surprising early performance by the great Fred Willard (as probably the least funny guy in the entire movie, oddly enough), this movie is significant for featuring an actual birth, presented in a single, unbroken, seemingly endless shot. It’s all there, blood pouring out, forceps being applied, and of course, the kid being sort of pulled out. There’s dialogue too, but none of it could be heard, since the entire theater was simply going “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” the entire time. It was a great "audience" moment in a night that was peculiarly low-key for the Bev (the less-than-classic lineup didn’t help I'm sure, but still - it was almost eerily quiet at times), and the rest of the movie was pretty entertaining as well. The 60s kids are hilarious, the father of the would-be mother is equally creepy and overreactionary, and there is no real ending to the film either. In short, it was the most “New Bev” friendly film of the night (save for Raw Force, which closed the festival to a mostly sleeping audience), and I hope they actually show it again on its own bill in the future.

I have enclosed a photo.

What say you?


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