director Eric Weston
At this point, it’s pretty cliché to refer to Clint Howard as Ron Howard’s younger, weird-looking brother, but I’m sure that is still how a lot of people think of him. He’s been in showbiz forever, playing a variety of character parts, sometimes bit parts, sometimes moderately substantial, though rarely,as an adult, is he a lead, a star. So a horror film starring Clint Howard is unusual enough. How about one featuring a Clint Howard nude scene?
Eric Weston’s 1981 devil worship video nasty horror flick (yeah, this too was a “video nasty”) isn’t only unusual for the Clint Howard factors but is notable as well for being one of the first films to feature a home computer in a key role in the film. It is via his school’s Apple II that Howard’s character, the much beset Stanley Coopersmith, summons the devil for retribution on his many cruel persecutors. Its role even plays out in the title’s font selection: Gothic evil and computers!
Really, though, this is a surprisingly good movie. Coopersmith is a very sympathetic character, an orphaned boy at a snobby, elitist military school, and Howard manages to give Coopersmith a believability that only flirts with out and out pathos. Compared, as it often is, to Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976), you need to sympathize with Coopersmith if the story is going to work. Frankly, I think Howard is pretty darn good in this.
He’s tormented by his peers, his soccer coach, the drunken handyman, even the Colonel who runs the school and his thieving secretary. He has one friend besides the school cook, the latter of whom gives him a puppy. So when he stumbles on a cache of demonic literature in the basement of the school’s church, he sets about summoning the demon who founded the school after ex-communication and exile in America.
Okay, maybe it’s better not to go into the details of the story.
For a low budget picture, it’s well-made, well-acted, and even features some pretty decent FX, with a real emphasis on decapitations. And hogs.
I was surprised by how much I liked it.
I’m throwing this link in just for the heck of it: