Friday, April 19, 2019

SUPERSTITION (1982) Blu-ray review

Superstition (1982) d. James Roberson (USA) (85 min)

The old mansion by Black Lake, owned by the local parish, is rumored to be haunted by a witch drowned there in 1692. When an alcoholic minister (Larry Pennell), his wife (Lynn Carlin), his teenage temptress daughters (Heidi Bohay, Maylo McCaslin), and little son Justin (Billy Jayne) move into the cursed residence, an idealistic young priest (James Houghton) and a cynical police detective (Albert Salmi) start their own investigation into the unexplained violence. Has the daughter of Satan returned for a rampage of vengeance? Will the laws of the Church be strong enough to cast out this demon? And if evil has truly found a new home, is the entire neighborhood headed straight to hell?

Thanks to some audaciously gory/cheesy onscreen deaths and a swinging-for-the-bleachers cast, this is a sorely underviewed flick that deserves more love from fans of vintage ’80s horror. (Executive producers Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna were understandably distracted by the success of Sylvester Stallone’s First Blood, released the same year, and didn’t really give Superstition the theatrical push it needed to find an audience.)

While the story is fairly standard haunted house material, the set-pieces include an exploding head in a microwave, a body cut in half by a window pane, a hanging in an elevator shaft, a guy crushed in a wine press, a woman nailed to the floor with a spike through her skull, and Stacy Keach, Sr. as an unfortunate senior priest who has a close encounter with a renegade circular saw blade!

This was jobbing cinematographer Roberson’s (who got his start working with Charles B. Pierce on Legend of Boggy Creek and The Town That Dreaded Sundown) second time in the director’s chair, following 1980’s The Legend of Alfred Packer, which sees a group of college kids being menaced by the ghost of Colorado’s favorite convicted killer/cannibal. Houghton is the son of famed Twilight Zone producer Buck Houghton, and genre fans might also recognize Lynn Carlin as the grieving mother in Bob Clark’s Deathdream (1972) and little Billy Jayne from X-Ray and Bloody Birthday!


NEW 2K scan from the original film elements

NEW “That Crazy Witchcraft” with director James Roberson (24 min)

NEW “Lake of Fire” with actor James Houghton (30 min)

Original Theatrical Trailer

Original TV Spot

Superstition is available now on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory and can be ordered HERE:


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