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Superstition Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Superstition Blu Ray Large

Directed by James W. Roberson
Written by Donald G. Thompson
1982, 85 minutes, Not Rated
Released on April 16th, 2019

James Houghton as Rev. David Thompson
Albert Salmi as Inspector Sturgess
Lynn Carlin as Melinda Leahy
Larry Pennell as Rev. George Leahy
Jacquelyn Hyde as Elvira Sharack
Robert Symonds as Pike
Stacy Keach Sr. as Rev. Maier

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Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that the empty old house on Mill Road is haunted. A series of accidents have claimed several lives over the years and the property appears cursed. The church owns the land and is cleaning the place up for new tenants to move in. A spate of deaths does not slow down the proceedings and soon recovering alcoholic clergyman George Leahy is prepared to start a new life. He is joined by his wife, two daughters and young son and though the family is facing its own troubles, they plan to make the best of it. As the Leahys are getting situated, a young reverend named David Thompson is on hand to act as liaison and assure that things transition smoothly.

Following an accident at the pond, the police arrive and Inspector Sturgess is leading an investigation on the surrounding property. David works closely with the police and reaches out to the caretaker’s mother for answers. She tells of an ancient evil that marks the land dating back to 1692 when a witch was condemned to a watery grave. David consults the church archives for additional information and learns some troubling history. People start disappearing around the house, including Leahy’s young son Justin. The cops search the grounds and discover a secret in the basement. It turns out that the legendary witch is not at rest and is actively hunting anyone crossing into her territory. Can the young priest come up with a solution before the body count reaches its peak or will he be just another in a long line of victims?

Superstition is loaded with haunting imagery and lots of long dark shadows filled with menace. The film is frequently bold with its choice of murder victims as it breaks at least one standard Hollywood taboo. There are plenty of practical effects, including such highlights as a buzz saw through one person’s chest and an exploding head in the microwave. The witch makes for an awesome villain hell-bent on vengeance and killing indiscriminately. You trespass on her land, you die. The flashbacks revealing the witch’s history are well done and up the creep factor without overstaying their welcome. Once her wrath is fully unleashed, the body count grows at a brisk pace, making everyone a target.

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Directed by James W. Roberson (The Legend of Alfred Packer) the picture is rich with atmosphere and builds some genuine suspense on a few occasions. Roberson is a cinematographer by trade with work dating back to The Town That Dreaded Sundown, and brings a distinct style to his efforts here. The script, written by Donald G. Thompson (The Evil), drops its characters into a bad situation and watches them deal with it. The kills are spaced apart just enough to keep audience interest high and then kicks into overdrive during the final act. James Houghton (Knots Landing) stars as David Thompson, the curious priest on a mission to uncover a dark secret held by the church for many years. He is likeable in the role and makes for a strong protagonist.

Superstition is a nice variation on 1980s horror in that it came during the height of the slasher movie craze and manages to tell a unique story that is a welcome alternative storyline. There are plenty of murders and gory special effects as should be expected, but the evil is supernatural and far deadlier than a man in a mask. The movie has a lot going for it with strong direction and a quality script that is not always the norm in this genre.

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Video and Audio:

Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the picture has undergone a full 2K scan and restoration with winning results. Previous releases have been notoriously dark, but this new transfer brings detail long absent to the front. Colors are strong and black levels are solid with flesh tones appearing natural throughout.

The DTS-HD MA 2.0 delivers where it counts with pleasing music cues and creepy sound effects. Dialogue levels are clean and free from hiss or other distortion.

Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

Director James Roberson sits down for the all-new interview That Crazy Witchcraft (24 minutes) and shares a great deal about this film’s production history. He reflects on the picture’s domestic release and overseas success and is pleased with the end product.

In Lake of Fire (30 minutes), actor James Houghton discusses his long history in the industry starting out working with his producer father Buck Houghton (The Twilight Zone). He talks about career highlights and some of the more challenging aspects of this movie. He has kind words for the director and appreciates the importance of having a solid camera operator/ cinematographer. His memories are all positive and he seems like a nice man – so check out this featurette.

The original theatrical trailer is paired with a TV spot providing a look at the marketing campaign.

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Movie: Threeandahalfstars Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Video: Fourandahalfstars
Audio: Threeandahalfstars
Features: Twoandahalfstars
Overall: 3.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
Robert Gold
Author: Robert Gold
Staff Reviewer - USA
Robert's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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