How many movies have I seen from 1981? I mean, has there ever been a better year for movies? Possession, Scanners, Evil Dead, Escape from New York, Heavy Metal, Dead and Buried, Just Before Dawn, The House by the Cemetery, Eyes of a Stranger, An American Werewolf In London, Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker, Hell Night, Mystics In Bali, even Carnival Magic. Ahh - also Dark Night of the Scarecrow, Piranha 2, Absurd, Demonoid, Madhouse, My Bloody Valentine, The Monster Club, Shock Treatment, Night School, The Beyond, The Other Hell, Happy Birthday to Me, The Prowler, The Funhouse, Burial Ground, One from the Heart, Don't Go Into the Woods, Evilspeak, Fear No Evil, The Howling, The Beyond, Knightriders, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Halloween II, Friday the 13th Part 2, Porky's, The Road Warrior, Excalibur, Body Heat, Cannonball Run, Stripes, The Burning, Blow Out, Thief, Ms. 45, Mommie Dearest, Cannibal Ferox, Galaxy of Terror, Nighthawks, Inseminoid, Ghost Story, The Pit, Christiane F., Roar, Pennies from Heaven, Sharky's Machine, Bloody Moon, Enter the Ninja, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, The Fan, The Nesting, The Black Cat, Night of the Werewolf, Firecracker, Mad Foxes, The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, Centrespread, Years of the Beast, Home Sweet Home, Dead Kids and man, so many more.
1981 was a great, great time to be alive and excited about horror movies.
On the other side of the world, Australian folk horror was taking root, at least with this film, which starts with 16-year-old Alison playing with a spirit board and we all know just how well that works out in film. It doesn't work out in minutes, not hours or days, as Alison's dead father begins to warns her that 's she in trouble and that she shouldn't go home for her birthday through possessing one of her friends, who is then killed dead when a bookcase falls on her.
Years later, Alison and her boyfriend visit her family, who instantly keep them apart and Alison begins having vivid nightmares. The plan is to keep slowly drugging and gaslighting them both, ending with the spirit of a demon named Mirna being moved from Alison's grandmother into her body, as has been the tradition for two hundred years.
Director and writer Ian Coughlan also made Stones of Death and Cubbyhouse, another movie about devil worship that supposedly has a connection to this movie. I've heard that it's near unwatchable and has Joshua Leonard from The Blair Witch, so I leave it up to some other brave soul to watch it. Who am I kidding - I'll probably update this post sooner or later with my findings.
As part of the All the Haunts Be Ours box set from Severin, this modern folk horror will finally be seen by a larger audience. It may not be the fastest moving story, it may not have all the gore of the slasher yeat of 1981, but it has a definite dark mood that makes it unlike anything you've seen before, even if you know exactly where it leads.