Deadly Blessing

Production Year: 1981
Release Date: 01/22/2013
Label: Scream Factory
Collection Number: 1315

Wes Craven directed nine films during the the 80's, these nine movies ranged from great to very questionable.  There's one thing eight of these films have in common however, they are all overshadowed by his flagship film A Nightmare on Elm Street.  It didn't matter if the movie came before or after 1984, ANOES changed things and to this day it's "that film" that ol' Wes is known for.  In someways maybe it's for the best people forget about "The Hills Have Eyes Part 2," or even "Shocker" (Yeah I said it, I don't like Shocker.)  But what about some of his other overlooked gems from that time period?  I absolutely love The Serpent and the Rainbow and the film I'm reviewing today, Deadly Blessing, is pretty damn good in it's own right.

Deadly Blessing centers around Martha (Maren Jensen), a woman who has just became sole owner of a farm thanks to her husband's mysterious and untimely death.  If being a lonely widow on a big farm wasn't enough, it just so happens that her recently deceased husband was also kin to a crazed Amish-like cult who go by the "Hittite."  Considering she's 'city folk,' and surely evil the Hittite clan would like nothing more than to get her off of that farm so they can reclaim it.  So it sure is a big coincidence when strange things start happening around the farm.  Lucky for Martha two of her old friends from the city have decided to join her while she copes with her loss.  Soon these coincidences get a bit more serious and things begin to spiral out of control.

Wes Craven travels to slasher territory with this one.  It has all of the makings of an 80's period slasher; young scantily dressed women, an unseen mysterious killer, a "who-done-it" line up of the usual suspects, and to tie everything together a very strange surprising ending.  While it shares a lot of the same factors of it's ilk it manages to surpass your typical by the numbers kill-a-thon.  Wes certainly has a knack for setting up some very tense scenes, especially a very familiar bathtub shot which manages to be just as good as the one I'm sure many of you are familiar with.  Ernest Borgnine sets the standard for the acting in this film with his 'just the right amount of crazy' stare.  Michael Berryman, Sharon Stone, and Jeff East all give great performances too.    Glenn Benest and Matthew Barr tell a story that manages to be pretty creepy while also creating yet another reason why most folks don't like traveling to our side of the country.

I really dig this movie.  Living in the Southwest I've got a soft spot for the very familiar scenery in the film, you know what I'm talking about- those flat landscapes that seem to go on forever.  This film was shot in the great town of Waxahachie (pronounced Wox-Ah-Hachie) and it certainly shows.  Let's also take a moment to discuss the late Ernest Borgnine and just how freakin' crazy he looked in this film?  Seriously.  If you thought he was a complete weirdo in The Devil's Rain you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Now for the disc itself, this release looks pretty darn good.  The film gets a great treatment which really works for the scenery, the PQ is definitely up to par with their other releases and aside from a few drops in quality here and there (mostly with a few of the darker interior scenes) it's a really beautiful transfer.  There's a DTS HD Master audio track provided along with a 2.0 option, there's also a director commentary with Wes Craven.  As far extras go you've got typical Scream Factory here, meaning it's loaded with four different interview featurettes with various cast and crew members, trailer, tv spot, radio spots- the usual.  This is another solid release.

Deadly Blessing Might not be the best Craven's ever brought horror fans but it certainly does not deserved to be shunned and forgot about as if it were some sort of incubus.  Joking aside, it's a very creepy film that's well worth your time, especially for you fans of rural horror.  With that said if you've got any urge to see this flick this release is the way to go.


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