Susan Tyrrell chews up the screen as a domineering and perverse aunt who’ll stop at nothing to keep her ever-growing nephew from leaving the warmth of her psychotic bosom.
All you need to do is answer one question: Can you ever go wrong with Susan Tyrrell? Hell no! For instance, take the abomination that was “Avenging Angel,” had it not been for her presence alone, there’s no way in hell I could’ve made it through that painful cluster-fuck. From John Huston to John Waters she’s captivated anyone who dared look into those eyes; eyes that have lived a thousand lifetimes and that would just as soon cut as kiss you. My adoration of the woman aside, this film is certainly nothing to be trifled with either.
Little Billy was staying with his Aunt Cheryl when tragedy struck and his parents died in an unfortunate (or was it?) car accident. The movie kicks off with a graphic beheading which sets the tone beautifully for this moody, above-average pot-boiler. Cut to 14 years later and Billy is now looking forward to going away to college with his girlfriend and getting on with his life although Aunt Cheryl has a fucked up head overflowing with better ideas.
Chock-full of sitcom stars, bit players, character actors and more homophobia than you’ve ever seen/heard in any one film in perhaps the history of the world. (unless there’s a film out there called: KILL ALL THE DEVIANT FAGGOTS BECAUSE THEY’RE THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL AND THEY HAVE QUEER HANDS THAT TOUCH QUEER COCKS AND A MAN JUST ISN’T A MAN UNLESS HE LOVES PUSSY aka ADAM AND EVE NOT ADAM AND STEVE)
Seriously, the amount of homophobia on display in this film is insane. Actually, this whole movie is certifiable. Tyrrell shreds as the horny, lonely matriarch who can’t bear the thought of being left alone. We watch with keen anticipation as she connives and manipulates every situation in an attempt to keep Billy close to home; even going so far as faking an attempted rape/murder of an innocent (and unbeknownst to her, gay) TV repairman. Things unravel quickly as the murder investigation headed by the outrageously homophobic Bo Svenson (Primal Rage, Heartbreak Ridge, The Inglorious Bastards) chugs along briskly raising plenty of questions about the authenticity of her claims. As things start to spiral out of control, Aunt Cheryl (between regular visits to an altar where she communes with the rotting corpse of her ex-lover) cracks and unleashes her own unique brand of unholy homicidal lunacy to anyone within earshot.
I absolutely guarantee that I’m not doing this film justice. You will enjoy it because it’s 100% unique and so god damned over-the-top that you have to keep picking your jaw up off the floor so that you can slap yourself in the face to make sure that what you’re seeing and hearing is real. There are so many wonderfully outrageous lines that you won’t able to resist quoting them despite it forcing you to sound like some backwoods, ignorant hill-jack. “Just keep your queer hands off me, okay?” This film rides the impressive line of being full-on camp but all the while engaging, unsettling, funny and thoroughly creepy. Capably helmed by veteran TV director William Asher towards the ass-end of his career. It always amazes me when someone with zero background in horror manages to successfully pull it off; and for 1982 this is pretty fab stuff, it almost has a slightly sanitized Euro feel to it.
I’ve left some wonderful little pieces of the puzzle out because I hope that each and every one of you will track this down and give it a whirl. Word came down about 20 years ago that Code Red was working on its release but that has yet to come to fruition. If you have the means, I strongly suggest digging it up. You will NOT be disappointed!
P.S. Make sure you cruise down & check out our lovely leading lady singing “Witch’s Egg” from Forbidden Zone!
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:
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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.