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Judgement Day (1988)

  Tags: 80's, Cesar Romero, curse, David Anthony Smith, devil, Ferde Grofé Jr., hidden gem, judgement day, Ken McLeod, Monte Markham, Peter Mark Richman, satan, the third hand, underrated, village

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Ferde Grofé Jr.
93Ken McLeod David Anthony Smith Monte Markham Peter Mark Richman Cesar Romero minutes
Ken McLeod, David Anthony Smith, Monte Markham, Peter Mark Richman, Cesar Romero

This is a pretty hard-to-find little 80's horror flick, and chances are you've probably never even heard of it to begin with. That's not entirely a bad thing, since it isn't a particularly good movie, however, it does stand out in certain aspects, especially within the decade it spawned from. What really makes this movie an interesting watch is the premise, which I must admit is fairly original. It's too bad that the execution wasn't as great as it could've been.

So the story follows a couple Americans on a little vacation in Mexico. After their travel bus gets a flat tire, they decide to walk to the nearest town, despite the warnings from the bus driver. They reach the town of Santana, where they meet up with a fellow American/bartender, who tells them to get outta town before the nightfall. He goes on to speak of a legend, where the town was plagued by disease a few centuries ago, until a man supposedly makes a dubious deal with the Devil to heal everyone, but at what cost? It turns out that ever since then, Satan himself pays a visit to the town once a year, and this day just-so-happens to be that time of year.

Naturally the guys shrug the story off as a mere ridiculous local legend, however, once they notice that everyone appears to be on their way outta town, they begin to have seconds thoughts. The bartender offers to leave with him once his daughter returns home from school, but she never does, leaving the man to go on a frantic search for her. He tells the two guys to leave before sunset, but of course they stick around a little too long and find themselves fighting against pale hooded men with whips and other beastly foes.

The film has a pretty interesting premise, but sadly that's pretty much the only strong element to the flick. The acting is what you'd expect from an 80's movie and the make-up effects aren't the greatest, but to be honest, I've seen a lot worse. The production values weren't entirely bad, as there are some interesting scenes towards the end showing just how the town has pretty much become hell on earth -- the streets are filled with strange hooded men on horseback and whips, who force the stragglers of the town to march in a line to these large steps that lead to Satan's alter.

The look of the Devil is questionable at times, but I think it was the way he presented himself that really bothered me; always smirking and showing his fangs, oh and he has an F'n cape for some reason too. The movie also has some pacing problems in the beginning and the mid-point when they encounter a rich old man, who offers them solace while the streets are filled with Satan's minions. That particular sub-plot was pretty dull, to be honest, and the purpose it served could've been shortened by 15/20-minutes. The film also suffers from a predictable and a sadly forgettable "twist" ending. Other than that, the film had its moments, and I enjoyed it for its attempt at something different.

A decent and incredibly hard-to-find horror flick. The film has some pacing problems and a predictable ending, but despite its many flaws, I enjoyed what it offered and acknowledge what it tried to deliver the genre. Worth a check (if you can find it) for the premise or just for an interesting little Satan movie.

Posted on July 6, 2009 - 4:57am | FrighT MasteR