Director Eric Weston delivers a demonic possession flick that contains a cheaper version of Carrie White in the form of Stanley Coopersmith, portrayed by Clint Howard, in a film known as Evilspeak. One might inquire why include it in the 2016 ABC’s of Horror, simply, aside from pigs devouring people, and fantasy Satanic ritual the movie generated a fair amount of controversy when initially released from many parental groups for gleeful enjoyment of the Stanley character slaying his classmates, it celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. This pre-political correctness flick eventually became a VHS lost relic to formats and audiences alike, a silly investment of time, but with violent streak of implements which all generates a goofy storyline along with chuckles.
Clint Howard gave a full gusto performance to his very rare leading role, of Stanley, who portrays of the often teased, bullied and insulted teen by classmates and teachers at a military school, which believe he insults both their lives and reputation. Early on, the audience learns of his grief, losing his parents to an untimely tragedy, yet no one at the West Andover Military Academy cares, rather referring to him as a loser and reminds him constantly everything is his fault. Horror fans root for the underdog in the films, identifying with his plight, and later the revenge. In addition, the school, full of entitlements and elites prides itself on fierce superior Christian religion, however, the location resides on a place of sinister forces and evil, all found in the church‘s sub-basement’s hidden room. The owner, long since gone, Father Estaban’s (Richard Moll, of Night Court television fame) book on black magic remains from his satanic leadership. The story mixes a bit of farfetched 80’s computer ridiculous commands deciphers Latin into English on crappy 1981 monitor, and then his adversary Bubba (Dan Stark), discovering the ritual room, and killing Stanley’s adorable puppy. The revenge sets forth, and like Carrie, the docile boy, transforms into a vicious individual blessed in the powers of black magic, slaying the so-called righteous individuals with wicked methods.
As for the secondary reason for the inclusion to the list, comes from the controversial positioning, that the movie embraces graphic depictions of Satanism in a gloried concept, which the movie doesn’t do in any manner. It also led to Weston, cutting, gutting, and hacking all the gore footage from the movie, some, which become lost to time. In addition, the founder Church of Satan, Anton Lave, claimed to enjoy the film, though one wonders if it was more of marketing stunt, just to outrage parental groups and stir more attention to his organization, whichever the case the film suffered for it.
The movie, released at the time of slasher subgenre heyday and the Satanic mumbo jumbo started to rise up, and the horror industry understand the connect and play with the outrageous claims about dark movies and music to the financial paydays. Although, Evilspeak appears extremely dated via technology, it does contain some fun elements, which transcend time, for the bullied and tormented teens, in such films as The Final (2010) from director Joey Stewart, nevertheless, the enjoyment factors make the viewers disregard everything and champion of Clint Howard’s character.