We can’t get away from the lasting impact of films like 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, or 1996’s Scream, so it’s always fun to take a look at films that had absolutely no impact but deserve cult status. My latest streaming marathon scored me one each from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
SPAWN OF THE SLITHIS (1978)
Spawning at a time when some horror movies were trying to be environmentally conscious (Food of the Gods, Piranha, Prophecy), Spawn of the Slithis did it just as bad as the campiest of them! The only good thing about this piece of trash is the rubber monster. He rules!
A fun intro scene has a neurotic couple arguing in the middle of the night after their dog wakes them up. With no attempt to keep the monster in this creature feature a mystery for a while, we see him come out of the water, break down their door, and attack them—implied, because we don’t see it happen. In fact, it seriously looks like the footage of the couple and the footage of the monster were not even filmed at the same time or in the same house.
Then we meet a local college professor who starts to investigate the mysterious slaughter of the couple. Virtually the entire movie consists of him talking to a host of bizarre characters (due in part to horrible acting) about radioactivity creating a Slithis. Seriously, all these guys pretty much say from the start, “Oh yeah, must be a Slithis monster caused by radioactive waste.” I think this guy was caused by radioactive waste….
Finally, the group of know-it-all science misfits gets on a boat to hunt down Slithis, at which point he upstages them all, going on a fantastic rampage that saves this film—by killing off all the awful characters.
MYSTICS IN BALI (1981)
This Indonesian horror flick starts out so fricking creepy. Dare I say it had potential to be on the level of Evil Dead. Some chick gets her man to bring her into the woods to visit a witch. Holy fucking witch. This cackling, croaking bitch is a nightmare from hell.
She shakes hands with the chick and leaves her hand behind. She hides in the bushes and lets her huge, snake-like tongue come slithering out to drink blood from bottles and to etch a magic symbol onto the chick’s thigh.
Each night, the witch turns the chick into some sort of flying vampire head with all its internal guts hanging from its neck, and the effects are a combination of green screen laughable and a dummy head. First thing this vampire head does is go and suck on some pregnant woman’s vagina. WTF?
The main chick also turns into a snake and pukes mice. There are also witch dances in the woods, floating fire heads that duel it out, and a human pig witch thing.
Eventually, a witch doctor dude takes on the witch in the woods, and the movie shifts to a bad Asian fight film farce that includes horrendous, cartoonish magic power electric bolts and levitating people. What started out as a chilling witch flick becomes a piece of schlock.
DUST DEVIL (1992)
Dust Devil begins with a hottie picking up a woman and going home with her seemingly in the middle of the desert. As she’s riding him, he snaps her neck. Yeah, things start off with lots of promise.
Looking like Stephen King’s Gunslinger, this hottie, played by Robert John Burke (who happens to have starred in the movie adaptation of King’s Thinner), proves to be some sort of murderous demon creature.
Unfortunately, this film is excruciatingly slow and meanders as much as its nomadic characters. The demon guy hooks up with some woman just driving through the desert after leaving her husband. Meanwhile, there’s some cop chasing the demon guy with the help of a shaman.
Burke is a fucking stud, looks amazing shirtless, and sure knows how to wear a creepy demon face that complements his bod perfectly. Unfortunately, the scenes of him going all demon are few and far between, making Dust Devil a huge disappointment for this horror fan. It’s more of a demon/human love story!