Conveniently, the 1990 film Def by Temptation and the 2014 Chiller Network original Deep in the Darkness feature black protagonists. But that wasn’t the reason I lumped these two films in one blog. I just happened to watch them both on the same night. And they are two very different experiences.
DEF BY TEMPTATION (1990)
Def by Temptation is an overlooked black horror movie that never got any love like better-known titles such as Blacula and Tales from the Hood. It features Samuel L. Jackson as a minister, fricking Melba Moore as a psychic, and singer Freddie Jackson as…a guy named Freddie.
The premise is pretty straightforward. This chick picks up guys at a bar and brings them home to fuck and suck them. And I mean suck the life out of them. She’s a sort of succubus/demon/vampire bitch and makes minced meat out of these poor horny fellows.
Meanwhile, there are these two friends, a wannabe actor and a wannabe minister—and they both end up falling for the succubus! But this doesn’t happen until way into the film, which drags on for quite a while as the body count slowly rises.
Def by Temptation is such a product of its era. There are smooth grooves during love/kill scenes (wait until you see the sudden appearance of a sax player in a cloud of smoke behind a bed), plenty of late 80s hip hop tracks, AIDS references (the succubus says she’s given one of her victims something for which there’s no cure), A Regan puppet that comes to life, and a reference to Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” And of course there’s bad hair, fashions, and neon horror lighting.
All the cheesy campiness aside, the movie turns into a tale of finding and trusting one’s faith as the final guy takes on the demon. And man, does she become hideous! This is what I was waiting for the entire flick! I just wish there had been more of her in this form during her many bedroom killquests….
As an added bonus, there’s a pointless exchange between a main character and a queeny bitch just so the popular gay stereotype of the time could make an appearance, we get to see a whole lot of a cute guy in a shower scene, and one of the characters actually says “cock blocked!” I didn’t realize the term had been around that long.
DEEP IN THE DARKNESS (2014)
Deep in the Darkness is a Chiller Network original starring sexy Sean Patrick Thomas as a doctor who moves with his white wife and his daughter to a small town in which he’s the only black guy. What are you thinking, Sean? Location, location, location!
Naturally, this town of crackers is all Stepford and shit. They’re keeping some ominous secrets. Sean’s neighbor takes him into the woods and shows him an altar where he suggests he bring a live animal to sacrifice to the mythical wild men who “used to” lived in the woods. Sean also learns from this neighbor that they don’t have cable in the town. No cable? Get the fuck out, Sean!
The first half of this film is incredibly creepy. The townsfolk are creepy. Sean’s wife starts acting creepy and you just want to slap her pasty white face. His daughter complains of “ghosts” in her room. There are effectively eerie teases of something hiding in the shadows. And when we finally see what it is, EEK!
But then, we don’t stop seeing these creatures. Sean interacts with them, talks to them, helps them out (under duress), and the movie loses most of its tension and all of its creepiness. The remainder of what’s Deep in the Darkness is out in the light as it becomes a plot to get away from the town or die trying. You can see the happy ending and unhappy clincher coming from a mile away, making this just another run-of-the-mill creature feature. But the horror and mystery are fun while they last.