Revenge Called Forth – Evilspeak (1981)

Calling upon Satan no matter what one has in mind is never a good thing as he can rarely be counted upon for anything other than death and destruction. So it is with Evilspeak which is all about a young man named Stanley Coopersmith who gets bullied on a consistent basis, day in and day out, a relentless harassment by his classmates that would have driven many to extremes. One can hardly fault the guy once he finds Father Esteban’s book of black magic deep within the bowels of the school and decides he is going to use it to get back at his fellow students. There is only one problem standing in his way which just so happens to be the need for a sacrifice, the need for human blood. But as things reach their breaking point, that last pesky ingredient no longer remains a problem and neither do those that torment him.

Seeing kids bullied on film is nothing exactly new, yet it always makes for a good premise because it usually ends up leading in one direction – that being revenge of course. In this movie, director Eric Weston who co-wrote it with Joseph Garofalo take that familiar plot and throw in a little devil worship to keep things interesting and to set their picture aside from the pack. Clint Howard stars as poor Stanley, the object of everyone’s frustrations and insecurities and the man does a good job as the pitiful protagonist. A person can easily see why everyone chooses to pick on the guy as he is not exactly the picture of confidence, letting himself get pushed around without ever fighting back and failing when he tries to do so. Howard, brother of Ron, is not exactly the most talented of actors, though he is perfect in this particular role. He creates empathy in the viewer which is important as it helps the audience latch onto him as he plods through the first half of the movie until it finally picks up during the second part. The film is not necessarily overlong or even boring in the least, but after seeing the kid picked on for so long, it gets to the point where one just wishes they would get on with it.

Keeping things fresh and veering off the path of being formulaic, the makers of the film introduce computers to the equation of which Stanley is fluent in. Here they use the technology in conjunction with the casting of spells and the special effects which are shown as a result are surprisingly quite effective at instilling a sense of dread and tension. With each incident, that suspense builds until the final act when Esteban returns as he promised centuries previous and Satan comes forth to do Stanley’s bidding and everyone in the school pays the ultimate price for their actions. In fact, it is that final scene that makes it all worthwhile – the rampant destruction, the swarm of hogs, Howard flying through the air and cleaving skulls and a fire that cleanses all before it. The scenes are brutal and unapologetic and when it comes down to it and despite all that, quite exciting.

As the movie ends, there is no happy ending for anyone. Calling upon the Lord of Hell always costs, there is always a price and in this film, it is paid by everyone, Stanley included. Though the end result was a little over-the-top in terms of payback, Weston accomplished what he set out to do, creating horror not only through the Satanism present, but through simple human nature which is always far more horrific than anything else that could ever be dreamt up otherwise.

4 out of 5

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