The Power (1984)

directed by jeffrey obrow & stephen carpenter
jeff obrow productions/film ventures international

Not at all credible, yet oddly captivating, this barely known film is an overlooked gem. Hmm, maybe that’s the work of fake Aztec deity Destacatyl, the enslaving god whose power gives this film its name, and apparently will kill whomever tries to control it. This, despite inhabiting a statuette only a few inches tall which vaguely resembles a Mrs. Butterworth (or Aunt Jemima) figurine. Seriously, though, this picture is actually pretty good. Sometimes, just the fact that the cast and crew believe in their creation can be enough, and the actors here are fully invested despite some of the production’s shortcomings. Allegedly released theatrically, distributed straight to video, I can only imagine that this movie never found a larger audience because it lacks for some important touchstones of its era. No nudity, not much in the way of gore, no slasher signifiers, no rockin’ soundtrack … it was doomed to obscurity, but it didn’t really deserve that fate.

why did i watch this movie?

With a nondescript name and a synopsis about possession via a cursed ancient totem or some such, I just HAD to know more.

should you watch this movie?

Well, do you have any better ideas?

highlight and low point

The storyline here revolves around a small-town newspaper with somewhat peculiar standards, and includes breathless dialogue such as, “You know, I remember a time when Sandy McKennah woulda jumped at a story like this.” The story, mind you, involves an unstable supernatural entity with inscrutable requirements for worship and a penchant for trashing rooms, not to mention multivarious physical effects on his or her presumptive adherents – but it’s no less believable than the high dudgeon expressed by Ms. McKennah whenever her journalistic standards are threatened by the suggestion that The Power is real.

rating from outer space: B−

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