Thursday, December 15, 2011

REVIEW: The Abomination (1986)

The Abomination is a truly sleazy relic from the video era, shot on 8mm with what must have been close to no-budget, filled to the brim with splatter, and dubbed thoroughly. Right off the bat we're shown a highlight reel of all the gore scenes in the film, cut together with our 'hero' waking up from a nightmare dozens of times over. I like to think that rather than blowing its load prematurely, it's just laying all its cards out on the table. You can't complain early on that you don't know exactly what's coming for the remaining 90 minutes.

Cody is the 'hero' of this film, and he lives with his mother. Just look at this guy. He is the epitome of sleaze. Mom's addicted to watching a local televangelist, to whom she prays to have her cancer-riddled body made well. The prayer works, maybe, and she ends up hacking up a tumor, which crawls into Cody's mouth at night and possesses him. Afterwards, he's compelled to kill people relentlessly, while nurturing this monster and feeding it body parts.

The movie is framed interestingly – dubbed over with Cody's conversation with a therapist. Supposedly everything we're seeing is a flashback, but it's easy to forget, since this narrative drops in and out at random. The fact that majority of the dialogue is dubbed sometimes masks everything in a surreal silence. There are some intermittent foley effects, but their lack of consistency and quality makes everything seem a little off. Add to this a truly great synth score, and you've got a recipe for an awesomely weird atmosphere. It gets even better towards the end, when Cody's voice is overlaid with massive reverb, chanting “THE ABOMINATION, WHICH MAKES ALL THINGS DESOLATE” as he slaughters everyone he knows.

The downside is that the first half tends to drag. There clearly wasn't a lot of material to work with, and there's lots of filler, and quite a bit of repetition. Count how many times there's a shot of a horse pasted into an outdoor scene. But just sit back, absorb it, and let it put you into a sort of trance. It'll get you in the appropriate mood to appreciate the really heinous stuff at the end. The creature effects aren't anything to write home about, although they do have quite a bit of homemade charm. Throw a bunch of pig (?) guts onto anything and it'll end up looking gross.

This film is notoriously hard to find on video, which means it's priced way more than it's probably worth. If you can figure out a way to watch it without dropping multiple-digit sums of cash, it's worth checking out, since it falls into the category of films that somehow manage to turn their low budget origins into a distinct aesthetic and make the transition from terrible into surreal. It's not essential viewing, but of all the absolutely awful micro-budget horror from the 80's, this has enough going for it to make it interesting.

5.5 / 10 = If you're bored

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