Scream Factory Presents – Deadly Blessing (1981)

The Amish community is one of clandestine rituals and Rumspringa alone could be converted into a feasible horror film. On the other hand, Deadly Blessing scrutinizes the borderline cult aspects of the luddite lifestyle as if it were a pagan subculture summoning the arrival of the incubus. With that in mind, I could corroborate the furor the Amish might expectorate on this with precious images of Hittite field tilling and diurnal chores over ominous Gregorian chants.

Without the additives of demonic makeup, Michael Berryman and Ernest Borgnine are already accursed, spectral voices of doom. One moment of surprisingly subtle despair from Berryman is when he peeping on Martha (Maren Jensen) in her negligee and he looks genuinely crestfallen over his sheltered existence. The subtext about proselytizing from the ascetic community to a more “worldly” relationship with a woman is vapidly skimmed with intermittent scenes of Isaiah (Borgnine) scolding his kin not to “covet” tractors and the other luxuries of their infidel neighbors.

In lieu of that incendiary topic, Deadly Blessing is mostly tethered to an overblown slasher film. Sharon Stone’s nightmare about a salacious killer who preys on her spider phobia might be Wes Craven’s epiphany for dream stalker Freddy Krueger. Also bridging the gap between this and A Nightmare on Elm Street is the POV of a snake slithering between Martha’s legs in the tub.

Those who avidly anticipate an underrated installment from the late Craven will be sorely dispirited that Deadly Blessing is a torpid, rustic Sleepaway Camp clone. The car explosion is decently suspenseful though.

Rating: 2.25 out of 5

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