Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 10, 2019


DEADLY BLESSING (1981). Director: Wes Craven.

Thrown out of his Hittite community for marrying a non-believer, Jim Schmidt (Douglas Barr) farms his land with his wife, Martha (Marin Jensen). After he is killed in a strange tractor accident, Martha is visited by two close friends, Lana (Sharon Stone) and Vicky (Susan Buckner), both of whom have unpleasant encounters with the pious Hittite leader (and Jim's father), Isaiah (Ernest Borgnine). But there are other forces leveled against the women that they may be unprepared to deal with ...

A tarantula wants to make nice with Sharon Stone, who's having none of it
Deadly Blessing has some interesting things in it, but its script is disjointed and illogical. Wes Craven's direction shows no great skill -- although the snake in the bath tub is memorable, and was later sort of re-used in Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street -- and much of the acting is insufficient. Sharon Stone [Total Recall] is so mediocre that you would have imagined she'd wind up in one or two slasher films and then settle in as a salesgirl at Mrs. Field's Cookies. Marin Jensen is not much better, and Borgnine's performance borders on caricature. Susan Buckner makes a more favorable impression, as do Doug Barr and Jeff East [Pumpkinhead] as his sympathetic younger brother. Lisa Hartman is given one of the most embarrassing debuts since Jean Arless in Homicidal, and Lois Nettleton [Butterfly] certainly deserves much better material.

Marty gets religion: Ernest Borgnine
One female character in the film has a secret, but whether it's that she's really male, transsexual, or a hermaphrodite isn't made clear. There's a fast-moving "cat fight" at the end of the film. James Horner's score liberally borrows from Bernard Herrmann and especially Jerry Goldsmith, to an almost comical degree. With a tighter script and better direction, Deadly Blessing might have been a contender, but no dice. Former model Maren Jensen had few credits; this was her last feature film; Buckner's as well.

Verdict: Silly and oddball in the wrong way. **. 


angelman66 said...

Mr. Borgnine kept working--like Lee Grant, he "said yes to everything." Just ran across pics of him in devil-garb for the epically camp horror film The Devil's Rain...a far cry from Marty, A Catered Affair and Poseidon Adventure...

William said...

You can say that again!