Deadly Blessing (1981)

Directed by Wes Craven [Other horror films: The Last House on the Left (1972), The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Stranger in Our House (1978), Swamp Thing (1982), Invitation to Hell (1984), The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Chiller (1985), Deadly Friend (1986), The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), Shocker (1989), The People Under the Stairs (1991), New Nightmare (1994), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), Cursed (2005), My Soul to Take (2010), Scream 4 (2011)]

Directed by Wes Craven, Deadly Blessing is a movie I’ve been wanting to see for some time, and while I’m not surprised with my somewhat lukewarm reception to it, I do wish this one was a bit more stable, as it certainly had the potential to be a better movie.

Dealing with an Amish-like religious group called the Hittites (they’re pretty much Amish, though apparently more fire-and-brimstone and all that jazz) and a mysterious killer, Deadly Blessing occasionally feels like a really bizarre slasher. The slasher aspects themselves don’t really overtly pop up until the finale, but there’s plenty of creepy and unsettling scenes beforehand, among them sequences including tarantulas falling into mouths and snakes sliding into bathtubs (setting up a scene very similar to Nancy’s bathtub sequence in ANOES).

The three main women here were all good. Maren Jensen and Susan Buckner (who was the most attractive of the three women, especially in her jogging clothes) did the best, as past a certain point, Sharon Stone’s character didn’t have much to add (though to be fair, she did play more a part in the finale than did Buckner’s character). Ernest Borgnine was intimidating in his role, and had a way with words toward the serpents (or should I say the women who are not followers of his religion).

Lois Nettleton and Lisa Hartman, who played mother and daughter, were okay, but I don’t think either one was special. Michael Barryman (who was in The Hills Have Eyes) was nice to see, but didn’t necessarily add much. Lastly, as attractive as Buckner was, my vote for cutest woman here is Colleen Riley (who was in the second Hills Have Eyes).

I think the problems here is that it takes a bit of time to get going, and when things to start happening, while some of the sequences are unsettling (such as the aforementioned tarantula scenes), it doesn’t feel quite enough. I enjoyed much of the story, though the ending was pretty damn bad. There’s a portion here too that reminded me a bit of Sleepaway Camp, though not nearly as interesting or effective. There were some good scenes here (such as Sharon Stone’s sequence trapped in the barn), but there just wasn’t enough to make the hour and forty minutes seem like time well-spent.

After The Hill Have Eyes, Craven directed five movies before getting to A Nightmare on Elm Street. I’ve not seen the other four (Stranger in Our House, Swamp Thing, Invitation to Hell, and The Hills Have Eyes Part II), but this one struck me as pretty middle-of-the-road. Like I said, I think there was more potential here than what the end product showed. Deadly Blessing isn’t without partial merit, and I still think the movie’s almost a smidge above average (if for nothing else, the mystery of the killer’s identity mixed with the remote setting worked well together), but I don’t see it as any more than that.


And as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I covered this on the Fight-Evil podcast, you can listen to us discuss it below.

Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

9 thoughts on “Deadly Blessing (1981)”

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