Fear No Evil (1981)
Directed by Frank LaLoggia

Starring Elizabeth Hoffman Frank Birney Kathleen Rowe McAllen Stefan Arngrim

A for-the-most party too talky antichrist horror film from the early '80s, "Fear No Evil" is acquitted by a memorable final 20 minutes which features an army of the walking dead.

While most '80s horror films get better with age, "Fear No Evil" is only moderately better than I remember it, seeing it as a 12-year-old sneaking into an R rated movie. The film takes itself way too seriously, despite its bad acting and the fact that almost every idea in its head comes from horror films popular in the late '70s, from "Carrie" to the "Omen" series.

The film opens with a shirtless man being chased through a castleground by a priest. In their confrontation, we learn that the ridiculous-looking barechested dork is actually the devil -- and he's going to be reincarnated. He's killed off by a spear through his bare chest -- a somewhat dramatic efect that made its way into Fangoria Magazine back in the day.

Fast forward some years. After a baptism of a baby goes disastrously wrong -- with blood emanating from the holy water -- we learn that the devil has been reborn. Eighteen years later, after driving his parents crazy, eh's of high school age, and heads to campus, where the teens have sex and party and listen to the hippest music of the late '70s and very early '80s. In fact, the soundtrack to "Fear No Evil" is one of the best things about it. We get to hear artists like the Boomtown Rats, the Talking Heads and even the Sex Pistols. There are some characters that know about the important battle against the devil that's brewing -- including the priest from the first scene who ends up in prison for murder -- making this movie a precursor somewhat of the Prophecy films of the 1990s.

Stefan Arngrim as the 18-year-old antichrist looks creepy, but he doesn't have the acting chops of Jonathan Scott-Taylor of "Damien: Omen II." In short, this film isn't nearly as good as the Omen films -- even the thrid one. But it does have zombies, a few mediocre gore scenes, passion play that turns into a bloodbath, and a weird homoerotic attack on the antichrist in a men's shower. The most ludicrous moment is an absurd scene where the antichrist puts breasts on a man. His victim then stabs himself to death yelling, "Fuck you!" Good stuff.

It's worth checking out if you're a big fan of '80s horror and have seen a lot of the essential titles already.

This was the debut feature from Frank LaLoggia, who would go on to direct "Lady in White," which enjoyed some critical success.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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