Sunday, June 19, 2016
INVITATION TO HELL (1984)
Out of all the horror directors that have been given the label of "Masters of Horror" Wes Craven has always been my least favorite. I mean since the 70s the man never really entertained me with much of anything that he did. I know this puts me in the minority amongst horror-nerds but it is how I feel whenever I watch his stuff from the 80s and beyond. This here TV-movie is a great example of what a truly hacky director he really was. It stars Robert Urich, who I believe is primarily remembered for his television work and his acting style is very fit for those types of shows, as the dad of a very schmaltzy BRADY BUNCH-ish family that includes Punky Brewster(Soleil Moon Frye). He gets a job working for this creepy company headed by Susan Lucci, from that ALL MY CHILDREN soap opera, who may or may not might be the devil and bad things start happening. The movie plays out like a VALLEY OF THE DOLLS/INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS mash-up and Kevin McCarthy even shows up as Urich's boss to drive this comparison to the later film home. Also of note(to me anyway) is the appearance of Nicholas Worth, who was the killer from the slasher semi-classic DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE as the big tough-guy sheriff here and Michael Berryman, from an actually good Wes Craven film in a tiny part. The insane ending involving a flame-throwing/laser-shooting astronaut suit worn by our hero as he descends into hell to rescue his family and the part where we get to see Punk Brewster doing a Linda Blair EXORCIST-imitation almost make this worth watching, it just takes a really long time to get to these ridiculous parts and you could probably find way better TV-movies from the 70s to watch instead.
There's also a British film from 1982 with this same title which I have never seen but it look like it's at least got some gore in it so maybe it's decent?