Before I get into the specifics of The Unholy, in the interest of saving lives, we need to make a new horror movie rule. I have seen this rule flaunted in too many horror movies, and it has caused the deaths of countless horny, stupid characters. I’m laying it on the line, so here it is: a beautiful, naked woman is never going to appear out of nowhere and let you touch her. Not if you are Bill Clinton, not if you are Mick Jagger, not if you are Edward Sparklepants Cullen, not even if you are a pile of cocaine in Motley Crue’s hotel room circa 1983. If a beautiful, naked woman appears from thin air, your ass had better start running, because she is a demon.
Back to the movie. This particular naked lady demon has killed two priests in two years in the same church in New Orleans. Now, Father Michael (Ben Cross) has been assigned to the church to fight the demon because he has on his resume the experience of falling from a great height without being injured, having been thrown out a hotel window by one of the lesser T-Birds from Grease 2. The demon tempts people with the sin they most desire, then kills them in the act of committing that sin. In my case this would probably be signing a three-year lease on a Cadillac, but for these priests it’s touching naked ladies.
This would probably be most enjoyable schlock if the dialogue wasn’t even worse than what comes out of the “script” of an Italian horror movie. This dialogue is stinky. Ben Cross can’t save this crap with the help of Hal Holbrook as the archbishop and Ned Beatty as a homicide cop, never mind a club owner played by the guy from Death Bed who gets the skin flayed off of his hands. I mean, this dialogue makes Dardano Sacchetti look like Tennessee Williams.
But I’m a sucker for supernatural horror, and I can’t totally hate a movie that has discount dry ice in the sanctuary, hallucinations, nightmares, bleeding eyeballs, midgets in monster suits, a nightclub full of devil worshippers, a really disgusting instance of reverse communion, a nod to 1977’s The Sentinel fully vigorous enough to give you whiplash, and a long-distance phone call from hell! And this was in 1988, when long distance meant you were gonna be hurting when that bill came! At least they didn’t call collect.
What does this mean for our 8-pack rankings? I have to put this one above Class of 1999, even though it’s probably a worse movie if you look at it objectively, because I have such a bias towards demonic horror. And with that we come to the end of our journey through the 8-pack. The rankings, from bottom to top: Ghoulies 3, Class of 1999, The Unholy, Slaughter High, Waxwork, 976-EVIL 2, Chopping Mall, and C.H.U.D. 2. This weekend, I’ll be off to WalMart to pick up another horror pack to fill up some more Thursdays.
Before I go, has anyone ever wondered why there’s never been a big budget, four-star horror movie filmed in New Orleans? I might be missing a movie due to my Swiss cheese memory, but all I can think of is The Beyond, which, although I love it, is one whose flaws you have to overlook. I know some people make a case for Angel Heart, and if you try to tell me Interview With the Vampire is great I’ll just order you off of my lawn, but New Orleans is possibly the creepiest place in America, and it deserves an Exorcist/Rosemary’s Baby quality film. Someone get to work on a screenplay to fill this need.