Dark Power, The (1985)

The Dark Power (1985)

They have arrived to conquer the four corners of the earth

After a Native American Indian elder dies, his house, which was built over the graves of four sorcerers, becomes the new holiday home for a bunch of teenage girls and their boyfriends. During refurbishment, they remove some of the artefacts which kept the sorcerers imprisoned and unwittingly release them from their graves.

 

I don’t know what drew me to this. Maybe the £2.99 price tag at my local DVD store and the chance of a few rare films appearing on the site made me pull out my wallet and splash the cash. I slapped it in the DVD player not really knowing what to expect and after forty minutes, I couldn’t really have cared less. The Dark Power was an absolutely horrid film with absolutely NOTHING happening. But then as the four sorcerers awaken, I was glued to the screen for the remainder of its running time. It’s clichéd to say it but The Dark Power is a horror tale of two halves if I ever saw one. After all, you can’t go wrong with Native American Indian zombies, can you?

As I’ve said, the first half of the film is horrid. We’re given the token back story to the house and the events that transpired there before hand. We’re introduced to the whip-cracking sheriff (more on him later) and then arguably the most obnoxious and talent-less bunch of actresses I’ve ever seen on film. They’re literally given nothing to do for forty minutes except sit around the house, talk to each other, have showers (we’ve got to fulfil the T&A somehow, haven’t we?) and go outside for a stroll. I had to keep checking the back of the DVD to make sure I had picked up the right film. The script is inept and the dialogue will sting the ears. The girls then invite a bunch of their male friends over to the house for a party so the potential body count doubles within the space of a few minutes. As you’d expect, this leads to all manner of scenes of fraternising, making out and general frat boy humour.

It’s only when the sorcerers awaken that the film really picks up and goes all out to entertain. The four zombies look fantastic – very original creations. Clearly just guys with a bit of make-up on them, it made a refreshing change to see Native American Indian zombies! Each of them has a weapon of choice, be it a tomahawk or bow and arrow. They’re never scary though and despite there being a few jumpy moments, the monsters are played more tongue-in-cheek than serious.

At the half-way point the film shifts into pure B-movie mode with the sorcerers chasing and killing off the teenagers. There are some enjoyable chase sequences around the house as the teenagers don’t know what has hit them. The gore effects are great with a face peeling moment and decapitation being two of the highlights. Things do get messy and the cast is quickly whittled down. It needs to be though since the film only runs for just under an hour and twenty minutes. By the time the sorcerers come to life, the film is half over. Thankfully, this part of the film more than makes up for the tedious character-driven teenage antics at the beginning.

In the finale, the sheriff comes in to save the day and then we’re treated to a Native American Indian zombie versus whip-cracking sheriff fight. I’m not making this up, it actually happens. One of the sorcerers even picks up another whip at one point and we get a whip duel to the death. It basically entails the two characters cracking their whips at each other but hearing Lash LaRue’s sheriff do a bit of trash talking in the meantime is a riot. He’s one of the best bits of the film and although the scenes of him at the beginning are a little long-winded (yes we get it that you’re good with a whip), it at least sets the scene up for this final confrontation. The teenage cast are horrendous though and its films like this where you’ll be rooting for the sorcerers.

 

The Dark Power is an absolute hoot. Stick through the first half of tedium and you’re given one of the hidden horror gems of the 80s. Everything you could have wanted in an amusing 80s horror and more.

 

 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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