Prime Evil

August 5, 2014 at 1:52 am (4 Heads, Prime Evil) (, , , , , )

Prime Evil – 1988 – United States

Thomas Seaton (sounds like Satan) is an immortal priest leading a Satanic cult with his hypnotic powers. Every thirteen years, the cultists sacrifice a virgin to maintain their eternal youth. When a handsome young woman is targeted, a nun infiltrates the cult and apparently stabs Satan to death.

Satanic ritual abuse was a moral panic in 1980s America, launched by the (discredited) non-fiction book Michelle Remembers (1980). Prime Evil explores similar themes of violent sexual rituals and child abuse, but it suggests more than it depicts. Despite ample nudity and gore, the most depraved scene is a dialogue between a woman and her boyfriend detailing the truly foul sexual abuse she suffered as a child.

Laughable production values undermine Prime Evil’s dark subject matter. Director Roberta Findlay’s numerous credits are mostly pornos, which is unsurprising considering Prime Evil’s lousy acting and photography. The film is also much too long. It is nice that time is spent developing the characters, but they still are not very interesting. The evil Father Seaton steals the show. He is portrayed by William Beckwith with such absurd mellifluousness that it is difficult to say whether the performance is good or bad.

Prime Evil is nearly shocking but mostly dumb, and it fails at horror and hilarity. There are few incentives to watch it.

Rating: 4/10 Shrunken Heads. If Satan can really be stabbed to death, why hasn’t someone done it already?

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