Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Buddhaween II!

Take it away for a second round Buddha Man!

Daughters of Satan (United Artists, 1972) Tom Selleck starred in this horror flick early in his career. And even though it was 1972, Selleck already had the hair and mustache of his most famous TV character, making this flick seem at times to be a really off-kilter Halloween episode of Magnum PI. Tom plays Jim Robertson, an American art expert in the Phillipines for an extended stay with his wife Christine to seek out new art treasures for the museum he works for. At one antique store he visits, Robertson purchases a 400 year old painting showing three witches being burned in the local town square because one of the witch figures in the painting looks exactly like his wife. For her part, Christine is less than fond of the painting or the idea of looking like a 400+ year old witch. Then things go all weird-like when figures in the painting begin to fade out, and two women who look exactly like the other two witches in the painting show up. They reveal themselves as the same witches to Christine, and try to coax her to join their coven. But that point becomes more than a little moot when Christine is possessed by ther spirit of the witch she resembles and takes over the coven. And together all three have it in for Mr. Jim Robertson, who it is later revealed , looks exactly like the man who burned the witches. Look out, Magn- er, Jim!

Tom Selleck hunts for the monster who would
steal the buttons from a man's shirt.

I had seen this movie listed in the late night section of the TV Guide several times over the years, but had never managed to watch it. As it turned out, the movie's a mixed bag at best. There are some good creepy moments along the way (the figures appearing and disappearing from the painting; a nighttime encounter between Robertson and the three witches as they perform a fireside ritual). But by the end of the movie they're spread pretty thin. After a solid opening, logic goes right out the window until the closing moments of the film. Unfortunately the lack of logic is not of that cool dreamlike quality some great horror films have, this is more "the character needs to do this stupid thing so the plot advances." It's neat to see Selleck in his 20's, and funny to see him looking just like Thomas Magnum, down to a couple of scenes where he wears a polo shirt, shorts, and sneakers with socks, and others where he drives a sporty red car around a beautiful island. But on the flip side he's not as polished an actor as he was on Thursday nights on CBS eight years later. His character is awfully dense too, having no real reaction to stuff like the figures of a dog and woman disappearing from the painting, followed by a dog and a woman who look exactly the same showing up at his house; or his wife trying to kill him with some kind of poison smoke bomb she sets off in their bedroom. He just busts out a window, sucks in some air, and goes outside where she's fled to hug her (?). Helping the film is some good 70's style nudity (boy am I glad I didn't watch this on TV years ago!) and an appearance by the always welcome Vic Diaz (Vampire Hookers) who I think is literally in every movie made in the Phillipines. In the end, however, the negatives outweigh the positives, and Daughters of Satan can only be recommended to Tom Selleck and movie witch completists; all others can skip it.

Thank you BM! Until tomorrow's post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

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