October Horror Movie a Day: Day 1 and 2. Hush (2016), Jaws of Satan (1981)

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Hush is a nifty throwback to the early slasher days that is about a deaf woman terrorized by a masked assailant.  As he realizes his prey is deaf, he spends the movie toying with her only to realize he may have made a big mistake.  One of the things Hush does right is introduce us to the home of the deaf heroine Maggie (Kate Siegel, who also serves as co-writer) and the systems she uses in it to assist her with her disability.  These are things that both hinder and help her as the story progresses. 

hush-3Writer-director Mike Flanagan (Absentia, the upcoming Gerald’s Game adaptation) directs Hush with a steady hand.  You can tell the John Carpenter influence is strong in Hush and this is one film that gets that directorial style right.  However, as Hush primarily focuses on it’s two lead characters (there are five characters total) there isn’t so much they can do to keep it interesting.  Another issue that I had with Hush is that the villain drops his mask at the midway point and it really makes the film a lot less interesting.  To be fair, I believe the intent was to portray an non-glamorous  sociopath, but I feel a slasher film isn’t the right genre to do so.  At eighty-one minutes long, I felt Hush could have been a much tighter production with about ten to fifteen minutes edited out. Chew the fish, spit out the bones.

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Jaws of Satan is just bizarre.  Made in 1981, a decade after both the Satanic shocker craze and animals run amuck genre, someone decided to combine the two in this.  Ostensibly, the antagonist is Satan in the guise of a super venomous King Cobra.  The Satan Cobra is after Fr. Tom Farrow (Fritz Weaver, Creepshow, The Marathon Man) who has had a generation curse put on him that has dark forces attack every third generation.

Jaws of Satan exists in a world where everyone is horrible at their jobs, including Satan.  You’ve got the bumbling cops and autopsy experts who can’t figure out how these people with two symmetrical puncture wounds on their swollen faces met their demise.  A doctor lady is hysterical over all these snake attacks, and the Mayor wants to keep it under-wraps and the Satan Snake spends his time going around random townspeople before finally  having an epic showdown with Fr. Farrow.  Who will survive?  Man or Beast/Satan?

applegateIn the Jaw’s Of Satan’s favor, every scene is punctuated by goofy music that kept me laughing while watching.  This is the type of film where a man comforts an hysterical woman by slapping her in the face, and for that Jaws of Satan deserves all the love in the world.  Another point for the film is regular John Carpenter crew member Dead Cundey helping out with the cinematography.  The Carpenter influence is felt very much early on in the film before deteriorating into whatever this movie becomes.  Also, Christina Applegate makes her film debut here.  This film was directed by sitcom director Bob Claver who was primarily a TV director worked on things like Small Wonders, The Partridge Family, and Ensign O’Toole.  The TV direction style shows throughout just about every scene and bit of amateurish action this film throws at you during it’s one time and you will love every second of it.

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