• Kelly M. Hudson

Necromancing Madness!

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Julie (Elizabeth Kaitan) is a hard-working theater student who is getting close to graduating college. She’s staying late one night at school to get some work done on an approaching play when a trio of college guys break in. They intend to steal copies of an upcoming test from one of their professors. They wear masks and are having a good time until Julie stumbles across them. The leader of the group, a particularly menacing rich boy prick, throws her down and rapes her. The others don’t join in but they don’t stop him, either. They leave her there, shattered, and run back home, giggling into the night. This prick later finds her and blackmails her with knowledge he’s discovered to keep her quiet: she was having an affair with one of her professors. Not knowing what to do, Julie turns to a close friend for help. This close friend knows a “witch” who will put a spell on the boys and make them pay. Julie goes through with it. She soon discovers, however, that she has not made a pact with any human witch, but instead a demon. It begins to kill not only the boys who wronged her, but other males in her life. Can Julie stop the evil entity before any more innocents get hurt?

This is one of those low-budget, straight-to-VHS goodies that were birthed in the golden age of VCR’s and movie rental palaces. It’s cheaply made and the FX are charmingly laughable. However, the story itself is pretty damned compelling and the performances, ranging from really good to wooden, all feel very genuine and honest. This is a damning indictment of our Rape Culture, and the fact it came out in 1988 and nothing much has changed since, is depressing as hell. First, there’s the rape and the cover-up of it. Rich boy gets away with it and his two friends, who weren’t participating but still helped keep her from escaping, get away with it, too. The law doesn’t do anything to them and the victim feels helpless to do anything about it. She is afraid of the repercussions on her boyfriend and her own reputation. Nothing much has significantly changed in our society since then, because this is the same story many women tell, even today in 2020. The idea that the only path for justice is to turn to a witch is feminist as fuck and a pretty cool twist in the story. The fact that this “witch” is nothing more than another evil thing taking advantage of Julie is yet another cruel twist that turns the knife deep. In the end, the only way to overcome both terrible evils, is to look for the strength within herself. And here’s the weird thing: if you take out the boobs and soften the tone a bit, drop some of the turgid gore, this could easily have been a made-for-TV movie.

Necromancer is a very strange movie. It is at once compelling and also somehow a bit dull in parts at the same time. Like I said before, the FX are bad, and every time Julie’s eyes glow green, you might have a hard time not snickering. But they did they best they could with what they had, and there’s a lot of bigger budget movies who can’t say the same thing. This movie isn’t a hidden gem, but it’s worth a watch, especially if you’re into those basement-budget direct-to-VHS flicks that blossomed in the 80s. If you give it a chance, Necromancer just might cast a little spell on you.

★★✮☆



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