24 Days Until Halloween, 2013: SUPERSTITION (1982)


Most of the people attached to this movie are from the United States, but it is so clearly an Italian horror movie in spirit that I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where the money actually came from. Not only is it an “Italian” horror movie, but the special kind of Italian horror film that I’ll hopefully post more of soon: the cartoonish, gore filled, childlike, cardboard, whacked out, what-the-hell-is-happening kind of Italian horror film that LOOKS like trash, and probably is, but nonetheless insinuates under the skin or into the heart. See, the Italians have a certain kind of attitude toward the “fantastic” film. Sure, they appreciate Hollywood movies and even wish they could recreate them in quality and popularity, but they nonetheless like a certain level of artifice in their fantasy and horror. When I say “artifice”, that includes everything from the highly stylized expressionism of SUSPIRIA to the neighborhood puppet show shoddiness of TROLL II. What matters most in these films is not an adherence to realism, it is the creativity and the sense of fun – the feeling of playing “dress up” as a child or the obvious, assertive signature of the artist – exactly what is lacking in Hollywood films.

SUPERSTITION has quite a fan base. Check out the IMDB user reviews for example. But I was unable to make it through the first fifteen minutes when I first tried to watch. I was expecting a gem in the rough and instead found myself checking off a list of perceived flaws: Cinematography: blah. Plot: blah. Special effects: blah. Music: blah…

Then I read that the cinematographer for SUPERSTITION was the same as THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN, one of my favorite horror films, and I went back to SUSPERSTITION with the resolve to stick it out. Glad I did. It’s not only damned good fun, but it also has the ability, over the period of it’s unfolding, to slowly derail one’s expectiations and create a small, simmering sense of being “spooked”. My list of perceived flaws crumbled under the weight of obvious merit. I found myself analyzing the rhythms in the editing, all the techinical aspects of the film, looking for what was working on me…but I haven’t figured it out. For all I know it emits a subliminal signal.

Please give this one time and, like one of the reviewers on IMDB said, I recommend watching it alone. It’s too easy to dismiss this sort of movie, laugh, and deprive it of the power it most certainly has. Let it work.


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