Deadly Blessing (1981)

Insular communities are excellent fodder for the horror genre due to the fact that when something is exclusive and breaks away from the mainstream or ‘normal’ way of life, it piques the curiosity that will never quite be satisfied. We like to know everything, about everyone, and when we don’t understand something, or cant be part of it, we create our very own explainations to a mystery that was never there in the first place, just a different way of life, that’s probably not for us. Of course, there are many sinister cults and self styled religious organisations that are their own little horror shows before any sort of artistic license enters into it, and we all know who these murderous, money grabbing, space alien worshipping fools are, but who has the time or energy to get up in those vengeful and extremely litigious grills for the sake of a blog that pays me as much as they would get if they tried to sue me.

The Amish are the real deal though, peaceful, god fearing folk, who live their lives quietly, have never started a war and don’t have short, secretly gay celebrities shining fake creepy smiles to attract converts, because dammit, they just don’t need you, ok?

Now sacrificing my television and DSL for a simple life of hard work and no makeup may not be my idea of living, but you’ve got to admire the kids that leave for their Rumspringa and return after sampling a Big Mac, because that’s more willpower than this food lover could ever muster (or wish to, in all honesty).

You may not understand the life, but you’ve got to respect their commitment – I could just about knock back a funny tasting cup of Kool Aid for faith, but if it involves me parting with my tech haven, then I’d rather see what’s at the bottom of that cup of poison.

I’m that shallow and I’m ok with it.

Jim is a Hittite, part a deeply religious, Amish like sect, partying like it’s 1849 on a daily basis in rural America. Unfortunately, after being the first of his community to be allowed to go away to college, he fell in love with an outsider and had the audacity to bring her back, knock her up, and now he’s living in a farm on the outskirts of a community that have shunned the Bejaysus out of him and his beloved. That would be bad enough, but when Jim is crushed under the weight of his own tractor, Martha is left pregnant, treated like a leper in a tug of war contest, and living in a house that the Hittite elders want back, while being looked after by the two most useless friends you could want at any time, never mind in the midst of a horror film. Oh and she’s been terrorised by an unknown psychopath who has taken to murdering folk on her land. It never rains, but it pours Amish rage, apparently.

Deadly Blessing is one of Wes Craven’s greatest in my opinion, creepy, full of red herrings, wide brimmed hats, and starring a very young Sharon Stone, as Martha’s whiny weepy buddy. Engaging from the very first scene, and very entertaining, this overlooked classic has it all. Explosions, blood, stunning scenery and just the right amount of campness for a perfect example of a great director at his very best (it also proves that at one time Sharon Stone could get through a whole acting job without taking her knickers off. That gets a wowzer if nothing else.).

If you haven’t seen it, buy it without delay, because this is one that you’ll definitely want to watch again.

Now I’m all for preservation of different cultures and history, but I think Wes Craven has proved with this film that the watering down of a shallow gene pool is always a good thing, because when the genetic waters have the depth of a puddle, crazy is the only thing that breeds well – see any ‘Real Housewives of .. ‘Reality show, or the cast of Jersey Shore for further details …

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