THE DEVONSVILLE TERROR (1983)
Article 5060 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Ulli Lommel
Featuring Suzanna Love, Robert Walker Jr., Donald Pleasence
What it is: Witch’s curse movie
300 years ago, the citizens of Devonsville formed their own inquisition and executed three women who were believed to be witches, bringing down the curse of one of them. Today, three women from outside have arrived in town. Could this be the curse finally coming to light?
Not only do I see Ulli Lommel’s name prominently in the credits, but I also see two other familiar names as well; one of the associate producers was Bill Rebane, and David L. Hewitt was in charge of the visual effects. I think you can understand a bit why I went into this one expecting the worst. The fact that the movie opens with one of the most hackneyed horror plotlines certainly wasn’t encouraging, but I do have to give Lommel some credit here; he zeroes in on the misogynist partriarchy subtext early on and keeps squarely focused on it. He also opts for a low key approach (after the opening of the movie, that is) that is a bit refreshing, though people who like their horror bloody and loud won’t care much for it. Still, low-key isn’t the same as subtle, and there are times where the movie becomes so obvious in what it’s doing (such as underlining the parallels between the witches of 300 years ago with the women of the present) that it becomes annoying. It’s also pretty threadbare; other than one rather nasty family, a handful of kids, a doctor, and the newcomers, one wonders if Devonsville has any other residents at all. The weirdest touch is having Donald Pleasence on hand plucking worms out of a hole in his arm as a rather bizarre side effect of the curse. It’s sometimes dull and sometimes silly, but, all in all, I found this one of the more watchable Ulli Lommel movies I’ve seen for this series.