The Abomination – USA, 1986

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‘Tumorous parasitic beasts are nesting in the bowels of their victims… Soon, they will HATCH…’

The Abomination is a 1986 American horror film written [as Bando Glutz], produced and directed by Bret McCormick [as Max Raven] (Repligator; Children of DraculaHighway to Hell). It stars Scott Davis (Witchcraft III; Ozone: Attack of the Redneck Mutants), Jude Johnson and Blue Thompson.

TV evangelist Brother Fogg unleashes a biblical plague straight out of the “Book of Daniel” into the unsuspecting home of Cody Lee and his mother. Cody is soon taking orders from the Abomination and no-one is safe from the creature’s insatiable diet of human flesh…

Review:

Writer/director Bret McCormick’s The Abomination arrived on the scene shortly after the launch of the shot-on-video (SOV) trend that began in 1982 with John Wintergate’s BoardingHouse, but which only came into its own with Christopher Lewis’s intriguing Blood Cult in 1985. Although shot on Super 8 film, McCormick’s movie, for good or bad, has the same bargain-basement tone as these typical 80’s SOV movies, yet it delivers surprisingly unique sub-textual undertones, a thematic sophistication, and insider genre references not commonly found within SOV productions or most other ultra-low budget works, then or now.

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The film opens with Cody, played rustically by Scott Davis, repeatedly awakening from a vicious nightmare consisting of blood-drenched scenes borrowed directly from Hell. Surprisingly, it becomes blatantly obvious after the extended fifth go around that the viewer has essentially been shown most of the more disquieting moments from the film only three minutes and fifteen seconds in.

From here on, the film moves into a voice-over between Cody and Dr. Russell, played by Van Connery with all the vibrancy of a narcoleptic sloth, who is hearing Cody’s description of yet another dream in which he murders a girl, played by Gaye Bottoms (really?), near a local cemetery. He tells the doctor he didn’t want to kill her, but he had to in order to feed The Abomination, a demon from Hell which is controlling him and was prophesied in The Books of Daniel and Revelations.

Confused, Dr. Russell asks for clarification, so Cody goes back a little further and explains that The Abomination came into being as a result of his mother’s devotion to the nefarious Brother Fogg, played to a slippery tee by Rex Morton; from the voice-over and visuals, it quickly becomes apparent that Brother Fogg has the disturbing ability to infect, via television, certain devout followers, such as Cody’s mother Sarah, played adequately by Jude Johnson, with a rather nasty tumor-slug eventually exposed as The Abomination in larval form.

Once regurgitated, the tumor-slug inexplicably makes its way into Cody, gestating further before he, too, regurgitates the slimy critter;unfortunately for Cody, the psychic link doesn’t break there as it had for his mother, with the beast growing ever larger and taking greater control of Cody, forcing him into the somnambulistic butchery he had dreamed about at the beginning of the movie.

The acting, for the most part, is embarrassing, with only the occasionally convincing moments coming from Rex Morton and Jude Johnson; nonetheless, the stilted deliveries from everyone strangely compliments the confusing and absurd tilts within the story structure; similarly, the score by Kim Davis, Richard Davis, and John Hudek is an odd mixture of moody orchestral arrangements and typical 80’s synth-grinding designed to rattle teeth, but the two blend together well, enhancing the dream-state quality of the movie.

The effects by Dark FX, Ltd. are on the ratty side, likely unavoidable due to the excruciatingly low budget; what saves them is a tub full of actual cow guts, copious amounts of theatrical blood used to hide inadequacies, and the reliable creature design which recalls both Audrey Jr. from The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) and the toothy, alien beasts from The Deadly Spawn (1983); the frequent, and moist, appearances of prominent phallic appendages helps tingle the nerves, as well.

 

Apparently not wanting to splurge on sound equipment, the entire film is dubbed with the help of sound man, Eli Trask; being completely immersed in the murky waters of dreams and flashbacks, this works for the most part, possibly even more so when the footsteps are out of sync and sound like a dysfunctional stonemason using a cinderblock to pound the crap out of a sack of potatoes.

If you can get past the facade of poofy 80’s shirts with upturned collars, high-hipped stone-washed jeans, teased mullets, gratuitous pick-up truck action, bad acting, and hit-or-miss special effects you’ll notice something thought-provoking and quite unnerving in the film. Through the sanctified, bloated vehicle of Brother Fogg (fog indicating a state of confusion or a dream state), you’ll travel down a dusty Texas road symbolising a tried-and-true snake-handling Southern Pentecostal creepiness right out of Azusa Street; a bloody and visceral representation of media-as-a-disease, ala Videodrome (1983) and more recently seen in Pontypool (2008); the Orestesian dispatch of a mother who unwittingly sacrifices her son to her own misguided selfishness; a Moebius strip narrative structure recalling the hallucinatory nightmare feeling of Phantasm (1979), with dreams turning within flashbacks turning within dreams, ultimately birthing a monstrous id identical in nature, if not looks, to the creature from Forbidden Planet (1956).

Now, was all of this Greek drama and pop cultural meta-referencing intentionally put into the film? Probably not, but that means a lot of it was done subconsciously, which means Bret McCormick, as writer and director, had some serious demons to exorcise in 1986. Without a doubt, it can be said his existential struggle is to the viewer’s benefit.

Ben Spurling, HORRORPEDIA

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Other reviews:

“From a filmmaking perspective there’s hundreds of things wrong with this movie but yet they’re all so perfectly wrong in just right ways! […] The Abomination is a masterpiece of zero-budget shitty horror movies. Any worthless hack can make a terrible movie (Ax ‘Em I’m thinking about you motherf*cker!), but all the stars have to align just right to make something so unique and perfectly horrible as The Abomination. It’s truly one of a kind.” Dymon Enlow, Happyotter

The Abomination is a genuine abomination of surreal homegrown splatter filmmaking complete with droning synthesizers, library music, monotone acting and direction, and oodles of gore. It’s fun, but at the end of the day, it’s more fun telling people you’ve seen it than the actual process of seeing it.” James Oxyer, Obscure Cinema 101

“If you can stick with the excruciatingly droning dialogue there is much joy to be had from all the stupid silliness of The Abomination. It’s like David Cronenberg designed a gore version of The Muppet Show, only to have Andy Milligan rewrite and direct it, just mind-boggling and so plain odd and entertaining. Recommended for fans of 80s cheapo gore and those of us that like a little cozy weirdness on their screens.” Rubbermonsterfetishism

The Abomination is an ambitious, bloody, hungry-monster-in-the-kitchen movie from Texas […] There’s a chainsaw decapitation, slit throats, hands bit off, an exorcism, a cat in a toilet, and good ole fart humor.” Michael J. Weldon, The Psychotronic Video Guide

Psychotronic Video Guide Michael J. Weldon book

Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

“It’s quite a memorable little oddity with its Bible-infused weirdness, rivers of blood and odd sound effects. Only low budget filmmaking can play with the sort of stuff we see, so we have to be prepared to live with the inevitable shortcomings of such a fringe production. At the very least, it’s a memorable, distinctive effort so I’d say give it a look if you can.” Boris Lugosi, Girls, Guns and Ghouls

” …I did not find The Abomination boring at all! An experience in madness and a control to feed this “demon’s” bloodlust for human flesh is had with all it’s gory trimmings. I enjoyed how the story pans out from it’s dream sequence beginning to its blood soaked ending. Maybe the ending could have been more insane but it was far from terrible!” Extreme Horror Cinema

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Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

Main cast:

  • Scott Davis
  • Jude Johnson
  • Blue Thompson
  • Brad McCormick
  • Suzy Meyer
  • Rex Morton
  • Victoria Chaney
  • Gaye Bottoms
  • Van Connery
  • Bubba Moore

Choice dialogue:

“There is no escape from The Abomination!”

“Well, you tell him that last night I choked out a tumour big enough to choke a horse!”

“You are the Whore of Babylon, mother! You are the mother of this abomination!”

Filming locations:

Poolville, Texas, USA

Related:

The Deadly Spawn

B-Movie Baggage: Filmmaker versus Distributor in a Fight for Survival – article by Bret McCormick

Bad Movies = Great Trash – article by Bret McCormick

Image thanks: Le Blog des DVDpasChériens | VHS Collector



Categories: 1980s, exorcism, Horrorpedia review, religious horror

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. this is really shitty weirdo movie, boring movie but if you like cronenbergesque parasites and make make up like shivers, i recommend this Tumorous parasitic beasts

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