Friday, March 26

Some quick thoughts on The Abomination (1986)

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A young man's dying mother believes she's been saved by a televangelist after coughing up a bloody tumor while watching. Later that night, her son (Cody, Scott Davis) arrives home from a date with his girl (Blue Thompson) and collapses into bed. The writhing lung lesion then wiggles from the kitchen waste bin into the sleeping Cody's bedroom and promptly down his throat. With his mother feeling great, Cody inexplicably finds himself more angered and sickened by the hour. Sick in bed, the lesion is vomited up again and Cody soon has uncontrollable bloodlust as the pulsing fleshy abnormality hungers for meat so that it may metastasize. Faced with a mounting body count of grisly murders, it seems Cody has no escape from his ghastly possession, but his girlfriend has yet to be introduced...

Here it is. The infamous, rare-as-hen's-teeth-in-a-haystack Donna Michelle VHS of Bret McCormick's The Abomination. The pact of filmmakers Bret McCormick and Matt Devlen along with actors Scott Davis and Blue Thompson (who looks to have been McCormick's wife at one point) spearheaded two Texan Super8 gore wonders in 1986. McCormick's The Abomination and the Devlen directed/McCormick produced Ozone: Attack the Redneck Mutants (thoughts here). Damn tough to locate on home video; these are often obscure even for horror veterans. Of course, they can be probably be downloaded online instantly, but what fun is that? These are to be savored as you hunt at yard sales and eBay hoping to walk on clouds upon finally snagging copies. Or you can cheat like a big game hunter on a ready made reservation.

Yet ultimately and somewhat disappointingly, The Abomination ends up like one of those loud and flashy used car commercials. The sell is vastly more verbose than the final product; which isn't anything unusual so I'm at a loss over why I'm bitching. From its catchy title and graphic cover art (seen here), Bret McCormick (credited in the film as "Max Raven") and whoever "Donna Michelle Productions" were certainly understood the hypnotic power these elements hold over the horrorhound renters back in the day. Well, this still holds true today, as most would gnaw the fingers off the guy next to them in order to wrench this tape into their grasp at a swap meet. At the same time, The Abomination holds more promise than the plethora of splashily illustrated, yet hollow genre tapes of yore.

You will come for the gore and stay for the gore. Unlike others who pussyfoot around or outright lie, McCormick lets loose like a quart of beer twenty minutes too late. Limbs are lost, throats are slit, craniums are violated, blood sprays like a crazed chimp with a shampoo bottle, and monstrous teethed tumors burst from kitchen drawers mimicking Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors. The tip of the hat goes to Dark FX, Ltd. for generating copious amounts of grue to the warm the cackles of your VCR. Nothing is technically great, this ain't Savini, but you won't want spaghetti with marinara for weeks after sitting through the lingering nature of the crimson moneyshots. For those who've seen Ozone, The Abomination is definitely wetter.

The acting is hard to gauge with all voicework dubbed in post production. Scott Davis just screams, sweats, or menacingly grins while sporting sunglasses a lot. Blue Thompson looks denim-clad pretty while inhabiting her handful of scenes; she saw a much larger role in Ozone. Like most of these two dollar productions, scenes tend to drag, with the padding of choice here being repeated driving sequences featuring old Ford pick-ups on the dirt paths of Zion Hill, Texas (Google Map here). The biblical slant of the abomination's need for human destruction is a nice touch, but never realized to any satisfying extent. McCormick is wise enough to save the literal tub o' gore for the climax and have a better little final twist than Ozone.

Donna Michelle's VHS presentation is solid. The picture and sound quality are clear and easily interpreted. There's no trailers either before or after the feature. Contrary to the IMDb, the film runs 90 minutes in length, not 100. Also there's a full minute of dead tape before the "real" video begins for all the distortion various VCRs can wrought on the beginning of the VHS. Also it's a good warning to heed that the very beginning of the movie spoils pretty much all the gory scenes in a dream sequence. Just close your eyes and fast forward to the titles.
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2 comments:

Cory said...

Wow, I always knew this was probably a rarely seen movie, but didnt know it was this rare. Glad I've held on to my original VHS all this time!

Massacre Video said...

Actually the trailer is on the front of the tape...and it ruins all of the gore footage hehe!

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