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Evilspeak


Title: Evilspeak
Year Of Release: 1981
Running Time: 92 minutes
DVD Released By: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Directed By: Eric Weston
Writing Credits: Joseph Garofalo and Eric Weston

Starring: Clint Howard, R.G. Armstrong, Charles Tyner, Joseph Cortese, Don Stark, Hamilton Camp
Taglines:
1. Data incomplete... Human blood required. Thus spake the computer.
2. Remember the little kid you used to pick on? Well, he's a big boy now.
Alternate Titles:
Evilspeaks

Review Date: 1.16.05 (updated 1.1.10)

Shadow's Title: "How Al Gore Invented The Internet"

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Evilspeak [Blu-ray]

Characters
Stanley Coopersmith – Stanley is an orphan who attends West Andover Military Academy. He's really a nice guy and does his best to get along with everyone, but he doesn’t fit in too well and most people at the school – both those on the faculty as well as the students, treat him rather poorly.
Douglas "Bubba" Caldwell – He is the leader of a small group of teen males who live to torment Stanley. In fact, they go out of their way to inflict misery upon him and Bubba here is the worst of the lot, actually being the one that makes the killing blow that dispatches Stanley’s dog.
Colonel Kincaid – The top dog at the Academy and one hundred percent, grade “A” asshole. He's one of these jerks who is so enamored with his own ideas and perceptions of the military that it blinds him to everything else, pretty much making him a total dickweed when dealing with others.
Reverend Jameson – This dork is the Academy’s resident man of the church. While not quite the overbearing asswipe that the rest of the faculty is, he still has his moments. While harsh with Stanley on occasion, he still treats him better than any other adult aside from the kitchen cook.
Coach – In typical fashion, this goober is more concerned with winning than anything else. Regulations allow anyone on the soccer team to play at least two out of four quarters, but Coach is as tired as the rest of the players of Stanley being the cause of their losing all the time.
Kowalski – While the kitchen cook shows Stanley a modicum of kindness, Kowalski here is his only true friend at the academy. Kowalski does his best to defend Stanley from Bubba and his lackeys, even at the risk of his own ass, but cannot always be there for his friend.
Sarge – This nutjob is the maintenance guy. Well, I just assumed that was his job, as he is seen wandering around the school grounds all disheveled, carrying tools and muttering to himself. Then again, that describes my old shop teacher so Sarge could have had a staff position.
Miss Friedemeyer – Secretary for Colonel “I’m a jackass” Kincaid. Her job in the movie is to titillate all the straight males in the audience and get them all hot and bothered by showing off her bare boobs and ass by sauntering around for the camera clad only in a thong. Gets porked...literally.
Jake the Cook – Somewhere there is a Mafia movie that is missing one its mobsters. Doesn’t he look like he should be sitting around a table with about five other guys, eating cannoli and ordering somebody “whacked?” Oh, yeah…this guy was nice to Stanley and gave him a puppy.
Esteban – A Spanish monk who concluded that since the world is a shithole, and Satan is the master of all things shitty, then Satan must be god. How can you argue with logic like that? He and his followers fled from the Inquisition to the new world where they were executed by the church.

 

The Plot Hold your cursor over an image for a pop-up caption

Before the invention of the bikini, beach parties really sucked.The film opens on a beach, which considering subsequent developments in the story, must be somewhere in what would later be known as southern California. At this point, it is obviously several hundred years in the past, as Spanish monks and Conquistadors make their way down the beach rather than bikini-clad beach babes and sun-bleached surfer dudes. There is a sizable crowd of people and it appears that many of them have just arrived, as there seems to be much unloading of crates and other crap off nearby rowboats. The monks and soldiers approach a robed and hooded figure holding a sword. One of the monks begins speaking and subtitles inform us that the hooded man is Lorenzo Esteban and he and his followers are being banished from Spain and the protection of the Catholic church. They are admonished to abandon their pursuit of evil or face god’s wrath. This entire speech earns nothing but spit from Esteban.

The scene fades into one of Esteban walking along the shoreline, holding his sword before his followers, who have their arms outstretched in a beseeching manner. One would assume that the monks and soldiers have left and the banished people are now having some kind of private shindig. Esteban uses his sword to cut a pentagram in the sand. Next he is standing before a crude altar made from some barrels and wood planks, shouting and screaming like only the truly insane are prone to do (just like at a Yanni show). He is working his followers into a frenzy and one young woman steps forth out of the crowd. Esteban carries on with the whole satanic ritual thing – waving his arms about, sprinkling something on her head and making faces generally reserved for people in the midst of orgasmic euphoria. Soon the sun is setting and the young woman, who is now kneeling, has some of her clothes removed. Esteban stands behind her, brandishing his sword high in the air above him while the entire group chants and waves their hands around like deaf people on fire. At the peak of the all the goofiness, Esteban brings his sword down in a wide arc and removes the woman’s head from her body. Now, why did she step forward for that? As the head flies off into the air, the scene quickly changes to…

…A kicked soccer ball flying through the air. We are now in the present day (1981) and two teams, each representing a military academy, are engaged in a game of soccer (or football for everyone else outside of the USA). One member of one team, a youth who has the name Coopersmith on the back of his T-shirt, is giving the game his all by moving the ball down the field, but manages to miss a kick and ends up stepping past the ball and allowing the opposing team to gain control. His coach is visibly outraged at this turn of events and a teammate tells him that he has screwed up for the last time. The other team scores, putting them one up over Coppersmith’s team, which we learn hail from the West Andover Military Academy. Time expires and the game ends. Coopersmith is pushed to the ground by his teammates and berated for his unwitting efforts in helping the other team win.

Coopersmith (henceforth referred to by his first name of Stanley and not the “Cooperdick” moniker his schoolmates heap on him) is helped up by Kowalski and they all head off to the showers. In the locker room, Stanley’s teammates again begin giving him a hard time for screwing up. Kowalski tries to defend him, but the gang of youths just will not stop. They are led by Bubba, who snaps his towel on Stanley’s posterior. The coach arrives and yells at everyone to knock it off. Bubba gripes at the school policy that allows everyone to play in games, despite their level of skill. Coach takes him aside and tells him that his hands are tied. However, if something were to happen to Stanley to keep him from playing…. The thought goes unsaid, but it is obvious that Bubba grasps the meaning behind Coach’s words and he smiles to himself.

Elsewhere, the boys are showering and we are subjected to the sight of bare male ass. Don’t even ask me why or how I noticed this, but one guy seems to be wearing a sock-like thing over his manhood. Stanley tells Kowalski that soon he has to begin cleaning the cellar beneath the school’s chapel. One boy tells him to take advantage of visiting day to get out of it, but another youth reminds everyone that Stanley has no mother and no father. The rest, excluding Kowalski, tease him about being an orphan. Stanley grabs his towel and leaves as the others laugh.

"Why don’t I give you a private version of my sermon on the evils of fornication?"Visiting day has arrived. Whether it was later that same day or later in the week is unknown. All the students are dressed sharply and a parade is in progress. Colonel Kincaid is escorting a Mrs. Caldwell and babbling on about the proud tradition of the military in American culture and how there was a time when only boys from the right families were admitted to the academy but financial burdens have forced them to take in orphans like Stanley Coopersmith in more recent times.

Now be prepared for some odd editing, as the film jumps back and forth between two different scenes, never following one too closely before abandoning it for the other.

We now see Stanley in the school chapel looking for Reverend Jameson. Adorning one wall is a large painting that is obviously of Lorenzo Esteban, dead now for centuries. Stanley makes his way to the cellar below in his search for the man. The cellar is quite naturally dark and creepy. Really, did you expect it to be anything but? Stanley stumbles around the darkened rooms and bumps into Sarge, the ever drunken maintenance man. Sarge asks why he is down there and Stanley mumbles out an explanation until Reverend Jameson shows up. Jameson then explains that Stanley is on a punishment detail, that he has been ordered to clean up the cellar and that Sarge should supervise him. Sarge grumbles about this but agrees.

Reverend Jameson heads outside where he meets up with Colonel Kincaid and Mrs. Caldwell. She admits to being intrigued about the chapel and its origins. Jameson goes on to relate to her his own findings, taking her on a tour of the place as he does so.

In the cellar, Stanley is hard at work cleaning the place. Strange sounds can be heard and an overall creepiness pervades the area. An ominous shadow passes over him at one point, but it is no doubt just Sarge walking around elsewhere in the cellar. At least, that is what I’m guessing, as the film will never address the point or reveal who was responsible for that shadow. While bracing himself against a wall to help in moving a large piece of junk, he knocks a brick loose. He takes a closer look and realizes that behind the wall is a passageway that was obviously bricked over ages ago.

Upstairs in the chapel, Jameson is telling Mrs. Caldwell about the founder of the chapel – a Father Esteban (PLOT POINT!!!) It seems that the entire stretch of land the chapel and school now rest upon was given to Esteban and his order of monks when they fled the Spanish Inquisition. Fled? The beginning segment made it clear they had been banished. I guess old Esteban decided to put his own spin on events.

Below, Stanley looks to see where Sarge is, but the old man is reading, drinking and laughing to himself in a private corner of the cellar that serves as his living quarters. Stanley secretly takes Sarge’s crowbar, and then goes back to the crumbling wall and removes enough bricks to allow him passage. Inside he finds a short corridor that leads to another room. This chamber is filled with odd (and yes – creepy) objects. There is an altar of some sort, a jar with what looks like a fetus inside of it, goblets, daggers, books and other assorted relics. Everything is covered with a thick layer of dust and wrapped in cobwebs. He lights a few candles and has a brief scare from a rat that decides to jump on him (like all rats do in films), since we all know that rats routinely jump six feet into the air to land on a person’s shoulder.

Above, Jameson is still blathering on to Mrs. Caldwell and talking about how before being executed, Esteban vowed to return and extract his revenge, the signal for which would manifest itself on these very grounds. Well…duh. Nobody swears to come back from the dead in order to bake a cake and volunteer at the local PBS pledge drive…of course they want vengeance!

"These used bookstores really suck."Back in the cellar, Stanley is looking over a shelf of dusty old books. He pulls one with a pentagram on its cover out and gives it a closer look, but the sounds of Sarge stumbling around in a drunken stupor, looking for his crowbar distract him.

Once AGAIN, we go back up above where Jameson is returning Mrs. Caldwell to Colonel Kincaid. She then remarks, “Oh there is Douglas.” Bubba approaches and we learn that this is his mother and that his father is a senator and school benefactor. Can anyone else see that this sets Bubba up as the favored student who can get away with murder because he comes from money? Good.

Back once again to the cellar, where Stanley has lit a shitload of candles within the secret chamber and is pacing around. He gets a little freaked when the pickled fetus begins to claw its way out of its jar (well, wouldn’t you?). He backs away but an arm tears through the brick wall to grab him by the throat. He struggles and manages to get loose, running to a door and opening it. A bright light blinds him and the image of Esteban holding a sword and sporting an evil expression on his face confronts him. The figure glides toward him as if on skates and as it nears, Stanley awakes to find himself in his bunk. I suppose the audience is left to assume that Stanley fled the secret chamber when he first heard Sarge moving around. Hidden beneath his pillow, we see the book he took from the chamber. Panicked because he is late, he flies out of bed and discovers that his tormentors have unplugged his alarm clock and tied all of his clothes into tight knots.

Next we see him running and falling on his way to class. He tries to sneak in while the teacher has his back turned to the chalkboard, but is caught. The teacher, a man named Hauptman and whose accent makes him sound like he just retired from the Gestapo before taking this teaching job, grills him for being late and manages to get a joke in at Stanley’s expense. The teacher then launches into a speech about the tactics of Julias Caesar, the importance of learning Latin and an upcoming assignment where the students must build a model of some kind. All in all, one of those autocratic teacher types who are full of their own self importance and handle their class like it was their own private kingdom of slaves. Stanley gets distracted by looking over the book he found in the cellar and soon the bell rings, signaling the end of class. Boy, he really was late if he got there just a minute or two before the class ended! Everyone goes to leave but the teacher calls for Stanley to remain. He orders Stanley to report to the Colonel’s office after his last class and admonishes the boy for not applying himself. Is that the rallying cry for teachers and parents everywhere or what? I certainly heard it a few times when I was in school.

Fatal Error: Keyboard not attached. Press F1 to continue.Go north then swing sword at troll!Stanley is now in the study hall, using one of the computers to check the plans for his model catapult so he can ensure accuracy in its design. He sees the book he liberated from the cellar and putting his other stuff aside, decides to use a translation program to decipher the Latin text contained within it. It seems the tome was penned by old Lorenzo Esteban himself and talks about his willing servitude to Satan, his knowledge of his eventual death by the church and his promise to return. I don’t know what Stanley expected to find in the book, but a recipe for bread pudding it ain’t. Esteban also espouses his theory that since the world is evil and that Satan is the master of evil, he therefore is god. There is also a bit about him signing the book of death and performing a black mass. All in all, a fascinating read. Right up there with a Harry Potter book.

Later, Stanley is walking through one of the school’s second story corridors when Bubba and his gang see him. He tries to pass but they stop him and begin harassing him. Kowalski arrives and again tries to help him, but Bubba manages to grab Stanley’s hat and throw it out the window, where it falls to the lawn below. A mild scuffle ensues that includes Kowalski nearly being tossed out the very same window, but ends when Reverend Jameson arrives and talks about the upcoming game on Saturday (presumably another soccer game). He then gets on Stanley’s case for not having his hat before finally leaving. Bubba and company then leave as well. Stanley looks out the window for his hat and sees it below on the grass, getting drenched from a sprinkler.

Now Stanley has arrived at the Colonel’s office, quite wet from having retrieved his hat. The Colonel orders him into his office and has him leave his books out with his secretary, Miss Friedemeyer. When placing his books down, the one from the cellar slips and falls into the wastebasket. Inside his office, Kincaid proceeds to talk down to Stanley, blaming him for not getting along with the others, telling him to get over the death of his parents and generally being an ass and reducing the poor kid to tears. Wanting to make sure Stanley remembers their little “chat,” the Colonel unveils a large paddle and proceeds to let Stanley have a few hits to the ass. Outside, Miss Friedemeyer can hear the Colonel’s tirade and smiles to herself.

The Colonel now has Stanley clean the livestock pens, most notably the ones where the pigs are kept. While this is occurring, Miss Friedemeyer has noticed the book of Esteban in the wastebasket, where Stanley failed to retrieve it and has become intrigued by the jewel encrusted pentagram emblem on its cover. She tries to remove it, which seems to cause the pigs way over where Stanley is to become quite agitated. They bust loose and charge at him. He barely manages to escape by throwing himself over the fence.

Next we see Bubba and his gang sabotaging Stanley’s catapult model by sawing at it and weakening it at certain places. They leave when one spots Stanley approaching and meet him at the door where they ridicule him for his muddy appearance and piggy stench. Then a teacher or school official comes in with their off campus passes and tells them to be ready to leave in five minutes.

Now the action moves to a roller rink where Bubba and gang are having fun. We get several shots of them generally behaving like assholes. Back at the school, Stanley picks up his catapult model only to have to fall to pieces in his hands. Suddenly he realizes the book of Esteban is gone and after a frenzied search of his sleeping area, blames Bubba and company for the theft, not realizing that the greedy Miss Friedemeyer is now in possession of it after he left it in her trash can. Stanley goes to the roller rink and confronts Bubba and the others about the book, but they know nothing about it. He concedes that maybe they don’t know anything, but before he leaves he still swears that they will pay for ruining his catapult model. He skates off, the others mocking him as he rolls away.

The next day Stanley returns to the Colonel’s office and asks Miss Friedemeyer if she has seen the missing book, but she denies having seen it and dismisses him rather curtly before reaching into a drawer and retrieving the book once he has gone. In an upstairs hall he is confronted by Sarge, who asks if Stanley took his missing crowbar. Stanley says no, then beats a hasty retreat, claiming it is time for study hall.

In study hall, Stanley is again using a computer to delve into Esteban’s secrets. He types in “What are the keys to the kingdom of Satan’s magic?” and is answered by some stuff about signing the book of death and a black mass. WTF? My question is…just where the hell is this info coming from? Earlier he used the computer to translate some passages from the book, but now the machine is a veritable fountain of all things Esteban and evil. Who inputted this database from which the computer is accessing this information? Did the spirit of Esteban magically put it there? This was long before Al Gore invented the internet, so the computer could not be accessing any others. Where was this information coming from? Who the hell knows. Anyway the bells rings and Stanley is shooed out of the room by a teacher. Despite turning the monitor off when leaving, it comes on by itself just a few seconds later. OOOH! Scary! NOT.

Now we see Stanley in the hidden chamber below the chapel where he is setting up a computer. Again…WTF? Where did he get this machine? Did he swipe it from the study hall/computer lab? If so, didn’t anyone even notice him walking across half the bloody campus with it? It is not like you could hide those ancient things in your pocket…or even a freaking backpack, they were huge! Especially the monitors. They must have weighed half a ton each. And didn’t anyone even notice it was gone? Apparently not.

"And I thought my job at Dell sucked!"Once he has the computer set up he consults the satanic library close by, types a plea to Satan for help against his enemies, then inquires into what is needed for a black mass. Now, this part is kinda funny. Years before the Internet, chat rooms, instant messengers and the like, he’s having a chat with old Scratch himself. The only thing missing are those evil emoticons. Also, if he really wanted to contact Satan, all he had to do was play a Yanni album. And not even play it backwards…forwards is enough to invoke all things evil! Anyway, he gets a list of things needed for a black mass: mandrake root, juice of aconite, poplar leaves, arsenic, sulfur, black candles, unholy water, a jar of Vegemite and a consecrated host. Okay, okay…so I was kidding about the jar of Vegemite, but have you tried that crap? It’s bloody awful! I guess that database I mentioned earlier was put there by either Esteban’s ghost or the devil himself. Who knew Hell had its own website?

Stanley plunders the contents of the secret chamber to find most of the ingredients and attempts a black mass, complete with secret incantations. However, nothing happens, as he still doesn’t have the unholy water and blood from a consecrated host. Along about now Reverend Jameson enters the cellar to find Stanley, who emerges from the hidden chamber and runs into him. Jameson is pretty pissed that the cellar still isn’t cleaned up and sends Stanley on his way for the night.

In the mess hall, Stanley is scrounging the last bits of food left from the evening meal when Jake the cook notices him. He beckons Stanley into the back where he prepares a steak for him. They share a meal together and the cook manages to get the poor kid to smile. He then shows Stanley a dog and her pups he has hidden under a counter. One of the pups isn’t getting the chance to nurse like the others and Stanley instantly empathizes with the pitiful creature. He asks to have the pup so that he can give it a chance to live. The cook agrees and Stanley takes the puppy to the hidden chamber below the chapel where he plans to hide him. He again sees the computer screen calling for unholy water and blood, so he sneaks up to the chapel to steal a communion wafer but soon gets creeped out and leaves. Back in the secret chamber, he gives the Black Mass another shot but nothing seems to happen other than an odd rasping sound permeating the air that sounds like an old person with a cold. Stanley follows the noise out of the secret chamber and is beset upon by a number of caped figures wearing animal masks. They push him around, with Stanley hitting his head against the wall and falling unconscious to the floor, but it turns out to be just Bubba and his cohorts pulling a fast one on Stanley. They leave and Stanley slowly rouses himself, thinking that the Black Mass has worked. However, a quick shot of the computer screen tells us that all the ingredients have yet to be met.

The next day Stanley runs into his friend Kowalski, who inquires into Stanley’s recent whereabouts. Stanley explains that he now has garbage duty in addition to his other punishment details and will catch up to Kowalski, who is off to prep the field for the upcoming rally later on. While dumping garbage, Jake the cook approaches Stanley and gives him a bag of bones for the puppy. As Stanley races off, the camera pans by the bell tower where a mysterious figure watches what occurs below.

Stanley now arrives in the secret chamber and gives a bone to the puppy, which he has named Freddy. He then tries to retrieve something off the top shelf of a nearby book case, but only proceeds to fall and knock things over. The sound wakes Sarge, who has drifted into a booze-enhanced slumber. Sarge decides to investigate and eventually stumbles upon Stanley in the hidden chamber. He spies his crowbar and gets enraged about being lied to, then he spots the puppy and threatens to kill it. Stanley pushes him and the two scuffle, with Sarge taking the occasional sip from his bottle the whole time. Finally Sarge overpowers him and Stanley screams for help. The images on the computer begin going nuts and an unseen power takes hold of Sarge, twisting his head slowly to the point where his neck snaps and his head is now backwards. Suffice it to say, the old drunk is dead.

Outside on the soccer field, Colonel Kincaid and the Coach are wondering where Sarge is. No one can seem to locate him. Stanley comes running up and breathlessly tries to relate what has happened to Sarge, but the Coach instantly gets on his ass for being dirty. The Colonel dismisses him and orders him to go get cleaned up, not giving him the chance to tell them what has happened. Now, I have to say…these guys are idiots. It should be apparent by Stanley’s demeanor that he has something urgent to tell them, but all they can do is get on his case and not even allow him to talk. Assholes. Stanley runs back to the underground chamber and discovers another room off the main chamber. This room seems to hold the skeletons of Esteban’s followers as well as a crucifix shaped coffin where Esteban himself is entombed.

Now comes what very may well be the film’s funniest and silliest moment. Greedy Miss Friedemeyer is at home preparing for bed and we see than she still has Esteban’s book. She again tries to remove the jeweled pentagram, but with no more luck than she had before. Again, this seems to upset the pigs in the school’s livestock area. Now it just hit me – do military academies routinely have livestock areas? What the hell for? Anyway, greedy Miss Friedemeyer decides it is time for a shower and proceeds to strip before sauntering off up the stairs to the bathroom, providing the audience with a nice shot of her assets. While in the shower, she thinks she hears something, but after sticking her head out to listen, nothing can be discerned so she goes back to bathing. A few minutes later she again hears something and decides to turn the shower off and take a look. She opens the bathroom door and a horde of pigs…yes, I said PIGS, barges in and proceeds to maul her to death. As she dies, Esteban’s book vanishes from her cabinet top.

Okay, how the hell did those pigs get into her house? Did they just materialize in her living room as if beaming in from the Starship Enterprise or did they actually take the long way by walking down the streets? If the latter, didn’t anyone see a gang of pigs roaming the neighborhood? That’s gotta be kinda hard to miss. Unless they took the bus or a taxi. Once they got there, did one of them pick the lock or did magic open the front door? Once they dispatched Miss Friedemeyer, did they just let themselves back into their pen after they arrived back at the school? This begs the question: how did they escape from the pen in the first place? More site to site transporting?

Back in the cellar, Stanley is hiding Sarge’s body in the newly uncovered tomb. He emerges from the cellar and runs into Kowalski, who drags him off to the rally. At the rally, a contest for Miss Heavy Artillery is underway. Three young women in skimpy outfits are paraded around on stage for the ogling pleasure of all the adolescent males in the audience. While all three are pretty damn cute, I must say that the first one has a killer tan. Drool. After the winner is determined, an effigy representing the rival school is burned.

"Look pal, like it or not it's laundry day…so give us those pants or we’re gonna have to get rough."Stanley approaches one of the girls from the contest, but one that did not win and awkwardly tries to tell her that he thinks she was the best and that she should have won. She realizes he is being honest and rewards him with a smile and tries to ward off Bubba when the latter arrives with his cronies. Bubba will have none of it and he and his pals knock Stanley down and then strip him of his pants before warning him not to play in the upcoming game and telling him that if he causes them to lose again, he’ll be in trouble. Stanley replies by saying he has a right to play and if need be, he will go to the Colonel to ensure that he does. Bubba then tells him that if he does that, both he and his dog are dead. As they walk off, Stanley warns them that there will be serious consequences if they hurt his dog. Then Colonel Kincaid arrives and the sight of Stanley on the ground with no pants is all he needs to launch into another tirade which ultimately ends when he kicks Stanley off the team.

Elsewhere, Bubba and his idiot friends along with a couple of girls from the pageant make their way into the cellar beneath the chapel. They raid Sarge’s room for booze and Bubba gets frisky with one of the girls. Then they hear Freddy barking and go to check it out. They discover the secret chamber and begin to party it up. They find the computer as well as little Freddy. Bubba sees the message on the screen that says that blood is still needed for the Black Mass. He works himself up into a frenzy and with the others (except the girls) chanting “Kill! Kill! Kill!” he proceeds to take a knife and kill poor Freddy the dog. The computer screen now warns that Human blood was needed and the ritual is still not complete! Gee whiz, who knew the devil was such a stickler for details? I always thought that when it came to him, it was the thought and intent that counted. I guess not.

 

Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of this section.

 

The next day arrives and Stanley is making his way to the chapel and the cellar below. There he finds empty beer cans, a lot of blood and the body of poor little Freddy. Elsewhere, the coach quizzes the students on Stanley’s location, and one jokingly remarks that maybe “he got the message.” Bubba tells him to shut up and Kowalski asks, “What message?” Back in the cellar, Stanley is crying over Fred’s violent demise. Oddly enough, despite hours having passed since Fred’s death, the blood has not dried or congealed one bit. The computer screen comes to life and again displays a message for Human blood. Up above, the coach tells the students to make for the chapel for the pre-game sermon. Again, Kowalski confronts Bubba about the “message” sent to Stanley and all Bubba responds with is an “arf, arf.” Below, Stanley cradles Fred and the computer screen now reads “Human blood. I will return.” The lettering on Esteban’s coffin bursts into flame and Stanley finds the book that he had misplaced earlier, now magically returned to the tomb. Elsewhere Kowalski is looking for his friend but can’t find him.

Now we see the Gestapo teacher Hauptman enter the chapel. He sees Stanley wandering off with the container of communion wafers and when he looks closer, sees the bloody hand print the youth left behind. Now the Coach and the rest of the students are arriving for the sermon, while below in the cellar Hauptman is looking for Stanley. After much stumbling around, he comes across the hidden chamber and Stanley in the midst of the Black Mass ritual. He tells the youth that he is going to put him on report, but Stanley turns to face him and the demonic expression on his face makes Mr. Gestapo suddenly shut up. Stanley races towards him, grabs him and in a feat of superhuman strength worthy of a Festivus celebration, hurls the teacher up into the air. The poor bastard collides with a funky wooden chandelier type thing that has wooden spikes protruding from its bottom side and is instantly impaled on said spikes.

"Welcome to hell, ladies and gentlemen. I am Lucifer and I will be your host for this evening."Above in the chapel Reverend Jameson is in the midst of his sermon, but below Stanley has captured blood from the dead teacher in a goblet and completes the Black Mass. All hell is unleashed on the computer screen, which goes into full 64k mode with what was then some fancy graphics. Stanley calls for Satan to hear his call and Esteban’s face slowly superimposes itself over his own features. Esteban’s voice now completes the Black Mass ritual. Back upstairs, the Reverend is blathering on and we see that on the statue of a crucified Christ behind him, one of the nails in the figure’s hands is beginning to move by itself. Soon blood begins to pour from the wound. Everyone looks on in terrified awe as the nail slowly works itself free and suddenly flies across the room like a rocket to embed itself in the forehead of Reverend Jameson, spinning around 180 degrees in mid-flight before doing so. The Reverend falls down, quite dead. Below, the visage of Esteban vanishes and once more Stanley’s own face returns. Above, everyone begins to freak out, stumbling and falling all over themselves in their haste to get out – however, the heavy wooden chapel doors refuse to budge. Below, some more fancy computer graphics precede Stanley’s face changing again, only this time it transforms briefly into that of a beastly, demonic countenance complete with piggy snout, tusks, horns and a long slithery tongue that would put Gene Simmons to shame.

The floor to the chapel then explodes in a fiery eruption and everyone clamoring to get out falls to the floor. Rising up from the burning hole is Stanley, brandishing a sword and floating in mid air. One student takes a step back and is consumed in a pillar of fire that forms behind the huddled group. Colonel Kincaid calls out to Stanley and as the others watch in horror, Stanley floats up to Kincaid and splits his head down the middle with the sword of Esteban. Naturally, then others scream some more. Then the horde of devil pigs emerges from the hole and begins to chase the students. They quickly tear apart the chubbiest of Bubba’s gang while Bubba himself hides in the rectory and collapses with his back against the door. A devil pig smashes through the door and takes a bite out of his shoulder, prompting him to get up and run some more, making his way into the cellar (bad choice dude). Back in the chapel another one of Bubba’s gang meets his end when Stanley comes floating up to him and whacks off his head with the big sword. The Coach isn’t having any better luck in getting out alive and begins crawling around on the floor between the pews, but sticking his head up to peer around wasn’t a good idea and WHACK! Another head gets chopped. Another student gets ripped to pieces by the devil pigs then we once again see Bubba running from a different group of pigs in the cellar. Just as he manages to give them the slip, he bumps into the reanimated corpse of Sarge, which grabs him by the throat with one hand and rips out his still beating heart with the other. Another shot of the chapel shows it engulfed in flames and the large cross behind the pulpit crashes to the floor.

The camera then pans over the wreckage once the fire has gone out and the following words scroll across the screen:

Suffering from shock and catatonic withdrawal, attributed to his having witnessed the fiery death of his deer friends and teachers, Stanley Coopersmith, sole survivor of the tragic accident at West Andover Academy Chapel, was admitted to Sunnydale Asylum.He remains there still.

Hold the phone! This text attributes all the deaths to a “tragic accident.” WTF? How can anyone believe that what happened in the chapel was an accident? I mean come on! There was one guy with a nail through the forehead, at least three people missing their heads, a couple more torn to shreds by pigs, another burned to a crisp and in the cellar there is a dead guy with a rotating head and another with his heart pulled out…not to mention the guy hanging from the spiked chandelier thing and the entire chapel in ruins! What kind of colossal MORON classifies all this as an accident? Tragic, yes. Accident? Hell no. Frank Drebin must have been the chief investigating officer.

"Boo!"Then the images transforms to that of a computer screen and a spinning pentagram is replaced by text which reads:

By the four beasts before the throne
By the fire which is about the throne
By the host holy and glorious name,
Satan.I Stanley Coopersmith, will return
I WILL RETURN

Then Stanley’s face slowly fills the screen. We have come full circle. Like Esteban before him, Stanley has vowed to return someday. Fade Out.

 

The End.

 

Review

Teenage misfits who exact revenge upon their tormentors was not a new theme in horror films in 1981. The previous decade had seen the likes of the successful Stephen King adaptation Carrie as well as the less well known Horror High aka Twisted Brain that played up the idea of the socially inept coming into their own long enough visit vengeance and suffering upon all those people who had done so to them. Given enough time, I’m sure we could think of a few more cinematic examples, but that is all that comes to mind at the moment of such fare from the 1970’s. Still, Evilspeak has to be the first time in film history that a persecuted teen employed both a computer and black magic in carrying out his bloody retribution. One could almost think of it as Wargames meets The Exorcist.

The project began as a script by Joseph Garofalo entitled The Foundling. Former actor Eric Weston would eventually come across the script and helped Garofalo streamline the story in rewrites, adding the computer element which is so central to the story. The estimated budget after all the rewrites were completed was a cool one million dollars – not a lot but still not exactly chump change in the early eighties. Interestingly enough, half the budget was acquired from a group of doctors who were searching for a place to invest their dough. The remainder came from producer Sylvio Tabet, whose credits include Dead Ringers and the Beastmaster film series.

The film was shot over a twenty-two day period, using an old mission in Santa Barbara to stand in as the story’s military academy, as well as a condemned church in South Central Los Angeles which was refurbished by the film crew and utilized for the film’s fiery climax.

Evilspeak is one of those films that I can’t really say anything bad about. Then again I can’t really say anything overly positive about it, either. It is definitely what I would call a “middle of the road” type of movie. It certainly doesn’t grab you, but nor does it put you to sleep. It just plays out before your eyes, compelling one to watch out of sheer curiosity. At its heart, it is comprised of two central elements that are wholly unoriginal: the tormented teen and a touch of supernatural evil. Audiences had already seen both done fairly well in Carrie and The Exorcist, respectively, but Evilspeak pulls off that rare feat of taking two established ideas and combining them into something new.

The first seventy-five minutes are mostly devoted to developing the former of the two previously mentioned story elements. Stanley Coopersmith is almost the poster child for bullied youths. In instance after instance he is physically abused, emotionally assaulted or berated in some fashion. Time and again, he takes it all in stride and tries his best to move forward and get along with everyone. The film makes it a point to portray Stanley as nearly one-hundred percent blameless while the vast majority of those around him are incapable of seeing him as he truly is, and continue to fault him for any and every incident that befalls him. This role is played quite effectively by Clint Howard - Ron’s younger brother and one of those ubiquitous actors that are seen all the time but never rise to that “A” level list of thespians. It is difficult not to empathize with Stanley while watching all the suffering he goes through.

Aside from Clint Howard as Stanley, it is unfortunate that the roles of his adversaries are not as well developed. Bubba and his gang are never really presented as anything more than cruel bullies. Are they spoiled, over privileged and wave the flag of entitlement that so many self-centered characters do? Not really. Their motivation is never really examined and aside from their desire to win at soccer, they exist Shakespeare-style solely as requisite antagonists. They are the collective Don Johns to Stanley’s Count Claudio of Florence. The same can be said of the adults in the film, but this is more excusable. Practically every teen in existence has felt that they are misunderstood by the adults around them, and that those same grown-ups are overly harsh in their dealings with them. From an adolescent’s point of view, most adults are already mean and dismissive of one’s feelings. Thus, the coldness with which the majority of adults in Evilspeak treat Stanley is more understandable – teens expect to be dismissed out of hand.

While the roles of Stanley’s antagonists are not much more than stereotypes, and rather thinly portrayed ones at that, they still manage to instill a sense of anger in the viewer. I think because of Human nature, there isn’t a person on the planet that hasn’t been taunted by someone else or has been the one doing the teasing at some point. Thus, I think that many of Bubba and friend’s antics may get overlooked as somewhat tame. Kids will be kids, right? It is in their nature to be mean with one another. And the adults? Well, this is a military academy after all. Unwavering adherence to the rules and strict discipline should be expected. Still, there is something in how nearly everything manages to go the wrong way for Stanley that will engender sympathy in the viewer. Especially once he manages to find something to bring a small amount of happiness into his life – Freddy the puppy. Having lost his parents in an automobile accident, and forced into life at West Andover Military Academy, he really has no family of his own. He does have the one true friend in Kowalski, but Freddy represents something more – a bond that is given in that unconditional way that only dogs can manage. It is after that bond is taken from him that we really feel sorry for him. I mean, come on! How hard is it to get angry with a puppy killer?

Speaking of deaths, the film was originally given an “X” rating in the United States for the excessive gore, most notably during the end sequences when a levitating Stanley proceeds to disassemble people with a giant sword, and later when a reanimated Sarge pulls Bubba’s beating heart from his chest. The footage that was cut from the film in order to avoid that “X” rating has been restored on the DVD version of the film, though it is just a scant few seconds. The gore FX in question look awfully silly by today’s standards and one may wonder how anyone could have taken them seriously enough to warrant such heavy handed editing.

Despite the film’s ability to put forth both a semi-likable central character for the audience to relate to, as well as a set of antagonists to get the blood boiling, the entire narrative never really shines. Those initial seventy-five minutes are comprised mostly of talking, with some of those most stilted and lifeless dialog to come across the screen. While the events themselves that are playing out before us are interesting, the execution is somewhat lacking at times. My one major gripe is the piss poor editing. All too often the film cuts back and forth between two different scenes, never staying with one very long before it jumps back to the other. This goes on for a significant stretch, and while I understand that it is being utilized to show simultaneous events, the end result still throws a disjointed vibe over the whole segment of the film.

The long scenes of talking and of Stanley being persecuted are broken up somewhat by two deaths – no doubt placed in there when the filmmakers realized just how slow the first two acts were. The first seems more congruent with the tone of the film, but the second one where Miss Friedemeyer is attacked at home is silly to the point laughable. As hard as I try, I just cannot find a group of pigs to be scary. Dangerous? Yes. But scary in that “oh-crap-here-comes-a-shark” way? Nope.

In the long run, the film’s positive and negative factors balance themselves out and the end result is a movie experience that is neither riveting nor snooze inducing. While the pace is somewhat slow and may prove a challenge for the ADD crowd, those who hang in there and are willing to handle the satanic themes on display, will be rewarded with one of the best revenge sequences put to film.

 

Expect To See:
Animals Gone Berzerk - In this film we get a horde of satanic pigs that run amok. Yep, that’s right….pigs. What does hell send to do its dirty work? Pigs! Accept it and move on.
Demons - No standard demons here. Instead we get the resurrected spirit of Lorenzo Esteban, an executed devil worshipper who kinda becomes a lesser demon.
Extreme Violence - Duck! The decapitated heads just fly in this film. Plus there are impalings, maulings, twisted necks, hearts pulled out and plenty of other violent acts.
Gore - Lots of blood and guts here, though most of it is not displayed until the last few minutes, then look out!
Haunted House - Not so much a haunted house, the West Andover Military Academy is located at an old abandoned mission, which itself is pretty creepy in areas.
Nudity - Aside from some bare male butts seen when the youths hit the showers, the good stuff comes when Greedy Miss Friedemeyer decides to strip and shower for the camera.
Skin - The Miss Heavy Artillery pageant gives us a brief look at three scantily clad young ladies.
Swords - Don’t go expecting swords fights between individuals, but rather one person using a giant sword to go medieval on several people’s asses…and heads.
Technology - Stanley is quite the innovator. He’s the first to use a computer to aid in his black magic rituals, conjuring the forces of hell that then take control of the computer.
Zombies - Zombies are pretty scarce here. The only one that shows up is Sarge at the end of the film, having been reanimated by all the evil forces at work.

 

Movie Stats:
Shadow's Commentary:

Deaths: 13
Dead puppies: 1
Most pigs ever seen at once: 4
Bare breasts: 4
Bare butts: 6 (sadly 5 of these are male)
Times Stanley is referred to as Cooperdick: 13
Annoying adults: 5
Annoying teens: 4
Dream sequences: 1
Percentage of movie in Spanish: 1.02%

00 Mins – Somehow I doubt they’re on their way to a renaissance fair.
02 Mins - Most people just build sandcastles.
07 Mins - Bare male ass! I’m blind!
14 mins - Spring-loaded rat.
17 Mins - Is he on skates?
51 Mins - Somebody call PETA!
56 Mins - Woo Hoo! Gratuitous female nudity!
70 Mins - Somebody call PETA!
81 Mins - The Reverend gets nailed in church.
83 Mins - Now that is a splitting headache!


Shadow's Drinking Game: Whenever poor Stanley is chewed out by an adult or harassed by another student, take a drink.

 

The Artistry Of Death

A breakdown of the varied deaths in this film.

Decapitations: 3
Burned alive: 1

Neck twisted/broken: 1


Impaled in head with nail: 1


Impaled on sharp objects: 1


Head split open with sword: 1
Heart ripped out: 1
Mauled by pigs: 4

 

Images Click for larger image

The Democrats hit the campaign
trail early for the 2008 election.


"Look, how many times I have
I talked to you about peeing
in the shower?"



"Call me a Nazgul again and
I’ll shove this sword up your
middle earth!"

 
"All you of Earth, are idiots!
You see? You see? Your stupid
minds...stupid! Stupid!!"

Mel Sharples fell on hard times
when health code violations
forced him to close his diner.



"Finally, a puppy to help me score
some chicks at the park!"



 
"Why didn’t someone tell me that
my ass was so fat?"

 
The standard reaction from a
woman upon witnessing the
phenomenon known as shrinkage.

Miss Congeniality III: Back to the Trailer Park.

"This internet café blows!"

"I have a splitting headache and
it has DEAD written all over it."


Ronnie’s insistence that he was
the Human Torch ultimately
led to his tragic end.


At Stan’s Rib Shack, our BBQ pork
ribs are so strong, they bite back!

"There can be only one!"

 

Immortal Dialog

Professor Hauptman grills Stanley for being late to class.

Hauptman: "I will consider any excuse unacceptable! Short of your being detained by visitors from outer space. Hehehehe. I take it we can rule out extraterrestrial interference?"
Stanley: "Yes, sir."

Shadow’s comment: Good thing he didn’t ask about demonic possession.


Sarge decides to teach Stanley a lesson.

Sarge: "Now, I’m gonna show you. I’m gonna show you how I make a little boy into a little girl. You want to see that trick?"
Stanley: "HELP!!!"

Shadow’s comment: I take it this process involves more than just make-up and women’s clothes?

 

Keep In Mind
  • Spanish monks routinely carried large swords around with them everywhere they went.
  • Satanic rituals are best conducted on a rocky beach.
  • The portraits of known devil worshippers are hung on chapel walls.
  • The strictest teachers are always of German descent.
  • Smuggling a bulky computer and monitor by oneself is quite easy.
  • Any computer has a direct link to hell.
  • The forces of hell utilize cutting edge computer technology to further their agenda.
  • Puppies can go straight from breast milk to meaty bones in a single day.
  • Chapels are creepy.
  • Satan is a stickler for details.
  • Getting “nailed” in church is not a desirable affair.
  • Being possessed endows one with superhuman strength and the ability to fly.
  • Pigs have been known to form vigilante gangs.



This Film & Me

I can distinctly remember when this film hit theaters, and seeing the ads for it in newspapers and on the TV. I even recall classmates talking to each other about the movie in school. However, I never was able to see the film in theaters. Given my fundamentalist Christian upbringing, there was just no way in hell (pun intended) that my mother would allow me to go see a movie like this. Yet, for all of mom’s vigilance, she never quite seemed to remember that cable stations like HBO and Showtime were readily showing such fare on a regular basis. That is were I first saw this film, though it was several years later, circa 1988 or so when the film was being rerun. I saw it listed in the Showtime guide for early in the morning and set the VCR accordingly. I managed to watch the film a time or two before the tape was used again and the film was recorded over with something else. After that, I was never able to catch it again until the recent DVD release. While nowhere near a favorite film, it certainly doesn’t appear on my "crappy films" list. Rather, it seems to fit in with that large group of "in the middle" films that are part of neither group.

Shadow's rating: Four Tombstones



The Good

  • Healthy dose of blood and gore
  • Some inventive killings
  • Hot chick gets naked
  • Awesome revenge sequence
  • Creepy music and sets

The Bad

  • Violence towards puppy
  • Film moves rather slow
  • Gore FX pretty outdated
  • Herd of killer pigs?!
  • Too much talk, too little action

The Ugly

  • Too many naked male butts
  • Archaic computers and computer graphics
  • Ugly period clothing
  • Dorky period hair styles

 

 

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