Combustible Celluloid
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With: Maren Jensen, Sharon Stone, Susan Buckner, Jeff East, Colleen Riley, Douglas Barr, Lisa Hartman, Lois Nettleton, Ernest Borgnine, Michael Berryman, Kevin Cooney
Written by: Glenn M. Benest, Matthew Barr, Wes Craven, based on a story by Glenn M. Benest, Matthew Barr
Directed by: Wes Craven
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 100
Date: 08/14/1981

Deadly Blessing (1981)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Hittite and Run

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After making a splash in the 1970s with grindhouse hits The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes, director Wes Craven followed it up with this relatively unknown title. But although it's less gruesome than its predecessors, it's no less effective and worth seeing. The story takes place near a community of "Hittites," who "make the Amish look like swingers." Martha (Maren Jensen, who retired after this) is happily married to Jim (Doug Barr), who left his community to be with her. Unfortunately, he's killed, and Martha asks her two best friends, Lana (Sharon Stone) and Vicky (Susan Buckner) to stay with her awhile. Meanwhile, one of the hittites is murdered as well, the simple-minded William (Michael Berryman, also in The Hills Have Eyes), who liked to spy on Martha. And an unhappy Hittite man becomes attracted to Vicky, who wanders around in shorts and a tank top. More nastiness happens, and it becomes clear that a killer is on the loose. Ernest Borgnine is wonderful as a stern, traditional fellow, scowling at everyone through his beard (although he did earn a Razzie nomination). Craven was already developing his incredible knack for using three-dimensional space for nefarious purposes, especially in the scene with Sharon Stone trapped in a dark barn. A movie theater marquee shows Craven's previous movie, the made-for-TV Summer of Fear.

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