There's so many movies and just so little time that is genuinely no shocker that so many things from our past can slip through the cracks and fly under our radar. Going all the way back to 1981, "Evilspeak", now available on Blu-Ray for the very first time is a warped and twisted tale of revenge that we can all relate to.
For Stanley Coppersmith (Clint Howard) life just straight up sucks. He's a teenage outcast sent to a strict military academy after both his parents die in a car crash and he mercilessly bullied in one way or another by every single person there. However when Stanley discovers the crypt of a 16th century Satanist beneath the chapel, he stumbles upon a way to create a computerized black mass that will open the gates of hell and unleash an unholy revenge on every single one of his tormentors.
For a film that was originally flirting with the dreaded X due to the copious amounts of gore, it was cut for its initial release but is here now in its original glory as "Evilspeak" is a gloriously bent borderline satirical look at bullying and is an extreme play on what those tortured souls can play out in their heads.
In what was the debut feature for co-writer/director Eric Weston we get a deliciously over the top a look at how a bullied kid, perceives the world around him. The entire narrative is so over the top that it truly has to be from the perspective of poor Stanley Coopersmith in order for it to be genuinely believable. The narrative moves at just the right place as things slowly but surely keep getting worse for him with little too no friends on his side coming close to believing his story. And while the gore is totally over the top at key moments and in the end of the film, it actually fits it all like a glove and helps us buy into Stanley's world.
At the time only a fresh faced 21 year old, Clint Howard was seemingly the perfect person to be able to pull off this role as he captured that perfect balance of immature, angst filled rage and pathetic desperation that was required for the role. The rest of the ensemble has some familiar faces as veteran character actor R.G. Armstrong played the cranky alcoholic Sarge. Don Stark who fans would best know from "That 70's Show" as Bob Pinocotti was almost unrecognizable as Stanley's tormentor Bubba and as our Satanist Father Esteban, Richard Moll seemed as far away from Bull Shannon as humanly possible. Everyone embraced the nature of the material quite well and it came off without a hitch until the gloriously over the top ending.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray aren't pristine, but they are reasonably clean as I'm sure this director supervised HD transfer probably did they best that they could with the materials that are there. Special features include a feature length audio commentary track from director Eric Weston. Interviews with cast members Joseph Cortese, Clint Howard, Haywood Nelson, Claude Earl Jones, Richard Moll & Don Stark as well as the theatrical trailer.
I'll admit I was bullied a little bit in school, and while I'd never go to the extremes that our hero Stanley went to, watching "Evilspeak" was an admittedly cathartic experience where I had a little bit more fun than I expected.
3 out of 5 stars.
"Evilspeak" is now available for purchase from all major retailers.