Scream Factory offers horror fans a new high-definition version of 1981's cult classic "Evilspeak." I'm sure the entertaining movie hit a nerve at the time as the world was being introduced to personal computers and technology they weren't accustomed to yet. The idea that a demonic spirit could be conjured through your PC can be a scary thought even today. As a matter of fact, the concept was so interesting that an episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" addressed the same issue over a decade later.
Stanley Coopersmith (Clint Howard) is the runt who always gets picked on at his military school. That all changes one day when he is assigned to clean up the basement of the campus's chapel. As he moves around dusty boxes from one corner to the other, he discovers the hidden tomb of a 16th Century Satanist (Richard Moll). After finding the madman's book of incantations, he types them into his computer to be translated. Stanley soon realizes that he's performing a Black Mass which conjures the evil spirit of the Satanist and unleashes an ancient evil power. It's an evil power which could be used to exact revenge on the students and teachers who torture Stanley.
Although "Evilspeak" was restored from a newly discovered 35mm source, it still suffers from poor storage or care over the years. I'm sure Scream Factory did everything in their power to digitally restore the film. However, it still has some pops and scratches which show its age. There's also some fading here and there. The original film grain is very evident, which doesn't really bother me because it leaves its classic 1980s feel intact.
"Evilspeak" is presented with a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono upgrade. It's fair to say that audiences have never experienced the movie with such sonic clarity. All the blood-curdling screams and jarring clangs and bangs are accented by the movie's musical score.
Originally rated X by the MPAA, "Evilspeak" is presented here in an unrated version. It has everything you would expect from a 1980s fright flick. There's plenty of gore and violence as Coopersmith uses a sword to decapitate his victims. You can tell most of it is fake, but the shock value is still there. It also contains the usual foul language. A couple of nude scenes are found as well.
"Evilspeak" is definitely not for everyone. Religious folks will no doubt find all the Satanic chanting to be unnerving. I completely identify with how they feel. I believe in the power of words and do my best to steer clear of anything that sounds authentic. I think it says something when the leader (Anton LaVey) of the Satanic Church considers your movie to be "very Satanic." The only lessons you can take away from "Evilspeak" is you'll go insane and become a slave to the devil if you mess with unholy powers and conjure demons.
Scream Factory treats horror fanatics to a healthy dose of exciting extras for "Evilspeak." Audio commentary is provided by Director/Writer Eric Weston. There are also interviews with cast members Clint Howard, Richard Moll, Don Stark, Joseph Cortese, Haywood Nelson, and Claude Earl Jones. A "Making of" featurette and theatrical trailer are included as well.
"Evilspeak" is an essential entry in the world of horror films. Whether or not you feel it's necessary to have it in your house because of some of its content is your decision. It's one of the earliest movies to address the growing importance and place technology would take in our society. As strange as it sounds, it fits perfectly on the shelf next to "Wargames," "TRON," and the likes. Although I think the Satanic chanting could've been toned down, the story is one many an outcast can relate to. It's also timely with the recent release of the "Carrie" remake fresh on everyone's minds.
"Evilspeak" is available now on Blu-ray.