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Director: Don Coscarelli
Cast: Reggie Bannister, Bill Thornberry, Angus Scrimm
Running time: 86 minutes
Rating: R

Story: A young boy witnesses something unusual and scary at the local funeral home and decides to investigate. He stumbles onto a plot that involves bringing the dead back to life, flying spheres that kill, a man he calls the Tall Man, etc. With the help of his brother and their friend he try to stop the evil man's plans before it's too late.

Review: Awww, the 70s! A decade that gave us some of horror's greatest titles. 'Halloween,' 'Carrie,' 'The Exorcist,' 'Black Christmas,' I could go on and on. Another thing about horror in the 1970s that was seen a lot of was one particular trend, which was supernatural. A lot of films then had this angle, including this 1979 cult classic that has since spawned three sequels. Not a traditional zombie movie, it takes that idea and puts a new and bizarre twist on it.

And like the work of Dario Argento, it ditches a linear narrative in favor of a more dreamlike feel and shocks. It's like one big, long nightmare, something you don't really see much anymore. It's one of those special films that features a cast of people just starting their acting careers and who look like regular everyday people, rather than like people who belong on a runway or in Teen Magazine. It's retro horror at it's finest.

Though it does feature themes found in other horror films, the film combines them with others to create a pretty original concept. As I said before, this is a sort of zombie movie, but a different sort that has since never been copied except for in the sequels of course. The performances are quite good and the actors playing the characters are a likable bunch. Though we don't get to know too much about them, we somehow still care what happens to them. Being a few decades old there's going to be some things in the film that'll date it, and one of those is the score, but that doesn't mean it's no good.

In fact, it's quiet effective in sending chills up the spine and the main theme is cool. There's a few really nightmarish sights throughout the film. Not really graphic, just the kind that'll make you afraid to look behind you for fear that what you on the screen might be there. And speaking of things that give you the creeps, the film's villain, the Tall Man, is one of the creepiest bad guys ever created. He's just so cold and cruel. One thing you can not call this film is predictable. Unlike many slasher films, you never really know what's going to happen next or who's gonna live and who's gonna die.

The film also has a kind of dark, almost sinister feel to it. This is really felt during the night scenes, where of course most of the really eerie stuff happens. Not a really action-packed movie, but it is well-paced. And lastly, there's a pretty good set-up for the sequel. I won't give it away, but let's just say it's shattering.

The biggest negative I see here is that not much in this film makes sense. Not much, if anything, is really explained regarding the Tall Man's plan, which is bother bad and good. Also, there's one really cheap looking effect early on involving a mutated fly. It's more funny than frightening. But despite these, the movie is a horror classic that really rises above the more predictable and run-of-the-mill horror films we see today. And the best part is, it's not over yet!

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