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Straight Out of the Cinematic Garbage Can: The Abomination (1986)
The Abomination (1986)
Directed by Bret McCormick (as Max Raven)
Cast: Scott Davis, Jude Johnson, Blue Thompson, Suzy Meyer, Brad McCormick, Rex Morton, Gaye Bottoms, Van Connery & Bubba Moore
Runtime: 89 minutes
Hoooo, boy...Where to begin…
The Abomination is a repugnant little film. It’s a cheese-ball splatter-fest shot entirely on video, poorly edited and horribly acted; this film has all the makings of a bad movie and then some. This is one of those movies where once the end credits are rolling, you’re fruitlessly attempting to figure out what it was you just watched. Those who produced this film didn’t even seem to know what direction to take with this. There was more focus placed upon the film’s poorly executed gore effects than there was on coherent story-line. Ultimately, this is a film that justly lives up to its title…it is purely a cinematic abomination.
What this “Abomination” is about…(Spoilers Below)
The Abomination tells the story of Cody (Scott Davis), a local mechanic and devoted son to his mother, who becomes possessed by a monster with an insatiable appetite for human flesh called “The Abomination”. The Abomination is introduced to us by Cody’s fundamentalist, televangelist watching mother in the form of a lung tumor she hacks up…Yes, that is right…The main antagonist of this film is a tumor coughed up by a middle-aged woman who thinks she has lung cancer. Yeah...let's continue.
After hacking up this small disgusting ball of blood and goo, Cody’s mother casually throws it into the trash and believes herself to be cured through the healing powers of unscrupulous televangelist, Brother Fogg. Later that night, while Cody is asleep, the tumor comes to life and crawls out of the trashcan and towards the room Cody is sleeping in. It then forces itself into Cody’s mouth and and begins to possess the unwitting young man.
Once possessed by the tumor, or "the abomination" (whatever the hell you want to call it), Cody begins to show some serious personality changes. He constantly wakes up screaming from nightmares. He talks rudely to his mother. He becomes distant with his girlfriend and road-racing and beer-drinking buddies…AND…the biggie…he begins to go on ultra-violent, gore-filled murderous rampages in order to feed the abomination inside of him so that it can continue to grow and reproduce little abominations (which Cody hacks up like his mother) who begin to pop up in areas such as the washer and kitchen cabinets
And, er…that’s your movie. Mother hacks up tumor. Tumor comes alive. Tumor crawls into son’s mouth and possesses him. Son hacks up tumors. Tumors turn into hungry little monsters. Little monsters are hungry. Son goes out, kills mother, kills friends, kills his boss who looks like Jeff Lynne from Electric Light Orchestra, kills random chick at the graveyard and feeds them to the monsters who grow at an exponential rate.
Let's Review this Abomination!!!
As I’ve already mentioned, this movie is an abomination. I hate to keep repeating that, but it is. This movie is terrible. It has all the elements associated with a bad movie. We have atrocious acting, half-assed editing, a ridiculous plot, crude over-the-top special effects and the production values.........Hah! What production values!? But, with that being said, as repugnant as a film as this is, there is something charming about it somewhere beneath all the blood, guts and gore that it throws at you.
This is a film that is proud of its cheap, rudimentary gore-effects…In fact, this is a film that is so proud of its gory artwork, that it shows you a montage of all the kills within the film before the opening credits. Yes, this movie pretty much spoils its story within its first few minutes. This is probably to spare the viewer from having to watch the entire thing. It’s almost as if director Brad McCormick (under the pseudonym, Matt Raven---can you blame him?) said, “Hey, look…I know the movie is bad…Let’s just show all the cool, bloody effects first, so the viewer doesn’t have to sit through 90 minutes of bad acting and storytelling!” Truth be told, the blood and gore effects are not too bad in relation to the shot on video format and mid-80s time period the film was produced. However, they are still pretty bad. There is a scene where the mother has her hand bitten off by one of the “abominations” and what it left is an overtly obvious “bloody stump” prop that squirts blood that looks more like Tropical Punch Kool-Aid…But yes, this is a film that is proud of its gore…Heads get chainsawed, throats get slit, and people are violently eaten and impaled with shovels…and you see all this in graphic, blood-soaked detail.
The Abomination is a film that does succeed in a certain respect in regards to its blood-soaked special effects…yet, there didn’t seem to be as much time put towards the character development or acting, story-telling and basic editing…Now, the acting is forgivable. Most horror movies are made to scare us, and are not focused on actors performing in a way that would make Daniel Day Lewis envious. With that being said, the acting in this movie is exaggerated, flat and just downright annoying, but for a independently shot on video horror film with dollar store production values, it’s sort of to be expected.
As an aside: If you want to see how bad and annoying the acting is in this film, look up the scene from this movie where the mother is fed to the Abomination…The middle-aged “actress” portraying Cody’s mother screams sound like nails continuously being scraped across an old blackboard. I’d recommend turning the volume down for this scene…Anyways, lets trudge on…
This story primarily fails on the basis of its slipshod editing and therefore we're left with a lack of character development and muddled story-line. I understand the basic, albeit ridiculous, premise of The Abomination...It's a monster movie about a tumor or an "abomination" that possesses and influences a young man to go on a murder rampage to feed "it". Yet, the movie's poor editing results in the viewer repeatedly asking themselves, "Why the hell did they do that?" For instance, we're treated, after the five minute gore-montage and open credit sequence, to an unexciting and dreadfully extended chase scene in the graveyard culminating in a girl getting her throat slit...this same, exact scene is needlessly inserted in towards the climax of the movie. More, towards the end of the film our ears are bombarded repeatedly with the quote "The abomination! Which makes all things desolate!" which is just about as grating to your auditory senses as listening to the mother's excruciatingly annoying screaming as the Abomination eats her.
To its credit, as perverse as a film this is, The Abomination does hold a little charm...I just can't pinpoint what it is. It could be the independent aesthetic of the film with its crude special effects, hammy acting and cheap production values. It could also be its incorporation of dark, twisted humor mostly directed towards the deceitful televangelist character, Brother Fogg, who, when not embezzling money out of his group of devoted followers, is often show sitting on the toilet evacuating his bowels...perhaps a thinly veiled insult towards televangelists being "full of crap"? Who knows?
But, I do believe there was an attempt by the film-makers to incorporate a symbolic Biblical parable into the story of this movie. We as all human beings are imperfect sinners according to the Bible;therefore, the Abomination symbolizes human "sin" and Cody is the "imperfect sinner". Cody is possessed by the Abomination and is forced to feed it those closest to him. In result in grows and grows and grows, eventually overwhelming and ending his life. This could be a social commentary on how sinful behavior (i.e. alcoholism, drug use, etc) CAN unhealthily overwhelm our lives, forcefully isolate those closest to us and lead us to a place where "all things are made desolate..." You know, it goes back to the old Christian adage about the wages of sin resulting in death...I think that's what the filmmakers are trying to say underneath all the blood, guts and gore...
Or, maybe not. Maybe I'm trying too hard to find a deeper meaning in a standard, shot on video, 80s splatter-fest.
Make no doubt, The Abomination is a bad film. But, even as bad as it is, it's still worth a view based upon its ridiculous premise and crude, blood-filled special effects.This is a film that wants you to be proud of its disgustingly effective gory scenes and there are plenty. The story is one that is completely bizarre, but you can't say that it isn't original. Despite all of the bad acting, poor editing and weird story, the movie, in and of itself, is a nice little throwback to cheese-ball 80s horror cinema. I can't say you'll enjoy the movie, but you can laugh at it's dreadful delivery and silly premise.
Final Verdict: 2.5 out of 5 Hacked Up, Bloody Tumors