In this prequel of a sort to The Amityville Horror (1979), the dysfunctional Montelli family moves into their new home and finds many curious things right away, including every window being nailed shut and a secret room in the basement of the house that is full of flies, muck and smells to high heaven (or down to low Hell). The longer they stay, the more they begin to witness strange events, and bicker violently with one another, until the eldest son of the family, Sonny ( Jack Magner), actually begins to exhibit behavior that may not be his own, including a desire to kill his abusive father, Anthony (Burt Young), and defile his younger teenage sister, Trish (Diane Franklin). Before things get completely out of hand, the mother requests that a local priest, Father Adamsky (James Olson), come out to investigate the supernatural events of the place, but without the backing of his superiors, he’s going it alone against what appears to be a portal to unfathomable evil that resides below the house. Rutanya Alda and Andrew Prine also appear. Directed by Damiano Damiano from a script by Tommy Lee Wallace.
Adrian Pasdar stars as Caleb Colton, a young and somewhat passive small-town guy in Oklahoma who has his eye set on a visiting mysterious boyish beauty named Mae (Jenny Wright). Caleb and Mae spend the night talking and flirting, but Mae has to make it home before the sun comes up, for reasons that aren’t too clear for Caleb. Before the end of the evening, Mae bites Caleb on the neck, although she doesn’t really drink his blood, setting forth a reaction in his body that makes him very strong and agile, fry up in direct sunlight, and crave human blood himself. Before Caleb can get home, he is “adopted” by his new family, a clan of immortals with the same condition he is in, although they aren’t taking too kindly to Mae’s decision to “turn” Caleb into one of them, especially since she must feed him from her own blood. Caleb doesn’t want to kill other humans like the others, but to be part of them, he finds he must, because he can’t survive on his own. Tensions flare in the group, as well as within Caleb himself, as to what the proper thing to do is. Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, and Tim Thomerson, and Bill Paxton get supporting roles. Kathryn Bigelow’s debut as a solo director.
Wes Craven refreshed the struggling slasher film genre with this more surreal and intense take, saving New Line Cinema with one of the big surprise hits of 1984: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Heather Langenkamp stars as Nancy Thompson, who finds out that she is not alone in having a recurring dream about a badly burnt and scarred man named Freddy Krueger who terrorizes her with horrific acts of terror (Craven says that the character’s name was based on a school mate who bullied him as a child). What’s even more scary is that her friends are starting to die mysteriously, and Nancy is sure that if she were to fall asleep and dream, she will be next in line to be a victim. Her parents think here is something wrong with her, and the local police can’t believe a word of it, so she must fend for herself. But surely she can’t stay awake forever! John Saxon, Johnny Depp and Robert Englund also co-star in this first of many films in the long-running and beloved horror series.