Monday, April 14, 2014


Rituals (The Creeper), Starring Hal Holbrook Directed By Peter Carter  (1977).
There's all kinds of mystery surrounding this title in the Deep Red catalog, but I confirmed with Greg Goodsell that this is the right Creeper VHS tape from the catalog. I'm a little skeptical because its described as a "British thriller with psychic overtones", in an effort to tackle anything related to the Deep Red universe, it must be included and I will most likely review The Wes Olsen film The Creeper, which was also referenced in the "now" incredibly expensive book by Stephen Thrower, Nightmare U.S.A. I'm still kicking myself over not buying that dog eared copy at a Virgin Megastore close-out sale!

Not starring Hal Holbrook

   This is a Canadian Deliverance knock-off that starts off like a very special episode of "old grumpy physicians in floppy hats" with Hal Holbrook. If they had made a sequel to Creepshow with only the Harry Northrup character, would he take a fishing trip to the same lake he dumped off Fluffy the demonic tasmanian, snaggletoothed beast in the crate and let it devour more agitators, most likely! 

We're gathered here today for the Paddington Bear convention

   Anyway Holbrook and his old codger doctor friends take a stressful trip through the Ontario wilderness. They trudge through murky waters and as they pose for pictures while yelling CHEESE in unison, loud enough to start a possible avalanche or awaken disfigured patients seeking revenge in the forest! The doctors repeatedly mention how the indians believe the moon bumped into the earth and chose this place as a magical spot. Are they nervous that Chipewa spirits are going to haunt them? 
   They bitch at each other over their surgical skills and do some aggressive "male bond" chanting. All the characters are on edge from the minute the film starts and the next morning, after their boots are stolen, they resume the rage. 

You mean I could've stayed at a Holiday Inn Express?

   You'd think a team of rich doctors would have a luxury resort or at least a fancy cabin to snuggle up by the fire with some brandy, but here they are totally roughing it. I don't even think they pitched a tent! 
   Is a pissed off Navajo going to scalp the shit outta these quacks or a deranged hillbilly going to make an appearance, with all the Indian warnings, that's the way they set it up.
Then a talisman shows up, that spooks all the men, a severed deers head with a snake attached. A Mrs. Voorhees type figure is watching them between the twigs and leaves (and this movie actually came out before Friday The 13th). 

Mike Tee Vee is back, flying around in a million tiny pieces

   A hive explodes with bees and it runs everyone hurling toward the river--who tossed it at them--could it be nature unraveling and threatening to crush these goony specialists, probably. No suspects turn up yet and the music stings never alert the audience, because they sound like "After School Special" melodramatic shit. A shrouded figure shows up amidst the bees and they all figure out that someone is now stalking them. After one character dies, his brother laments "He was such a gentle boob", that really cracked me up, when it shouldn't have! 
 Another tard, steps in a bear trap that's underwater, while trying to test out the shallowness of a brook. They actually float one pal on a stretcher through the raging river and he gets more annoying and delirious then Roger "We got this by the ass", the Swat team Zombie from 1978's Dawn Of The Dead

I may be annoying, but at least I had more of a career then Scott Reiniger

    Everything is leading them into a trap or a demonic ritual. I haven't wanted a character to die more in a film since Franklin from the original TCM. Marty (Robin Gammell), the guy with the broken leg babbles on like a guy with dysentery of the mouth, I wish they would eat him. Holbrook always does a great job in the acting dept. and becomes more agitated and grouchy as each friend dies off. They start to believe that the predator (a human, not "Alien Whoopi Goldberg") has a plan for them. He even leaves a severed head stuck on a pike-- which Holbrook proceeds to hurl off the mountain like a caveman!

Trust Bosley for all your hair implant needs

   Hal degenerates into a drooling,feral madman as he drags his dead friend around the barren plains. The hidden manipulator even drives him to start killing his own friends (well one victim who is half dead, is strangled so he won't suffer anymore). Mitzi played by Lawrence Dane (Scanners, Of Unknown Origin) is the only surviving friend of Holbrook's and he becomes sick over his irrational behavior. 

Is there an orthodontist in the house?

   It all ends with a stand off, more decoys and tricks, as the creep responsible drives the last two friends against each other. Holbrook tries to cauterize his fatal wounds as his friend burns to death outside. His last words are "Shut Up, Shut Up, Don't Panic"! 
   Though this film is infuriating, tedious and slow paced, I still recommend it and I have no idea why! It's strangely compelling, even though its kind of dull, the acting really outshines the mediocrity. Give it a whirl and see what you think! This film is still in public domain so check it out on Youtube before it disappears, this SPECIAL EDITION version even has some of the actors, like Lawrence Dane discuss this careers as well as what went on during the shoot and its very entertaining. In the Stephen King book "Dance Macabre", he mentions this as a rare gem to look out for, that bit of free advertising certainly worked for Evil Dead.

This film will give you the same effect of drinking a case of skunky Moosehead Beer

Sandy "Mac's Mom" Martin makes a very special cameo appearance

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