Just looking at the advertisements and the very subject of Evilspeak, not to mention its stars, I was led to believe that this would be another silly little "Revenge of the Nerds"-infused corn dog horror flick much akin to that '80s movie Pulse starring that "Gimme a Break!" kid. As the credits unfolded before me, however, I was greeted with a staunch, dark horror flick in the uncomfortable vein of The Devil's Rain. Pretty much as soon as the prime villain decapitates a topless woman on the beach I stopped thinking about "Gimme a Break".
But as that intro gives way to the main movie, a tale closer to my expectations began to play out. It was about that time that I realized that this evil monk of the opening (Father Esteban) was played by BULL FROM NIGHT COURT! I was surprised that he didn't ask for some Sea Monkeys to eat and wash them down with a Snickers bar that has to last him ALL SEASON LONG...
It wasn't hard to get back into that whole sitcom vibe either, seeing as how our protagonist was Opie's Little Brother. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Clint Howard and Richard Moll both join the list of unlikely names found on the Video Nasty List. But Big Ben from House and ol' Mark from Gentle Ben aren't alone. See, Balok from "The Corbomite Maneuver" plays Stanley Coopersmith, a nerdy, orphaned military student who is picked on by his peers, primarily DONNA'S DAD FROM THAT SEVENTIES SHOW! Yeah. "Bubba" is played by Don Stark, before the perm, back when he was muscular and slightly better looking.
The plot is somewhat familiar. Coopersmith is terrible at sports, so the Bubba and his butt-headed minions decide to do some nasty things to him to make sure he can't play in the big game. In that he's mostly friendless he has to seek refuge in other areas. I say MOSTLY friendless, because one cadet does indeed befriend him... his name is Kowalski and he's played by DWAYNE FROM WHAT'S HAPPENING?! Yeah, man, you can add Haywood Nelson to the list too! What's next, they decide to unwind and blow off some steam by taking a TAXI to CHEERS? Is RHODA going to be there, man, or is she still visiting with THE JEFFERSONS?
No, no, no, no such luck. Soon, the gritty (yet bad) and the silly (yet bad) collide in the basement of the Military School's Chapel, which, we learn, was founded by that same old Chick Choppin' monk, Father Esteban. In case that Beach Sacrifice didn't clue you in, he wasn't a terribly good Catholic.
While helping Reverend Jameson (Joseph Cortese), obviously no relation to Jenna, clean up the cellar, "Cooperdick" (as his enemies call him) discovers one of those nearly ubiquitous "HIDDEN ROOMS", containing the remnants of Esteban's Satanic relics, including one Anti-Bible that the Clintonator takes a particular shine to. It also contains plenty of dust and cobwebs and really old papers and even older clothes... so naturally he lights every candle in the place. Man, I want to see that Military School Entrance Exam!
Anyway, over the course of the next few days, "the Almost-Richie" starts translating that Pentagram Tome using an advanced device known as a "Com-Pu-Ter". Unbeknownst to Super-Duper-Coopersmith, by reading the pages of the Satanic Spells of Esteban (simply chock full of oaths to one day return) into said "Com-Pu-Ter", it becomes possessed and starts acting like an Evil R2-D2, guiding him astray into the realm of Video Nasty-hood. In some respects this is a lot like Electric Dreams, but without the Boy George songs.
Stark (whom, unfortunately, we see Stark Naked) and his military morons never let up, though, so the inevitable must happen. "The Inevitable Must Happen"? Obvious statement there. Moving on. Anyway, the newly empowered Superdick-Duperdick Cooperdick must have his revenge... it's "Inevitable". Him and his "Com-Pu-Ter-Dick", that is.
All in all, Evilspeak is a pretty bad movie with some decent special effects for the time and the occasional glimpse of Bull from Night Court. Clint Howard does a pretty decent job as the beleaguered semi-protagonist.
It's hard not to feel for the guy, given Howard's sympathetic portrayal. Especially when he adopts a puppy. It's like "Yeah, he's going all Satanic now, I guess he's the villain... Aaaaaaaaaaaaaw... A PUPPY!"
Writer Joseph Garofalo (whose script had nothing to do with "Com-Pu-Ters" until director Eric Weston's rewrite) never seems to forget that the bad guys are the jackasses who Bullied Coopersmith, not poor old Stanley himself. In fact, it's demonstrated to be only naturally that Stanley Coopersmith would fight fire with fire... or in this case, fight Bullies with Bull... from Night Court.
Still, the "message" if one was intended, seems to be pretty questionable here. Is this an advertisement for Satanism?
The basis for Evilspeak's banning by the BBFC/ DPP collaborative lies in a couple of areas. First off, the finale of this film is extremely violent, especially considering the majority of what came before. The Animal Cruelty taboo is either broken or so close to being broken that it was given a dishonorable mention. The most likely trump card that pushed this movie into Video Nasty territory was the eroticized mixture of nudity and death, starting with the headless topless chick on the beach and followed by a sick continuation later in the film. Most specifically the secretary for the Sarge (R.G. Armstrong) was a lovely beauty of the Librarian kind named Miss Friedemeyer (and played by the very hot Lynn Hancock). Her boggarting of the book causes much anger in the Demon Circles, so, after a really fantastic bathing scene (the woman is really lovely all over), she's attacked and eaten by giant Boars. Nasty? Nasty. I don't remember any of that crap in WarGames!
But a "Boar" it is... or, rather, a "Bore". Yeah, Clint does his best, and quite a bit of the detriment of this film is the dated nature of the increasingly less mysterious "Com-Put-Er" Devices, but silly is silly and bad is bad. In short, it's not the biggest turd in the bowl, but I still highly recommend you flush. Two Stars out of Five for the Computerrifying Evilspeak. Maybe we could get a sequel going for this thing... kind of a "30 Years Later" type thing, like they're trying to get going for The Breakfast Club and The Goonies? I'm thinking it's only logical that "Rerun" should be in it, am I right? You may need his sense of humor to distract you from the horrifying news that... I wrote this... on... a... "Com-Pu-Ter"!
I got these new glasses that I thought
Might make me look more like the 10th Doctor.
I look more like one of "The Proclaimers".
Good news, though: YOU won't have to walk 500 Miles
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ON YOUR COOOOMPUUUUTEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!