Monday, July 19, 2010

Abby

Abby- Abby crazies! That’s basically it. This 1974 movie is also known as the Black Exorcist, which is what this movie is. Abby tells the odd tale of a young woman who gets possessed by a sass talking demon. The star of this is Carol Speed. Speed, an odd yet cute woman, was perfect for this. Like Sally Field in Sybil, I think Carol was a bit "off" so it made this even better.



The most hilarious thing here is who is enlisted for help here, William Marshall of Blacula fame. You know times are hard when William Marshall is the voice of reason. Marshall played, Bishop Garnet Williams, the father of Abby's put-upon husband. In fact, it's "Dad's" dealings in Africa that caused the demons to attack Abby in the laundry room. With his Shakespearean air and booming voice, Marshall simultaneously elevates the proceedings and turns it even closer to camp.  Not to be outdone by any of Abby’s witticisms, Marshall as ‘dad’ gets to say the classic, “Hear me demon, leave this woman body!” That's no typo, it was "woman." Clearly William wasn't having his best day during the filming.

This movie has similar undercurrents of a lot of black movies of the day. The "good" guys Emmett and Abby's brother, were insanely boring. I really wanted the demons possessing Abby's body to kill them both instead of either shaming them or tossing them around like so much confetti. Also the "cool cats" are nothing but caricatures. Great!

The last scenes were enough to make a grown man cry. All of the principles gathered at a seedy bar where Abby was giving it up for cheap and dancing to the music on the record machine. Emmett and Abby's brother were ineffectual as ever at taming this crazy woman. Enter the big gun: Dad. Marshall came to the party with a cross and when things got really sticky, he changed into a dashiki and a little ol' hat to let the demon know he meant big business! (Spoiler alert) The demon eventually smoked out and left Abby's body. She was back to being a lovable madcap again. Marshall offer no big goodbyes, just caught the first thing smoking back to Africa.

Part 2: If there was a laugh factor in seeing William Marshall as Terry Carter's dad, it should have been. There was only 5 years between the two. 5 years.

While the American International movies were often "low-budget" this was more so and really didn't need to be.

William Marshall was reportedly upset with this movie (really, he was Blacula) while he was the ultimate professional, he looked crazy bored in the majority of his scenes.

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